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You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too [Kindle Edition]

Tammy Strobel
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Once, Tammy Strobel and her husband were living a normal middle-class lifestyle: driving two cars, commuting long distances, and living well beyond their means. Now they are living the voluntary downsizing — or smart-sizing — dream. In this book Strobel combines research on well-being with numerous real-world examples to offer practical inspiration. Her fresh take on our things, our work, and our relationships spells out micro-actions that anyone can take to step into a life that’s more conscious and connected, sustainable and sustaining, heartfelt and happy.

Editorial Reviews


“What do you need to be happy? It’s a lot less than you might expect. Read this book and prepare for change!”
Chris Guillebeau, author of The $100 Startup

“One of the most important books you’ll read. If put into action, it will change lives.”
Leo Babauta, author of The Power of Less

“This inspirational guide to creating a life of simple contentment is packed with real-life stories and practical tips for finding happiness. It’s thoughtful and engaging, a road map to a postconsumer world. I loved it.”
J. D. Roth, editor of the blog Get Rich Slowly

“You will immediately connect with Tammy Strobel’s transparent and vulnerable storytelling. As a result, you will be challenged deeply by her discoveries about money, possessions, and happiness.”
Joshua Becker, writer of the blog Becoming Minimalist

“Tammy Strobel’s new book should resonate with millions of Americans. She has articulated what has become a movement in these changing times: simplification of our lives, less stuff, smaller living spaces.”
Lloyd Kahn, author of Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter

“This powerful book reminds all of us that happiness is a choice and that when you choose time over money and people over stuff, happiness awaits.”
Courtney Carver, blogger and author of Simple Ways to Be More with Less

“This cheerful handbook offers the emotional and practical lessons Strobel learned while radically downsizing her living space, disposing of most of her possessions, and simplifying her lifestyle....Although her personal choices may seem extreme, the environmental politics and magnitude of change Strobel asks of her reader is distinctly moderate, making this a practical book even for those who only want to live a little bit lighter.”
Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Simple living blogger Tammy Strobel is the author of the self-published Smalltopia: A Practical Guide to Working for Yourself. She lives (in a tiny house) in Portland, Oregon.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Radical Simplicity 101 September 13, 2012
Browse the table of contents and you'll see a pattern emerge quickly: have less stuff, buy less things, and spend your time on money on what you truly value. If this sort of thinking and course of action interests you, this book will act as a primer for your simpler, more beautiful life.

This "biographical manifesto" of sorts is basically one woman's story of learning how to live a simpler, more gratifying life. We can see ourselves in her "before" -- and realize how much happier we might be if we learned to be more like her "after." The author's writing is gentle -- no guilt-ridden, "we're destroying the earth" doom and gloom. Global crisis notwithstanding, this is a book on personal and family transformation.

Check out the contents to get a further idea of what's inside:

Rethinking Normal

Part 1: The Paradox of Stuff
1. Buying Things that Will Not Make You Happy
2. The Stuff You Own Owns You

Part 2: Finding Happiness Through Simple Living
3. Changing Your Relationship With Stuff
4. The Power of Debt
5. Sell What You Can, Give the Rest Away
6. The Joy of the Small House
7. Reclaiming Work

Part 3: Buying Happiness
8. Time Is the Only Real Wealth
9. Money vs. Experiences
10. Relationships Matter, Not Things
11. The Art of Community Building
12. The Power of Tiny Pleasures

