T Nation

Commute? - Decision Help...


OK... So I'm struggling with something and figured I'd bounce it off you educated folks here at good ol' T-Nation to see what you all think and get some opinions...

The wife and I are looking at a new house. Problem I'm having with it, is it's like 20 miles farther from my work. I'm already driving 35ish miles so that'd put my drive to about 55 miles 1 way and give or take an hour to an hour a ten minutes travel time each way... My car gets like 30 MPG and the same house in the location I'm living in now would probably be $70000 more and higher taxes.

The wife's drive will be farther too from being 10 minutes to 30ish, but she gets to drive the new SUV. This gets like 20MPG give or take, how she'd be driving it, so that doesn't concern me too much... Yes, I do use it as an SUV and were I live we need 4WD... Anyway...

Here's 2 other factors with this new home we are looking at... It's super close to my parents house, who watch my son every day for us, not every day at their house, my Mom comes to my place, but there are days when the wife drops my boy off and I pick him up, so we are driving to the same area as this house. It's also super close to my wife's family... And... If the wife and I built a new home (this one was built in 99) this house is 90% how we'd build...

So, do you think the drive is worth it for me? How far do you all drive? Thoughts? Comments??? Please advise!!!

Attached is a pic of the new place... Well, maybe new place...



Well, the commute is minor in my opinion. Of course I drive more than three times what you are looking at, so I am not a good judge there. I think from the sounds of it the good points are much more a plus than the negatives.



The way I figure it as follows:

The following is going to increase if you move to the new home:
Cost of maintenance on cars
miles / year is going to increase
time spent traveling is going to increase
gas budget is going to increase

The following is going to decrease if you move to the new home:
Time in your day for family, house, etc
Time going to pick up the kids (?)

I look at it as follows financially:
you will drive ~110 miles per day at 40 cents per mile plus the price of gas (2.50 used for this calculation).
your wife will drive ~60 miles per day at 40 centers per mile plus the price of gas

compare that to what you did previously.

Using those numbers I came up with an increase of cost of 35.00 dollars per day that you will be costing yourself in gas and wear and tear. If you assume 2040 working hours (255 days) in a standard working year then that equates to almost 9000 dollars in ADDED cost to you per year in vehicle wear and tear and also gas. It will take you 7.82 years to make that up, not counting for the increase in taxes and that assumes that you always get the same gas mileage and gas prices don't go beyond 2.50.

On the other hand if your family will be happier by moving then that should be paramount. Just remember that commuting an hour each way eats up the time and turns a 8.5 hr day into a 10.5 hr day just like that. Good luck in your choice and I hope everything goes well. By the way the house looks nice. Oh and 90% build thing, you can change anything you want in a house. You just need to be creative. Don't forget the appreciation on your house if you are in a good market either.


Don't underestimate the power the commute will have. If it's an hour on a normal day, then once a week (in each direction) it's going to be an hour twenty, if not more.

My commute in Baton Rouge went from 20 minutes to 45 after Katrina, and it became the bowling ball in everyone's britches (this was from 6 miles away, thanks stoplight synchronization!) I moved to Atlanta where it's not nearly as frustrating.

Of course, the character of the traffic shapes how it's interpreted by the mind, as well. There's a difference between 40 minutes of 70mph driving + 20 minutes of city navigation, but the longer drive still chops hours out of your day.

We all know what happens then: kids and wife take priority over working out, you get fat, you stop cutting grass.

One suggestion: Experiment with the morning (AND AFTERNOON!) commute by pretending like you live there on a random weekday. There may be 7am traffic chokepoints that will become the bane of your existence that you do not see.


I spent the last 18 months having a 1 hour commute to work, but only on 2 out of 5 working days which made it a bit easier.

The things that I struggled with were an additional 1.5 hours out of my day spent driving (probably a total of an extra hour of driving each day for yourself) which was 1.5 hours less that I could spend with my wife, also meant that I had to either go to the gym ridiculously early, or finish later than I would like (more time away from the wife).
Also, I found that an hour drive to work in the morning was easy, and gave me plenty of time to prepare and plan for the working day or anything else on my mind. What I really struggled with was finishing a hard or stressful day of work, and knowing that I could not be at home doing something to relax for at least an hour. That was a real killer on the bad days and the drive always felt like 2 hours.

I am sure that you have started thinking about all the pros and cons otherwise you would not have posted the question in the first place. Some of the other things that I would be thinking about is that the commute may mean less time with your family mon-fri, but would you have a better quality of life, or better quality time with your family when you are at home if you decide to make the move.

I spend all day telling my clients that I cannot tell them the 'best' thing to do with their money until they can tell me what is important to them in all the non financial aspects of their life. Once they can tell me about those things, I can make their money do what they need it to do.

