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Move closer to work.

Lower your IRA to increase liquid cash savings.

Its worth it.

gpandy said:   Any votes for moving back home (closer to work)? Feel like it would be a step backwards for me after being away for 4 years of undergrad and nearly 3 years of working full-time. (edited to add: this moving back home is really more of an afterthought and as a last resort..)Whoa - you didn't mention this before! There's no shame in living at home. Hell, pay your parents the equivalent of what you are paying now, and you'll pocket all that gas money and get your free time back. After a few months, you'll find some ol' buddy or coworker or desperate chick looking for a roommate closer to work. There's no way I'd be doing your commute with a so-much-better option staring me in the face.

Stuff like this gets complicated. My wife used to work in San Jose and I worked in Marin. Her parents are a couple blocks away and most of her close family is close. Basically free babysitting and not increasing her commute (heading into traffic instead of against it) was totally worth me suffering through a 90 mile round trip. But now she's a stay at home mom, so it gets more tempting on every tankfull of gas. However, if a 100+ mile affordable Electric car or Hybrid with crazy high MPG comes out, that temptation could go away.

I moved from Chicago to LA recently (4 months back)

I used to commute in train in Chicago (From Carol Stream to Downtown Chicago), and it was using 2 hour total time (parking, walk to train station, travel time all together per day)
and I was tired of it. and when I moved to LA, I rented apartment 1.5 miles from my work

I am saving 2-3 hours a day in traffic, and gas, I go for lunch at home.

So I'm saving 50-60 hours a week, saving gas, saving lunch money... and at home in no time.....

I pay 1600 rent compare to 800 in Carol Stream.. but the hours/time I save/utilize is far more valuable than saving 400-500$

My commute of a little over an hour each way is my quiet time for the day to recharge away from other stresses of life, job, family with kids etc... Well, I consider it alone even though I am surrounded by strangers for about ~3/4s of it on public transportation. I guess it depends on how you look at it. If I was in stop and go traffic most of that time I probably would hate it. LA is a bad metro area to work/live in because the transit sucks move somewhere else.

Move closer to work and make your lunches and dinners at home. Between car upkeep, gas, and less 'eating out' bills, you'll break even easily.

Crazytree said:   New FWF tactic: get a 24 Hour Fitness membership near your work. Live in your Crown Vic in the parking lot and use the gym for personal hygiene.

Paid for with Bluebird. Red for spoonfeeding?

Wanted to add my 2 cents. Currently commuting 3 or 4 days a week (~45 minute commute each way) to school. I only do this because as a PhD grad student my stipend is next to nothing... If I would get an apartment in Boston pretty much the entire stipend would go towards rent. I also avoid traffic... sometimes with traffic that 45 minute commute can double easily -- a luxury you don't have.

From what I can tell, the $350 cost/mth is a great alternative to commuting and having some time to relax or doing whatever else you decide with your time. Good luck!

PS: I have recently picked up audiobooks. It's a great way for me to pass the time in traffic... I go through at least 1 each week or so!

acroBios said:   My commute of a little over an hour each way is my quiet time for the day to recharge away from other stresses of life, job, family with kids etc... Well, I consider it alone even though I am surrounded by strangers for about ~3/4s of it on public transportation. I guess it depends on how you look at it. If I was in stop and go traffic most of that time I probably would hate it. LA is a bad metro area to work/live in because the transit sucks move somewhere else.

Why would you hate it. Effectively, the difference between sitting on public transit and sitting in your car in traffic is that you can't close your eyes with the latter. Personally, I'd use the time for books on tape or podcasts.

You don't have only 35-45 minutes of free time a day. You also have the time you are commuting in the car. Try audio books. I actually learned Russian in about 8 months after commuting between Boston and NYC on a weekly basis.

b0mbrman said:   Why would you hate it. Effectively, the difference between sitting on public transit and sitting in your car in traffic is that you can't close your eyes with the latter. Personally, I'd use the time for books on tape or podcasts.
I used to love my Chicago train commute - I've never been so well read in all my life. I contrast that with my awful L.A. commute where the sole high point was KROQ playing the Offspring's Bad Habit during every rush hour.

simmias said:   b0mbrman said:   Why would you hate it. Effectively, the difference between sitting on public transit and sitting in your car in traffic is that you can't close your eyes with the latter. Personally, I'd use the time for books on tape or podcasts.
I used to love my Chicago train commute - I've never been so well read in all my life. I contrast that with my awful L.A. commute where the sole high point was KROQ playing the Offspring's Bad Habit during every rush hour.


Did you ever try books on tape?

