Author Topic: Way more for rent in the center of town or live farther out with another car.  (Read 1498 times)

nawhite

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We have been a one car family for a while now. I work from home and my wife was working a 10 min walk away from her work and then was working from home too while we traveled in an RV (see sig) but we're making a lot of changes that are making me question if we should get a second car now.

Basically my wife got a new job as an itinerant education specialist which requires her to drive around the county and help train teachers. Most of the driving hours aren't during rush hour commute times and she gets reimbursed for all of it so having a fuel efficient cheap used car is going to pay for itself sooner rather than later just of the reimbursements. So now she will need the one car we have all day most days.

So the question is, where should we live and should we get another car? She can be anywhere in the county and it won't really affect the number of miles she has to drive, and I work from home so I don't need to be near an office. We can either live in the middle of the small city here where rent is $1800-$2000 for what we're looking for but it is right in the middle of town and I wouldn't need a car to do any of the things I enjoy doing. Or we can live a 10 min drive away from the center of town where rent is closer to $1300 and I get a car to carry my kayaks into town. Parking isn't an issue anywhere.

Curious what you all think? Save $500+ per month but need another car, or be in the middle of town?

vhalros

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Personally I'd move rather than getting another car. I just don't like living in a place where I have to drive to do stuff.

Financially, what would a new car cost exactly? Here I'd estimate a minimum of $1,000 in insurance, $500 in various fees, and then whatever it costs to operate; so probably around $2,000/year at least. So it would save you $4,000/year in total. Is that worth it?

Is there an inbetween option to move to not-quite-the-middle of town and get a bicycle?

dcheesi

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First off, do the math. Can you own an additional car for significantly less than $500/mo in TCO? That's $6k a year, so it seems like a cheap used car might be doable if the taxes etc. don't bite you too hard. Since you don't need the vehicle for work transport, and since your yearly mileage isn't going to be that high, you can probably get away with going a bit cheaper and just dealing with repairs as they are needed.

Then consider the intangibles. Being able to walk to shopping and activities is great and very freeing in a way, plus it encourages exercise in your everyday life. OTOH, having everything "right there" can also be a temptation to go out and spend more. It all depends on your interests and personality.


lhamo

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I would choose the walkable location, even if it costs considerably more.   It is a quality of life thing.   The one thing that I don't like about our new home is that it is not particularly walkable for daily life stuff.   

nawhite

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Personally I'd move rather than getting another car. I just don't like living in a place where I have to drive to do stuff.

Financially, what would a new car cost exactly? Here I'd estimate a minimum of $1,000 in insurance, $500 in various fees, and then whatever it costs to operate; so probably around $2,000/year at least. So it would save you $4,000/year in total. Is that worth it?

Is there an inbetween option to move to not-quite-the-middle of town and get a bicycle?

Good call on adding up all the additional costs of a car. You're right that it would probably be about $2000/year in my guess. But when I think of $4000/year as "$100k more in my retirement account before FIRE and 2 years of more work to get there", saving the $4k per year seems WAY worth it. As for the bicycle idea, $1800 is really for places bicycle distance away, walking distance is more like $2000-2200.

First off, do the math. Can you own an additional car for significantly less than $500/mo in TCO? That's $6k a year, so it seems like a cheap used car might be doable if the taxes etc. don't bite you too hard. Since you don't need the vehicle for work transport, and since your yearly mileage isn't going to be that high, you can probably get away with going a bit cheaper and just dealing with repairs as they are needed.

Then consider the intangibles. Being able to walk to shopping and activities is great and very freeing in a way, plus it encourages exercise in your everyday life. OTOH, having everything "right there" can also be a temptation to go out and spend more. It all depends on your interests and personality.

I definitely agree that for the most part, the things that close would be a temptation to spend more. I'd go to a brewery way more often if I could walk to it. The places farther out also have great trail systems fortunately so I'm sure that I'd still get a fair bit of exercise walking/running/biking my dog there.

Maybe I've made my mind up and I need external confirmation but these replies have been really helpful making me identify what I'm giving up. Keep them coming please!

meghan88

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One more vote for staying close to the center.  It sounds like you'll have all amenities nearby if you do, and a better quality of life.

spjulep

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What about social connections? Would being in the center offer more opportunities to spend time with friends, and is that valuable to you? Working from home can get lonely, even if you enjoy the peace and quiet.

Though, if you lived in an RV, you probably don't hate driving as much as I do. =)

Zamboni

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What is the reimbursement rate or mileage on your wife's driving? If I had to drive much for work, at the rate they reimburse me for car travel I'd definitely be making money hand over fist just on that. I have a Prius that I bought used, and the last time I drove a business trip they reimbursed me something like $280 for driving a distance that amounted to less than 2 tanks of gas. A super high mileage vehicle that is old enough you don't need collision and comprehensive coverage could make having a second vehicle cost effective or even profitable in some scenarios.

nawhite

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Just to follow up on this thread, we ended up doing something very mustachian. We found a place with 1 fewer bedrooms than we thought we really needed in the middle of town for $1450. So we don't spend as much AND we get to be in the middle of town. The one fewer bedroom thing will be a little bit of a hassle as kids are probably not too far in the future for us but we can upgrade THEN and save the money now. It's not like this is a house we're buying.

We have been talking about getting another car though and Zamboni's comment is spot on about mileage reimbursement. My wife is going to be driving A LOT and getting paid to do it so we're seriously looking at getting a cheap high mileage car that gets amazing gas mileage (and maybe even a Volt to cut down on gas spending even more). Still up in the air and we probably won't decide until we've been in the place for a while to see how it goes but so far so good.

Thanks for all the responses!