It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

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James_0011
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It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by James_0011 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:05 pm

I think this sort of question has been asked before, but here it goes.

What have your personal experiences been with living farther from work to save money? At what point is it not worth it?

In my situation, I'll be bike commuting to work and to the grocery store.

Apartment a: .9 miles from work, and .6 miles from the store, $700/month

Apartment B: 3.5 mile from work, 2.5 miles from he store, $425/month

I read a mmm article about using your approximate hourly wage to calculate how much a longer commute will "cost" you and it pretty much convinced me that living closer to work was worth it despite the cost. But, now I'm not sure.

One thing that really turns me off to the longer
Commuting is snow in the winter as I live in the northeast.

What do you all think? Thanks

James_0011
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by James_0011 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:51 pm

Based on my numbers I make about $34/hr.

So, apartment a would have to cost $960/month in rent before it actually was more expensive than apartment b. Assuming that I value my commuting time at $34/hr.

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stand@desk
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by stand@desk » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:58 pm

I'd say it depends on the commute. Is it walk/run/bike-able? If yes then I'd say make the change. If not then it wouldn't be worth it if it changed you from a walking commute to an auto commute. Also, I think it depends on your age, if you are single or married and want to have a family etc. What about safety? Will you be commuting in the dark on in the light/streetlight etc.
$275 per month is a huge savings tho so I think you should consider it.

James_0011
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by James_0011 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:05 pm

@stand

Thanks for the reply. The commute from the first apartment is much safer, and doesn't require me to be on any major roads.

The place further away would be less safe to commute from but not awful.

In terms of walkable, it would take over an hour to walk from the furthest apartment and a half hour to cycle it.

The closer apartment is walkable in 15 mins, and bikeable in five.

I'm single and 25, so that's not a worry.

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stand@desk
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by stand@desk » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:28 pm

This is probably one of the most equivalent quality of life / cost benefit equations I have heard of lately. It almost seems like an even trade. If you stay where you are, you have the optionality of still finiding a cheaper apartment than current at a similar distance than current. If you move to the cheaper apartment, (you would have to move which is a pain in the ass) but it would save money and also leave you with an option to hop to a new apartment again. --Also, are these month to month rentals or yearly leases?-- Idealistically, the move should be closer to work AND cheaper. Which is something I pulled off 10 years ago and am still benefitting from. If timing is off and you move to the new cheaper apartment and while in the process miss a new opportunity of an equivalently cheap apartment but much closer than the new one, that would be a bad break too. Things like that can happen.
I think your gut feelings should also carry a lot of weight in the decision (with some time to process and sleep on those feelings). The younger you are, I'd say the savings is more worth it. The older you are, quality of life is more important. And of course the savings is only worth it if you put it to disciplined use. Otherwise I'd say hold steady. I've made a lot of mistakes with money (mostly investment mistakes but I have by no means blown up) so as long as you are cash flow positive and safe with building your net worth and already have a good nest egg, the decision may be best to wait it out until it's obvious in how to act, but then again, the cheaper apartment opportunity could pass you by. Good Luck with your decision.

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Dragline
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by Dragline » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:41 pm

Well, I wish I lived closer to work. Its not really about money at this point, but health. At 13 miles, I can bike there some of the time, but I could probably do most or all of the time if it was more like 5. And the health aspects would probably be worth more than the financial ones.

Then again, I could always quit work, in which my location would be a positive, rather than a negative.

James_0011
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by James_0011 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:43 pm

@dragline


Thanks for the response. I have a gut feeling that I'm not going to like living further away from the office.

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Miss Lonelyhearts
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by Miss Lonelyhearts » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:41 pm

If your gut tells you to live closer, I would heed that impulse.

FWIW in my last job I lived about 3 miles away and bicycle-commuted for a year or so, including throughout the (Chicago) winter. I also walked once or twice and took the bus many times. The six-mile round trip on bike was decent exercise, but also tedious, occasionally unsafe (one street doubled as a drag racing strip!), and very unpleasant in rain. I haven't missed it since quitting.

The distance from the grocery store would concern me more than the distance from your job.

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Lillailler
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by Lillailler » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:40 am

I think it is better to look at 'opportunity cost' rather than calculate the cost of extra travel-to-work time based on your hourly wages. The question is, what are you doing now with that time, which you would not be able to do with the longer commute? If the answer is 'making c. 10 dollars from a side-business', that means the value of that time saved - or cost of spending that time commuting - is c 10 dollars. If the answer is 'spending 5 dollars on a stationary bike class at the gym' then that time is worth minus 5 dollars. If your employer is paying you 50 dollars to work overtime, which you couldn't do if you biked to work, the value of that time is 50 dollars.

However, you could also change the variable and look at this question in terms of time rather than money. In other words, by investing x hours a day cycling to work, how many months closer do you bring your FIRE date? If 275 is a significant proportion of your monthly savings, then reducing costs by this 275 will move your date forward significantly. This way you can compare time with time directly, rather than convert time to money in order to make a comparison.