My daily commute is a 15-minute subway ride which isn't even enough for a podcast, but the few times I've been forced to take long solo roadtrips have been pretty fun because of planning ahead and having books on tape ready.

nwill002 said:   OC is far from the cheapest area to rent. There has to be a location near your job with comparable expenses.OC has its fair share of cracktrash areas.

My first job location was under 40 miles one way and I thought it was a long commute. Luckily, I got a new job offer after just working one month at that location. My current job location is under 3 miles one way and I reap the savings on gas, wear and tear on the auto, insurance costs, and most important of all, the freedom get to work within 10 minutes after leaving home and the ability to get back home in an instant in cases of emergencies. I almost never encounter rush hour traffic. Just last month, I had to trek over to an adjoining state during rush hour one afternoon and it was NOT a pleasant experience (over an hour just to go 10 miles).

uutxs said:   Any opportunities to carpool?

Or using public transportation? Even in L.A., there are opportunities. Metrolink with long commuter train runs allow for people to live huge distances from areas like downtown to work there. A 50 mile drive each way I couldn't handle. There's the long drive, aggravation, costs of running and wearing out you car, along with increased odds of being in car accidents.

Crazytree said:   nwill002 said:   OC is far from the cheapest area to rent. There has to be a location near your job with comparable expenses.OC has its fair share of cracktrash areas.
true but what im saying is, if he can find a place OC with that rent price Im sure he find a place closer in whatever area he is commuting to with a comparable price.

I used to live in Irvine so for those of you asking if there is any public transport, there is not.

While this has all been said, I was in your exact shoes 8 years ago....I could live with my folks 30 minutes North, I could live further away and commute to Irvine saving bundles of money or I could live in Irvine.

Start valuing your time. Honestly, when people are younger, they don't put any value on it. What you save in commuting, you'll make up by making new friends, meeting girls (Newps) and being healthier. Irvine has some great running and bike paths, and some excellent parks. Even if you don't utilize anything the city has to offer, just being able to live your life (work to live vs. live to work) will make you happier in the long run and add years to your life.

While you are young, take the risks and don't go crazy with your IRA. I know I'll get red for saying that, but the a few thousand you save now over losing your life to the commuting grind isn't worth it. Long term, you'll make it up but you'll never get that time back.

Just find a roommate or a couple of them. Go live in Newport North with 3 roommates. You'll probably pay around $700 with each of your roommates and you'll get to spend time with the co-eds in the jacuzzi. Best decision of my life.

have you considered moving into walkable distance to your work. this way you can get rid of the car, insurance and payments, if any. Add this as savings to offset the excess expense inrent ... Changes in your lifestyle will be difficult at first, but will be worthwhile in the longer run. Its the fear of being uncertain ...

powellm said:   You should live with house mates - it's what most sane people to in Orange County in your position.
$700 per month is a discount in OC with housemates.

I question why the OP is living in OC at all if he works far from it and has the ability to move.

indeo said:   have you considered moving into walkable distance to your work. this way you can get rid of the car, insurance and payments, if any. Add this as savings to offset the excess expense inrent ... Changes in your lifestyle will be difficult at first, but will be worthwhile in the longer run. Its the fear of being uncertain ...
getting rid of the car in California is not an appealing idea.

I just left a situation like you are describing for a shorter commute and I am really enjoying the extra time I have to myself. I have been doing a long commute for years to make extra money and it made me miserable. I changed jobs instead of moving. Now I have time to actually cook dinner if I want... watch a movie, see friends, excersice, etc. You will have a much higher quality of life M-F. Though FW is dedicated to financies, I personally value happiness/health over $$$. Though my situation is slightly different, in that my work position is road warrier. This let me get a company car and not only save on commute time most days, but fuel costs, insurance, wear and tear, etc. I drove an acura so I would be comfortable in my long commutes. Now, its a weekend car. So, do the math. If I sell my Acura and keep my beater Jeep, save on insurance AND gas, it saves me around 800 per month plus puts about 10k in my pocket for the sale of the car after I pay it off. Point is moving closer may allow you to purchase a cheaper car, decrease your insurance mileage(decrease in ins premiums), gas expenses, wear and tear and also give you some quality of life improvements. Weigh it all in, but remember happiness and health are the end result goal.

VicVinegar said:   Well as someone who has done an ~85 mile roundtrip commute (wake up at 4AM, out the door at 5AM, office by 6, leave at 3, home anywhere between 4 and 5...sometimes later) for a few years now, I can say the value of a short commute is growing.

