Is everything better in the suburbs?

by Kristina on April 12, 2012 · 4 comments

suburb parking lot

Good Morning DINKS.  My boyfriend Nick and I are a city couple. We currently live on the 21st floor of a high rise building in the downtown core of our city.  Since Nick and I are both from out of town when we first moved here 11 years ago we decided that living downtown would be the smartest idea.

Living downtown allowed us to be close to everything including our schools and the downtown shopping core as well as local amenities such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and video stores.  Now that we are both young professionals we still continue to live in the same neighbourhood because it still offers convenience and it is now also close to both of our office buildings.

We can walk to and from work without paying for a monthly public transportation pass, relying on a bus and subway schedule, or paying a monthly parking fee. When we walk to and from work we can pick up groceries or movies on the way home.  I absolutely love living downtown for the convenience, but as we get older I have to wonder if I am missing something by not buying a house and moving to the suburbs?

The thought of paying for and maintaining a big house in the suburbs does not appeal to me whatsoever, even if the property values may be cheaper than buying a small condo in the city. The upkeep of a house in the suburbs can be overwhelming and a lot of work.  I can’t imagine either my boyfriend Nick or I shovelling snow in the winter or cutting grass in the summer.  However, the thought of having a big house with a lot of space is very tempting.  The other aspect about the suburbs that I absolutely love is the convenience and variety of shopping.

Even though I live downtown every weekend Nick and I do our weekly shopping in the suburbs at stores such as a mega grocery store and Wal-Mart. I enjoy discount shopping and I love buying necessity items such as toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and other household items on sale.  This type of shopping is only available in the suburbs.  Unfortunately we don’t find many Wal-Marts and Home Depot stores downtown.  The shopping choices are definitely limited when you live in the downtown core.

The catch about living and shopping in the suburbs is that you definitely need to have a car.  It can be very difficult to get around the suburbs on foot and it is hard to buy a 24 pack of toilet paper if you have to carry it home on foot. If you have a car then shopping in the suburbs is definitely less expensive than shopping in the city.  In the suburbs we have the luxury of driving to our store of choice, when we shop in the downtown core everything is more expensive because we are paying for convenience.

Where do you shop and why?

Photo by Wessc

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Modest Money April 12, 2012 at 11:00 am

I’ve lived downtown previously and I found I just spent way too much money living there. Unless you’re willing to drive out of downtown, you pay more for pretty much everything. Groceries in particular are a lot more. You’re also much more tempted to regularly dine out and shop for clothing if it’s all just a short walk away. I ended up paying lots of money on parking too as we gradually explored more of downtown.

Living in the suburbs isn’t for everyone though. If the thought of maintaining a house sounds too overwhelming, perhaps you would be happier in the city. If you still work downtown, the commute can be a major drawback. Perhaps you could still consider the suburbs as an option further in the future.

2 depends on your age April 12, 2012 at 11:38 am

If you’re in your 20’s – downtown is great

if you’re in your 30’s with no kids – also

if you’re in your 30’s with kids – it sucks

if you’re in your 40’s – it sucks

I feel sorry for losers in their 40’s and 50’s that never moved out of Manhattan and still think it is the center of the universe, etc. with internet and globalization, Manhattan isn’t what it was in the 70’s and before

3 Squeezer @Personal Finance Success April 12, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I’ve always wondered how you can do improvement projects living in a high rise. For example, putting in wood flooring requires you to cut the flooring boards to the correct lengths. You cannot do this in your condo. You cannot do it outside on the ground flood because your powertools would be using up parking spaces and people would steal your tools.

4 Kris @ Debt-Tips April 15, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Everything? No. I live in a nice neighborhood in the suburbs, but with a jerk who thinks nobody lives near him – cutting grass at 7am, parking his large (loud) commercial truck even though it is illegal, etc. In general, its great, but nothing is perfect.

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