public transit http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8865/all en-US Think you can afford more house in the exurbs? Think again. http://www.wisebread.com/think-you-can-afford-more-house-in-the-exurbs-think-again <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/think-you-can-afford-more-house-in-the-exurbs-think-again" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/live-in-the-energy-of-downtown.jpg" alt="Condos for sale--Live in the energy of downtown" title="Live in the energy of downtown" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="211" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people who live in the far-out suburbs move there because they can buy more house for the money than they can in town.  As an example from where I live, a house in Champaign-Urbana would cost about $60,000 more than a comparable house in one of the nearby towns or villages.  If you do the math, though, $60,000 is a pretty small sum, compared to the cost of owning one extra car.</p> <p>According to the <a href="http://www.apta.com/">American Public Transportation Association</a>, replacing one car with a combination of walking and public transportation saves a household <a href="http://www.apta.com/media/releases/080731_transit_savings.cfm">$8059 per year in reduced spending</a> on fuel, maintenance, insurance, registration, depreciation, finance charges, etc.  (Even after adding back in the cost of public transit.)</p> <p>So, if you bought a house in town--close enough to work that one member of the household who currently drives to work could give up a car and instead get around by mass transit and walking--you&#39;d free up enough cash to boost your mortgage payment by $672 a month.  At current rates on a 30-year mortgage (6.52%, according to the <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/WRMORTG?cid=114">St. Louis Fed</a>), that much extra per month would let you buy $106,097 more house.   </p> <p>Of course, having an extra car is handy for other things besides just getting to work--there&#39;s also transporting the kids, running errands, getting to doctors and dentists, and so on.  But, it&#39;s really not that hard to get by with one less car--the person who keeps the car takes on those errands that simply can&#39;t be run without a car; the person who gives up the car takes on those errands that can be run by bus or on-foot.  Transporting kids arguably gets <strong>easier</strong> once you give up a car, because <a href="http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/about-2/">kids can start taking public transport</a> on their own at a younger age than they can start driving.  (I was riding local buses on my own when I was in 4th grade.)</p> <p>The original idea for this post came from a <a href="http://will.illinois.edu/focus580/interview/focus080812b/">radio interview</a> with <a href="http://cleinberger.com/">Christopher B. Leinberger</a> that ran two days ago on my local NPR station.  Leinberger is the author of a fascinating-sounding new book on walkable communities called <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/159726136X?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=159726136X">The Option of Urbanism</a></em>.</p> <p>I was a bit dubious about the American Public Transportation Association numbers.  (They are, after all, an advocacy group for public transit.)  So I did my own back-of-an-envelope calculation and came up with these figures: <ul> <li>Fuel 15,000 miles in a car that gets 30 mph burning $4/gallon fuel = $2000</li> <li>Maintenance (including oil and tires) wild guess = $600</li> <li>Insurance = $900</li> <li>Registration, inspections, etc. = $100</li> <li>Depreciation ($20,000 car that lasts 7 years) = $3600</li> </ul> <p>That totals up to $7200, so I&#39;d say $8059 is in the right ballpark.  Of course, it gets way cheaper if you buy a cheaper car, drive it less, and make it last for more than 100,000 miles.  If you live in the exurbs, though, you&#39;re probably driving it more, not less.</p> <p>Two notes on the math: <ol> <li>$20,000 divided by 7 is just $2857, but you either have to borrow the $20,000 and pay interest on the loan, or else you have to pay cash for the car and lose out on the investment return the money could have earned you.  Either way, I figure you&#39;re out about $3600 a year over the lifetime of the car.</li> <li>Remember that those car-ownership costs are <strong>after-tax</strong> expenses--you&#39;d probably have to gross an extra $11,000 or $12,000 a year to have that much money available for spending.  Many home-ownership costs, though, are tax-advantaged, meaning that it&#39;s more tax efficient to buy housing than it is to buy car transportation.</li> </ol> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/think-you-can-afford-more-house-in-the-exurbs-think-again">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-good-life-on-less-energy-even-in-the-us">The good life on less energy--even in the US</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-biggest-regrets-of-new-homeowners">8 Biggest Regrets of New Homeowners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-ready-for-home-ownership">Are You Ready for Home Ownership?