Unfortunately the reason I have the commute is that my wife bought this house before we were married. It works for her job, which is 10 minutes away without traffic. Not so much for mine. We could move to a more central location for both, but need some of these damn foreclosures to clear out of the neighborhood first. I do have a bus option if I want it that will take me to a 5-10 minute walk from the office, but it currently costs more than driving my 13 year old Civic.

If I were on my own? I'd cut it down to a reliable 20 minutes or less. I could afford an apartment that is walking distance from my office, but would probably cry every month writing a check that large for a small space. Of course some days, I think it would sure be nice to be living in that $1900 1-bedroom and be home with plenty of time to work out and make dinner./Q]

If the wife has such a short commute, why doesn't she cook dinner?

Instead of moving closer to work, did you consider jobs close to home

i live in la and commute to irvine everyday for the last 6 years. mind you, i have a carpool buddy so it makes the commute a lot better. have you tried looking for a carpooler?

If the OP is young and single, then IMO paying premium rent to be close to work is smart. Long commutes are for family men to suffer so that their wife and kids can have a nice house somewhere affordable. I am also assuming that your workplace is in a desirable area that you would like to live in.

Personally I would try to work from home half of the time. Get your boss to agree to the following terms:

1) When gas price is above $3.50 per gallon, you can work from home.
2) When temperature is outside of the range of 50f - 75f, you can work from home.
3) When the sky is not clear before 9AM, you can work from home.
4) If there is rain or snow in the forecast of any cities on route to work, you can work from home.
5) If you spent more than 2 hours commuting the day before, you can work from home.

I think these terms are pretty standard in some profession. Show it to your jboss and get him to put it in your employment agreement!

You should take steps to enter a skilled profession and/or move to a low cost of living area

on a side note...

The freeways would be in much better shape if people would move closer to where they work. I don't understand why people are so willing to commute such long distances when they can easily move or switch jobs. I know not everyone can easily do it, but many can and they still pick the long drive. Because of these people, everyone else must suffer.

To me it would come down to the likelihood of me being in an accident simply because of the number of miles driven every day. Even if I am thinking clearly at 6 am (often not the case), it doesn't mean that all those other drivers around me are. My comfort zone is <20 min each way.

(side comment) There is a great book called Traffic which pretty much says we make the roads what they are. There is no "fixing a freeway". E.g. as soon as a lane is added, more people move in and start utilizing whatever extra capacity was added.

after 8 hours --- your time is worth time and a half

so if your commute takes an additional 3 hours then you are losing 4.5 hours

so I would need a 65% pay increase to add 3 hours to my commute

I commuted an hour a day each way for almost 40 years and, in my opinion it's worth it to live where you want rather than to live somewhere you don't want to just because it is close to your job. I had a state job with a great retirement that I wasn't going to leave until I was ready to retire. In my case, I lived in a small town in a lower cost of living area that has all the advantages of larger cities due to a lot of upper middle class second home owners in the vicinity. Only the last 10 miles or so of my commute had any traffic issues. My advice, if you want to stay where you are, is to try to find a way to enjoy the commute. For me, the 2 hours a day spent commuting was the only time that I was ever alone with my thoughts, my music (I invested in satelite radio and enjoyed it until XM and Sirius merged - now I listen to my Slacker radio or my own music on USB drives plugged into my stereo or my iPod), or I just enjoy the relative silence. As far as the car goes, a new Toyota or Nissan or equivalent will last you a long time without major repairs, in my case over 6 years of commuting for $15K or so with a couple of Camry's. Gas is an issue, but at 30+ miles per gallon, I was spending less than $12 a day on it. It's all a matter of choice. Back when I first started my job I lived in a couple of undesirable areas that were closer to work and I was not happy.

Thanks for all the input, advice, and suggestions everyone. For those that have suggested or asked:

Public transportation, even if possible, would not be an attractive solution for me. Sure, it might rule out the possibilities of getting into an accident and I could read a book or do other things, but it wouldn't solve the problem of giving me more time to myself. It might even take away even more time as I figure I'd probably have to wake up even earlier if I'm not driving myself to and from work.

I'm currently stocking away $500/mo into a long-term savings fund. I have no specific plans for it. Maybe the next car in 5-10 years, a down-payment on a house, a graduate degree/school expenses, etc. It's something I'm inclined not to touch until the next big purchase comes about, whenever and whatever that ends up being. I would find it tough to see this savings amount reduced to $150/mo as this long-term savings fund would grow at an even slower snail's pace (though I suspect it may well be worth it from what I've been reading here).