Finally, it may be that you can only get 3/4 of 275 over the year. Many people where I live cycle most of the year but take the bus (at extra cost) during the 3 months of icy roads. And of course, reduction in safety is part of the picture too, is that enough to tip the balance?

Hope that helps!

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vexed87
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by vexed87 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:03 am

I bike 10 miles, 40-55 minutes each way, with a higher end of the range on return leg as more climbing required. I'd say 30 minutes is no big deal. You're saving a fair amount there on rent, plus you'll get more exercise to boot, so major health benefit, and savings? No brainer if you ask me.

James_0011
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by James_0011 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:14 am

@vexed87

How is the commute in the winter? This is the main thing I'm worried about. Does it snow a lot where you live? Thanks

James_0011
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by James_0011 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:21 am

@lillailler

Yeah that was helpful. I won't be doing anything that would make or loose money during the time I would spend commuting. I make a salary, not an hourly wage, so overtime is not an option - I just meant if I did make an hourly wage it would be around $34.

Your point about the winter is my main concern. I don't want to be unsafe riding to work in the winter, and taking public transit isn't an option where
I live.

James_0011
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by James_0011 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:32 am

@script

Yeah I live in the northeast as well. My office is actually in the suburbs, so the closer place isn't really more dense - just in a good location.

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vexed87
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by vexed87 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:21 am

@james, UK is a temperate climate, we usually get 2-3 weeks of snow coverage but it varies depending on the altitude and region here too, being higher up I experience more snow than most. Many more weeks you can expect ice to form in the mornings and at sun down, but arterial roads are treated with salt so generally no problems, unless precipitation is torrential.

I regularly commuted in -3 degrees C, feeling much colder with wind chill. This is easily countered with warm windproof clothing and a buff to cover the face, and another under helmet. If there was a full on blizzard conditions, I would just work from home, but have never had to yet. Spike tyres essential is commuting in wet-freeze thaw conditions as ice will inevtibly form in patches on the road. In three years I only left the bike at home once, and immediately regretted it because traffic is horrendous in the snow and public transport breaks down. Much more sensible to travel by bike with spiked wheels (at reduced speed of course). It might take a bit longer on bicycle in the depths of winter, but I wouldn't walk or drive anymore.

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distracted_at_work
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by distracted_at_work » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:57 am

@James. I moved recently and had concluded that it was worth the extra $$$. I'd +1 Scriptbunny's thoughts exactly. More dense areas that are close to work increase quality of life so much, especially in cold climates.

Lately I've been less frugal than most people here too, however.

DSKla
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by DSKla » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:59 pm

I have never understood MMM's fascination with considering your hourly rate during hours you have no prospect of actually earning that rate. If the commute only allowed you to work 7 hours versus 8, I get it. But if you have no opportunity to get paid for your time, why does it matter how much you make when you're on the clock? I'd better not take a dump, because I'm losing $20 worth of MMM bux!

I'd say the weather and the hassle are a more important consideration. Another question: is the store on your route to work? If so, easy to get groceries on the way home. If it's 2.5 miles in the opposite direction, that's a much more significant hassle. I'd probably bike the 3.5 miles if the store was on the same route, but I have no point of reference for how miserable your winters are.

James_0011
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by James_0011 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:38 pm

In case anyone cares, I just tried to bike from apartment b and realized that I can't handle the hills. There is another place for $500 that is about the same distance as apartment b from the office but doesn't have as many hills - I might check that one out.

James_0011
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by James_0011 » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:40 pm

Dskla,

I think he means that your hourly rate effectively goes down if you take commuting time in consideration. That is if you don't find commuting fun - which I don't personally.

The bathroom example doesn't really make sense to me because it's inevitable, and doesn't add to the time youre at work in most cases.

No, the store isn't on the way. It's not way in the other direction either, but I would have to plan ahead to make a stop after work.

DSKla
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by DSKla » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:19 pm

The bathroom thing was a joke, maybe not a good one. But the issue with commuting is that it reduces your fun time, which to me is independent of what your hourly rate is. If it reduces time at work, then hourly rate is what you would consider. If you have no opportunity to be paid during your commute time, hourly rate isn't the factor--how you want to spend your free time is. This wasn't directed at you, moreso the MMM crowd who calculates hourly rate for every little activity outside of time on the clock.

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Seamus
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by Seamus » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:04 pm

I think I prefer a 20-30 minute ride to work over a 5-10 minute ride. I'm less irritable/sleepy by the time I get there, and it feels like I got some real exercise.

For what it's worth I live in Michigan and my mountain bike can handle all but the worst blizzards we get here.

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vexed87
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by vexed87 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:01 am

Don't let hills put you off, if you have a geared bicycle you can get used to them pretty quickly!

James_0011
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by James_0011 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:01 am

@vexed

Idk, I'm not interested in having to go through an obstacle course just to get to work...

Lemur
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Re: It is worth commuting further for cheaper rent?

Post by Lemur » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:49 am

In your case I think it is a no brainer to save on the rent and go with option B. 3.5 miles from work is pretty much speed walking distance within an hour...Get a nice podcast and take those times to clear your mind and what/not.

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