Author Topic: Oh, the commute!  (Read 3823 times)

ysette9

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Oh, the commute!
« on: February 05, 2015, 04:22:08 PM »
I don't know where to begin. Someone at work was just sharing about the challenges of getting in to work at hours that overlap with the rest of the office because he has such a challenging commute. Apparently his choice to deal with the high cost of living in this area is to live 1.5-2 hours away (depending on traffic) from work. ~choke~  Furthermore he went on to discuss how important it was that this year's salary increase is greater than inflation because otherwise he would not be able to afford to continue coming in to work if his earning power dropped.

I listening politely and meanwhile was screaming inside "aaaah, this is your LIFE! You are sacrificing your LIFE for a house you don't even get to enjoy because you are spending your entire day commuting. AAAHH!"

BCBiker

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Re: Oh, the commute!
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2015, 10:58:35 PM »
Sounds like this guy needs a little MMM True Cost of Commuting. It is no surprise that the people who have the most money complaints happen to drive crazy commutes... It seems as though this should be intuitive but apparently most people just don't get it...

leherself

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Re: Oh, the commute!
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2015, 07:53:22 AM »
This is really common in my area.  I work on a military installation and housing prices nearby are pretty high.  So probably 80% of my coworkers live in the next big town over.  You save probably a third on housing costs (for instance, a typical 3 bed 2 bath house here might cost between 250-300k, while farther out it's probably closer to 150-200k with the added bonus of getting at least a half acre of land to go with it instead of a smaller city lot), but in good weather you're commuting about an hour each way, and in bad weather it can be two or three times that.

When I started house shopping pretty much everyone told me to look out in the valley, but I really didn't want to have to think about driving that far every day for work, and plus all of my other activities (social, school) would be negatively impacted.  It took a bit of searching, but I found a nice little bargain of a place within reasonable biking distance from work (~5 miles, flat, almost all bike path, only one heavily trafficked intersection).

Cost wise, I honestly think it's nearly a wash.  The marginal increase in my mortgage payment vs. the cost of commuting is probably about even, all things considered (and I come out ahead if I bike commute instead, although it's worth mentioning that there's a free ride-sharing program for people who live in the valley so they *also* have a low cost option).  What's priceless is the amount of time I'll save.  Less than ten minutes by car each way, *or* I can skip driving altogether and get some exercise instead.  I'd much rather have that than the extra land but no free time to enjoy it in.

MandalayVA

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Re: Oh, the commute!
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2015, 01:10:40 PM »
I know three people at my job who have 1.5 hour one-way commutes and several more with hour one-way commutes.  It has nothing to do with CoL--while the city can be pretty high the two surrounding counties are very reasonable both in cost and commute time.  No, they want to live in the COUNTRY and have room for their pack of dogs and be able to shoot guns in their back yards.  Of course, they can only do this on the weekends because--say it with me--they spend the week driving and working. 

I'm a red panda

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Re: Oh, the commute!
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2015, 01:17:02 PM »
Does this person have a family?

A lot of people sacrifice their own life for what they perceive to be the good of the family.  The breadwinner may spend 2 hours a day in the car, but the kids grow up in a nice neighborhood with a yard, maybe a pool, go to a good neighborhood school, and they have money left over to take dance lessons and karate since the mortgage is lower.

ysette9

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Re: Oh, the commute!
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2015, 04:19:48 PM »
I don't know this person's personal situation all that well except that he is single. I suppose it is always possible he has a big contingent of other family members living with him to warrant a big new-ish house. But then you'd think that at least some of the other people could pitch in with the household expenses. For that matter, he could get roommates.... but I digress. Not my life!

pancakes

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Re: Oh, the commute!
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2015, 11:21:11 PM »
I battle with my colleagues on this point daily. They think I'm crazy for living in an expensive inner suburb and taking public transport to work. They seem to feel sorry for me taking the train while they are commuting for 14-20h each week. If I had to spend that much time travelling I'd much rather do it on a train where I can at least read a book.

Apparently I'm a snob for insisting on living in the inner suburbs but they are not for comments such as "I couldn't handle mixing with the people on public transport everyday". Each to their own I suppose?
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 03:54:02 AM by pancakes »

Tabaxus

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Re: Oh, the commute!
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2015, 09:30:37 AM »
Does this person have a family?

A lot of people sacrifice their own life for what they perceive to be the good of the family.  The breadwinner may spend 2 hours a day in the car, but the kids grow up in a nice neighborhood with a yard, maybe a pool, go to a good neighborhood school, and they have money left over to take dance lessons and karate since the mortgage is lower.

This will probably end up being me.  I will not send my future kids (if any) to inner city schools unless they meet or exceed quality (course offerings, teacher quality, safety, etc) that the suburban schools offer, and that's not likely.  I really want my future kids to have a diverse environment, but the environment in many inner city school districts is completely unworkable unless you win the magnet school lottery.

MayDay

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Re: Oh, the commute!
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2015, 10:02:31 AM »
Yah, but you don't have to move to the boonies. Pretty much any first ring suburb will have solid schools. 

Tabaxus

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Re: Oh, the commute!
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2015, 10:07:23 AM »
Yah, but you don't have to move to the boonies. Pretty much any first ring suburb will have solid schools.

Yup, agree.  Then it just becomes an exercise of trading off COL in the inner suburbs/outer suburbs against the additional commute.  In some places, i.e. Chicago, it's just a matter of additional time on a train, in which case I'd probably take the longer commute (I find train commutes to be relaxing and I can work).  If it involved more time in a car though... well, let's just say I hope I land somewhere that a car commute is not necessary.

Sibley

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Re: Oh, the commute!
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2015, 07:53:44 AM »
I live in the Chicago area, so good public transit, lots of traffic, and fairly spread out. I work in downtown Chicago, and commute via train every day. This means I have a 2+ hour total commute per day, depending on train schedules, etc. I live in the suburbs, with a roommate and my two cats. The roommate is also a good friend, and her job, etc are in the suburbs. I have no friends or contacts in downtown.

I could move closer to work. There is an area within walking/biking distance, etc with good housing. However, to do so, I would either have to get rid of my cats (not going to happen under any circumstances what-so-ever), or put the cats in an environment where they would be miserable, which means they'd make me miserable. I would also be far away from all my friends. I'd have problems with what to do with my car.

I've done the cost-benefit analysis. I'm not moving. I would consider a new job, but I'm making a competitive rate (I checked), for a company with a good environment and benefits, doing something I enjoy. For now, I'll put up with the commute and get lots of reading time in.