Author Topic: Should I Move to Town (Closer to Work) Even Though It Will Cost MORE?  (Read 651 times)

MySpaghettiFork

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Hello all,

My husband, child (age 5) and I live in an Earthen home that we built ourselves about 8 years ago for $20,000... it took 2 years to build and was NOT built on credit. It's on family-owned land and we cannot sell it. When my husband worked in the same county as where we live and I stayed at home with our child, and collectively we owned one car, this worked for us, but now we are thinking of moving.

Reasons:
1) Our house is classified as an agricultural shed with no running water, no ties to the power grid and no address or way to get one (as our house wouldn't be approved as such). The first two don’t bother us so much. The third presents a problem because an address is needed to enroll our child in public school. (We can't claim homelessness, as it would therefore get the authorities involved in our "case," potentially sabotaging my job in child care.) He will be in first grade next year and both my husband and I work or work and study and we have no desire to homeschool our child. The private schools both have a waitlist in our area.

2) Our house is very much in the boonies. If our current house had an address, our son would attend a school 30 minutes to the West of us. My husband and I work 35 - 40 minutes to the East. We could carpool if we had the same schedule-- which unfortunately, we do not. We drive two cars so that our son can sleep until 6:30 am every morning and be in bed by 8, neither of which would remotely happen if we carpooled. If we moved to the town where we work, we could both either bike or bus to school with short walks and our son could be schooled in the same town as where we work.

Reading MMM, I realize he is all about reducing commute time and how cost effective this is. However, because our current house rent/mortgage is $0 and it cannot be sold (in-laws own land on which it is built) and we still need to provide care-taking to our Earthen house and surrounding property (thus preventing us from going completely carless).... according to the numbers, it's not actually cheaper for us to move to town. Other intangibles are somewhat of a toss-up: We'll miss the peace and quiet of the country, but not the commute. We will have added free time from not having to haul our own water in 5 gallon jugs, work on our 1/3 mile long driveway, haul propane, etc on a daily basis, but the freedom of having one less car to take care of will be more than negated by having two abodes to pay attention to.

So what would you do? Would you stay put in the Earthen home and use a friend's offered address so your child could attend school in the town where you worked (knowing that this is not at all on the up-and-up)? Or, would you rent or buy in town and get rid of one car?

I track our finances in mint and have included not our whole proposed budget below, but only items that would be affected by this change. Our $16,000 down payment on a $160,000 house is the top of what we could afford to buy but the lowest of what is possible to buy. This could not buy a stand alone house in town where we work, but it could buy a condo if one comes up on the market (and of course there would be HOA fees), which we could rent out on airbnb occasionally (there is a healthy market due to it being a college town) due to us still having our Earthen home to use if needed. Rent noted is the cheapest actual 2 bedroom rental that accepts cats found right now online searching through facebook marketplace, craigslist, and Zillow within walking distance to a bus stop. It's not pretty...

This is only for the first year of costs, and does not take into account that if we bought a house at least we would have a house after 30 years, we wouldn't need to buy furniture and bikes again on year 2, but we also wouldn't get income from selling one of our cars. According to calculators recommended on MMM forum, our buying versus rental makes sense if we live in the house for at least 5 years. If we bought we would plan for at least 12 years. My husband also has $30,000 of student loan debt he will have to start paying off in 2 years. We have no credit card debts and just a little left on one car payment which would be gone immediately if we sold it, in case this changes anything.



For 1 year    Sunflower Cottage, 2 cars   Town Rental, 1 car   Town Owned House, 1 car
Gas                                   $2,418                            $600                    $900
Car Insurance                       $1,105                     $553                    $553
Car Repairs                       $2,564                       $600                    $600
Car Payment                       $1,642                      $0                            $0
Car sunken costs                $1,400                            $700                    $700
Home Maintenance and Repair   $800                    $80                            $800
Rent/ Mortgage (& associated)   $0                            $10,080                    $14,184
Electricity/propane               $438                            $1,440                   $1,440
Water/laundry                       $528                            $720                   $720
Chainsaw maintenance/ fuel/ oil   
                                            $80                            $16                           $16
Furniture                               $0                            $1,500                   $3,200
Bus fare                               $0                            $112.50                   $112.50
Bicycle                                 $0                            $500                   $500
COSTS                               $10,975                    $16,901.50           $23,725.50
Sale of car (minus car payment pay off) $0                    $4,000                     $4,000
AirBnB income                       $0                            $0                           $6,000
Income from car/house       $0                            $4,000                   $10,000
Total                                       $10,975                    $12,901.50           $13,725.50

Is two cars in the country really the best decision? Thank you for helping me on the path!

Tuskalusa

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Re: Should I Move to Town (Closer to Work) Even Though It Will Cost MORE?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2019, 08:40:32 PM »
Thank you for sharing your unique circumstance.  Very cool that you have raised your child, thus far, with such amazing exposure to nature.

