Bigger Isn’t Always Better: 5 Ways Smaller Homes Can Save You Money

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Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

No, you don’t need to adjust your glasses.

The average size of new homes in the U.S. is getting smaller, reports the National Association of Home Builders.

New single-family homes in the second quarter of 2017 had an average of 2,616 square feet, according to U.S. Census information. That’s down from 2,628 square feet in the first quarter of this year and 2,652 square feet in the last quarter of 2016.

Two years ago, in the second quarter of 2015, the average new-home size for a single-family dwelling was 2,704 square feet.

NAHB expects this trend of declining home sizes to continue as the market for entry-level homes expands.

5 Reasons Why Smaller Homes Can Save You Big Money

Sure, you may see house hunters on TV scoff at potential homes with less-than-ideal square footage, or you may know homeowners who brag about their oh-so-spacious dwellings. But here are a handful of reasons why choosing small can bring huge benefits.

1. Lower Home Cost

Buying a home is a big-ticket item. It just may be the biggest purchase you make in your life.

If you ever play around with the home-search parameters on sites like Zillow or Realtor.com, you’ll find searching for a smaller-sized home will generally result in options that are lower in price than homes with more square footage. Potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars lower.

2. Lower Utility Bills

The smaller the space, the less energy you’re likely to use heating up or cooling down your home. You’ll also probably have fewer lights to turn on.

All that adds up to a lower power bill.

3. Spend Less on Furniture

It’s pretty obvious that smaller spaces require less furniture. You could end up with multiple living room sets when you have a living room plus a separate family room plus a den. But if your living space is limited to one area, you’ll spend less money on couches and chairs.

You can nix needing two dining sets if your house doesn’t include both formal and informal dining areas.

If you don’t have that extra spare bedroom, you don’t have to worry about covering the costs of a bed frame, a mattress, a box spring, bed linens and blankets, a dresser, a nightstand or whatever else you’d fill that space up with.

4. Spend Less on Other Consumer Goods

Unless you’re a fan of clutter, having a smaller home means you simply don’t have the space for extra kitchen appliances, electronic gadgets and random home decor items.

Tiny closets can help you scale back on your shoe-buying habit. You may even consider adopting a capsule wardrobe.

Having little bedroom space could give you an easy excuse as to why you can’t buy every toy your child whines about on shopping trips. “There’s just no room for that, honey.”

5. Spend Less Time Cleaning and Maintaining

You ever heard of the saying, “Time is money?” Well, you’ll certainly spend less time cleaning and maintaining a 1,000-square-foot home than a 2,500-square-foot one.

You’ll save a little money on cleaning supplies too, but the real savings here are your time and energy. Tell me, would you rather spend your Saturday cleaning three full bathrooms (ensuite master bath included) and a powder room or or just one-and-a-half bathrooms?

Sure having a smaller space has its tradeoffs. It may not be ideal for frequent entertaining. And if you have a large family, you could end up feeling cramped.

But if hoarding pennies is your focus, a smaller living space could be the perfect option for you.

Plus, a small house can fit just as much love as a big one.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She finds tiny homes fascinating.

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