Review of ‘You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap)’ by Tammy Strobel


I’m only taking my first tentative steps towards minimalism and simple living, and found Tammy Strobel’s blog RowdyKittens while looking for de-cluttering advice. Tammy’s disillusionment with consumerism and desire to simplify her life resonated with me.

You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap) follows Tammy’s journey to downsize her possessions, clear her debts, find rewarding work and to design and live in a mobile tiny home with her husband and their cats. This is a short book, just over 200 pages, but it doesn’t read like a collection of blog posts, instead each chapter is fully-fleshed with research, references, interviews and personal anecdotes into a cohesive, stand alone book.

While I don’t see myself moving into a tiny home of my own anytime soon, I found Tammy’s book easy and enjoyable to read and full of inspiring interviews with other minimalists and practical advice about how to downsize and simplify your home and life. Tammy’s tone is conversational, her enthusiasm and gratitude seep through the whole book, but she avoids preaching to the reader about her lifestyle choices. I appreciated Tammy’s honesty throughout the book, she never makes the significant lifestyle changes she adopted sound too easy and she doesn’t shy away from describing her former materialistic self or the arguments and reservations she and her husband had about getting rid of the TV or exchanging their cars for bicycles.

Tammy provides a holistic approach to simplifying that goes beyond downsizing possessions and includes sections on changing our spending habits, investing in relationships, building communities, meaningful work and practicing gratitude. My only disappointment is that Tammy, a prolific Instagrammer and photographer, did not include any of her photos in this book, though she has published another book on iPhone photography. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can see myself re-reading sections for inspiration and advice as I try to simplify my own life and de-clutter my home.

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