Did I say rationalizing?! I meant justifying!!! I don’t need to rationalize anything!!!
When I signed the lease I was pretty miserable for a good half of the day. The fact that I was increasing my rent by so much money, per month, literally made me sick. I didn’t think I was getting my money’s worth and all I could think about is how I should have swallowed the figurative costs of staying in my current place so that I could save more money and maybe begin to look at a condo or anything other than being subject to the monopolized Ann Arbor apartment market.
However, once I started moving things in and exploring the area I remembered why I made this decision in the first place. Here’s what that $200 increase is coming with:
1. My Own Washer and Dryer. It’s small and I will probably have to do twice as many loads of laundry with it, but it is in my apartment. This is the first time I won’t have to leave my living space to do laundry since high school. I presume this will save me money as well – a load of laundry cannot possibly cost the $3.00 my previous apartment complex charged. Even two loads cannot cost that much. I think I’ll recoup a tiny bit of that $200 here. The convenience is the value.
2. A Walk Out Patio. Okay, so it might be the most pathetic patio ever with absolutely no view, but my 4-legged roommate and I will really enjoy having a “patio.” It will be nice to spend summer nights outside and watching baseball games through the big glass sliding doors. It’d really be nice to find a cheap, above ground fire pit somewhere. I’ll have to start scouring yard sales and craigslist.
3. A Nicer Kitchen. I’m not a huge kitchen person, but my new kitchen is a little more open. It even has a nice island-type thing that I can use as a table since I don’t own one!
4. The Right Part of Town. This is the big one. It’s the real reason this apartment is so expensive. I’m going from 5 miles away from the heart of downtown to 1.5 miles away. I’m going from the middle of parking lots and freeway ramps to quaint neighborhoods and beautiful parks. In fact, I’m literally two blocks away from a nice city park – my work softball team actually has a couple games at the park! I can’t wait to be able to walk two blocks to my softball game instead of driving 15 minutes through the city during rush hour. I can bike into the heart of the city in 5 minutes and I can walk home after late nights at the bar in 20 minutes. I’m not exactly where I would like to be, but I’m as close as I can possibly get on my budget. I’m closer to friends, too. I am doubling my commute to work, however, to about 7 miles. Not a big deal except I have to either drive through the edge of the city or go a little out of the way to jump on the freeway for a couple miles. Either way, my 7 minute commute is now an 18 minute commute.
Still. Moving into an apartment that charges $900 a month is pretty anti-debt reduction. I can confidently say I wouldn’t have made this decision if I was not getting a $300 increase in monthly income. Basically, my budget remains the same. Sure, I could have stayed where I was and been fine. However, I’m only in my 20s for so long. 3 and a half more years to be exact. I want to be close to the heart of the city and I’m totally okay with the financial cost of that. In a year or two if I decide that I am not taking advantage of my location, I can move again (though I am really getting sick of moving – this is the fifth straight year of moving) and move cost back to the top of the priority list.
If your rent increased $200 what would you, hypothetical reader, expect/want to come with that increase?