Link Love: 47

Link Love How a couple paid off their mortgage in 7 years. Really inspiring.

Remember, money can’t change everything. And remembering that helps you cope with stress!

Taking care of your finances can change your whole life. Here’s proof.

Are tiny house villages the apartment complexes of the future? Hmm, I have mixed feelings about this. Yes, living smaller is great, but I feel like there’s such a DIY aspect to small living that is being missed. (Here’s how I define “living small.“)

Wallpaper for the outside of your house!

5 ways to lay out a studio apartment.

The “UP” house faces uncertainty. So sad!

Black stripes on an Airstream! It’s my style in a nutshell.

Dutch city of Utrecht to experiment with a universal, unconditional ‘basic income.’ Insane, amazing, unbelievable? All of the above!

A hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. YES, YES, YES. As someone who makes less than $50,000, but works all.the.time for my day job, I see this as a win.

Feeding America’s most vulnerable children. This was a beautiful, layered and heartbreaking story. We see a lot of SNAP or EBT fraud in the news, but realistically, most people just want to feed their kids. #truth

Give yourself permission to explore personal interests. Go ahead, you deserve it!

If you live in the U.S., happy early 4th! Are you up to anything fun? I want to hear about it in the comments!

love,
melanie

What does “living small” mean?

What does living small mean?

I often talk about living small, but I don’t think I’ve ever defined it. I know many people talk about tiny living and the tiny house movement, but I don’t think that phrase is all-encompassing. It also seems that no one can agree on what constitutes “tiny.” I’ve seen measurements as small as 90 square feet up to 1,000 square feet. Living small, to me, is much less about the measurements and more about the lifestyle. Here’s what living small means to me:

Living below your means
Living small is first and foremost about living below your means. It’s looking at your budget and consciously renting or buying less than you can afford. It’s knowing that by sacrificing some physical room you open up other financial possibilities for yourself. It’s about more freedom.

Living with less stuff
Logistically, by living in a smaller house, you’ll have to live with less stuff. It’s physics or something! But it’s also about being aware of the things that you own. It’s knowing that things are just that… things. It’s knowing that the important things in life aren’t really things. The important things are people, experiences and happiness.

Make do and mend
Living small is also about making do with what you have. People who live small aren’t tempted by the biggest, shiniest new toy. They see potential in their old toys. They have a D.I.Y. attitude, and an entrepreneurial spirit. They know that they can put in the hard work and it will pay off.

Prioritizing your life
Living small is making intentional choices about what is important in your life. People who live small know that if they don’t prioritize their life, someone will prioritize it for them. By making a big, flashy house a priority, you intentionally or unintentionally give up some of your other priorities.

Living more life
People who live small know that by sacrificing space and things, they make more room in their life for life. With less mortgage payments, they can take that vacation they’ve always dreamed of. With less house maintenance, they can spend more time on beloved hobbies. And with more money they can work less and spend more time with family and friends.

Do you agree with my definition of “living small?” Do you live a small life? Would you like to share your house and story? Shoot me an email to be featured in a future blog post!

love,
melanie

Tuesday Thoughts: Man’s Heart Away From Nature Becomes Hard

man's heart away from nature becomes hard

“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.” -Standing Bear

One of the unexpected benefits of living in our Airstream has been getting closer to nature. I’m so much more aware of the seasons than I was when we lived in an apartment. I can now head into my backyard and see the beans growing or the field barren. I hear the rain on the roof and I  can feel the hot sun through our windows.

I used to think I wasn’t an outside person. There’s bugs and creatures and humidity out there! But there’s also a softness and quietness about living closer to nature. Nature is the ultimate minimalist.

love,
melanie

Link Love: 46

Link Love A big thank you to everyone who took the survey yesterday. The answers were affirming and enlightening. It’s just what I needed to refocus!

This week’s Link Love is a little short. I naively thought summer was going to be relaxing, but alas! There’s no rest for the weary! Anyway, let’s get on to it!

The psychological impulses that make us want to spend.

Breaking the influence of consumerism.

More Americans are renting and paying more. Such a bummer, maybe if we changed some of the ways government/we as Americans begin to define “house” differently we could fix this problem.

And similarly, this infographic on “The distressing reality of minimum wage and rentals in the U.S.” is eye-opening.

Have you heard of Harvest Hosts? It’s a network of wineries, farms and agri-tourism sites that invite self-contained RVers to visit and stay overnight for a $40 per year subscription. If you’re doing long-term U.S. travel, it’s a steal!

This Ventoura Mobile home remodel is so cute!

This family remodeled a bus and traveled in it for 6 months. I love the interior! It’s so bright and clean.

How has your summer been shaping up? Talk to me!

love,
melanie

Reader Survey

Hey ya’ll! I’ve got some exciting things planned over here, but I wanted to get your input before I proceed further. I’d really appreciate if you could fill out the following survey. It’s only 5 questions and should only take you a couple of minutes. Thanks so much!

love,
melanie

Tuesday Thoughts: Be Thankful for What You Have

Be thankful for what you have

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”

Yes, queen!

Happy Tuesday!

love,
melanie

 

Our Trip to Niagra Falls and Toronto and A Few Money Saving Travel Tips

Toronto A couple of weeks ago, George, two friends and I boarded a plane for Buffalo, NY. About a year ago, a college friend had planned to get married that weekend. Fast forward about 6 months and that friend called off the big wedding and just had a small thing. That’s cool, no hurt feelings, but we had non-refundable plane tickets. Instead of moping about our used vacation days, we decided to make the best of it. And by making the best of it, I mean seeing something slightly more exotic than Buffalo. Toronto and Niagra Falls are nearby, so we hopped in a rental car and went looking for some adventure.

Niagra Falls We didn’t really plan on seeing the Niagra Whirlpool, but we saw so many parks and signs for it, that we just pulled over!

Niagra Falls

We stopped at a park and discovered the 237829371283 stairs it took to get a closer look at the whirlpool. Although my legs were burning on the way back to the top, the view from the bottom was worth it.

After the whirlpool, we decided to mosey on over to the American side of the falls. Most people had told us it was dirty and not worth it, but we figured it wouldn’t hurt to check it out.

Niagra Falls

Niagra Falls The American side of the falls was surprisingly clean and of course, breathtaking. Seeing that much water rush over the side of a cliff is spectacular.

Toronto

The view from the top of the tower.

Toronto After the American Falls, we headed over the border to Toronto. We stayed in Hannah’s loft while we explored the city. She has a great view from her balcony. We ate a lot of food and visited the CN Tower.

Niagra Falls Niagra Falls Niagra Falls Finally, we finished up the trip by visiting the Canadian side of the falls. We went “Behind the Falls”– it’s kind of self explanatory– and we rode on the boat that gets you up close and personal with the falls. We did a lot of touristy stuff on this trip, but we still had so much fun. The people you travel with can really make or break the trip.

Not only are my friends fun, they are also thrifty. Here’s how we saved some dough on this trip.

  • We used Groupon* and Airbnb* for discounted hotels. We also shared a room and our Groupon came with free breakfast!
  • We bought our plane tickets from Costco. Crazy, right? It helped us save a bundle.
  • We flew into Buffalo and drove over the border. It was cheaper than flying into Toronto.
  • We BYOB! (Read more about how I save money on booze.)

Thanks for letting me live vicariously through my travel photos. Ha-ha. Have you ever been to Niagra Falls or Toronto? Talk to me in the comments!

love,
melanie

*Affiliate links, but the Airbnb link gets you $31CAD off your next trip!!!