Author Topic: Rental size vs cost: where is the balance?  (Read 2280 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Rental size vs cost: where is the balance?
« on: February 10, 2017, 09:36:38 PM »
My family (husband, wife, 2 yo) currently rents a 1000 sq ft 2 bdrm home in a HCOL area for $1925 (1800 rent+ avg 125 utilities). Our lease is up in a few months, and we're trying to decide if we should release this place or move somewhere cheaper but smaller/not as nice like a one bedroom apartment. Our landlords have raised rent by 50/month each renewal. One bedroom apts range from 1450-1600 in our area without utilities included and 600-700 sq ft. We would sleep in living room on a nice sleeper sofa, and my son would sleep in the bedroom. We will definitely not find a comparable place to what we currently have. The difference is about 1975 vs 1575-1725ish (utilities may be less but coin op laundry).

Smaller space
Apt instead of house
Want to have another kid
Downsizing our "stuff"
Unsure of how long we will be in area but at least one more year until husband leaves job, may be longer
Coin op laundry instead of one at house
Biggest expense is rent so easiest way to boost savings
Visitors couldn't stay with us so couldn't visit as much due to added hotel costs
Husband doesnt like moving but is open if numbers make sense

TLDR: What cost difference would make you move to a smaller less desirable living situation? Am I being too frugal even considering moving? My extended nonmustachian family thinks so!

Thanks for your insight!


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1290
  • Location: Northern California
Re: Rental size vs cost: where is the balance?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2017, 11:21:03 PM »
Maybe define HCOL? Under 2 grand per month is not a lot in Manhattan or the SF Bay Area but is a lot for  "home" (SFH?) in, say, Columbus, Ohio. People do like to be coy on here but if you feel comfortable, tell people where you live and maybe you'll get some feedback on what might work well for you.

What is your ultimate goal? Less rent? Less space? Financial freedom? More kids?


  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 608
Re: Rental size vs cost: where is the balance?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2017, 02:49:58 PM »
We live in a super HCOL and we rented a one bedroom for almost two years with a kid aging 1 at the start and 3 at the end.
To be honest, it was not entirely on purpose (we initially rented that place on airbnb to give us some time to look for a more permanent solution which we assumed would have 2 bedrooms but we ended up extending out of convenience and in the end until we just bought a place because the rental market here is a nightmare) but now that we have the experience my view on this is - it's not worth it. The price difference is too small to fully make up for the difference in quality of life. You can't have people sleep over, more mess, all sorts of small inconveniences arise and while it is a completely doable solution when it's convenient (like it was for us) I really don't think it's worth saving 200$ on when you need to move. Especially as your moving costs might easily eat up the whole difference.
In your situation I definitely wouldn't move (since you say you might be moving again soon).


  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 291
Re: Rental size vs cost: where is the balance?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2017, 11:19:31 PM »
I lived in the east bay area and understand the costs. I was at $1750/month for a 2 bed 2 bath condo unit (which was a good deal in my area). I went to a shared house with one roomate for $600. I went from 1000 sqft to about 120 in my bedroom, with the bulk of my things being stored in the garage and eventually sold or donated. My bills did increase from about $40/month to $125, but it was a $1000 savings per month that pushed me over the FIRE finish line.

For you, you're saying there's a possibility you'd only be there one more year. If that's the case, a possible new baby shouldn't have too much impact on the situation. If you started now, you may be 2-3 months along when you move, have a new born 6-7 months in, and that new born would be in your room for a while,  then could be moved in with your son. Kids sharing a room is a tradition that should be continued :) (which I realize would happen in your current situation as well). Coin operated laundry is not the worst thing. In my apartment, I could see on my power bill the days that I used my dryer. Also, at least in my area in CA, apartment living meant that I was not subject to the addition fees when water rationing started. There was no way to tell in a huge building who needed to cut back (this bill, trash, and sewer were also included in my rent at the condo).


  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 455
  • Location: California
Re: Rental size vs cost: where is the balance?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2017, 11:27:26 PM »
I would not even consider this, its not a large enough discount to justify it for me.  But it all depends on your income and what % the $200/mo savings equates to.   


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2672
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
Re: Rental size vs cost: where is the balance?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2017, 12:39:42 AM »
The other part is your current financial situation.

If you're in hair on fire debt, then consider moving to the cheaper apartment for a while until you can get on top of it. If not, then if the larger place enables you to live a lifestyle that makes you significantly happier, it's probably worth the extra few hundred a month.

Assuming you're not in deep debt (or $1800 a month is a huge chunk of your income), just stay at your current house :)