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S02E02: "I'm not ready to buy a house---but how do I *get ready* to get ready?"

Season 2, Episode 2: “I’m Not Ready to Buy a House—But How Do I *Get Ready* to Get Ready?”

Previously on season two of the Bitches Get Riches podcast…

We dealt with the existential guilt of crushing your personal finances while your friends struggle to get by. This time, though, we’re taking a question from the other end of the spectrum. What do you do, practically and mentally, when your very modest life goal feels like a financial impossibility?

Naturally, we had opinions. And not just because we are two loudmouthed internet white ladies who have never learned when to shut up!

This week’s question

An anonymous Tumblr follower asks…

Hi Bitches! I’m only twenty years old, so I know this is unrealistic, but my greatest wish in life is to own a teeny tiny cottage somewhere with a garden.

I don’t even care where in the world I have to live to make it happen. Like I said: unrealistic. I know that I probably won’t get my little cottage for a long time.

All the same, I know absolutely nothing about how to work towards that goal, so do you have any advice for a young aspiring homeowner? How does buying a house even work? Thank you!

Kitty and I had a very, very visceral reaction to this question, which you’ll hear in the episode. I’m not saying we decided to burn it all down and start the revolution because owning a small rural home with a garden should not fucking seem like an unattainable goal, but, well…

I digress. Here’s your homework:

A huge fucking thank you to our lovely patrons, who made season two of the podcast possible. The capeless heroes who are our Patreon donors get all kinds of extra BGR goodies, including grainy cellphone footage of us singing the “Elephant Love Medley” from Moulin Rouge. Well worth their hard-earned pennies, I’m sure they’d agree. Patreon donors can vote on article topics, pitch us questions directly, and get private answers from us directly in their inbox. Join us over at our Patreon page!

This is exactly the kind of mindless consumption that could send our species into extinction.

Five Reasons to Love the Tiny House Movement

At times, our series on tiny houses ventured toward… scathing. Which isn’t even original, as evidenced by articles like this, this, this, thisthis, this, this, thisthis, this, this, this, and this. Jeez. Maybe this counts as punching down?

So as promised, we will conclude our series by refocusing our discussion on what’s great about the tiny house movement. As the movement begins its slow fade into obscurity, these are the five points I pray leave a lasting impact on our culture.

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The solution to systemic issues in our mortgage industry isn't "live in a rustic wheeled broom closet bought with your mom's cashed-out 401(k)."

Bullshit Reasons to Live in a Tiny House, Refuted (Part 2)

“If you believe that having a tiny home will lead you to a more focused and purposeful life, you probably also believe that buying a Slap Chop will lead you to eat salad every day.”

-Mister Kitty

Welcome back to the enormous mansion that is my overness with tiny homes. It’s so large and spacious here! You can twirl through the front door like Julie Andrews, arms outstretched, lungs full of crisp alpine air, yodeling your appreciation for an efficient and well-designed 1,200 square foot home.

The first five points we discussed last week were mostly logistical. We raised questions about such issues as financing, insurance, time-management, and other such boring topics.

What is this?

The final five points we’ll discuss today get down to a deeper, more emotional level. What is the purpose of a home? Of family? Of travel and adventure? Such topics are of essential importance to people considering the tiny house lifestyle. And in order to explore them to the best of my ability, I’m going to share AN EMBARRASSING PERSONAL ANECDOTE before the end.

So if you don’t agree with this article, go ahead and read it anyway because you’ll be rewarded with a story that depicts me in very unflattering terms!

Let’s get right back into it, shall we?

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Owning a three-bedroom home does not mean the three-bedroom home police are gonna come peep in your windows.

Bullshit Reasons to Live in a Tiny House, Refuted (Part 1)

“I would rather bathe in 10,000 scorpions while singing the entire libretto of Rent than live in a tiny house.”

-Piggy

For a while there, I was ready to breathe easy, thinking that the tiny home craze had finally passed. I saw far fewer think pieces, pins, and aspirational hashtags than I once did. The advent of television shows describing the movement seemed to announce its loss of counter-culture status, typically a sure sign that the end is nigh.

… Then I started writing a financial blog.

Like a recalcitrant UTI patient, I’d stopped taking my antibiotics when my symptoms went away. My reward was the metaphorical equivalent of pissing a mixture of broken glass and lava: boundless renewed fascination with tiny houses.

It’s easy to understand why this is. Tiny homes are singularly appealing to frugal people. On paper, they are everything a traditional home is, but optimized: cheaper, greener, less constricting. But the proliferation of tiny homes has begun the slow process of revealing a less rosy truth.

I think the tiny house movement is already being lowered into its coffin, but allow me to secure the lid with ten big nails. The following list comes from the Tiny House Blog’s Top 10 Reasons to Join the Tiny House Movement. (I selected this list from a hat, more or less. It’s the first entry that popped up when I googled the phrase “reasons to get a tiny house.” Interestingly, the second one is Forbes’s 5 Reasons Buying a Tiny House is a Mistake.)

I’m going to dismantle each one because I’m a neoliberal killjoy and secret corporate shill for Big Housing.

Hold onto your butts.

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Whenever someone gives you financial advice, you have to ask yourself, "What is their angle?"

Bullshit Reasons Not to Buy a House: Refuted

Look, there’s a lot of terrible financial advice out there. I had to seek out a bunch of it to write this article, and I think my eyeballs rolled too far and are now permanently pointing into the back of my head. It is very hard to type. Are my fingers still on the home row? Everything is pink and dark. Please send help.

Recently, I’ve seen some advice against buying a home, and I really wanted to examine that. On the one hand, it makes some sense—in the wake of such a damaging recession, many traditional investment truisms proved to be overstated. Financial gurus were overconfident, and occasionally dead wrong. We are collectively wise to question everything.

But in the opinion of these Bitches, home ownership is right for most people. It can be done unwisely, even ruinously—but there are very few situations where renting in perpetuity is a great choice.

Whenever someone gives you advice of any kind, you have to ask yourself: “What is their angle?” If you ask a professional tattoo artist if you should get a tattoo, they’re probably going to be very enthusiastically in favor of the idea. If you ask your Bubbe the same question, she’s probably going to be very enthusiastically against the idea. Everyone has personal preferences, biases, passions, experiences, and agendas that influence how they advise you. Their intent may not be malicious, but it could be short-sighted or unsuitable to your situation.

Let’s get a spoon and dig into this heaping pile of problematic advice.

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