Thursday, September 14, 2006

Location, Location, Location

I've been living in a few different temporary homes over the last few months, all of which have been in more "desirable" or "happening" parts of the neighborhood than I lived in before, and certainly more so than the neighborhood I will be moving into. In some ways, it's nice to live near all these great little restaurants and cafes and cute little shops. But in other ways, I feel kind of ambivalent about it. I haven't been taking advantage of a lot of these conveniences-- I've eaten in restaurants or gotten take out a few times, but the whole time I've just been chafing at my lack of kitchen facilities and wishing I could cook my own meals in the way that I'm used to. And I've been trying not to spend much money, so cafes and shops just present a lot of temptation that I'd rather not have. And of course, since these areas are considered more desirable, the rents are higher.
The area I'm moving to will have a lot fewer amenities, though I think some will arrive over the next few years. Of course this is why I can afford it! And since eating out will be less convenient, I expect to save a little money on my food bills. The only thing about the area that might end up costing me more money is that the cab fare from Manhattan would be higher if I ever needed to take one.
Would you pay more to live in a neighborhood with lots of conveniences and boutiques and restaurants? And would you find it hard to resist spending money on them? Or are you willing to go further from home for those things? And does that help you save money?


Anonymous said...

i'm willing to choose a less "happening" area in order to save money. in fact, i've lived in very "hip" areas in the past and to be honest i feel better when i don't feel like i'm stepping into a circus everytime i leave my apartment.

however, i do need at least one non-chain coffeeshop or other lazy hangout venue in easy walking distance in order to not feel claustrophobic, and need to be conveniently located to a whole foods-type grocery store.

mapgirl said...

I live in a restaurant-less part of town. It's not the hippest part of the city, but I find that I generally work in such a manner that I drive over to a restaurant to meet my friends for dinner so it doesn't matter where I live or what's near it. I suppose that's all different if you don't have a car, but my commute allows me to work near where my friends live in the 'burbs, have dinner after work and drive home after the crazy rush hour is over.

I pay less to live where I do. I end up saving money on gas since I'm not burning it up while idling in traffic. It doesn't really 'pay' for dinner, but I bought what I could afford and that makes me happy. I just realized, I do live near some restaurants in walking distance, but I only ever go to the Thai place when I go to the library.

Anonymous said...

Me thinks where one lives in proximity to shops and restaurants has much to do with what one can afford. Given affordibility wouldn't most people live closer to a great selection of restaurants than farther away -- especially in a large city like NYC? That is, assuming they love eating out as much as Madame X does!

Anonymous said...

I don't need botiques, etc, but I would like to be able to walk just a few blocks for a drugstore/grocery store/convenience store, so its easy to pick up some milk or whatever without a major trip.

Anonymous said...

I live a decent 15 minute walk away from the hipster capital of Chicago. It is nice to be close, and also nice not to be right smack in the middle. Previously I lived way out in the outskirts of Chicago, and going out to dinner or anywhere required a car ride and/or a very long ride in public transport.

Overall, I prefer not having to drive so much, I hate feeling dependent on my car and stressing about parking which frequently happens. I think it is a quality of life issue. Having to travel large distances via car to accomplish any task in life is depressing for me. That's why I choose to live close to downtown but in a neighborhood that is mostly residential and within walking distance to many cafes/restaurants/bars/shops/public transport stops, etc.

Anonymous said...

I live in the Sutton Place area, by First ave. in a one bedroom. I can walk to work but I usually take a cab. It's not a trendy area though there are a lot of restaurants a block or two west. I eat out a lot because I never have the time to cook.

I was considering moving to an apartment in the UWS but decided not to because it's farther away from work and the rent is much higher than what I'm paying now.

Where I save the most money is travel. I expense everything but amass so many points on my credit cards that travel on my own time is virtually free. I travel at least 6 months of year for work. Cab rides are also expensed and late working nights, car services are available, free of charge.

I spend the most on food. I don't go to extravagant places often, and if I do, maybe once every few months, but I do eat out at least three times a day. Breakfast at Lenny's, lunch and dinner with coworkers or friends and all the snacks in between. Admittedly, the lunches and dinners are work-related most of the time but the habit of having things ordered and served to you spoil you.

I find my main problem is the city itself. No matter where you live in New York City, amenities that you thought you never needed are there, and suddenly, you're depending on them. Even where you're moving to, Madame X, like you said, in a couple of years you'll have all the bells and whistles.

It takes a lot of self-control to be vigilant about saving. I'm learning so much from you, even if I may not be following all the rules. You're my hero.

Anonymous said...

I rent in the Upper East Side. I used to go explore cheaper neighbourhoods in Queens to save money but ended up staying put. The thought of giving up all the amenities - the restaurants, the movie theater, bookshops, coffee shops and 24hr grocery stores within walking distance was too hard to bear.

The Foof said...

I live nowhere close to nyc, however, I thought I would comment. Until 3 months ago, I lived in OKC, at that time, I moved out about 25 miles to the middle of nowhere.
This move has helped me save about $750.00 a month simply because there is not a restaurant within 15 miles. Very helpful!

Anonymous said...

I don't live in NYC either but the question remains useful.

How far away from the centre of your universe can you live without seriously hobbling your quality of life is a supply-and-demand curve that different people will find themselves on different points. As with all expenses, I think it's a balancing act.

I used to live a 20-min bus ride from my work, and just 6 blocks from a convenient strip of grocery, drug store, shopping, restaurants, entertainment, etc. My environment was great; but I was renting in a shared accomodation situation. I could never afford to rent solo there, let alone buy a condo or a house.

I now live about 12 miles from my work. My commute by public transit to my job every day is time-consuming and a daily test of my patience. But I rent an apartment with my husband.

We are saving the difference between what we would pay to rent an apartment comparable to the one we have now in our old neighbourhood, and what we are currently paying in rent, towards an eventual downpayment.

To be sure, our transit costs are a bit higher, and our days are certainly longer. We can't pop out to an activity or a social event with the same ease that we used to.

But someday we'd like to own a house. So here we are.


Anonymous said...

New to your blog. Where are you moving to? we bought a 2 bed/2 bath in Forest Hills, Queens. Never had I stepped foot in Queens till we started looking for a place to buy being priced out of Manhattan. Forest Hills has everything you want except that it is not Manhattan. We loved living there for 4 years.