Living Within Our Means + Our Farm Shouse & What Living Here Has Provided Us

Jan 10, 2020

Living within our means is a topic that is quite often at the forefront of my mind. I think in this age of influencers, two day shipping and social media comparison, it's easy to click + buy & always want more. I'm far from perfect in that regard but, there is so much value to living within (or under) your means.

I've talked a lot on here about my move to the farm. When getting married, we decided to sell my home in the suburbs of St. Louis so that I could move to the farm. My husband purchased the farm before I was in the picture and I am so grateful he did. Fortunately, it was before land prices shot up in our area. Our farm is gorgeous and I love having pastures full of cattle.
We feel blessed to be able to raise our family in a similar setting to how we both grew up -- on a farm.
It's laughable, because when I graduated high school, I couldn't wait to get out of the country. But the older I got, the more I knew that eventually I wanted to raise a family in a similar setting to the way I grew up.
While I love our farm and feel blessed to live here + raise a family here -- this transition did come with it's own set of challenges.
When my husband purchased this land, one thing he did was build a shouse on the farm as a starter home. These are quite common in our area, but you may be unfamiliar with the concept. 
A shouse is literally a metal shop + house. 
When someone in our area buys a farm, if you want to add a residence on it, you also have the cost of putting in a well (for water), the cost of putting in a septic system + obviously the cost of the land itself. So, to cut some initial costs many build their big shop/barn that they will need, but add living space in it. So, the one my Cattleman built has a living space of 1,200 sq ft with 2 beds, 2 baths, an eat-in kitchen, living room + laundry room. 
Then our (work)shop is nearly double the size of the living space. It's temperature controlled and spacious so that there is plenty of room to pull in farm equipment - like a combine - to work on.

This is a glimpse at our shouse from when I moved in. Certainly not your typical curb appeal, eh?
Is it our forever home? Nope.
Did I ever predict I'd be living in a shouse? Also, nope.
Is it a perfectly acceptable residence to take pride in? Yup.

While it's certainly a humble beginning to our story, I know I'll look back and be grateful that we raised our children, here in the shouse.... just like this saying -
at least, my husband can remind me of this the next time I complain about our lack of storage or space..

Living within our means
To live within or under your means can allow for so many other opportunities.
Saying yes to adventures. Putting away money for future goals. Or whatever those opportunities may look like to you.
I think it's important to sit back and take stock in all you truly have.
When you do, it's likely you'll realize there are very few true needs that are not being met.

For us currently, we are "sacrificing" having a conventional home and instead residing in an unconventional home - our shouse. I obviously use the word sacrifice loosely - because there are not any needs going unmet here. When my husband built this shouse, it was to provide him a home on the farm while not adding cost to the long term land payment. This currently allows for so many things for our family - which I'll touch on below.

I think it's truly important for one to take pride in the space they have. I've felt this way along each step of my home journey- from renting an apartment, to buying my first home, and now to residing in our home sweet shouse. When we take care of what we have it helps to appreciate those things and feel like what we have is enough. Instead of longing for something we feel we need.
Fill your space with the items that bring you joy, the ones that tell your story. A mix of nostalgia, modern, vintage + handmade.

When I moved to the farmI was looking forward to turning what I dubbed the Frat Shouse (a bachelor pad) into our Home Sweet Shouse. - a home for us to begin our new chapter. This post reflects some of that excitement and styling inspiration.

So, in the spirit of taking pride of our home - some of our exterior changes on the shouse included adding a front yard, cedar porch posts and landscaping.
This was the day the Cattleman finished the cedar posts & our grass was starting to grow in from planting it the previous Fall.

So impactful and necessary!

And a better glimpse at the front porch last Summer, from our maternity shoot.

A lot of changes took place on the interior as well. There was not one thing hanging on the walls when I moved in...since then, that has changed. I was able to bring a lot of pieces from my previous home to cozy the place up and add new where need be. It's all come together much better than I could have expected and on a budget as well. There is only so much that makes sense to change since this is a temporary home after all.

A quick peek at a few spaces that I have easy access to pictures of --
our nursery.

our |holiday| entry

our |holiday| living room

What our shouse has provided us..
This is the most impactful component. The things I stop and remind myself when I meet a frustration in our home. It sounds hokey, but this shouse has truly taught me so many lessons and allowed for so many things.
+ As I mentioned, it has taught me that no matter the space, take pride in it. It challenged some of my thoughts on design in taking how I truly want things, and to make them work with minimal upgrades because we won't get a return on investment here in our home - outside of it providing for us while we reside in it. It will be a space that is all shop / extra storage some day, not something we will list on the market.
+ It's challenged my thoughts on hosting - in a positive way. In my last home I rarely hosted. I always felt things weren't done or that my home wasn't spacious enough to host. So, I would have little wine nights, or a family member or two over, and obviously would host the Cattleman, but that was about it. Our shouse has shown me, that regardless of your home, HOST!
Welcome others to gather in your space, no matter if it's "done" or if it's some fancy, dream home.
I love hosting here in our shouse, on the farm. It lends itself quite well for large events due to the attached shop - it's temperature controlled and we've hosted large winter + summer events.
+ Another big one - the ability to actually live on our farm but still be under our means.
To reside here without a big mortgage payment tied to our home. Once our farm is be paid off we will be primarily debt free.
+ It will hopefully allow us to continue to grow some farm dreams we have along the way.
+ And maybe the biggest of all - the ability for me to stay home with our girls. For us to be a one income family for now. Again, because we aren't in a fancy farmhouse on our farm - but instead in a farmshouse.

While I know (..hope) we will forever live within our means, I think these years of living under our means are the ones that will shape us. The ones we will look back on with pride. I'm sure most everyone has this chapter in their lives. I'm fortunate enough to have a number of friends who are also in the "living within (well, under) their means" stage of life. It's nice to be in this season together, even though we are all sure to outgrow it at varying times. We all value the importance of saving for life's next big step.

Maybe you can relate to this post. Maybe you can't.
What I hope, is that your biggest takeaway is to live within your means, and do so unapologetically.
Take pride in the season or space that you're in.
Do the small things that will bring you joy.
Buy that new lamp you've had your eye on if adding soft lighting to your living room is what you're after. DIY that farmhouse table. Buy that new bedroom set. Within reason, do the thing that you hesitate to do because it's "just a starter home" or "just a rental". You deserve it.

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