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Living within biking distance to work vs. paying off low interest student loan
Old 12-26-2017, 10:58 PM   #1
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Living within biking distance to work vs. paying off low interest student loan

I'm at a standstill whether to move within biking distance to work or put that money towards my $17k, 3.4-3.8% student loan. Luckily, I don't have to make min payments until 2021 (paid off my > 4% interest student loans). I'm also maxing out my 401k, HSA and Roth IRA.

My commute is 1.5 hrs, 40 mi roundtrip and it's not that bad especially since I own a Prius now. I could listen to podcasts and audiobooks to make the time more productive. Although, it'd be nice to have those hours back.

I found a relatively cheap 1 bedroom apt and it is very tempting. I've always wanted to have my own place as I've had roommates for the past 6 years. I just feel guilty throwing money out the window to live more luxuriously, whereas I could get myself sooner out of debt. And I'm not sure if I'm chasing this false sense of happiness of having my own place.
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Old 12-26-2017, 11:23 PM   #2
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My first post too. Welcome to us both.

Would you be getting rid of your car? Thus saving on gas, insurance and maintenance?
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Old 12-26-2017, 11:24 PM   #3
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I wouldn't make that sacrifice.

Love my bicycles, but to ride 40 miles every day to save a few bucks wouldn't be worth it to me, no matter where you live. Too much risk for me due to inconvenience, weather, errant drivers, etc. Not likely to ever get fat, though . Suggest looking at other places to save some money, especially since you already have the commitment to the car.

As to the roommate vs. own place, I would look at what those choices gets you as far as working down the student loan.

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Old 12-27-2017, 12:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by gravy train View Post
My first post too. Welcome to us both.

Would you be getting rid of your car? Thus saving on gas, insurance and maintenance?
No I won't. My social life and hobbies rely on a car. However, I'll definitely save on gas and maintenance since I'll be running my car much less.

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Love my bicycles, but to ride 40 miles every day to save a few bucks wouldn't be worth it to me, no matter where you live.
I think you misunderstood. I'd be living a mile away from work if I move, which is bike-able. My current commute is 40 mi roundtrip by car.
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Old 12-27-2017, 12:43 AM   #5
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Weather ? Flexible work hours ?

I commuted by bike most of my career, from 11m to 46m round trip, but living in Los Angeles made this easy, as did riding to work at 4am and home mid-afternoon (owned a car for backup about half the time).

It quickly became a lifestyle, and I hated when I had to drive to work instead.
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Old 12-27-2017, 12:44 AM   #6
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Fla Gator.... I think he is saying his current commute is that long and he wants to move much closer so he can bike to work... OP


I would not make the decision just on biking or not... however, a 40 minute commute to one of 5 to 10 (could be wrong) is a big plus on time for other pursuits... is the place in a location where others things are easier than where you live now? Will you be closer to friend and family so that is also easier? If so, I would do that... trying to be the cheapest SOB around is not a goal that I would strive for... but, I would strive to be the cheapest SOB that I can be while living a nice life...


BTW, you did not say how much difference the cost will be... or how fast you would pay off the loan... that does make a difference...
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Old 12-27-2017, 05:57 AM   #7
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I just feel guilty throwing money out the window to live more luxuriously, whereas I could get myself sooner out of debt.
Another way to look at is you'd be living less frugally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sizzlinkola View Post
And I'm not sure if I'm chasing this false sense of happiness of having my own place.
I'm guessing you've never had your own place. My experience is once you go 'own place' the only 2 reasons to ever have a roommate again is you're both sleeping in the same bed, or you're either a caretaker or in need of one.

Either way, I wouldn't mention a bicycle commute during a job interview, unless you know that's an accepted thing. Reason is some employers count on, but don't mention, employees should use their own car for work purposes unrelated to commuting.
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Old 12-27-2017, 06:07 AM   #8
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I commuted to my w*rkplace by bicycle for years. It was a 5 mile ride each way and took about 20 minutes. Driving that same distance, including parking and walking into the building took 16 minutes. Bike commuting for me - in addition to saving on car wear and tear expenses - was a great stress reliever, and it only cost an additional 8 minutes/day. That made it an easy "no" for me when offered promotional positions within the organization that would have required significant hours of commuting on crowded freeways as the trade-off for what I considered to be a relatively modest increase in income.

Then there are the additional health benefits of being outdoors and riding a bicycle.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:05 AM   #9
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I would go for the closer apartment. Long commutes are really soul-sucking. If you can find a balance that gives you time outside if w*rk to pursue outside interests it will benefit your health and your life.

