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Lifestyle choices

June 29th, 2016 at 03:04 pm

We're in the midst of another road trip so we've been chatting a lot in the car. I'll post pictures if I can figure out how of cool stuff we see.

We're doing our due diligence and starting to focus on areas we'd like to live permanently. Right now DH works around 20 miles from work he'd like to cut it down to 10 miles. I'm all for him having a shorter commute that's in line with our values and lifestyle choices.

But he brought up potentially moving out of the suburbs and moving into the city. He would be within 3-5 miles of work, bikable/fast transit, one car family, convenience/urban and fun. Trade offs are smaller home, not a big deal, postage yard (big deal to me), lack of privacy, and not great schools potentially. So he suggests maybe private school instead for the kids? Something we've never really considered both being products of public schools.

So now I'm torn. Do we shorten his commute considerably and change our lifestyle drastically? Is it in line to be really close to work, 1 car, no yard, I don't mind a small house but hate having neighbors right there, and private school? Is this a lifestyle I want or does he? We're really struggling because this would be permanent.

I know it'd be cost efficient probably to buy a house in the city for less money potentially in a bad school district and do private school. We'd save on time and costs. But I'm really not sure I'd enjoy it.

I have been a huge proponent of living where you love. That people in HCOLA who shouldnt' live there or LCOLA not making much should live where they love. And now we're at that same point.

DH could love the commute and he likes walking to places. But at the same time we aren't sure about living so close to neighbors and doing private school. What happens if he loses his job? While other jobs are in the area and he'll likely find one in the same area we'll be on the hook for private school tuition no matter what. But many people pay for private school even in good school districts for different reasons. Would we consider private school anyway in the suburbs? We have neighbors and friends doing private school now.

I think I'm feeling more pressure because before we always felt we had flexibility and time to make a mistake and correct it. But now the kids are getting older and more settled and I don't want to keep on moving. This is just difficult because it really is a lifestyle decision.

More talking to commence. FWIW we've been looking at houses in the city and they are fine. The parks are cute and walkability is amazing.

Do you like where you live? Do you wish you lived in the city or suburbs or more rural? And do you do private school and why did you choose it?

8 Responses to “Lifestyle choices”

  1. CB in the City Says:

    I live in a condo, in a suburb, but actually just over the Chicago border, so it's very city-like. My kids are grown but my son lives nearby, and has two school-age boys. They love the walkability of the neighborhood. The boys are in an excellent magnet school; it is public. The amenities nearby are amazing -- parks, theaters, museums, cultural organizations, restaurants and shopping. Not to mention excellent mass transit. The downside is living in high-rises with neighbors all around. I think my DIL longs for a house in suburb with a yard (though that is not a financial possibility right now).

    I think if the only upside for you guys is the commute, then don't live in the city. Especially if you really don't want people all around you, and especially if you want a yard. Commutes can be managed. In my last three years of working, my commute took 3 hours a day, which I don't recommend to anyone, but I managed it because my goal was to retire here. Have you checked out mass transit? Much easier than driving, once you get used to it.

  2. Carol Says:

    I am a house with yard person, especially when our kids were little. However, we also were able to have a short commute to work. Decent public school balanced by high property tax. Did private school for one child for middle school. Good schools a very high value of ours.
    You are now in another big life changing decision/ discussion time. You did a good job with your last one so you can figure it out, I'm sure. I forget how old your kids are, i.e. what grades? But for what it's worth...don't buy until he's had that job for at least a year. If you want to try the city, rent for a while esp. since kids are still young.
    Around here( eastern Mass.) empty nesters are moving into the city when kids are off to coll eve. It goes way faster than you think. Good luck!

  3. Butterscotch Says:

    Another option is to have him rent an apartment near where he's working. That way he doesn't have to commit to commuting everyday. It might be expensive, but likely less expensive than private school for two kids and the increased cost of a house you don't really like closer to the city.

  4. Kiki Says:

    I lived in my previous apartment for 7 years because it was less than 2 miles to work.

    I bought my house for the same reason and only about a quarter mile away from my previous apartment. While I may not stay at this job forever the house is 4 minutes to the freeway to Sacramento (about 15 minutes down the road). It was important to me that I would have a short commute after several years of 140 mile round trip 2+ hour commutes. I wanted a better quality of life that a short commute brings. It is a suburb of Sacramento and close to what I was looking for.

  5. LuckyRobin Says:

    I would hate to not have a yard and I'd hate to be packed in close to the neighbors. It would drive me nuts. Privacy is very important to me. Without it, I feel like I have to be on all the time, that I can't really ever just relax. And if you get lousy neighbors who are smack up against you, that's a lot harder to live with than if you have some space there. Going to a park every time you want to have some space isn't going to be the same because it won't be your own space and you likely won't ever have it to yourselves. Your husband's commute is not that bad. I certainly wouldn't base your house purchase on that. You've given up a lot for him to pursue this dream. You shouldn't have to give up what you want in a home and what your kids likely want too for him to shave a few minutes off his commute, which is really not bad at all considering where you are at.

  6. ThriftoRama Says:

    We had to make choices like these about five years ago. We researched private schools, and found in our area the more affordable (but still expensive) ones were lower quality than the pubic schools in a high ranked inner-ring suburbs. And the expensive really good private schools cost more than college. Per kid.

    We also were in a situation where we prefer to bike, walk, live in the city with no commute, but with kids, we had to compromise over the school issue. We found our compromise in an inner ring suburb close to downtown (the city grew around this suburb, which always remained independent) with a half acre yard. Hubby can still bike to the office, although it's about 5 miles. BUT, the kids and I can walk most places we need to go. There's a park with a bike path and a public library branch a few blocks away. We can walk to school, and in summer to the local pool/water park and to summer camp.

    The grocery store is about 2 miles away and am conspiring to bike there for smaller trips once the kids are in school.

  7. PatientSaver Says:

    How long does it take your husband to drive the 20 miles? I think the transportation savings of living closer to his job would be heavily outweighed by private school costs, and I don't think you should not examine just how much more money that would involve. So I don't think it would be cost effective to live in the city. Check out the property tax situation/mil rate in the city he wants to move to, then check suburbs as well.

    However, i can understand that he may hate the drive. Could he work at home at least a day or two a week? I work at home 2x a week and it does wonders for me. I personally don't think that shortening the commute by itself is a good enough reason to make this kind of move unless you think you'd like living in a city environment.

    I am also a privacy and yard person. My home is where I go to unwind, relax, rejuvenate. Not sure I could do that without having some sort of very private outdoor space.

  8. Livingalmostlarge Says:

    The drive will be at least an hour or longer.i am looking now at tax rates. We are unsure about working from home. If we had space that he could lock himself in then possibly. I like the suburbs I'll admit. I like having convenience but a little privacy. And ease of getting stuff is important. Probably because we both were raised in suburbs we like it. We like being close to shopping, malls, parks, etc. But a not on top of each other. I agreed to look in city and make an educated decision.

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