Looking at your budget, the thing that’s hard to quantify is the risk you would take by using someone else’s address to register your child for school in the town where you work. This seems like a fairly big risk that could have financial or job implications, if you were found out. At the very least, there is the stress of knowing that your enrollment is tenuous.

If I were in this situation, I’d consider renting in the area where you work. That would give you a chance to see how things work for your family. Then you will have better perspective on where you’d like to buy.

ender

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Re: Should I Move to Town (Closer to Work) Even Though It Will Cost MORE?
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2019, 09:00:13 PM »
Can one of you homeschool? You only briefly address this but it's unclear to me why it isn't an option when you said this earlier:

I stayed at home with our child

It sounds like your only reason to consider this move is because of your son's school.


seattlecyclone

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Re: Should I Move to Town (Closer to Work) Even Though It Will Cost MORE?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2019, 09:37:23 PM »
Have you tried asking the post office for an address? They're in the mail delivery business, not the building inspection business. They might not actually care whether your home complies with any of the modern building codes.

rothwem

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Re: Should I Move to Town (Closer to Work) Even Though It Will Cost MORE?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 07:03:36 AM »
Can one of you homeschool? You only briefly address this but it's unclear to me why it isn't an option when you said this earlier:

I stayed at home with our child

It sounds like your only reason to consider this move is because of your son's school.

It sounds like the OP is working now? Not to mention, homeschooling sounds HARD.  Ive always been decent at math, but holy shit if I had to teach a child how to break down a sentence I think I’d be screwed.

If I were the OP, I’d probably do a bit of investigation on the Airbnb front. I think you could get a solid rental business going on a sort of “weird” house in the sticks, especially if there’s cool hiking or other outdoor activities in the vicinity.  People out here get $60/night for “tiny houses” that are basically garden sheds with hardwood floors and drywall installed. It would at least help you with the mortgage at the new place in town.

ender

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Re: Should I Move to Town (Closer to Work) Even Though It Will Cost MORE?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2019, 07:21:28 AM »
Can one of you homeschool? You only briefly address this but it's unclear to me why it isn't an option when you said this earlier:

I stayed at home with our child

It sounds like your only reason to consider this move is because of your son's school.

It sounds like the OP is working now? Not to mention, homeschooling sounds HARD.  Ive always been decent at math, but holy shit if I had to teach a child how to break down a sentence I think I’d be screwed.

If I were the OP, I’d probably do a bit of investigation on the Airbnb front. I think you could get a solid rental business going on a sort of “weird” house in the sticks, especially if there’s cool hiking or other outdoor activities in the vicinity.  People out here get $60/night for “tiny houses” that are basically garden sheds with hardwood floors and drywall installed. It would at least help you with the mortgage at the new place in town.

I don't think very many people live 8 years without running water in an Earthen home they built themselves.

OP absolutely is the type that could homeschool effectively.

BlueHouse

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Re: Should I Move to Town (Closer to Work) Even Though It Will Cost MORE?
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2019, 07:51:39 AM »
I think there are more options than you've listed, so I have some questions/comments that might bring some of those into view:

1.  Is there some reason that you can't use the address on the plot of land (your in-laws' address) and tack an "A" onto it?  Then put up a mailbox next to theirs that says 101A Main Street?
2.  Have you explored the options of the other school district to see if you can pay to put your child in the other school?  My city allows people from another state to school their children in our schools IF THEY PAY A FEE to cover the costs.  If they don't pay, and they get caught, the penalties are very stiff.  (It's a big problem around here)

Bottom line, no I would not cheat, although a lot of people do and never get caught.  But if you do get caught, you can be forced to pay years worth of back fees + penalties. 

MySpaghettiFork

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Re: Should I Move to Town (Closer to Work) Even Though It Will Cost MORE?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2019, 07:06:13 PM »
Thank you all for the thoughtful responses! I am a bit relieved not to get messages: "What ARE YOU DOING???" even though I really don't feel like I know what I am doing.

My takeaways:
Think again about homeschooling: does it make sense? Economically? No. For our personalities/interests? No. (There was a lot more thought that went into this but just to give you the summary.)
Think again about making the earthen home "work for us" while we buy: This could be possible. It needs likely less than $1,000 and 1 month in manual labor to be presentable to others. Could totally happen over a summer. Just need to not rent out both places at once.
Can we psychologically handle town life? Do we need to try renting before buying? Hmm. I think so, especially if we still have our cottage to escape to. But I think we would have a better chance of succeeding if we can be within walking distance to a green area if we don't have our own usable backyard. Something to really consider here.

Other thoughts:
How can we best live according to our values? Driving is killing the planet, and slowly, us. What's the "price tag" on that? Probably more than a few hundred dollars in "savings" every month.... hmm.