Author Topic: Living close to work when you work downtown  (Read 5994 times)

Da Man

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Living close to work when you work downtown
« on: November 27, 2013, 01:08:38 PM »
Hi, I am a 25 year old law student with a summer job downtown at a large law firm. Judging from what I know about the legal market in my city, it is likely that I will continue to work there after my graduation and make (and hopefully save) 6 figures. Right now I am in about $40k of student debt and as a very newbie mustachian, my yearly expenses are approximately $30k (I know I know, I'm working on it).

My parents have a house uptown which I've lived in since forever. I've often read about the importance of living close to work, but I am not sure if it applies in my circumstances. Financially, it's a no-brainer to live at home. However, legal work being what it is, I foresee many late nights and I'm not sure if the benefits outweigh the costs.

If I live at home:

The commute takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes by transit. The cost to commute is about $220 per month. I would probably compensate my parents about $300 a month for the food and electricity.

If I live downtown:

I would still have to commute a bit, but it would only take 10 minutes and cost about $100 per month. I can also choose not to take transit, but that would mean walking 30 minutes through very cold weather in the winter and I'm not sure that's a good idea if I'm only wearing a suit underneath. A small apartment (if I find a roommate) downtown would cost at least ~$650 per month.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2013, 01:10:09 PM by Da Man »

matchewed

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2013, 01:17:15 PM »
So you're looking at either a longer commute with an overall cost of $520 or a shorter commute with an overall cost of $650 (honestly suck it up and walk a half hour in the cold). Are you willing to pay an extra $130 a month to gain two hours a day (or 40 hours a month) back? I'd take a $130 pay cut to gain back a weeks worth of time in a month. Sure you can argue that two hours a day isn't completely unproductive but there are only so many things you can do while commuting and not commuting will have many more options. So this one is up to you. What is that $130 a month worth to you?

Da Man

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2013, 01:34:35 PM »
I think there might be a lot of hidden costs for not living at home. For example, I know that if I move into a new place, I'll need to get a mattress (or should I just sleep on a yoga mat in my sleeping bag?). And then with having to cook for myself 100% of the time (and being downtown) is going to make me want to eat out more often than at home. So while I'm totally in favour of "buying" 40 hours a month with $130, I'm not sure if it's actually going to work out to that number. In other words, maybe I'm not "mustachian" enough to live downtown yet.

matchewed

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2013, 01:59:25 PM »
I'm just using the numbers you gave me. If the numbers are wrong give right numbers and figure out the actual costs. Then ask yourself the question again with the actual costs. These costs aren't hidden they're right there in front of you. Also can you take your bed from home? Sleeping on the floor is something that plenty of people have done in the past. Learning to cook for yourself now is a habit which can combine healthy eating, developing skills, and future planning so you don't cave in and cook every night (hint lots of people who cook "all the time" plan their cooking and freeze cooked food so they don't have to cook all the time).

Being out on your own and evaluating your life and how you lead it can bring you to some interesting conclusions on how to manage your resources to solve life problems. It's cool if you want to stay at your parents but I'm not sure what price tag I'd place on freeing up a weeks worth of my time in a month. That comes to 86 days of time a year saved ((40*52)/24). What would you do to have 86 days of your life for your own?

Bruised_Pepper

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2013, 02:02:56 PM »
And then with having to cook for myself 100% of the time (and being downtown) is going to make me want to eat out more often than at home. So while I'm totally in favour of "buying" 40 hours a month with $130, I'm not sure if it's actually going to work out to that number. In other words, maybe I'm not "mustachian" enough to live downtown yet.

I don't have much advice on the mattress thing--I'm about to make a similar move and I'm going to use an air mattress until I figure out a long-term solution--but as to not being mustachian enough: this is your chance to learn.  I read recently (on this forum I believe) that "people never take more responsibility than is asked of them."  If you suddenly have to cook for yourself 100%, you'll learn to do it.  Then it won't be a big deal anymore.


the fixer

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2013, 02:14:55 PM »
Mattresses, from cheapest to most expensive (I'm excluding sleeping-on-the-floor options which I'd consider in a totally different league and not my expertise):
- Craigslist for mattresses, beds or futons. You can get an Ikea Beddinge futon for ~$85 and it's large & comfy as a bed. Put it on bricks or cinder blocks to get storage underneath.
- Ikea as-is section for cheap foam mattresses that were once on the showroom. This is what we use and it's VERY comfy, firm. I think we paid $140 for a queen. It's possible we just got lucky, but it's worth checking.
- Goodwill sells new box spring mattresses for slightly cheaper than retail. The Salvation Army family store near me sells used mattresses.

blinx7

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2013, 02:24:06 PM »
I am a current biglaw midlevel associate.  Given the numbers you are citing, I would move downtown.  There will be lots of night social events as a summer that you should attend and lots of late nights as an associate. 

