How much would you pay to be able to walk to work...

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  1. Ladies, public transportation is a steaming hot mess in Chicago... generally speaking, and especially now that construction is underway everywhere.

    On average, if I leave the office at 6:00 p.m., I will see 3 buses pass me by before one is empty enough for me to get on. I do not have the option of taking the train since it's not very close to my home.

    It takes me about an hour to get home everyday on public transit, and I often just end up springing for a cab (which takes 10 minutes).

    There are incredible, gorgeous apartments right up the street from my office, but the rent is quite steep... it's significantly more than what my SO and I pay for both our respective apartments combined. My SO and I probably plan to move in together, and he said he would not be okay with paying that much for rent, since it's mostly for amenities we won't have the time or inclination to use (big gym, swimming pool, library, computer cafe all inside for residents). There are other highrises in the area, some slightly cheaper -- but only slightly since the neighborhood is expensive.

    I think it's totally worth it, but my SO says we could be saving that extra money for a condo.

    I just think it would be so great to walk to work... Plus, it doesn't hurt that it's right next to a grocery store. I have to walk a mile from my current apartment for groceries.

    Anyway, thanks for any thoughts.
  2. I would move. I think the quality of your life improves the less you have to travel for work. You can't put a price on happiness.
  3. Commuting is definitely a time sucker. When I live in PA my commute to work was 45min-1 hr on a good day. Construction, accidents, and rain easily bumped that to 2 hours. Once there was a snowstorm and it took me 7 hours to get home!!!

    Needless to say it does boil down to what you value. You can never get back your time. You can always find ways to earn more money. Investments etc. I would say go ahead and pay for the convenience. You will spend less time dwelling on the misery of the commute and more time doing something you want to do.
  4. I'm with your SO on this one. I know parking is hard in Chicago, both at apartments and workplaces, but if you can get home in a cab that quick, maybe tally up what you spend on cab fare each month and what it would cost to park at home/work? Maybe a cheap, but well maintained used car that was for going from A to B would be an option and ease the travel time issue without spending extra money on amenities you don't need?
  5. Hi elizat, I'm not sure if a car would be cost-effective for us... there's a parking lot right across from my current apartment and it's $300 per month for a space. My job will not pay for parking at work, so add another $15 a day for metered parking... a few thousand for a used car, plus maintenance costs, plus insurance, plus parking... not worth it, IMHO.

    I agree with you on the amenities. I'm glad my SO did not come with me because this place is too over the top. I mean, when you go on a tour, it's like this big elaborate thing and they're obviously paying a huge staff just to do things like make you coffee when you come in. And really, I do not need that. My current place is BARE BONES -- a 4th floor walk-up in an ancient brownstone so it's not that I can't rough it!
  6. I agree that moving would be worth the steeper rent. I used to commute an hour each way on public trans and it was dreadful. I often sprang for a cab, too, but that is a big expense if you do it a lot. There are always things you can cut back on to save money, and some are worth it and some are not. I don't feel that it is worth it to live where you have such a long commute and an inconvenience to get to basics like a grocery store, even if you are saving money. When your location significantly impacts quality of life, it is worth the expense to move somewhere more convenient.
  7. I would pay quite a bit to be close to work. My home is right at 2 miles from work. My husband drives me every morning -- it takes about 15 minutes, max. I could live in VA or MD, or even in Dupont Circle, but the metro up there is SUCH a nightmare. I could take the metro from where I live and it would still be pretty quick and not as insane as the red line.

    Personally, I hate commuting, and I made a decision that it was worth another $500/month in rent (though now we own... that's a whole other story) to live where we are and have a 15 minute commute (in bad traffic) rather than live somewhere else with a longer commute, considering the number of hours I work.

    Is there maybe somewhere else in Chicago that you could move where you would be going a different direction to get to work than most people? I can't think of any, but worth thinking about.
  8. oh no, annie! i just can't picture you on a bus!

    i'd do as much research into the area as humanly possible, maybe there's a slightly more nondescript housing option in the area that's not well publicized? And how much does a taxi cost? I'm ignorant to such things since I live in Never-Never Land where a drunk taxi ride home at 3 am only costs $6 and there's no meter to speak of.
  9. What are your costs for a taxi (by month for ease of comparison) vs. the steeper rent of the closer apartment?

    I've read your other threads and know you work long hours...what is public transportation like later in the evening, perhaps at times less 'traveled' and easier to find a bus? Not too late if it's not safe, though.

    I tend to agree with your BF...saving the money toward condo ownership might be a better bet, especially since you'll then have the ability to write off mortgage interest, etc. With an expensive apartment rent, you can't recoup any of these costs on taxes.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide!
  10. One way you can make a decision is to list the various costs associated with each scenario. For example, rent + cost of time and aggravation for commute.

    For example, when my DH and I looked for houses in our area, I wanted something that was within 15 minutes of work. I also like living in our small city. What we bought was a really small (840 sq ft) house 6 blocks north of the downtown and only 9.2 miles from work. We paid about the same for our house as we would have for a larger newer house further away. But, the short commute and ability to walk to the grocery store or pharmacy instead of always driving, more than made up for the smaller house size. Plus, if I have a larger house, I'll just fill it with more cr@p that I don't really need.

    Is it possible for you and your BF to buy something now with your combined incomes? Would it be the same or more than the pricey condos?
  11. Yes, I think the answer lies here! I do think it's important to save for owning a future home, so I would go with the less expensive option.

    I had this same problem in San Francisco...60 minute commute by a combo of train and bus OR a 10 minute cab ride. We were poor back then, so I stuck mostly with public transportation but it certainly lessened my quality of life.
  12. Great point, Redney. I think that may be the ticket to the answer as well!
  13. think of how commuting an hour or more less per day would improve your life.

    if you are both working, have no children...(expensive little things) no cars, i would spend the extra money on the closer place.

    you may have more time to enjoy the extra amenities
  14. Have you looked into renting in a condo building? People are having a hard time selling in this market so basically rent their places out for what they can get. Your renewal options may be limited, but you could probably get a great place for a decent price.
  15. LOL Good question!

    A taxi from where I work, to my apartment is about $10. I probably take a taxi on average, every other day. If I leave work after 6:30 p.m., it takes me about 30 minutes to get home on the bus. I pay about $50 per month for public transit.

    And the apartment is still much more expensive -- I wouldn't be saving money if I negated travel costs.