Posted by: saveafewbucks | May 15, 2011

How to justify paying more for rent?

I moved out of my parent’s place in March 2010 to move in with the boyfriend.

In this city, getting everything you want in a place to live will cost you. So when we picked our first place to call home, we had to make some sacrifices. In order to have a one-bedroom apartment near a subway which was affordable (just under $1,100/month) we gave up all those other nice-to-haves such as ensuite laundry, a dishwasher, air-conditioning and a new building. What we didn’t realize at the time was that we also gained (good and bad):

  • 5 extra minutes of thinking time as we wait for the elevator to come around (multiple times daily)
    • could also be thought as incentive to get a daily dose of exercise by taking the stairs
  • lost money in laundry machines that occasionally decide they don’t want to dry your clothes either (bi-monthly)
    • incentive to save the environment and dry our clothes on our doorknobs, curtain rod, chairs, etc.?
  • random shots of scalding hot water in the shower (daily)
    • teaching us that in other parts of the world, some people don’t even have hot water
  • days of no water at all as they attempt to “fix” the plumbing and today no hot water with no explanation at all (ranges from once every couple of months to multiple times per week…)
    • again teaching us to appreciate readily available water

Despite the daily teachings that this place gives me (and the hundreds of others in the building) on a daily basis, it’s beginning to grow old with me. Fortunately for the BF and I, we chose to live here to save money and can also choose to move out, which were are seriously contemplating. The only issue is, a better place with an equally convenient location is going to cost us more. These are the same place which we determined were too expensive for us a year ago.

Is it Worth It to Move?

At this point neither of us want to move far from where we currently are. We both work about a 10 minute drive away which is QUITE convenient. It’s also close to restaurants, shopping, grocery stores (not like it matters right now :(… ) and the subway. So we’re staying put in the area. However, the area is very limited in what is available. Houses are out of the question due to price. Period. Then you have high end condos (think over >$2,000 in rent per month), new starter condos (between $1300 for a one bdrm to $1,800 for a two bdrm), old apartments ($900-1100 for one bedroom) and basement apartments ($500-900).

Right now we’re in the “best” of the old apartments. Sadly, even with all the troubles we have with the building our apartment is better than many of the apartments around us due to the lone fact that it is safer (see: less crime) than the ones surrounding us (minus the break-in down the hall from us last month). This means, there will be no bi-lateral movement. Only way to go is up (note: I find basements sad and scary).

The good news about moving up into starter condo territory is we get the two things I long for: ensuite laundry and a dishwasher. The BF also gets his air-conditioning. Another added benefit which we would both benefit from is a gym. In return, we give up money (minimum $200) and space (100-250 square feet). The space isn’t as big a deal to me as the BF (he’s significantly larger than me) but we both worry about the money. What if one of us loses our jobs again? What if we don’t? It’s still at leat $1200 EACH per year that we would pay for these upgrades. But at the same time, you almost don’t realize the toll that all the little headaches of our current situation take on our happiness each day. Especially for two homebodies like us who spend 90% of our non-working time at home.

How do you mock-up a cost-benefit analysis on all those little things. How much are those intangibles worth? Will living in newer building with more amenities and less headaches really make us any happier? How much will current upgrades have on future goals?

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