You don't necessarily need to go overboard and get the big fancy apartment right next to work.  I have a 25-30 commute by bike (35 if I need to use public transit) and it has never been a problem.  But an 1hr and 20 min each way will be rough, and the amount you would save given the numbers you cite is not really enough to move the needle.

chasesfish

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2013, 02:47:01 PM »
I wouldn't move downtown for that, not yet.  You can read and get education while on transit.

Bruised_Pepper

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2013, 02:50:27 PM »
I wouldn't move downtown for that, not yet.  You can read and get education while on transit.

It may not apply to the OP, but some of us get motion sickness when we read in a moving car. 

hybrid

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2013, 03:01:46 PM »
Move out.  For so many reasons.  Learning to live completely independtly being first and foremost.  Walking is good exercise, you need to learn to cook, and I'll go out on a limb and guess that perhaps your parents are ready for you to leave the nest (and maybe not, but as a new empty nester I speak from some experience here).

Take the money out of the equation and I'd say move anyway.  Factor the time you'll save in (time you can use to learn to cook!) and it's a slam dunk from what I'm reading.

StarryC

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2013, 03:02:55 PM »
Don't count any chickens.  Many lawyers started out their second summer planning to get offers, and did not.  Or had offers rescinded.  Depressing, unfair, unexpected, but true. 

I would try to find a short term, summer only, downtown solution.  Perhaps a crash pad with a few other summers, or an Air b-n-b 12 week arrangement?  (That's what I did, I lived with someone in their spare bedroom for the 12 weeks I was a summer.  I saved about $1,000 a month on rent + furniture issues, which made me glad when they no offered all summers at the end of the summer!) 
It doesn't have to be a pleasant place you plan to spend time in.  As a summer, you can expect to be in your apartment from about 8pm to about 7am each day. 

Then, IF you get an offer and IF you accept it, I would live with your parents while studying for the bar.   It seems that firms are starting people no earlier than September, and as late as January.  Between the July Bar and your start date, you have plenty of time to find a place and move, while saving on rent for May to September. 


KingCoin

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2013, 03:12:10 PM »
With a 6-figure salary and a ~$700/mo rent, you'll still be able to save the lionshare of your salary.

Also, what's your love life like? I have a friend who lives with his parents in the burbs and it's definitely a stumbling block. 

Melody

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2013, 04:01:39 PM »
For the internship, live at home... suck it up it's only for the summer. If you get the job offer move out. You don't want to be stuck renting a place with no job.

When you get the job move out. I went through a similar situation - Live with parents, no rent, 1hr 20 commute each way ($120/wk in petrol/train tickets) vs walk to work and rent of $185/wk . I would pay utilities/food either way. The commute will be very painful if your hours are long. Plus life in the 'burbs typically leads to higher entertainment expenses - e.g. you want to meet up with friends for a drink after work, if you have the apartment you can invite them over etc etc.

okiedoke

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2013, 04:03:56 PM »
Live at home while you're a summer associate and save your money -- like, 90% of it, seriously.  Although the odds are (hopefully) in your favor to get an offer, there is no guarantee that you'll be offered a permanent job. 

Moreover, you will not (or, at least, should not) work super-long hours as a summer.  I know things are more competitive now than they were when I was a summer associate (10 years ago), but trust me, if you're working 80-hour weeks, you're doing it wrong. 

When you're a first-year, yeah, live as close as you can reasonably afford.  Every hour you don't spend commuting will feel like gold.   

mm1970

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2013, 08:19:53 PM »
Live at home.  Do it as long as you can.  When the late nights/ commuting get to be too much?  Then move.

I have a coworker who drives 70 miles, each way, to work and back.  Lives at home.  Even with high gas prices, it doesn't make financial sense for him to move closer.

Da Man

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2013, 12:53:23 AM »
Thanks for all the great advice. I've actually lived away from home for 1.5 years while in law school and I know what it's like. I feel like I spend way too much and have trouble reigning in the spending, hence my comment about me not being mustachian enough. I think for the summer I'll probably stay at home. If I get a full-time position afterwards, well then I guess I'll figure it out when that time comes. Oh by the way, I made a mistake. The commute from my parents' home is only about 45 minutes actually. And no, I have no romantic endeavours right now and am not actively seeking (stache first, love when it comes to find me).

chasesfish

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Re: Living close to work when you work downtown
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2013, 03:40:36 AM »
With a 6-figure salary and a ~$700/mo rent, you'll still be able to save the lionshare of your salary.

Also, what's your love life like? I have a friend who lives with his parents in the burbs and it's definitely a stumbling block.

This comes to mind:  http://www.despair.com/love.html