Friday, April 15, 2016

But for people who want the suburban lifestyle and the lower-priced home that goes along with it, is there a way you can win in the GTA without getting dinged by heavy car commuting costs?

Absolutely, says Cindy (C.J.) Smith, if you’re willing to give public transit a chance.

“I’ll admit, I never thought in a million years I could [get rid of my car], but I keep a spreadsheet, so any time I feel inclined to go car-shopping, I look at my spreadsheet and the fact that we’ve saved $46,000 in four years by not leasing a second vehicle,” she says.

Between the bus that takes her to the Oshawa GO station and the GO train ride, Ms. Smith says her commute is 1 hour 20 minutes, each way. Despite the hefty time commitment, she says she has grown to love it, even documenting her transit adventures on her blog

“I don’t know if I could give it up, I really do like the ‘me’ time,” she says.

“Maybe you don’t need two cars. Really understand your options,” she says. “Home ownership is a wonderful thing but it shouldn’t make you broke.”

- From the Globe and Mail 
Why commuting costs can make the ’burbs more expensive than living downtown


Unknown said...

I lucked out when I bought my place. It is walking (ish) distance from the GO train, on 2 DRT bus routes. It is also walking distance from 2 grocery stores, 1 community centre (library & pool) and a shoppers.

And the best part? I went an entire year without a car. I rented a car about every 2 month (it is impossible to bring kitty litter home in a backpack) for the heavy lifting. But it is doable. As long as you know where things are and can work around the issues.

Now, with the habits from the year without a car, I still mostly take the bus to the GO station. I am starting to walk home (exercise and free!).

The odd time I drove (like today) and I have to put a reminder in my phone to go to car, not to bus!

And even then, a very tiny house (about 3/4 the size of mine) in my neighbourhood just sold for double what I paid for my place 7 years ago.

Unknown said...

The article seemed to make the point that downtown living is the better way then added your perspective in as an addendum :) It did make a very clear point that car costs are high and often ignored.

We were about to have to buy our second car living in the suburbs when we said - stop the insanity! We moved downtown. After 6 months we went car free. So we're saving the price of 2 cars now.

Personally I don't get the attraction of the big house in the 'burbs. My large house and garden always needed fixing and tending. My small row house is much easier to maintain.

C.J. Smith said...

I don't live in Courtice because of the size of my house. Although it's larger than the downtown Toronto home I grew up - I have a front and backyard that is half the size of my parents'.

I chose to live in the suburbs because it's where my husband's job took us. Otherwise, I'd probably be in a condo in downtown Toronto somewhere.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Hence your present lifestyle is chosen as a result of circumstantial default.