Moving to a smaller city to save on rent? Beware of this predicament

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It’s a flaw that you have to think about carefully.


the main points

  • You may be tempted to leave a big city due to the high rental costs.
  • Before you move to a smaller city, consider other expenses you may incur.
  • Transportation costs, from car loans to gas prices, can add to your monthly bills.

A few years ago, a friend of mine abandoned New York City once his $3,200 monthly rent payment for a one-bedroom apartment started rising. He moved to a smaller town in upstate New York, where he was able to cover the cost of his rent not only mortgage payments, but also property taxes and homeowners insurance and still had money left.

But while my friend was glad he moved on, he didn’t spare as much as expected for one big reason. Which is a problem you might encounter if you move from a larger city to a smaller city as well.

Beware of high transportation costs

When my friend lived in New York City, he was spending roughly $100 a month on transportation. This is because he was able to reach by using the subway, which was running all the time, and also by walking to different places.

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Five blocks from my friend’s apartment, he had several restaurants, cafes, several grocery stores, a hardware store, and other stores that made life comfortable. Now, my friend says, the nearest grocery store is about a mile away. And while he can walk to a few restaurants, having a car is mostly inevitable.

So he has a car – which means he makes a monthly car loan payment and also pays for insurance and maintenance. But all said, he spends seven times more on transportation now than he did in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

Get ready to drive everywhere

Living in a big city often means paying a lot of money for very little space. But it can also mean spending a minimal amount on transportation. This is a benefit that you might give up if you moved to a smaller city to save money on rent.

AAA says it costs an average of $894 a month to own a car. And if you live in a place where things are very common, you may end up spending more to keep filling your tank.

There is a lifestyle change that you will need to adapt to as well. Some people find that they do not move their bodies as much once they move to a smaller city because they are constantly driving. But it can have health consequences.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should give in to living in a cramped and exaggerated apartment for the rest of your life to avoid needing a car. But what you should do is make sure you understand the additional costs you might incur if you leave a large city with public transportation and plant roots in a smaller city.

My friend is glad he moved from NYC because spending that much money on rent wasn’t sustainable for him in the long run. But he also got a huge wake-up call when he realized how expensive car ownership was. This is something you don’t want to be surprised.

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