It feels like there’s an obvious way to save on living costs – head out of the city. Just move to the outer suburbs where rent is cheaper and your neighbours are further away. But there could be more at stake than just having actual birdlife in your garden or a long, long walk to a real coffee.
Moving further out to save money can be a serious false economy. Sometimes, the best suburbs to live in are inner, not outer.
Here’s why you can be the boss of your city lifestyle.
Ditch the car
Even basic cars cost a lot to run. There are so many expenses to consider: registration, insurance, ongoing maintenance, petrol, fancy air fresheners to hang in the window. The costs of commuting alone should make you a little green.
One leading motoring association says a budget-friendly small car could set you back $144 per week, and a medium-sized vehicle up to $225. Let’s be honest, that’s a lot of inner-city rent. Finding an affordable inner-city home could be as simple as going car-free.
The stuff you need is more expensive further out
Yep, life in the suburbs is tough. Less competition means supermarkets and other grocery stores can charge more, and you just have to lump it. Depending on where you live, you might only have one local option.
Of course, living in the city means it’s easier to spend that extra dosh on the quality local restaurants, and there’s no shortage of places that will deliver literally to your couch. But making smart choices and putting the rest away will keep your living costs down.
Entertainment can be hard to come by in the sticks
It’s true, you’re more likely to stumble upon a vintage drive-in further out, but most of the action happens in the city. If you buy a home in the suburbs, you’ll have to travel for everything from concerts to comedy shows to art exhibitions.
Unless you’re an aficionado of ABBA tribute bands, your local pub probably won’t come close to what’s on offer at those city venues.
City living is good for your mind and body
Without the car, you’ll walk, ride or public-transport it everywhere. That means more clicks on the Fitbit and fewer gym membership fees to pay. You won’t spend stressful time sitting in traffic. You’ll be able to roll out of bed on a Sunday morning and have a hundred reasons to explore your local ‘hood.
Sometimes, you’ll step out onto your balcony of an evening and hear, in the distance, the laughter of strangers or a violin busker. Heaven.
Inner-city living isn’t for everyone, but if you prefer the rumble of crowds to the buzz of Saturday lawnmowers, there are ways to make it work. Make sure you really know how much it will cost before you rule out a home closer to the action.