You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap) by Tammy Strobel

by Frank Martin

Stuff is replaceable, people (and time) aren’t. Shift your attention toward the people you love and the experiences that make you happy.

-Tammy Strobel

I’ve been following Tammy’s Journey via her blog, RowdyKittens, for about two years now, ever since she and her husband Logan were living in a small three room apartment in California (kitchen, bathroom, and livingroom that did double duty as the bedroom). These days they have a neat little tiny house they call home. When I heard she was releasing a print book I headed off to Amazon to preorder right off, and I’ve gotta say, You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too does not disappoint. If you’ve read collections of blog posts published as ebooks by bloggers, you’re in for a nice surprise, because thats not what this is. The entire thing is brand new content, and well worth reading.

You Can Buy Happiness is a blend of the story of Tammy’s personal journey into minimalism, the stories of fellow bloggers, and suggestions about how to take a similar journey in your own life. Really, this isn’t that much different from RK itself, which may be why it works. Tammy’s strength is teaching through story and her own personal discoveries, so it makes sense that she do the same when she writes a book.

Each chapter has a distinct focus related to the overarching idea that things can be replaced, people and time can’t. Starting out Tammy addresses the issue of stuff, how to get rid of it and how to change your relationship to that stuff. Debt is also covered in its own chapter. The last section titled “Buying Happiness” is specifically about how to use money to buy happiness instead of things. Each chapter ends with “Micro-Actions.”  These are all little things we can do to start making the big changes she’s suggesting.

One of my favorite chapters was “the Joy of the Small House” wherein Tammy talks about what it was like moving into a tiny house, and what its like living in one. Tiny house living has always held a certain attraction for me, and she manages to talk about it while avoiding an air of superiority. I also greatly enjoyed the last two chapters “the Art of Community Building” and “the Power of Tiny Pleasures.” In the first, she focuses on what to do instead of all that screen time she gave up, focusing on volunteering and finding groups with shared interests. The second is about rediscovering the joy of the little stuff we knew in childhood but seem to have forgotten: flowers, an ice cream cone, and being with the people we love and care about.s

The great strength of the book, as I’ve hinted at, is its avoidance of a doom and gloom/I’m better than you mentality that seems to be prevalent these days. This could easily have been a pet project wherein a blogger pats their own back. Thankfully, thats not what this is. Tammy has always written with a level of genuine-ness and vulnerability, and this comes through in the book in spades.

At the beginning, minimalism for most people is about getting rid of excess stuff, and not letting more into our lives, but if this is all it is, its a pretty useless philosophy. Minimalism, at its core, is about reclaiming our lives, finding meaning and purpose, and You Can Buy Happiness is a great example of that.

The book was released earlier this week and is available through Amazon in both print and Kindle formats, Powell’s, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound. You can also buy it directly from the publisher over at New World Library.

Tammy is in the midst of a real world tiny book tour as we speak, but if you aren’t in California or Oregon, you should totally check out her digital book tour here. (also has details about the RL tour)

(fun fact: In the beginning, it was Tammy’s husband Logan that wanted to simplify. He actually had to talk Tammy into it. That still makes me chuckle.)

If you’re anything like me, you like to be able to read a bit of a book before buying it. Since this is my first review and you guys don’t really know my likes/dislikes yet, and there’s an opportunity, I thought I’d link to a few excerpts fron YCBH. You can check out the intro here. You can also check out a guest article by Tammy and another excerpt here, and an interview and third excerpt here.

If you like what you read and want to check out the rest of the book for yourself, click the link below to get your very own copy:
You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too

(full disclosure: The above is an affiliate link, which means I make pennies off of anything you buy after clicking it.)