Also regarding the IRA, I've had it drilled into my head the benefits of compounded interest / contributing to a retirement fund at an early age, vs.trying to "catch-up" 5-10 years later, which is the reason I've been inclined to max out the IRA so long as it was feasible, and as early as possible.

Hearing all of your personal experiences and stories have really helped me with this decision. Very, VERY much appreciated.

I live 90+ miles from where I work. 62 miles to the train station, then another 50 minutes on the train. I recently bought a house to move closer, so now i save two hours a day round trip.

How much would I value a shorter commute? Let's call it $289,000 since thats the difference in the purchase price of the new place and the value of the old place. even though that purchase price is excluding HOA fee, higher gas costs, higher utilities, etc.

How long did I do it for? my 5 year anniversary at my workplace is next Monday. Could I have done it another 10 years? probably, in fact recently i've been covering the cost of my commute with stops at certain drug stores that sell certain ice cream flavors, which are not nearly as prevalent in the SF Bay area.

These are always the things we have to trade for... rarely can you find your ideal housing arrangement at an affordable cost with very limited commute. I currently have a 60 miles round trip and will soon be upping that to 70 miles round trip; it certainly isn't as long as your commute, but I find that it is tolerable for a few reasons: 1) I don't want to move within my metro area... if I move, I am moving to a different metro area and that probably isn't happening for a while, 2) I have a flexible schedule; I don't have to be at work until 9AM and I can leave as early as 3PM, so long as I figure out how to fit in my time, I can adjust my commute to a time with less traffic, and 3) I don't always have to commute; while I don't have a job where I can telecommute always, I try to do so at least 1-2 days per week, which has worked out, so far. Also, I bought and older VW TDI that is getting me nearly 50 mpg (49.18 mpg on the last tank)... so my fuel costs are significantly lower that what you might expect (~$100/month), and I didn't pay a ridiculously inflated price for a hybrid vehicle where I am unlikely to receive any ROI.

Of course, I loved the idea of a 24 hour gym membership and living in the car. If I were single and without children, I wouldn't mind living like a pauper... or even a bad neighborhood, for that matter... but that is just my nature. I have always thought about doing this as a backup strategy in the event of a power failure (I have had two extended power outages due to storms... 14 days for one and 7 days for another). Now, if you find a job that offers a gym membership as a perk or has a work gym and washing facilities, you don't even have to pay for that membership. Of course, with that situation, finding a rent situation like you already have, just closer to work would likely become extremely tolerable by comparison.

@bassmanben - I don't even get the reference...

I think a lot of this depends on where you live. In my area, ideal jobs are located in an area that doesn't have the best schools. So if you have kids, you either send them to private schools ($$$) or you move to the bordering counties to be in an A rated school district.

no im thinkin riverside or rancho schleppin on the 10 fwy to LA, good god i dont miss cali at all its total gridlock now at any given time


jkimcpa said:   gpandy said:   
The $700/mo is in Orange County, CA. I'd prefer to not say the city where I work, but similar places within a 5-10 mile radius have questionable neighborhood safety issues.

let me guess rancho dominguez

I went from driving 35k a year to driving 0 a year for my job (work remote now).

I gave up about $1/hr in wages, but made up for that 10 fold in no costs for work,
lunches and dinners are cheaper. Less stressing environment.

The list goes on and on, and now, I make more than I did, and have benefit options which
I did not have before.

All in all, life is too short to sit in a car for anything more than absolutely necessary.
You can't make money sitting in traffic (ok most jobs you can't)

Move closer to work and instead of time to commute you can be making more money during those wasted hours.

Crazytree said:   I don't do traffic and refuse to live more than 15min from my office.

I refuse to waste years of my life in traffic.


I went from a long 8 mile commute to 6 miles. Winning!

stiltner said:   I went from driving 35k a year to driving 0 a year for my job (work remote now).

I gave up about $1/hr in wages, but made up for that 10 fold in no costs for work,
lunches and dinners are cheaper. Less stressing environment.
I can't get anything done at home unless it involves mowing down 12 year olds in Call of Duty.

dhl said:   I went from a long 8 mile commute to 6 miles. Winning!My old office was 10 miles away, same as my new office. But my commute is now less than half as long with no traffic.

I live a mile from my office and walk every day. It takes 15-20 minutes, gets me some fresh air, a little exercise and helps wake me up in the morning. If the weather is especially crappy, there's a free bus that takes me 2/3 of the way from my apartment to the office and 9/10 of the way home.

My previous job was a 10-15 minute drive.

My first job was like 1.5 hours each way but I had free rent living with the parents.

No way would I go to a job with a 1 hour commute both ways.



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