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Old 10-25-2008, 06:40 PM   #1
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Has anyone considered downsizing in these tough times?

Read this story on CNN, it appears many people are downsizing these days. I noticed that some have sold there homes and bought campers to live in. We are considering downsizing ourselves!

Tough economic times are driving some families to take drastic measures, downsizing their lives and moving into smaller homes and apartments (in some cases extremely small, as we see in this CNN.com story about 100-square-foot homes).

Do you live in tight quarters? How do you make it work? What creative choices have you made because of space constraints? Take us on a video or photo tour of your tiny abode, and show off your less-is-more approach with the iReport community. Be sure to tell us where you live and what made you choose a small space over a big one.
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:50 PM   #2
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We have no debt, a income, no job, no such number, no such phone. 256 sq ft.
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Old 10-25-2008, 06:57 PM   #3
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Here is the link I was trying to post : Do you live in a small space?: News & Videos about Do you live in a small space? - iReport.com
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Old 10-25-2008, 07:21 PM   #4
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We live in the Airstream approximately 5 months a year and couldn't be happier. My wife and I find the Airstream just the right size.
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Old 10-25-2008, 09:47 PM   #5
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We spend about half the year in our '65 Caravel. It seems to be larger than most, though. Ours has three bathrooms. No kidding.

One off the bedroom, one off the living room, and one just off the kitchen.

Seriously, we do have two places. One is a little home in a nice little town in the Sacramento Delta, the other is a condo in southern Orange County, near Lynn's 99 year old father. When we no longer have the responsibility in Orange county, we will downsize. Sell the Orange County condo and base ourselves in our northern home. The winters are cool there, so will tow south for the winter months. The summers can get warm in the delta, so will continue to travel the Northwest during that time.

We have stayed up to four months in a row in the Caravel, so a couple of months in the winter, and two months in the summer (which we allready are doing), should be no problem.

Don't think we would try fulltiming, even with a larger unit, as we enjoy the time we spend in our quiet little Delta town of Walnut Grove. I also enjoy my shop at the Walnut Grove home where I can work on lots of stuff, including our '47 Chevy Street Rod and the 1937 Buick Lynn bought from a local farmer. The old "car in the barn" story.

Want to get somewhere between where we are now, and Mike Leary's 256 sq ft.
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Old 10-25-2008, 09:54 PM   #6
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Actually I am going the other way. It will be almost three years full time and I will be buying a house in the next 4-5 months.
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Old 10-25-2008, 10:34 PM   #7
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We don't need to downsize. We paid our home off early, and saved and paid cash for everthing else. We have no credit card debt. We don't borrow! We find it better to live within our means. We've considered building a new home in about 2 years, that is, if we can pay cash!

We contributed nothing to this economic mess but now we'll be required to help bail out the ones that did!
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Old 10-25-2008, 11:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
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We don't need to downsize. We paid our home off early, and saved and paid cash for everthing else. We have no credit card debt. We don't borrow! We find it better to live within our means.
Right on, way to go. What a concept!

We have been debt free since, uh.......it's been so long that I don't remember, maybe, 1980?
Selling the condo in Orange County will relieve us of the high property tax, insurance, monthly association payment, etc. Between all of that, and income from investing the proceeds from the sale, we are looking at significant money. The condo fees alone are over $500 per month. It's a nice condo, overlooking a golf course (pretty, but we don't play golf), with lots of amenities (that we don't use or need), in a great location, but just not the way we want to live.

This sort of downsizing will not only insure that we can continue our life as we know it, but give us a hedge against the inflation and rising taxes which are sure to come during the balance of our years.
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Old 10-26-2008, 06:58 AM   #9
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We are thinking about putting the Airstream on Tammy's father's property. The plan is to put a building close to the Airstream for storage and also a shop where she can still sew curtains. We will run electric and water out there, but still not sure what to do about the sewer. Also will still use the satellite for tv, and internet would be wireless.

