Why we downsized our home

The notion of frugality, or at least living below our means, wasn’t exactly new to us. For example, we planned my grad school attendance to avoid taking out any additional student loans. But extreme savings and using minimalism to achieve financial independence in short order was a novel concept.

When Mr. Vine and I decided to aggressively pursue financial independence, we owned two homes. This happened somewhat by accident. The short version is that one home, the larger of the two at 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, was our first home. It is located in near a resort town and convenient to our former jobs before I attended grad school. Then we moved across the state to a rented apartment in the big city where my school was. After graduation, my new job brought us to a city not far from the home we owned. We planned to move back in and commute as soon as our tenants’ lease ended. But after living in the big city, we fell in love with car-optional life. Finding a great deal on a small downtown condo that is an easy walk or bike to both of our workplaces, we bought a second home. Both homes were fairly modest in size and cost. Loving the resort town home, we used it as weekend retreat. This was neither minimalist, nor frugal.

Despite our emotional attachment to that first home, we recognized that it wasn’t an ideal rental or vacation property. Add on a hot seller’s market and the fact that owning a second home is a lot of work. It felt more burdensome than relaxing. Once we calculated the financial effect of increasing our investments by substantial equity and monthly carry costs, the only reasonable choice was to list it.

The truth is, we can only be in one place at once. Selling a second home bought freedom. We can now rent a house in a far more ideal vacation spot (either in that resort town or anywhere else) at a fraction of the cost. Mr. Vine and I shaved years off the timeline for financial independence with this single action.

It was hard at first to challenge the conventional wisdom; we found that we get by just fine with one bathroom. It was hard to let go of this property we thought we might retire to one day; where we made so many memories. But we decided that we could retire better by choosing a different place.

Do you have a big financial albatross that’s holding you back from reaching your goals? Have you let go of something emotionally significant, but that stunted your growth? Tell me about it in the comments.

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