Sometimes it’s like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in here! All full of Oompa-Loompas and trained squirrels…
Check it out:
Where I live, rent runs $1600-$2000 and up. I pay $500, all inclusive, so my house-choosing strategy is awesome and definitely one of my primary successes.
I own a car. I didn’t until I was 38, and now I do, primarily for disability-related reasons so I’d have it even if I didn’t need it for a commute.
So far, so good, yes?
Here’s where it gets tricky:
My home is a 30 minute drive from my son’s new school. There is no school bus, so I need to drive him there and back. Each return trip costs me about $5.
Over and over I get the idea: What if I move us closer to the school, so we can save that gas money and driving time? Over and over, I seriously consider giving up my preferred environment and spending considerably more on rent in order to save time and gas money.
Then, luckily, I check myself: If I drove into town 6x per week, my car fuel cost would increase by $93/month. It is cheaper to drive 6x per week than to rent in town. Plus, a disability program actually refunds me part of those fuel costs (but not my rent costs).
Optimizing our budget is smart, smart, smart. But we need to be watch how all the numbers play out, ensure we are not being “penny wise but pound foolish,” and not budgeting according to assumptions.
- Do I assume government housing is cheaper than private?
- Do I assume that transit is cheaper than driving?
- Do I assume that if I lived in town, I would feel free of a need for a car?
- Do I assume that eating in is cheaper than eating out?
I need to check my beliefs—make sure I’m aligning my spending with reality, not with ideas and fantasies.
In a subsequent post, I’ll give a tip for what to do if I start to feel squicky seeing a “luxury” budget line increase by an uncomfortable $93/month.
Where have you had a money assumption that proved to be false? What was the wiser move?