We don't use credit cards and both vehicles and the Airstream are paid for, so I think this would enable us to save a considerable ammount of money. We have talked about it for quite some time, but just didn't have the nerve to do it. We still are not sure, but very strongly considering it. I can say that all the "stuff" just doesn't appeal to us like it used to!!
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:27 AM   #10
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Downsize because of the economy? Not really. We've always wanted a shorter rig, but when we start using the AS for lengthier periods in the coming years, I suspect a shorter rig wouldn't fit the needs. Maybe it's time to upsize and become a two-Airstream household.

Truth be told, we seem to have lived through the last economic downturn in the early 90s and didn't pay much attention to it, and so far, apart from gas prices and the nasty fingerpointing tenor of political ads, we haven't seen much effect of the current economic mess.


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Old 10-26-2008, 08:29 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Silver Threads View Post
We are thinking about putting the Airstream on Tammy's father's property... so I think this would enable us to save a considerable amount of money. We have talked about it for quite some time, but just didn't have the nerve to do it. We still are not sure, but very strongly considering it. I can say that all the "stuff" just doesn't appeal to us like it used to!!
John,

You are thinking along the right lines. Kelly and I planning to do something similar when our kids are grown (another 7 to 10 years). We have been readjusting our lifestyle so that when the time comes, we will be able to buy a large piece of land and build a nice small efficient living space on it. A well planned small space (like an Airstream) can be just as comfortable and functional as a big house.

In one of the "I-reports", the writer mentioned this book Everything I want to do is illegal. It looks to be a great read on the trials and tribulations of trying to fashion a simpler life in this complex world from a perspective other than the "green" political left.
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:32 AM   #12
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Thumbs up Home base

I have a modest home base in Salt Springs Florida located on Lake Kerr. It's a closed 55+ community with about 150 homes on leased land. My total cost is well under $800 per month. I can leave for extended periods of time and not worry about my home base. The community includes a clubhouse, heated pool, marina, RV, boat, and trailer storage. All this is located in the Ocala National Forest giving a old Florida life style. Google "Salt Springs Village" for more information. There is currently a nice selection of new and resale homes available.
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Old 10-26-2008, 10:33 AM   #13
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Credit cards? We use two. They are both no fee, cash back cards which we pay off on line as soon as the statement cuts. Lynn goes on line about once a week and checks the charges to make sure they are not bogus.

We use these cards everywhere we can. Don't have to carry much cash, don't have to write checks, and the cash back is great. Usually about $400 per year for the two cards. May not seem like a lot of money, but in any economy, 400 bucks is 400 bucks. One card gives us 3% discount on gas at
Costco.

Also creates a great record of "where did the money go?"

Where else can you get free money?
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Old 10-26-2008, 01:30 PM   #14
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Don't want to and don't need to. BUT, I can see why people would. Even with a paid-off mortgage, there's still those nagging property taxes and insurance that keep increasing. Plus, the more one needs to earn for their chosen lifestyle, the more they're taxed out the wazoo. Less is more.
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Old 10-26-2008, 02:51 PM   #15
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Don't want to and don't need to. BUT, I can see why people would. Even with a paid-off mortgage, there's still those nagging property taxes and insurance that keep increasing. Plus, the more one needs to earn for their chosen lifestyle, the more they're taxed out the wazoo. Less is more.
Got into a discussion with a good friend yesterday. A couple of things really bother this guy about the tax system. One thing he wants to know is "One guy works hard for eight hours a day and makes a nice living and is taxed at a certain percentage. His neighbor works hard for sixteen hours a day, and makes twice the money, but does not keep twice as much for himself because he is taxed at a higher percentage for his hard work."

Less is more? Perhaps more is less.
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:06 PM   #16
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This week's (dated Nov 3, 2008) MacLean's Magazine has the banner headline of:

THE JOY OF FRUGALITY
Want to flourish in tough times?
The case for the simple life. P42

MacLean's for those of you who don't know, is Canada's version of Time, or Newsweek.

Gotta admit, today I eyed a bicycle that's been hanging in the garage for years, left there by one of the kids when they moved out. I'm thinking I could probably make it to the local milk store and back, in nice weather. The only problem is that here, nice weather runs one or two weekends in July.
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Old 10-26-2008, 08:25 PM   #17
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Well, wish i could chime in along the same lines but we live in California, both my wife and i have to work to keep the household going.. we are a blended family with four kids and i will tell you its a struggle. Im not one of those that would let anything go to the creditors looking for an easy way out.. i will just work harder for less money till things get paid off. I hasnt been easy and i dont think there is a rainbow on the horizon.. but i love my family and i live right and i do love my airstream. Give me 10 more years and Im hoping we will be debt free and relocated but until then I will continue to pay alot of taxes!

