Living in the suburbs vs. living in the city: Save $24,012 per year


My car is nearing the 200,000 mile mark. And do you know what? I am excited. I’m about to be a part of the coveted 200,000 mile club. What does this mean? It means I drive a paid off car and I’m keeping my old car running strong!

Don’t get me wrong — it’s a pain when you have to take your car in for repair. This year alone we’ve had to take it in several times for two A/C issues and an alternator issue, in addition to oil changes. But I LOVE that my car is paid off. FREEDOM!!!

But this little car does it’s fair share of hard work. I live 35 miles from my job, and the city where we live is very congested. I try to get to work as early as I can to beat the traffic; otherwise I’ll work from home in the morning and go in later. Many people have asked me why I don’t just move to the city. For one, my husband works close to were we live, and two, IT’S EXPENSIVE.

For a similar home with a similar lot, we’d be looking at spending TRIPLE what we paid for our current home. Plus we’d need to tack on the additional taxes.

I won’t tell you exactly how much we paid for our home, but just to give an idea, here’s the total cost difference between a $150,000 house and a $450,000 house at 4% interest on a 30-year mortgage, all other factors being the same.

Cost of $150,000 house:

  • Interest: $107,804.26
  • Total cost: $366,929.26

Cost of $450,000 house:

  • Interest: $323,412.78
  • Total cost: $896,787.78

DIFFERENCE: $529,858.52

Oh. My. Gosh. Half a million dollars?!?! As you can see, it’s quite expensive to live close to a city versus living in the suburbs.

Let’s say I commute this many miles for 20 years. Here’s the savings breakdown:

  • Savings per year: $26,492
  • Savings per month: $2,208
  • Savings per workday: $110

Phew! That’s quite a cost difference. Plus, it’s so much less congested where we live, and I love the parks and nature where we are.

The drive does add a significant strain on my car, and I’d be remiss if I did not include these expenses in my estimate.

Car expenses:

  • Gas: $1,560 per year
  • Oil changes: $120 per year
  • Repairs: $800, estimated
  • Total: $2,480

If we subtract this from the yearly amount, it equals $24,012 per year. Wowza! (This amount would probably be offset slightly by the increase in taxes anyway, however.)

So yes, there are expenses, and yes, there’s a slight cost to my health in terms of sitting and stress when it comes to commuting. (It’s definitely not my favorite pastime!) But, when you’re talking about a savings of half a million dollars, to me, it’s well worth it to save the money and endure the commute. After all, I’m making $100 each day by living far away! (That’s what I tell myself, anyway.) 😉

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