We drove 2800 miles in the last year.
I had our little car serviced the other week and the technician told me he thinks we should easily get another year out of it. Good news as we did a little test run and we can just fit three car seats across the back seat. It might become a challenge once the baby is out of the infant seat but a quick search pointed me in the direction of the super slim Radian car seat which would make buying a bigger car a choice, not a need.
A few times a year I get requests for interviews about living with less and how it can help families. Probably one of the biggest points I try to make is this: find what works for you.
Our family doesn’t like to drive. We’re not car people. We’re going to spend a bit more money and energy on choosing to live somewhere that’s walkable. It means we don’t have big backyards or quiet streets. We have less home space. And when we want some quiet or nature we have to travel to it. You can’t have everything.
There is still so much room, and so many ways, to live simpler if you live in the suburbs or the country or you commute 90 minutes to work each way. The trick is to find that thing that you can live without and not feel the pinch. For us it’s driving and space. For you it may be less stuff or a quiet schedule or those extras like meals out or far flung vacations. We’re not campers but I know many a family that is and they certainly spend less on travel and vacations than us. Plus they take more of them.
Our impending move came down to one thing: did we want to keep our lovely seaside flat and the beautiful views and the easy walk to work for my husband if it meant driving our oldest son to school most of the time? Walking or even biking is not an option for most of the year. Becoming almost daily commuters would mean buying a newer car. Our little Citroen with the leaky roof is not only not going to last through a lot more miles on it, but my back will be fried from pulling babies and toddlers in and out of car seats so many times a week.
And the thought of driving Henry to school, loading three kids into the car, finding a parking space (very few near the school) and then taking the whole gang in to drop Henry at his classroom, filled me with dread. Thinking about doing it twice a day five days a week sealed the deal. We would look for something near his school.
This will be our first experience living in a house. It’s a similar size to our current flat but spaced over two floors. It’s a terrace house or what we call a townhouse in North America. There is a tiny little paved yard that kids can kick a ball around in and we can setup a barbecue. It’s going to be different and we’re cautiously optimistic about becoming house dwellers.
What I’m definitely excited for is change. I love the reset of moving somewhere and the fresh start it brings. Yes, the actual move can be a hassle but we’re lucky that we don’t own any furniture. Yet.
As we start packing and, of course, weed out stuff we haven’t been using, I’m keenly aware that we have more than we came over here with. Our family has grown. We have two scooters and a balance bike. We have a vacuum and a blender and slow cooker. Interested to see what our box count has gone up to since moving here three years ago.
Has anyone else faced this move homes or increase commute time choice? How did you make your decision?
I’m still thinking about All the Money in the World by Laura Vanderkam and how she relates income and spending to lifestyle choices. This move will mean our rent goes down significantly but my husband will have a longer walking commute and drive more. We’re essentially trading his time for mine.
As the big income earner in the household his time is worth more than mine. Vanderkam would argue that it should be me that makes the commute, not him. Yet, my stress goes up considerably if I have to commute with three kids. For my husband, an extra 40 minutes of walking on a work day is mostly a positive.