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Old 10-26-2008, 09:12 PM   #18
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Downsize?

I'm not sure we have ever looked at what we have done as "downsizing". We retired in April, 2000.

In 2000 we completed the contract that we had taken that had us living and working in Ireland for two years. We knew we wanted to travel around the world on our motorcycles. We spent the last 7 weeks of that time in Europe traveling about on our two moto's to determine if we could in fact spend 7 days a week, 24 hours a day together.

As luck would have have we found that we could.

We learned that we did not like being absentee landlords while in Ireland. When we returned to the states in May of 2000 the first thing we did was sell our house. This was somewhat easier for us because we had cleared out two years previously. Gave away our furniture to family, gave, quite literally, tons of stuff to every agency that would come to the house to collect it. We moved the "good stuff" we had put in storage when heading for Ireland to Verna's mom's place, put it on a shelf in the RV barn and it has sat there ever since.

After traveling outside the USA for 7 years, last year we came back to the USA because the US dollar had gotten so worthless that we could not afford to stay out of the country.

We spent six months with Verna's parents as we worked out what we were going to do for the next phase of our journey. The end result was the purchase of our Ford truck and our 30' Classic. We spent last winter traveling the southern states. We learned that we did not like being without a motorcyle so we spent a good part of the past summer back at Verna's mom's fitting an aluminum flatbed to the truck, a winch, a generator and compressor and some ramps. We now have one of our sidecars on the back of the truck along with Verna's bicycle and the aformentioned "stuff".

We have been debt free for as long as I can remember. I like to purchase vehicles on New Years eve, about 30 minutes before they close; cash.

So, we have been homeless for 7 years while traveling about on our moto's and now live in what we consider a place after 7 years with 2 shirts, one pair of pants and three changes of underwear plus moto riding gear. It sure is nice not washing underwear in hotel or campground sinks every other night.

Why am I posting this? Well, I often think that people don't "think outside the box". There sure are a lot of ways to "live". While we were on the bikes we definately learned to appreciate the, "Less is More" philosophy. I suspect that this is a very difficult concept for many people to understand, to say nothing of adopt. I do not think that what we are doing is for everyone but we like the nomadic lifestyle and meeting people. We also like being able to stay wherever we want for however long we want.

We have met so many people in our travels and we continue to stay in touch by email and Skype. Modern technology makes this type of lifestyle so easy. At the minute we are one of four RV's in a campground with 100+ spaces near Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. Traveling at this time of year is so nice. Lots of people were here for the weekend but they were all pulling out when we pulled in at noon today. Oh, did I mention that we put on a whopping 70 miles today? No need to rush; there is always tomorrow.

Jim
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Old 10-26-2008, 09:24 PM   #19
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Well, wish i could chime in along the same lines but we live in California, both my wife and i have to work to keep the household going.. we are a blended family with four kids and i will tell you its a struggle. Im not one of those that would let anything go to the creditors looking for an easy way out.. i will just work harder for less money till things get paid off. I hasnt been easy and i dont think there is a rainbow on the horizon.. but i love my family and i live right and i do love my airstream. Give me 10 more years and Im hoping we will be debt free and relocated but until then I will continue to pay alot of taxes!

Vinnie
We to are a blended family, also four kids. They were all in grade school when we got together. We worked hard, the kids got summer jobs at the pear packing shed, cleaning houseboats at the rental company, paper route, etc.

There will be light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me.

Vinnie, don't ever give up the ship. (The aluminum one that is.)
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Old 10-26-2008, 09:30 PM   #20
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Thanks Jim,

sounds like we have a similar story. I agree with all the posts here, and we look forward to the day when we are financially independent (God willing) but with all the negative news these days it can be a bit overwhelming. We too have considered the downsizing but once you leave the bay area its tough to come back. So until then we do what we can and selling the airstream is not an option for either of us.

Thanks Vin
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