Plus get weekly podcast updates + more!

042: Claudia Pennington and The Life Changing Magic of Tiny Houses and Debt-Free Living

I don’t know about you, but I’m obsessed with tiny houses and their potential for maximizing space while minimizing home maintainence AND the mortgage bill. I’ve got Pinterest boards filled with them, have binge watched episodes of Tiny House Hunters and keep getting inspired by their sheer coolness.

SO when I found out that our next guest was indeed a tiny home dweller I got pretty excited.

I met Claudia Pennington at the NEPA Blog Conference in northeastern Pennsylvania in the fall of last year. It was held in the Scranton area, which is home of TV series The Office and a really cool park with a treehouse—Nay Aug Park where our family once visited my sister’s and took our dogs out to a cool dog festival (kind of like a Doggie Palooza type deal with loud music, lots of local vendors selling dog products, food with wading pools for dogs). I digress.

Part of living a Simply Designed Life is assessing your values, goals, and vision for your life, and then making choices in alignment with that—which is exactly what Claudia did for her particular situation. She and her husband Garret (whom I had also met at the conference) had over $200,000 in debt and decided that paying it off, while also downsizing to a tiny house, would be some of the steps they’d take to creating a life that’s rich in time and money for them.

Here are some facts:

  • They’ve downsized from a 1,500 square foot home to a 500 square foot home in 2015.
  • They were able to do this by learning everything they could on personal finance through reading lots of books and listening to lots of podcast episodes which helped them pay off all their debt (including their mortgage).
  • Nowadays, they operate two businesses and four side hustle projects in digital marketing.
  • They didn’t do it all at once though, but through a series of simple steps (not always easy though mind you), which you’ll find on their blog and I’ll link to the show notes.

While this isn’t a story about the granular details on how to get out of debt, how to have a better money mindset or how to design your life around a tiny house (although those topics are cool too, which I’ll include references to previous episodes and other relevant resources in the show notes), it’s more about getting a glimpse of what life is like on the other side once you’re financially free and have the ability and means to live your version of a simply designed life. Without further ado, let’s get to the conversation!

Who is Claudia?

Claudia Pennington is a digital marketing coach, consultant, and trainer. With more than a decade’s worth of experience in online marketing, she has become an expert in search engine optimization, Google Analytics, and Google Tag Manager through her work with small and enterprise level businesses. Claudia trains small business owners on how to grow their businesses by leveraging digital marketing and SEO.

Additionally, Claudia and her husband Garrett own and operate a business and personal finance blog, Two Cup House which discusses their journey to financial independence by way of tiny house living, minimalism, and entrepreneurship. The millennial couple live with their three cats in beautiful Lancaster County, PA.

They’ve been featured on numerous outlets, such as the Stacking Benjamins Podcast, The Motley Fool, CNN Money, New York Post and MarketWatch.

Quotes from Claudia

I think of myself as having x-ray vision when it comes to developing a marketing strategy for another person and another person’s business. So I can see and hear what they’re saying. I can see through what’s happening today, be able to diagnose any challenges they’ve experienced and help them structure a strategy, but for myself, I have to treat my own business like a client. If this business came to me on my own with a desire to grow, what would I do differently? How would I structure the marketing plan, what does the target audience look like? So really trying to treat myself like a client has helped me focus on growth. (14:28)

Where ever you are in your business, keep going. It sounds cliche or it’s overstated, but there are times when I’ve struggled. It sounds like everything’s great and hunky dory today. There are definitely times when I’ve struggled, and I couldn’t see the end of the road. But I had to trust myself that if I kept going on this path that was not clearly laid out for me at the start, and I certainly had my fair share of challenges. But I kept going, I kept trusting myself that I was making the right decisions, seeking help where and when I could through coaching, training and mentoring, and so I’m lucky to have had the experiences that I’ve had. But when the road seemed long, and the path wasn’t clear, I just kept going and that’s my best advice is to just keep making progress everyday.  (17:28)

I am such a fortunate person to have successfully designed this plan to be successful but also not to get so caught up in the bigger picture. Something for me that I consider simply designed is enjoying the day-to-day even so I’m not super focused on what my five year plan is or my revenue goals for five years from now or anything like that. I’m just really focused on enjoying that day-to-day. (23:20)

What You’ll Learn

  • How a desire to leave the rat race inspired her to get out of debt, work her businesses and design work around her life 
  • The upsides and downsides of running an online marketing consultancy
  • How downsizing to a smaller house can free up time usually spent on cleaning and home maintenance
  • What life can be like based on making step-by-step choices to finance the kind of life you want to live

The Tiny House 🙂


Resources and How to Connect:



Nepa BlogConFinConWorld Domination Summit

My World Domination Summit Experience

Other Related Podcast Episodes:
EP 024: Cassie Parks on Lifestyle Design and Money Mindset

EP 028: Maria Storgaard and the Downsized Life

EP 029: Hilary Hendershott and Money Mindset Programming for Success

Social Media: 

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

Other Listening Options:
Individual player or full player view on website:

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: