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This might sound crazy but I actually love not having a car. In addition to all the financial benefits, there’s something very liberating about getting rid of your car. Just one less thing to worry about.

Of course, this is simply not practical for many people, but it’s still worth consideration. Public transportation can get you almost anywhere these days, but it could also take you forever to get any of those places. In the short term, your living location is probably fixed. But in the long term, it’s always variable. Which brings us to the question:

What if you could live right next to work?

How would that change your life?

This is not my first experience of life without a car, but it is the first time I’ve lived right next to work. When I previously worked for the government in Washington DC, I got rid of my car and used public transportation. Depending on where I lived, the commutes ranged from 30 minutes each way to 2 hours and 15 minutes (yeah, that one was rough).

When I moved to Florida three years ago, I ended up leasing a car, which I still needed when we moved back to the Maryland area last year.

But an interesting opportunity presented itself this year for three reasons:

  • Apartment Lease Ending in May
  • Car Lease Ending in July
  • Brand New Apartment Building Opening in April (right down the street from my office)

We decided to jump on the opportunity. Now that I turned my vehicle in last month, it’s already providing some amazing benefits:

moving next to work and getting rid of your car

1. Financial Benefits

This is the primary motivation for making this decision. Transportation is the second largest expense category after housing expenses, so eliminating this expense (well, at least my half) provides a serious boost to our financial situation.

Here is our monthly car savings breakdown:

Car Lease: $225
Gas: $100
Car Insurance: $100
Car Maintenance: $25 (based on annual $300 estimate)

Monthly Car Savings = $450/month

But wait, it gets better…

By moving, we also downsized a little and are saving $175/month in rent. That doesn’t even account for the fact that if we stayed in the same apartment, our rent would’ve increased by $150/month.

I also avoided purchasing a vehicle, which means avoiding the additional depreciation expense that goes along with it.

Compared to our previous situation, we’re saving a total of $625/month now. If you like to think about things in terms of income, that’d be equivalent to giving ourselves a $900/month raise.

The only financial downside was the actual cost of the move. Our total moving expenses came to $676.43, which means we’re already profitable in month two. I like that type of investment.

2. Time Benefits

Instead of a 30-minute drive, I now have a 12-minute walk to work. Cutting off 18 minutes doesn’t really sound life-changing, but all that time adds up. An extra 36 minutes 5 days per week equals 3 hours of additional time every week.

I think commuting time is a critical factor to consider when looking at compensation because a job is quite literally trading time for money. Reducing work plus commuting hours from 45 to 42 per week increases my effective hourly rate by 7.1%.

Whether or not you get rid of your car, moving closer to work always gives yourself a raise!

The move also cut Mrs. Budget Boy’s commute down by about 15 minutes each way. Consider that a double raise!

By reclaiming a little piece of your life back, the true benefit comes from what you can do with that time. Here’s a short list of things I’ve been able to do so far:

  • Extra Family Time
  • Yoga / Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Reading
  • Writing / Journaling
  • Healthier Eating
  • Just Relaxing

For me, I have the additional benefit of being able to walk home for lunch. That allows me to squeeze out even a little more time for the above, especially eating healthier.

3. Health Benefits

Besides having the time and control to make healthier food choices, there are other physical and mental benefits from moving so close to work.

The primary benefit stems from walking about 50 minutes a day (going home for lunch makes it 2 round trips). I had fallen out of a regular gym/exercise routine, especially when studying for the CFA Level I Exam (which by the way I passed!), so getting outside and walking everyday is something I really needed. My job involves sitting at a computer all day, so if I had been wearing a pedometer recently, my daily steps would’ve been pretty embarrassing.

Going for a walk each morning, afternoon, and evening keeps me much more energized. Plus, a study from the American Cancer Society shows that walking an hour a day lowers the risk of death by 39% compared to those getting no leisure-time activity.

Yes, death. Definitely something you want to reduce the risk of.

The walks also help me clear my mind and reduce stress. There is something about working a full day and then sitting in traffic that wears you down. On the other hand, walking outside in green spaces (additional perk that it’s not a loud and busy city street) puts me in a meditative state and boosts endorphin levels so I feel less fatigued.

Bottom Line

A key reason this is doable is that we still have one vehicle. Typically, when we do things in the evening or on weekends, we do them together. That means the second car is really only necessary for one of us to get to work. An alternative method of commuting makes that second car expendable.

If you’re in a multiple car household, what if you could change your living situation so you could get rid of one of those?

Sure, there will be some inconveniences now and then, but I’d much rather have all these financial, time, and health benefits.

7 thoughts on “The Benefits of Moving Next to Work and Getting Rid of Your Car

  1. It is funny that this is not something that would have crossed my mind 2 years ago. But I have thought about trying to downsize to just a one car family lately, maybe get rid of both (But don’t tell my wife lol). It is still difficult to think about that when we live so far from work. Moving closer to work is definitely in our future plans. I just dream of how much time and stress that could save compared to my current 40 minutes commute each way. Glad things worked out the way they did for you!

  2. First of all, congratulations on your exam! Honestly, I have the same thoughts as you. My work requires me sitting on a chair 8 hours a day, and I was not used to that. I graduated recently. I used to walk around the university campus (which was huge btw) and go to the gym in the evening. Now I get out of my office at peak hours and get stuck in traffic on my way home. I have dropped out of my gym routine because it is so tiresome to sit in traffic after work and then go to the gym for a workout. At the end of my day, I feel 10x more exhausted from sitting on a chair all day from walking around campus carrying heavy books all day). It has been almost a year since I got my bachelor’s degree and I have decided to pursue a doctorate next year to have a better chance of finding a job in the future that I feel more happy with it. I would love to have the possibility of walking to my job and have some free time for my exercise and eating healthy. Having that daily commute could have a really big positive impact of your life, not just physical but also mental and emotionally too.

    This is a great article Michael and believes me; I understand the difference that it makes not to have to be stuck in a traffic jam mornings and evenings.

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