A myriad of people have the misconception that living in the suburbs is much cheaper than living in the city. The cost of houses tends to be much lower, so the assumption that they will save heaps of money is increased. Therefore many trade the hustle and bustle of city life for what they think will be total serenity. Unfortunately many of these people do very little economic research prior to packing up and heading out to suburbia. Consequently, many fail to factor in the hidden expenses related to the costs of transportation and end up experiencing financial hardship.
When one considers the additional transportation costs and what that really equates to in addition principal on a mortgage, it is eye opening indeed. For example; a working couple who purchase a suburban home see a rise in transportation costs of say $400 per month, add to that 2 commuter train passes, on top of that there is the added depreciation of the vehicles and extra fuel costs. The extra $400 spent on commuting ( at 4% amortized over a period of 25 years) could have been used to purchase $76,000 more ownership of a house. One also needs to add all the other sacrifices as well, additional time spent on commuting, less quality time with family and friends.
The majority of suburban homes are not close to shops, hospitals, schools and so forth. You can’t dash around the corner to top up on milk, bread, meat and fruits. You will most likely have to grab the car keys and drive for at least ten miles to the nearest convenience store. Walking to schools, work and so forth will usually be out of the question. Therefore a car will not be a luxury, it will be a necessity. Forget depending on public transport, these are usually very limited and of very poor standard in suburbia. You may wish to cycle, but when it rains you won’t be too happy.
The small family which is already feeling the strain on the budget, will now be even more limited as far as socializing is concerned. Work travel expenses will see families forgoing a host of social activities. Those with school age children will feel the strain and those with children who attend different schools, will feel it ever more. Grocery trips will increase fuel consumption and if the children go to dancing lessons, basketball or football coaching etc, the hip pocket will be literally torn from your clothing. You could be travelling much more than a 100 miles week. Multiply that annually and the travel expenses will be astronomical.
Fuel costs have increased dramatically and so has mortgage foreclosures. Far too many people are feeling the financial strain of automobile dependent communities. Other things one fails to incorporate into their expenditures is car insurance, car maintenance, road tax and the money needed for extra vehicles once their children become drivers as well. The insurance premiums for teenager is sure to make one hyperventilate. The costs of living in an automobile dependent environment are many, you could be sacrificing much more than your hard earned money, your time, energy, patience, harmony and so forth. By needing to drive everywhere, you will be adding to environmental concerns as well. Prior to moving to the suburbs, give it a great deal of thought, weigh up the pros and cons. Cities are by far, much more location efficient. But the choice is yours.