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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: oldtoyota on May 05, 2013, 03:46:30 PM

Title: Evaluating Commute, Job, Home
Post by: oldtoyota on May 05, 2013, 03:46:30 PM
Hey there--

I am relatively new. DH and I are frugal. We kinda sorta never stopped living like grad students. As a result, we have a decent amount saved up. However, the Mustachians really put me to shame! I am SO much more frugal than my friends, yet I came here and see I have a long way to go!

My main question today is about commuting. I added up all my costs from 2012 and was alarmed and disgusted to see that I spent more than $1,000 on the subway. Here are options:

1. Move into the city. We'd pay more for a house and NOT be able to pay off the new (and more expensive) house in 9 years.
2. Bike to work. 7 miles each way. This has appeal, but I would have to bike on city streets the entire way, and DC drivers are crazy.
3. I already work from home one day and could ask to work another day from home. Working from home one day saved me at least $400 in subway costs last year. A second day would bring the savings up to $800.

What are your thoughts?
Title: Re: Evaluating Commute, Job, Home
Post by: CrochetStache on May 05, 2013, 04:51:41 PM
I spend a lot of time on the trains myself and understand what you mean about the expense. You've calculated them up and stated, "...I spent more than $1,000 on the subway...." then later in regards to those who work from home 100%, "...They basically get a bump of several thousand while I am wasting my money on the subway!!"

Big difference between just 'more than $1,000' and 'several thousand.' At this time since you do still need to be in the office a majority of the time you will have commuting costs no matter what whether it is living closer which will incur moving costs, etc. Cycling which means a bike with maintenance, a car with maintenance, parking, etc.  Each of these options needs to be weighed $ for $ against each other as much as possible.

What do you do with your time on the train? This is valuable "oldtoyota" time! Make it work for you. I crochet on the train and sell the items on the internet or through galleries. Or sometimes I read a book to relax.
But what would be valuable to you? Writing that book you've always wanted to? Creating great slideshows of your family photos on your  laptop? Reading an inspirational book? Playing Angry Birds? For your commute time, someone else is doing the work of getting you home or to work. Use it wisely and that $1000+/year may be less expensive than you think :)
Title: Re: Evaluating Commute, Job, Home
Post by: oldtoyota on May 05, 2013, 05:13:05 PM
Thank you for your reply!

That is a good point about commuting and using the time wisely. When I can, that is exactly what I do. However, the trains are often crowded. Many mornings, I am standing with my face in someone's shoulder with more people pushing to get on board.

Good point about the "thousands" comment. I was also thinking how they do not have to spend on parking or clothing, but I did not articulate that. If I took the train AND parked, it would cost $2460. As a result, I stopped parking there and started to walk. That saves $960, so my total train cost is about $1500 (sometimes, I walk toward home to save money and get exercise). Sometimes, I get rides part way into the city and that also saves time and money.
Title: Re: Evaluating Commute, Job, Home
Post by: mlipps on May 05, 2013, 07:26:22 PM
DC drivers ARE crazy, but the city is also super bike friendly & full of fellow bikers. When I lived there, my job had a bike buddy program where you could ride with someone who lived near you to get a feel for it. Just a thought. 7 miles also might be short enough you could take a folding bike with you in the morning & ride home at night.
Title: Re: Evaluating Commute, Job, Home
Post by: KingMe on May 05, 2013, 07:42:52 PM
Can you ask for Metro benefits? It's tax free up to a large amount. So $1 in metro benefits is worth more than $1 in salary. If the employer won't pay for all of the benefits, you might be able to reach a compromise.
Title: Re: Evaluating Commute, Job, Home
Post by: oldtoyota on May 05, 2013, 08:43:14 PM
KingMe--Although they do not have metro benefits, I am able to purchase metro fare pre-tax. I am not sure how to calculate the "savings" there, but maybe I should. Thank you for the idea!

Mlipps--I will look into that. I am a little nervous about biking because I'd be going down roads with large buses, though I guess that is every biker's situation. lol
Title: Re: Evaluating Commute, Job, Home
Post by: oldtoyota on May 06, 2013, 09:23:02 PM
Lhamo--You raise a good pt about the 4-day work week. I calculated the savings of being home (instead of paying for childcare one day per week). There would be a double bonus in that I would spend an afternoon with kidlets AND save $629 in childcare costs per year AND save the commuting cost. If I WFH one day and then had the one day off, I would save a lot.

Hey--We think alike. I asked for--and received--the go ahead to work an earlier schedule. I'm going to start once school is out at the end of this month. Woot!