Finding the will to commute

Wits End

Commuting an hour to work and another hour back home is rough. When traffic is bad the commute can range between an extra fifteen minutes to an additional hour. It’s not fun, yet many people do commute 30+ minutes to work and do it for years. My cousin has been driving two hours to work and another two back for the last four years. He has a really good job and doesn’t mind it. Some enjoy the drive and I did too at first. However..

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My commute is slowly killing me.

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I’ve been through my small CD collection to the point I have no interest in my CDs. Audiobooks don’t work and most radio stations don’t help. When I get to work I sit at my desk for 10 minutes, drinking coffee and feeling like a zombie. I’m fine during the day—it’s not affecting me at work at all, but when it comes time to make that drive, I half want to run to a friends house nearby and crash for the night.   The good thing is that I’m finally recovered from my moving expenses and have enough saved up that I could move. The bad thing is I want to pay off some student loans to help myself out and get a few things (i.e. replace my laptop).

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I work in Northern Virginia and the cost of living there is insane! The nice apartments start at $1000 for a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom and that’s before utilities like internet and electric! Some may offer the suggestion of a roommate, but it’s out of the question for me. I like living by myself and I’m willing to pay the difference to not have one.

End Road Work #protest #funny #humor

My original plan was to move June 20th, but now I’m not sure since I could use the rent to pay off a student loan and then some. Due to pre-planned trips and holidays, I couldn’t move again until the middle of July. It’d give me time to pay off some serious debt, but it’d mean extending my time to commute. Not moving until July 11th means I’d have to commute another 7 weeks (we’re off a week in June so no driving, hurray!) I don’t know if I can handle it, but if I could, I could pay off two student loans and still have money for rent and deposit without putting any stress on my wallet.

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Being someone who needs to plan ahead, it’s causing me a bit of stress. I can’t really do anything about it right now, of course. I’ve been reminding myself that I’m saving a ton of money not renting and to just let things happen. If it’s meant for me to move the 20th, I’ll move. If not, moving July 11th won’t be the worst thing in the world, at least it’d be a definite move date. I’ve commuted ten weeks so far, what’s another 7 weeks? We’ll see if I can hold until July!    

What’s the longest you’ve commuted to work?  How long did you do it?

In Defense of Moving Home to Save Money

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With my new job in another city and two hours away from where I currently live, I’ll be relocating in the next two weeks in order to be closer.  I plan on living with a grandmother during that time who lives 40-60 minutes away (depending on traffic).  It’s by no means an ideal drive, but with a 7 hour workday, I consider it not terrible.  I have a cousin who commutes almost two hours both ways and has done so for the last four years.  I know it won’t be forever, but the length of time I’ll do it could be up to 6 months.  As I played with numbers last night, I realized it would be in my best financial interest to do this for a bit longer than a month because no rent means an extra $1000 or so a month.

a) Pay off more of my student loans

b) Money to put towards savings and retirement

c) Having flex money instead of penny pinching

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For the last three years I’ve lived on my own, but during my 1-2 week breaks from school (we’re year round) I’ll stay with family or friends for a while and it’s fine.  I’m someone who needs their alone time, but my grandmother is the same way which is why we do well together.  I’ve lived with her in the past (my parents, brother and I stayed with her for 6 months while our new house was being built) and will be helping her with bills and groceries.

 Snow (Today’s a good day to stay snowed in!)

I recognize there’s a stigma (at least in the US) of living with family, but I ask why?  In a lot of other countries, it’s not uncommon for adult children to stay with family until their late 20s or 30s.  I was shown and brought up on the principal that family is always there when you need help.  I’m in the same boat as many post-grads who are paying off their student loans and working out the schematics of their careers and future lives.  If I didn’t have student loans, it would be a short stay.  Due to having them, I’ll extend the stay, but start an time table of when to move. By then my student loans will have a huge dent and my savings will be pretty high.  Just because I have money doesn’t mean I’ll spend it.  Plus I’ll be side-hustling with babysitting, tutoring, freelancing and what not.

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That’s enough financial talk for now.  I think a geeky post is due in the near future!  I pose a question to end things off;

Do you think there is still a stigma against adults who stay with family while working and saving money?  Have you stayed with family for a month or more to get on your feet?

Changes are coming–I got a new job!

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Without going in-depth, I made the tearful decision to leave my current job and accepted a new one this week.  It’s going to be an emotional next two weeks as I prepare to leave the place I’ve called home for almost three years.  It means a definite change in life, especially because I have four close friends here, two of which I consider to be best friends.  If all my friends lived close by, life would be perfect!

 

Since I start my next job in three weeks, I’ve already started making preparations to move since I’ll be relocating for my new job.  It feels strange to be moving all my stuff back to my hometown (temporarily) after moving out four years ago after college.  I’ve started looking for places reasonably close to my new job, but in the meantime I look forward to having few bills (and more to pay off student loans!)  Since I want to pay those off, I’m opting for cheaper living for the time being.  The advantage is I’ll be working in the area I one day want to settle in and I plan on taking advantage of my schools tuition reimbursement policy to get my masters.  I don’t want any more student loans and luckily there are ways for teachers to get their masters virtually free.

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As you can see in the above picture, I’ve been doing a lot of packing over the last two days.  I got boxes from the local ABC store and they were quickly used up.  Luckily my amazing aunt and grandmother are coming tomorrow evening to take a load and bring me more boxes.  I’ll take a second load sometime next weekend and then the following weekend my furniture and other things will be moved out.  Phew!  Hard to believe in 2 weeks I’ll be gone from here…but these things tend to happen fast (in my experience).

 

It’s also been a great way to purge a few things through sales and Goodwill donations.  I have a few things to take to the bookstore and sell still, but there are 81 things (and growing) on their way to goodwill in the near future.  This move might allow me to complete my ‘Get rid of 500 things’ goal I set to complete in the next 3 years!

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The next few weeks will be bittersweet and will mark the end of one chapter of my life and the beginning of another.  This is an awful lot of changes coming right before my 28th birthday!  Still, I’m excited for the future in a way I haven’t been in a long time.  It’ll be nice to be close to family and close friends again, but it’ll take a while to get over not seeing friends here almost everyday.