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-insurance-agents-dont-want-you-to-know">14 Things Insurance Agents Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-should-always-buy-used">8 Things You Should Always Buy Used</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Real Estate and Housing apartment car condo drive house mass transit public transit Fri, 15 Aug 2008 10:37:49 +0000 Philip Brewer 2330 at http://www.wisebread.com Five Reasons Why I Love Public Transportation http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/actransit.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I lived in Berkeley I loved taking public transportation, and since I was such a bus aficionado I did not learn to drive until I was 20. I knew several bus routes by heart and traveled all around the San Francisco Bay via busses or the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Right now I live in San Mateo where the public transit is not as prevalent, and I really miss the days when I got everywhere with a bus pass. Since I am feeling nostalgic today I am going to write down why I love public transportation, and I hope I can live in a place with a lot of public transit again.</p> <p><strong>1. You see different people everyday</strong> - Maybe I am just weird, but I find watching and listening to people on the bus to be rather interesting. Sometimes I even talked to the bus driver and other random people. I guess the travel experience is just not as lonely as driving because there are other people with you. Once in a while I would see a neighbor or friend, and it was always fun to chat in person.<br /><strong><br />2. Public transit helps the environment</strong> - This is true for areas with high population density. If everyone in the Bay Area that rides the train or bus everyday drove instead then this place will probably have unbreathable air and the traffic would be even more horrendous than it already is now. When you ride the bus or train you are sharing resources with your community, and that cuts down on pollution.</p> <p><strong>3. You can use your travel time for leisure </strong>- On a bus or train you can read a book, play a game, or even chat with your friends on the computer if internet is available. When you drive you have to concentrate on driving. I read many books when I was a bus rider, and also got really familiar with the main routes of the cities around the Bay just by watching the bus routes. It is also pretty relaxing to just take a little nap.</p> <p><strong>4. Public transit makes you exercise more</strong> - I firmly believe that I gained quite a bit of weight over the last couple years because I drive everyday. In the days when I rode the bus I walked more than a mile each day to and from the bus stop or train station. Unless the bus stop is right in front of your house, you generally have to walk a little bit, and that bit of exercise could mean 10 to 15 pounds over the years.</p> <p><strong>5. Car ownership is generally more expensive</strong> - The amount of money needed to purchase a car can generally finance public transit fees for years. Many workplaces also give incentives for public transportation such as discounted passes or reimbursements. Many large companies here in the South Bay also have free bus and train passes under their EcoPass program. The savings are quite significant over months and years.</p> <p>Of course, there are many inconveniences associated with public transportation. For example, a lot of busses are often late, and go on roundabout routes. There are also crazy bus drivers that do not stop when requested, and also scary passengers that you want to get away from. Sometimes a bus could be so crowded that you can barely breathe. However, most of the times my experiences have been pleasant. I still use public transit from time to time to go to San Francisco because parking is nearly impossible in that city. I also take the BART train to the airport because it costs about 1/10 the amount of hiring a taxi. So even if you cannot part with your car, taking public transit can save you money if you take it occasionally. What about you? Are you a fan or hater of public transit?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-reasons-why-i-love-public-transportation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-more-gas-by-safely-following-trucks">Save More Gas by Safely Following Trucks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-culture-support-saving">Does your culture support saving?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-decide-if-its-a-fund-worthy-emergency">8 Ways to Decide if It&#039;s a &quot;Fund-Worthy&quot; Emergency</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-you-save-money-by-subscribing-to-an-addictive-game">Could you save money by subscribing to an addictive game?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Cars and Transportation bus Cars public transit saving train transportation Sat, 01 Mar 2008 03:37:54 +0000 Xin Lu 1870 at http://www.wisebread.com