2019 Bumps In The Road My week

Is it worth moving halfway across the country to save $300/month?

If you’ve read even one of my last ..I don’t know… 30 posts, you’ll see the struggle is real. What I’ve realized is that I pinned too much of my life’s next steps on a job offer that never came. So I’m back to where I was in 2016 when my lease renewal was pending.

I don’t know where to go from here.

I so badly want to make a fresh start, and I just unilaterally decided that once I can get a new job in a new town, I’ll build my new life from there. That unfortunately hasn’t happened, but the feeling of wanting to start over hasn’t gone away.

So I tried to take an objective look. One of my goals of getting a new job is to increase my income thereby accelerating my early retirement journey. Another less impactful way is to decrease my expenses. Most of my core expenses are fairly optimized in my opinion or they’ve gone as low as they’re going to go without making any drastic changes.

However, my biggest expense is my housing. I live in a studio for a little over $1,000/mon. It stopped meeting my needs about 2 years ago, but a combination of less desirable options and general lack of appeal of the moving process has halted any change.

I run numbers just about every other weekend, and I know there are cheaper options out there, but there is some mental block. So I’m looking for an outsider’s perspective.

Given these estimates, is it worth making the move?

I currently pay a little over $1,000/mon for my studio which comes with internet and my utilities are about $34/month.  I know my rent will go up at least $50/mon when I have to renew in April 2020 because I had to talk them down by about $50/mon at last renewal. They send the notice out about 3 months prior to that so around Jan 2020.

A cheaper (older) apartment nearby may save me about $100/mon, but then I’ll have to actually pack up my stuff; clean the apartment; find and hire movers; unpack; clean the apartment again.  Sounds annoying. But at $1200/yr in savings, maybe it’s worth it?

Next is buying a cheap townhouse about 80 miles away. I can work remotely and it’d save me money and I’d supposedly be earning equity, I guess. Because owning a home is not an immediate goal, it’s really hard to prioritize it. I just don’t feel any sense of pride in home ownership; all I can see is potential headache.  Plus, lest we forget, I don’t really like my job.  But there are some upsides to owning a home, I suppose.

Then there’s moving out of state. Cincinnati popped up my radar during my job hunt and I grew up in central Illinois and fantasized about moving back there because childhood was so blissfully uneventful (albeit some blaring discrimination).  The cost of living stands to be about 30% less on the housing front. Easy choice right?!

The 2 glaring reasons for my indecision

The two glaring things that stand in my way of either buying a house or moving out of state:

  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Professional License

It’s really just two components of the same thing. I don’t want to work in the call center forever. Every year since I’ve started, I’ve sought an escape. That to me is a deterrent for buying a house. That being said, it’s been four years going on five. Accounting for transaction costs, I would have been realizing the potential $200/mon savings of owning a cheap townhouse by now (starting at year 2).  That’s $5,000!

Next, moving out of state. In the event I did quit my job (again) without a plan, I’d hope to fall back on either a loose network of alumni for some part time gigs or per diem work which generally requires an active NC license. If I lived in Ohio or Illinois, I’d need to apply for and test to get a reciprocated license. Again, since I’ve been at the the call center amidst the indecision, and working remotely started becoming an option at Call Center 1 about 2 years ago, that’s $300/mon x 24 months = $7,200 of potential savings.

I’ve never tallied it before. What great opportunity cost in terms of potential savings! And my how the years have crept by! Looking at this, it just makes me feel as though I really need to make a decision (and not just a decision by default from making no decision at all!).

What do y’all think??

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  1. Owning a house is more than just the monthly cost. There are repairs even with newer homes. Something to consider with the townhouse.

    1. You’re right, Dana. That monthly estimate includes a 1% maintenance expense. Now I hear though, you should budget up to 4% of the cost of the home. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll consider subscribing 🙂

  2. I don’t think you should buy a house unless you really want to. And it doesn’t sound as if you do.

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