Humble Beginnings

Sharing our financial story reminds me of the humble beginnings of our first apartment. 

We lived in campus housing. Our apartment was 576 square feet in a 1970s building with cinderblock walls.

At the time we thought it was too small and couldn’t wait to move but we look back on our first tiny apartment and think of it as cozy and homey.

Our living room/dining area.

The living room floors were commercial tile so we brought in a piece of carpet to make it a bit more homey. (Our current living room is laid out just like our first living room…we just don’t have a table in the living room anymore!)

Our dining area.

The hall to the bathroom/bedroom is to the right and the kitchen is on the left.

The little kitchen.

There was almost no counter space in the kitchen and we had a teeny apartment sized oven.

The tiny bathroom.

The bathroom was nothing fancy (I actually thought it was a bit icky) and lacked storage but all in all it wasn’t too horrible (and the over the toilet rack provided much needed storage.)

Our cozy little bedroom.

Just enough room to walk around and quite cozy.

My office space.

I wrote college papers and began blogging here in this office space.

This little apartment wasn’t anything fancy but it was our home for almost two years. Living here helped us live below our means and save money while in college.

It’s also interesting to observe how much our style has changed. When we were newlyweds, we were very frugal and made do with what we were given so our home was a hodge podge of hand-me-downs, wedding gifts and things we had from childhood. We also didn’t live as minimally as we do now (one of our favorite past times was scouring Goodwill for good deals and unfortunately we bought things just because they were a good deal.)

What was your first home (either on your own or as a newlywed) like?

responses to “Humble Beginnings” 15

  1. I think your first apartment was cute, you did a wonderful job of making it look homey. I always look back fondly on our the first house we lived in as a married couple. It was small and close to the road but had so much character, I still miss it 🙂 The fun part about living close to the road was that all of our friends and family were constantly honking as they drove by and later they would always ask, "Did you hear us honk yesterday?" So funny.

  2. I like how you brought attention to: "one of our favorite past times was scouring Goodwill for good deals and unfortunately we bought things just because they were a good deal." While buying things used at thrift shops is a great way to keep expenses down and help the environment, I feel like soooo many SAHM bloggers seem obsessed with shopping at thrift stores. Don't get me wrong, I love when I discover something nice at my local Goodwill and enjoy seeing what other people find but it's almost like these women are bored or depressed and need to find distraction in shopping when really free time (if there is any being a mom of little ones) can better be spent reading books, learning about new topics, visting with friends, etc. You are so right that living simply is about coming to the realization that joy does not have to come from shopping and accumulating things. That's why I've always been a fan of your blog.

    1. Yes, yes, yes! Completely agree!! I only go thrifting now with a list…if it's not on the list, I'm not buying! And shopping (including thrifting/yard saleing) takes up/wastes so much time!

  3. My first home (when i moved out on my own) was in 2003 and I lived on 70th and 1st in the greatest city in the world! I would love to share pics of what $1075 a month got me (and that was only my half, I lived with my best friend).

    I am glad i did it, I have no regrets. In the middle of the year, however, I walked into a church on 68th and 2nd and my life started to slowly change.
    My search for a simpler life began then. It was during that time when I met my now husband!

    1. I'd love to see pics of your NYC apartment! 🙂 I can only imagine how teeny tiny it was (from what I know about NYC, real estate is crazy!!)

    2. I'm so glad to know there are liked-minded people here in NYC! (I commented above too) My husband and I own our apartment in Midtown East (with a small mortgage, that is) and though it's not large, it's perfect for our little family. From living in Manhattan, I'm sure you know all too well, that Manhattan is filled with insanely wealthy people with enormous apartments – but not many of those glittering penthouses and grand lofts are filled with LOVE and strong family values!

  4. Our first apartment after my husband and I were married was an adventure 🙂 A hodge-podge of furniture and other assorted stuff, neighborhood drama, no air conditioner, one block from the freeway….but I wouldn't change one thing because it was home, and we were together 🙂

    Back then, I loved to go to the thrift store too…even now I do, but I have to give myself firm parameters and only purchase something I need…which is hard to do when everything seems like such a great price! As my mom says "You can 'great deal' yourself broke!". I try to keep that in mind whenever I thrift shop or coupon shop. But it's still hard. I am trying to stay away from stores in general right now…with limited success.

  5. We lived in an old ( 100 years? ) farmhouse on my parents land. It had a kitchen,living room ( where the heat source- a wood-burning stove was ) a tiny bathroom and a bedroom! We were so excited! We went to Bill's Dollar store and bought 2 rolls of linolieum for the kitchen and bathroom floors, and we went to a local mobile home discount store and bought remnant carpet to staple down on the remaining floors! It got so cold that Christmas that when we returned from a party the fire was out and we moved the matress to the living room to stay warm! My husband left the water dripping in the bathtub and the next morning there was 3 inches of ice in the tub! But looking back, it was very homey and nice. It made me sad when they tore it down years later and sold the lot!

    1. Love your story of your first home! And, I'd be so sad if ours was torn down. We've been back on campus a few times since graduating and enjoying driving by the old apartment!

  6. First of all, I am glad I came across your blog. I read all blogs relating to a simple, frugal, minimalist lifestyle. I discovered yours sometime last year and read the archives…it was fun to see your apartment which was in your previous blog. Anyway, my husband and I lived in Tech Village in 1982 and 1983. It was fun to see your photos. We lived in an end apartment…looks like yours was one of the middle apartments. I did not like the cinder block walls either or the tile floors, but now look back on our time there fondly. We had so much fun there. We moved there from NC about six months after we were married. I have been meaning to make a comment…seeing these photos made me want to finally comment. I love your blog.

    1. Oh Susan, thank you so much for commenting!! How neat that you went to Tech and lived in Tech Village!!! We were in a middle apartment, on the second floor – M7W – was our apartment. We were on campus a few weeks ago and they've actually been renovating the apartments, our building was renovated which is kind of sad but the apartments definitely needed some updating! I'm curious, what was your degree in?

      1. I was excited when I saw the photos…the exact type of apartment except for us being on the end. We were on the second floor. Our apartment was K5W (I'm surprised I remember the address). We live in Idaho now, but still come back to NC to visit our families. One time when we drove back, we rode through campus and Tech Village…that was over 10 years ago. It would be fun to see how they have been renovated. I did not attend Tech…my husband did. He was there for graduate school and received his Master's Degree in Wildlife Biology. I worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken for a while before getting a job as church secretary at the Presbyterian Church on Dixie Ave.

        Even though I am 53, I enjoy your blog. (I'm old enough to be your mother!) My son is 23, has graduated from college with a degree in Radio/TV/Digital Media Production and is married. I was a stay-at-home mom, breastfed and used cloth diapers. I loved being at home. I homeschooled my son 4th through 12th grade. I am still a homemaker, love to organize, declutter, and shop at thrift stores. So, even though you are young with young children, I can still relate to your blog.

        1. I was surprised our apartment number popped into my head when I was writing the comment…I can't remember a couple of our other addresses at all! And it sounds like we're very similar!

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