Why Living Tiny + Minimalism is GREAT for students!
Published May 27, 2018

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We talk a lot about our school bus conversion and minimalism and I think people often think, wow–they must have a lot of extra cash stashed to live THAT lifestyle!

Many people find this lifestyle unattainable, dream-like, and only for famous van-life Instagramers or backwoods hippies.

Today, I am here to tell you otherwise!


Cece is a student, and I am a full-time childcare worker at an elementary school. And guess what? Living Tiny and minimalism is GREAT for us, even though we are often broke, busy, and living for the summer.

If your life is anything like ours, YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM LIVING TINY AND MINIMALISM!!
Here is why:

Reason No. 1: It forces you to purchase ONLY what you need!

We live in a shuttle bus, and have very minimal space. Do you think we have room to purchase that new 48inch TV on sale at Target?

Absolutely not (not like we would buy a TV in the first place, but you get the point)!

Living in a small space FORCES us to purchase less things, and get rid of more.

Spring Cleaning Minimal Closet

You see, the reason why Americans have so much DEBT and negative viewpoints on money is because they purchase too much and that isn’t enough satisfaction for living an amazing life.

Imagine if you could sell back ALL the useless things you bought in the past for retail value. How much extra money would you have?

$1000, $5000, $100,000!?

So for all our fellow broke college students and friends, strongly consider how much you are spending on useless items.

Keep track of what $$ you spend on items for a month, and then the next month, see how much you can save by minimizing your purchases.

Reason No. 2: It cuts the cost of living

In Portland, OR, rent is outrageous.

We’re talking an average of $1100 a month for a studio apartment.

How do you expect college students to afford THAT!? They can’t.
Enter: Student loans.

Why Living Tiny and Minimalism is Great for Students

I was there too. I completed 2.5 years of college before having a drastic life change and dropping out. And guess what?

Without a degree, I still have $10,000 of student debt!

Now, I will perhaps someday finish that degree and make it worth it, but my point is that nearly 30% of those loans went to rent.

After deciding to minimize our lives and convert a school bus into a full-time home, we realized the secret to surviving our 20s financially:

Live minimally now until we can afford the “standard lifestyle.”

Cece and I pay $600/month to park our bus in the best backyard ever with a garden, ducks, and fellow friends. That’s $300 each. Compare to $1100.

If you are interested in how we afforded our bus conversion, check out this article.

Why Living Tiny and Minimalism is Great for Students

We are saving a ton. Even though it doesn’t seem like it everyday, I am making a dent in my loans, saving for the future, and learning a lot in the process.

If you think you are spending too much money on rent, YOU ARE!
It’s time to live alternatively and think outside the box, friends!

Reason No. 3: It makes you grateful

Cece and I are privileged.

MORE than privileged, being raised in “white” Montana with financially stable families.

While we are socially liberal and praise diversity, we were somewhat blind to it growing up.

Now, living in the outskirts of Portland, we interact with an incredible amount of diversity everyday. And there are so many wonderful people who live the hard life.

There are homeless people everywhere, looking for work and food.
There are children that hardly see their parents because they are working full-time jobs just to make ends meet.

Originally, when we decided to live in a bus, we were worried about the “hard life.”

But let me tell you, this is not the “hard life.”

We are STILL privileged and always will be, but we are a heck of a lot more grateful and humble than we used to be.

Living tiny has helped us understand how many people suffer.

If we had been living a “normal life” this entire time, it would have taken longer for us to actually see this, rather than just think it.

Reason No. 4: Stripping life to its necessities opens your mind

Living with less has really taught us to analyze what we want with this life.

No longer do we have the constant distractions keeping us from our dreams.
Our dreams are in reach now.

Happiness does not come from things, it comes from experiences.

So, if you crowd your life with things, how will you have time for experiences?

Living Tiny Experiences in Corsica

You see, the more time and money you spend on new things, the less energy you will have to find happiness and see the world.

When you are FORCED to buy less and save money, what happens?

You start to travel, laugh, and have fun.

You start to create your own reality.

Might as well start this at a young age before making career decisions!
College students take note.

Reason No. 5: It improves relationships

Cece and I are so close now that we live together in a tiny space.

Living in a shuttle bus full-time together has taught us to respect and honor each other more, as we are always in each other’s bubbles.

We have learned to be more patient, more kind, and more flexible as we dance around each other trying to get to the kitchen or bathroom.

We are up close and personal all the time.

Living Tiny Relationship

This is a great relationship test. If two people can coexist in a tiny space without ripping each other apart, it is likely that the relationship is meant to be.

If you have a loved one and are considering going tiny, check out this post.

Any other ideas?

If you are a college student/young person/ANY person who is practicing minimalism and living tiny, what benefits have you gained? Contact us and let us know! We are also open to featuring any of you who want to write a post about bus-life/van-life/minimalism.

Check out these posts as well:

Bus-Life Challenges
How We Knew Bus-Life Would WORK!
Minimalist Living Tips

As always, BE WELL! 🙂
Riley & Cece



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