As we have discussed in several previous articles, there are a lot of factors to consider when moving to a new place of residence. When you think about all the stress of finding an affordable place with all the right amenities sometimes transportation can get overlooked or it can be emphasized too much. This begs the question: how important is being near public transportation when moving?
I am sure everyone is aware, that housing is the largest expense for most households in the United States. By definition, housing is considered affordable when it costs no more than 30% of a household’s monthly budget. What many people may fail to realize is that transportation is another large portion of every household’s budget. When both housing and transportation are taken into account they make up approximately 50% of the average budget. Interestingly, the average American spends approximately $3000 on gas alone every year! With all those numbers in mind, what does any of this mean when you are moving?
Well, when you are looking for your new place to live, you should probably consider the commute. Will it be longer or shorter than the commute that you are used to? Personally, there is nothing that I hate more than a long commute. If I could roll right out of bed and into the office you can be certain that I would.
My disdain for long commutes aside, you also need to consider mode of transportation. Will you be driving, relying on public transit, biking or walking? You might even want to consider the environmental impact of your commute. After all, there is evidence to show that living near public transportation might save time, increase your physical activity and reduce your greenhouse emissions.
Finally, how cost-effective is your commute? There are claims that using public transportation may cost less than driving. However, there has also been research to suggest that moving closer to or further from public transit might not matter very much when it comes to cost. Researchers who have examined this topic have noted that there are not usually significant differences in transportation costs when individuals move unless they are moving from an area with virtually no public transit to an area that is rich with it. Those who move from low transit areas to high transit areas can save an average of $58 per month. Yet, the average person is not making that move, so the benefits are usually minimal.
With all of that in mind, I have given you a lot of information today, so I thought I should give you a few key takeaways to think about. First, try not to spend more than 30% of your monthly budget on housing. Second, transportation is expensive and you should consider it when you are making decisions about moving. Third, your transportation decisions can influence your physical health as well as your carbon footprint. Be kind to yourself and the earth whenever you have the chance. And finally, although it is possible to switch to public transit and significantly reduce your cost for transportation, it is not guaranteed. You should definitely mull it all over and make the best decision for your life. Good luck!
Moving to a new area can be challenging. There are many number of stressors that could be taking up space in your mind. Maybe you are starting a new job and are learning the ropes. You could be in a whole new city and struggling to make it to and from the grocery store without getting lost. Perhaps you are trying to find friends so you can have a social life instead of staying home and watching TV with your dog every night. No matter what else is going on in your life, moving is always stressful.