$17k is not a ton of debt nowadays and the rate is good. If you want use the extra hours gained to find some part time work to keep the payoff on schedule.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:28 AM   #10
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Since you're not planning on getting rid of your car, I would recommend sticking it out a little longer and getting that student debt paid off. I agree, it's not a lot of debt, but getting out of debt as quickly as possible has always served me well. How long would it take you to pay that off if you use the extra money you are planning to spend on a new apartment? Also, how secure is your job? If you move, is there a pretty good chance that you'll stay there as long as the term of the lease you're planning on signing? You don't want to be out of work and the next job is 40 miles away from your current (new) apartment. Anyway, I vote for getting out of debt asap but I understand (having done it) that a 1.5 hour commute sucks. So get that debt paid off asap (hopefully less than a year) and then move closer to work.

Another thought - can you get an apartment that is say 10 minutes away from work and save on the cost of an apartment? If you're not getting rid of your car, biking to work isn't going to be a huge savings.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:28 AM   #11
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It would be worth moving just to live alone. The distance you mention is not just bikeable, but walkable, so do it. You won't always be young, enjoy it while you can.

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Old 12-27-2017, 08:35 AM   #12
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My DD lives less than a mile from work and bikes walks. Doesn't pay parking and company pays a monthly bonus to those that don't park It's an encouraged lifestyle and she loves it. She's 38 and has driven less than 120k in her life Her current car is a 2008 and has less than 20k on it. Huge cost savings and she lives in a complex with like minded people. Ubers to shop and party
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:39 AM   #13
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You don't say your age, but I'm guessing below 30? If over 30 and still with that debt, I'd say pay off first, then move.

But under 30... I vote move...but only IF "can bike to work" means "absolutely will bike to work more than 90% of the time". Moving to a climate where it's too cold or snow prevents biking for 4 months, or like here in S. Fla where even a 3 mile ride would have you showing up drenched in sweat 6 months a year, then no.

So, assuming <30, assuming high bike-utilization, then still yes.

Living alone vs. with roommates will be awesome, sooner the better no matter if you make this move or not.
The physical benefits for biking vs. driving will be rewards that keep on giving.
The extra hour every day will be a major bonus.

You get to make a financial trade for Health and Time. Most of us would be foolish to pass up that chance.
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Old 12-27-2017, 09:06 AM   #14
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I lived close enough to my office to ride my bike. First time I did it I got a flat tire. That ended that experiment!
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Old 12-27-2017, 09:09 AM   #15
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I'd move - commuting drives me nuts. I've never had more than a 20 minute commute myself

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Old 12-27-2017, 10:05 AM   #16
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I would move for many reasons others have said. 1) $17.5k is not a lot of debt if you have a solid plan to reduce it, even with the move 2) Life is short and living in a car is not a great choice if it can be reasonably prevented. 3) Your health will be improved and that will have some positive hidden savings.

The one thing I did not see is the savings from not driving. In my quick calculation, with 10,000 commute miles per year (I assumed 2 week vacation), I see a conservative savings of $3,000. (I quickly looked at some posts from an Uber driver who was wondering what his real Prius costs were. A responder posted the following "Consumer Reports list it (Prius) at .48 cents per mile. It was rated the most affordable car to own and operate.") I used $0.30 per mile which I think is conservative. But, I did not take much time to consider this estimate so you may want to challenge the assumption.
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Old 12-27-2017, 11:35 AM   #17
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If you feel your job is secure and youll be able to pay all of your bills and still set aside some money, Id vote for moving closer to work. You will be healthier (physically and mentally) without a long commute.
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Old 12-27-2017, 12:34 PM   #18
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No I won't. My social life and hobbies rely on a car. However, I'll definitely save on gas and maintenance since I'll be running my car much less.



I think you misunderstood. I'd be living a mile away from work if I move, which is bike-able. My current commute is 40 mi roundtrip by car.
I did misunderstand the situation.

I would rent the apartment - and walk to work.
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Old 12-27-2017, 12:43 PM   #19
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I would do most anything to not have a 1.5 hour commute.

I live ~3 miles from work. I bike it any day that is reasonable. It was -22 this morning. I did not bike. Winter is tough here for biking.
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Old 12-27-2017, 01:30 PM   #20
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One of my early jobs was in a city - 3 hours of commuting each day - always used mass transit - applied for a job nearby and got it - went to a one mile commute - easy walk - only draw back was early muffler replacement- condensation in winter just rotted it away!
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