Nobody will tell you this, but it seems to be an unwritten rule that the bigger the house, the happier life will be. In almost every case, I would argue that the opposite is true.
Your family, the laughs and giggles, the adventures, and all the spontaneous fun…they have absolutely nothing to do with how many bedrooms and bathrooms your house has.
5 Ways to Make Your Home a Blessing
I have lived in our home for just over five years. I bought it as a foreclosure for cents on the dollar, fixed it up, and have enjoyed the warmth of its shelter ever since. It’s not huge and it’s not overly fancy, but it is dry, paid for, and makes me smile every time I walk into it. This house is truly a blessing.
So how did we make it this way? How did we make our home a place of freedom instead of a place of shackles? How do we live so simply, but still have more fun than the Joneses by the lake?
Based on my experiences with my wife (and now daughter), I have noted five ways to make your home a blessing.
When I say, “size matters”, I’m not talking about the size of your home. I’m referring to the size of the mortgage payment each month. THAT matters.
If you bring home $3,000 a month and your house payment is $1,400 – or nearly half your income – that equates to a curse that sticks with you for 30 years. It’ll prompt extra hours at work, fewer vacations, and an out-of-control credit card balance.
When you have that massive expense that hits every. single. month, it makes your home far from a blessing. Sure, it might impress your friends and neighbors, but you’ll be a slave to it your entire life.
My rule of thumb? Buy a house with a 20% down-payment on a 15-year fixed rate that costs no more than 25% of your take-home pay. Can’t make that happen? Then you should rent a cheap place until you can. Simple as that.
Nobody reads anymore. In fact, according to The Atlantic, 25% of the U.S. population didn’t crack a single book last year. We’re not even trying to read because we’re making ourselves too busy.
By ignoring those books and plopping our kinds in front of the TV, we’re hurting their development and we’re reducing the bonding moments that reading to our children brings.
Want to make your home a blessing? Load it up with books.
3) Sell Off Some TVs
Do you have more than two TVs in the house? What ever for? How much TV does one person need to watch in a day? And what’s so important that’s shown on TV anyway?
Alright…so I’m not exactly a TV fan. My wife and I catch maybe one show on Netflix each night, and I’ll occasionally watch a baseball or football game on Sunday.
The more TV we watch, the more distant we feel from one another. We communicate less, smile less, and become more irritable.
Want to make your home more of a blessing? Sell off a few of those TVs and replace them with bookshelves and board games. Time building relationships goes much farther toward happiness than a 60″ TV that you watch by yourself.
4) Move Later Rather Than Sooner
Here’s how life typically works today:
- We go to school, graduate, and find a decent rental
- We get married and immediately buy a house (because for some reason, married people should own a house…)
- We have our first child and “outgrow” our 3 bedroom, 1 bath house (What???)
- Before our 30th birthday, we’re living in a 5 bedroom, 4 bath house that we’re paying through the nose for
My advice: Ignore your stupid friends and family that think you should upgrade and spend crazy money on a house. It’s not their money and it’s not their house.
Instead, live in the smaller space for as long as possible. Have just three bedrooms with four kids? That’s okay – there’s these cool things they make now called bunk beds. Kids that need to share a bedroom won’t die. In fact, they might even grow up to be better citizens because of it.
Liz and I own a 1,400 square foot house with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. We have the money to upgrade, but we don’t plan to move for quite some time. Want to know why?
- Millionaires become wealthy by making their home a very small portion of their overall net worth
- Constantly upgrading to a bigger, better home is expensive. It’s a great way to make your money vanish into thin air…which I’m not necessarily fond of.
- We enjoy being grateful for what we have rather than constantly wanting for something more. Staying in the same house keeps us grounded on what’s truly important: our love for each other, our love for friends and family, and our faith.
5) Limit Your Time In It
Want to know where many of the best memories are made? Outside of your fortress.
Think about when you were a kid. What were the top three memories of your childhood?
Here’s what I bet it’s not:
- Watching TV by yourself
- Playing with a mountain of toys in your room
- Making crafts on the kitchen table
Sure, some of these things can be mildly entertaining, but they’re not what real memories are made of.
Here’s my favorite list of childhood memories:
- Jumping through the sprinkler with my sister and our two neighborhood friends, Abby and Ivy
- Exploring my grandma’s 40 acres with her and my sister
- Vacationing at a semi-local hotel with my family – there was a HUGE game room and a pool!
- Playing catch with my Dad (after his 16 hour workday)
- Driving to Florida for one of our last family vacations (it was our last big family hurrah)
These memories are all precious to me. And you know what? They all happened OUTSIDE.
Limit the amount of money that you spend on your house so that you can make quality memories outside of those walls. This sure is simple, and it’s one of the biggest blessings that I’ve ever come across. I challenge you to do the same. It’s absolutely worth it.
Your Turn – Will You Make Your Home a Blessing?
As I see it, you’ve got two choices:
- You can look good for the outsiders looking in, or
- You can ignore the outsiders and become a blessing from the inside out
Live simply, read, spend time together as a family, and ignore what everyone else might think is a good idea for you.
Are you ready to make your home a blessing?