Author Topic: The housing dilemma (should I bike or drive?)  (Read 3011 times)


  • Stubble
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The housing dilemma (should I bike or drive?)
« on: December 09, 2014, 08:03:46 AM »
I've been traveling with my family for work for the past 7 months and now it is time to come back to reality. During this time we have spent a considerable amount of time searching for the location of our next home. We currently have about $30k for a down-payment on a house and we are trying to finish saving enough before the end of the 1-year lease we are about to start.

I really want to bike to work, but it seems like the numbers aren't telling me this is a good idea. After considerable debate, here are our top options and some more info:

  • 2 adults, 1 baby, 1 toddler, and maybe a new addition next year
  • Toyota Yaris (great gas mileage)-when I had a 20-45 min commute last year I spent an average of $80 on gas per month (not just for my commute)
  • $60k gross income

Apt. 1
Rent 1100
Sq ft 617 (probably a bit cramped)
LEED platinum certified (cheaper utility bills?)
20 min bike-ride to work
Close to an ok selection of parks, stores, and a library
Fitness center

Apt. 2
Rent 1000
Sq ft 774
1 hr bike-ride to work
Close to fantastic park and library (my wife would go here daily with the kids).
No fitness center
$50 for parking
WSG included

Apt. 3
Rent 850
Sq ft 900
Not bikeable (Google says it is 1 hr 45 min by bike)
22-50 min commute (depending on traffic)
No fitness center
WSG, free parking space, and no pets allowed (big plus as I donít like dealing with old pet smell or hair)
Within walking distance to stores, parks, and a library (although these are between 15 and 30 min away)
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 08:06:41 AM by FoundPeace »


  • Stubble
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Re: The housing dilemma (should I bike or drive?)
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2014, 08:25:35 AM »
#1 sounds best to me...20 minutes is a nice hour+ is not.


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Re: The housing dilemma (should I bike or drive?)
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2014, 08:48:59 AM »
#2 should be eliminated pretty easily. As the poster before mentioned, an hour bike ride each way is no fun.

I'd probably go with #3. It will give you more space and allow you to save more money. The goal is to buy a house (hopefully closer to work!) so your decision today should be whatever does the most to achieve that goal. I'd suck it up and drive for a year knowing that it will allow you to bike for many more years to come.


  • Stubble
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Re: The housing dilemma (should I bike or drive?)
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2014, 11:43:36 AM »
I think #3 would probably be the best bet as well. Even if that means no bike for a year.

The neighborhood we want to buy a house in is only about a 30 min bike ride away.


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Re: The housing dilemma (should I bike or drive?)
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2014, 11:52:45 AM »
Since it's just a year, and the goal is to save money, I'd go with #3.  Plus, I think the extra space would be good.  I currently bike ~ 30 minutes to work everyday and I love it.  An hour is a lot, although (again) it's just for a year.  Kind of depends, too, on how much of a priority the library and park are.

Future Lazy

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Re: The housing dilemma (should I bike or drive?)
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2014, 12:06:42 PM »
My DH has recently been looking for a new job, so I've been running the numbers on the cost of commuting... Using some of the info from MMM's article on this. The formula I came up with looked something like...

(Purchase price + Cost of maintenance)/(total miles - miles at purchase) = Total cost of vehicle ownership and maintenance per mile

Plus the cost of gas per mile, at $3.50 and nine tenths of a penny: $3.509/??mpg = $0.???/mi

Gas cost per mile + Maint cost per mile = total cost per mile.

Enter your own variables, of course. Mine came out to $0.39 per mile, but in the True Cost of Commuting article, MMM says ultimate cheap driving is no less than $0.17/mi...

All that said, if Apartment 3 is what you're considering, I would see if the difference in rental cost between Apt 1 and Apt 3 is more or less than the cost to commute to work from Apt 3 based on the cost per mile to commute. Then, go with the more economical option.