Epilogue: Love Life, Not Stuff

Fans of self-help books with an emphasis on personal stories will eat this book up. It's great as an inspiring story, and it's even more helpful as a road map for charting one's own journey to simplicity. It's not overbearing patronizing in its philosophizing, so the shame-and-cringe factor is low.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book for Baby Boomers! October 2, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The tips Tammy shared for downsizing have been very helpful. Once I'd made a list of the 100 things I felt were essential, getting rid of things became much easier. Also, by following Tammy's advice about getting rid of 10 things a day, the self imposed pressure to do a major clear out all at once was off and I got more done by taking a gradual approach than a tornado approach.
I'd been talking for years about how I wanted to be able to travel more, and have more time to spend with the people I care about. Getting rid of the excess stuff enabled me to downsize to a smaller home which takes less money and time to maintain. The smaller space acts as a brake on buying things because they're cute or on sale and I spend very little time these days shopping.
I'd experienced a lot of resistance from people who couldn't believe I'd give up the big house, get rid of the things I'd accumulated and treasured for years. They couldn't understand why I'd want to do that, but now seeing how I am traveling more, getting to pursue some of the hobbies I've long wanted to try, and have more time to just be with friends and family, they're no longer seeing what I've done as something crazy, but very sane.
It seems so simple that just by jettisoning all the unnecessary possessions, I could have what I really wanted, and yet, it really is that simple. The difficulty was not letting go of stuff, but letting go of the idea that I needed things to be "normal," or happy.
Tammy's book helped inspire me to take a leap away from a lifestyle of accumulating and having things to a lifestyle of accumulating experiences and memories. I'm glad she shared her journey and believe there's something for everyone in her book.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tammy Strobel lives by what she writes. I've been to her tiny house and seen the big life she has crafted.

Why would you choose to "voluntarily downsize" your life? Can you really buy happiness? These are the questions examined throughout Tammy's debut book, and she answers them well. The book is one-part philosophy and two-parts ACTION. You'll learn about Tammy and her husband Logan's journey, you'll observe how other people have made similar lifestyle choices, and you'll see how you can take steps of your own to simplify while still living well.

Not to worry: it's all voluntary, and it's all worth your attention. Tammy is the real deal, and so is this book. Recommended for anyone thinking seriously about life.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simply great read September 18, 2012
I'd heard of Tammy Stroebel and have dipped my toes into her Rowdy Kittens blog over the last couple years so was super excited to find her new book on the shelf as I was browsing for the perfect trans-atlantic reading companion for my flight home. Before we left for our holiday my husband and I had started to feel weighted down by all our stuff; a physical abundance and most of it schmutter.

I read Tammy's book continously throughout the entire flight and returned home with fresh zeal to simplify my home and other areas of my life where things are feeling a little crowded.

If you're starting to feel that life is getting on top of you, your possessions are overcrowding you, and you're trapped in a overspending spiral this book is for you. Peppered with the author's personal narratives and sprinkled with interesting stats that will open your eyes, this book is an easy but oh so insightful and inspiring read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good book. A little preachy.
Published 6 days ago by Kathy Y
4.0 out of 5 stars An honest human account of "what I did on my minimalist...
Very well structured thoughts of someone who has already done it, adding a Tiny House to the mix. Direct, honest-the personal flaws & all, resulting in a great "here's how I... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Dean Wishart
3.0 out of 5 stars Helpful but not destined to be a classic
I enjoyed the book. Accessible to men and women. Actually written by someone with street cred. Realistic in asserting that each person, couple, or family must create their own path... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Jaw-droppingly spot on! Voice of a generation and timeless ...
Jaw-droppingly spot on!Voice of a generation and timeless all at the same time. This book is the written version of the dialogue in my head... Read more
Published 27 days ago by BDCM
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration
It's comforting to know that Rowdy Kittens' Tammy Strobel was not born a minimalist. If she can do it, maybe I can too. Maybe you can as well. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Beth
5.0 out of 5 stars This book wasn't what I expected- in a good way!
This book wasn't at all what I expected- in a good way. I think tiny houses and minimalism are fascinating, but this book was so much more. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Erin Ebanks
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent telling of their story of downsizing and living the simple life!
Published 2 months ago by Ruth Ruddock
5.0 out of 5 stars great inspiration
Great book that really inspires you to simplify and focus your life on what gives true meaning. Very inspirational reading.
Published 2 months ago by Anne M
5.0 out of 5 stars today's generation needs to read this book!
Tammy shared a very important life lesson, actually more than one. However, the lesson driven home to me was that more isn't always best. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jill N. Pontiere
5.0 out of 5 stars The come back kid story };o)
Great book about how Tammy and her hubby were able to take the wheel and turn there lives around. Great read };o)
Published 2 months ago by busdweller
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More About the Author

Tammy Strobel is a writer, photographer, and teacher. She created her blog,, in late 2007 to improve her writing and to share her story. Tammy spends her free time taking photos, walking, and hanging out with friends and family. She lives in a very tiny house in northern California, with her husband, Logan, and two cats. You can sign up for Tammy's e-courses or purchase her books at

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