It’s a classic problem for people who move to the city. Initially, they choose to live well outside the city because it’s less expensive to find housing. Eventually, they start to realize that it’s not the great deal they initially dreamed. The commute is long. If they’re driving a vehicle into the city each day, gas and maintenance costs begin to add up.
Before long, people start wondering whether it’s worth it to pay more for housing and move closer to the city.
We’ve outlined the advantages of moving into the city as opposed to moving outside of it:
If you live closer to work, your commute is shorter. If you can shave 15 minutes off of your commute each way, then that’s a half an hour each day that’s available to you for personal use. If you shave 30 minutes off of your commute, that’s another hour each workday. Some people like to commute, but there are opportunities to take some time back for yourself.
You may gain access to public transportation. This may save you on parking, fuel, and maintenance on your vehicle. It also opens the possibility of actually reducing the number of cars owned by your household.
Depending on your personality, the move into the city might make for better living conditions. It really depends on what you value in your life. Some people value greater access to cultural events, immediate access to services and having lots of people around. Moving to a city will check all three boxes on that list.
This still doesn’t answer the question: is it a good idea to move closer to work? There isn’t an immediate “yes” or “no” answer to the question because there are so many variables involved in the move.
What you need to do is pick an area where you intend to move and do a careful side-by-side comparison of the area where you live now and the area where you would move to. Here’s a list of things to consider.
1. What is the monthly cost of housing in each location? Be sure to include items such as rent or mortgage payments, property taxes, and so on.
2. Would the new location meet your housing needs in terms of space and access to services?
3. How much shorter is the commute from the new location? How much time does it save each day?
4. Are you going to be working at your current job for long enough for this move to make sense?
5. Do you have access to public transportation at the new location? Would you use that instead of your personal vehicle to commute?
Many people will ask these questions and still find themselves unsure because of the difficulty of putting prices on non-monetary items. For most people, it comes down to a question of what free time is actually worth to you. Is 30 or so minutes of time not commuting each workday worth the change in scenery and potential additional cost? To know the answer to that, you have to have a strong assessment of what free time is worth to you, which is something that no one can answer but you.
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