I think that you need to do the same thing. Forget about the logistics of the potential move for a while and start to imagine what you want your life, and the life of your family to be like at the moment. What is important to you, and what will be important to you in 10 years or more. Once you know what you want your life to be like, you should be able to make the right decision that will add the most value to your personal situation and provide you and your family (extended family included) with the most happiness.

That all sounds pretty damn wussy I know, but life is too short to put finances ahead of happiness (within reason of course).


Something to consider is value of real estate and developement. You didn't mention anything, so for sake of discussion, I am going to speculate.
My folks bought a house ten years ago about an hour north of Detroit. At the time, the area was pretty bare, not much more than country side and new houses.

Ten years later, the area is built up. Well over 5,000 new houses have been built in the city. A mall was built ten miles away. Strip malls, stores, office buildings and restraunts are standing in what used to be empty feilds. The value of their house has nearly tripled.

Like I said, I have no clue of your area, but if it is anything like this, and has the potential for growth, not only will you be getting a nice house, it is a wise investment. The only downside is that the nice quiet countryside you wanted is now a suburban area.


Man... You guys sure are helping...

Man, 3 times longer then me??? Why???

Let me see if I can answer a few things or add a few points...

The drive would be more like 55-70 MPH, with only 3 or 4 easy red lights and not much traffic, some, but not much...

I have been trying a few different ways to go the last few days, in fact this morning I got up super early and drove to the house and then drove to work and I'm probably going to make another run today after work going a different way too because we might put an offer in this weekend...

Here's the other thing... I got a pretty good job and I don't see myself leaving, but people have mentioned that a living location shouldn't be a #1 concern as far as nearness to your job, because the job could change as most people these days change jobs 3-4 times in their career... There are places I could probably get a job at closer, but like I said, I got a really good job...

Also, the cool thing... My gym is like 1/4 mile from my work, so guess where I spend my lunch breaks at??? That's right, the gym so I don't have to go after work or before...

Another cool thing, are my hours. I work from 6 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. so I'm not doing the typical 9-5 and dealing with rush hour traffic and stuff, so the drive is easier as far as that's concerned... So I'd be home like 3:30ish were most folks who work till 5 don't get home till 5:30-6 with traffic and/or their commute...

There's a pretty low chance of other stuff being built in the area. Cool thing though, is that all the homes have like 1-2 acres so even if they did nothing would be close and the country side would still be country side, in this area and some of the homes have 6-10 acres down the street a bit. There is an open field towards the front of the house that could be developed, but it's really, really far out so I can't imagine that would happen at all, if any time soon. It's currently being farmed...

We really love the house and location so I guess it is where I want to be at the end of the day...

I almost sound like I'm talking myself into it... I am still really concerned with the drive though...

Keep it coming... Really appreciate it... Thanks...


Sounds like you've already made up your mind so you don't need our permission. :slight_smile: Looks like a great house which, to me, is the most important thing. The house and home is really what makes a person happy IMO.

Just for the record I have a 5 minute or under drive to work.


I've always tried to live as close to work as possible. I already spend 8+hours a day at work I'm not going to spend extra time sitting in a car doing nothing.


I bought a place an hr away from my job knowing that my commute was going to be an hr. The deciding factor was the fact that out of work, I would be at a place that I enjoyed and around friends and family. You'll enjoy the weekends as well being at a home you're happy with. House looks nice.
Good luck.


Where do you live? Hard to tell from the pic but the area looks like like mine.

I live in Central PA.


Well, I am a ff and my husband is in the military.......so there was not much option. I work on average 10 (24hr) shifts a month so that helps. Still doesnt help when ya gotta be up at 2am to go to work.


I guess I don't got it that bad then... What am I complaining about??? : ) I normally on work 7.5 - 8ish hours a day...


Currently I live in Shillington, right outside, south of Reading. This house we are looking at though is in the Bernville/Strausstown area...


Yeah, that's what I'm kinda looking at too... It's where I'll wind up at the end of the day...

I think I'm going to put an offer in... I might have to have you all over... ; )


I was in Reading Monday. Seems like a lot of construction going on.


I drive 50ish miles a day, 10 hrs a week if I only work 5 days. The problem I have with it is working 12hr days, working out twice a day and spending time with the family. I hate it.


Yeah, 222 is being re done and then turned into 4 lanes. That should be completed soon though, at the latest this fall... It's gotten much better though... If that's at least where you were...


For me, the number of miles in a commute mean much less than whether the traffic is moving. An hour in stop and go traffic is way worse than an hour crusin down the highway.

Just something to consider. Good luck.