My expenses dropped by half when I moved from Seattle to Cincinnati, but there are 3 things I'm spending more on now
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- Moving from Seattle to Cincinnati, Ohio largely meant that things got cheaper.
- In some instances, however, it meant spending more on things like items for my larger home, and spending more on gas since everything is much farther away.
- I can also afford to live alone in Ohio, which means I'm not splitting bills any longer. While they're still largely cheaper, they're slightly more expensive since I'm not only paying half.
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In moving from Seattle back to my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, most things in life have gotten cheaper.
I left a two-bedroom rented house in Seattle that I shared with a roommate for a very similarly sized house that I'm buying. I expect to spend less on my mortgage than I did in rent once I complete my home purchase, and that will be the biggest saving. Other expenses, like the amount that I spend on groceries is also considerably less, and things like trips with ridesharing apps, parking expenses, and public transportation are all but gone from my budget now.
But, the overall lifestyle change between living in a dense, urban city to living in a smaller city makes a few things more expensive. Here's how my expenses break down.
I spend more on gas, simply because everything is so much farther away
What I spent in Seattle: Most months, I didn't buy gas. Sometimes, I'd fill my tank with $20 for longer road trips
What I spend in Cincinnati: I generally put about $20 a month into my car's tank
In Seattle, I very rarely left a five-mile radius of my house, which was just north of the city. Most everything I did and places I frequented were relatively close. My car is a plug-in hybrid that has a range of about 30 miles before it switches to a gas engine.
Here, everything is a lot farther away — the nearest grocery store is about a 20-minute drive. From my new home to my parents' house, it's about a 40-minute drive. It's not uncommon for me to drive 50 miles a day or more on the weekend. Because things are so much farther apart, I end up using more gas than I ever did in Seattle, which adds to my monthly expenses.
Living alone means I spend more on some monthly bills
What I spent in Seattle: My half of our bills for water and trash came to about $31 per month, electricity was about $50 a month for my share, and internet was $27.50 for my share.
What I spend in Cincinnati: My water and electric bills will be similar to the amount I paid in Seattle, at about $30 and $50, and internet will be about $45 per month.
In Cincinnati, I can afford to live alone. But that means I don't have someone to split the cost of some of the household bills with, so I'm paying a bit more.
While I once paid $27.50 per month for my share of the $55 internet bill, I'll spend $45 per month in Cincinnati since I'll pay the whole bill. For utilities, I'll likely pay an amount similar to what I paid before, now covering the whole portion myself. I expect to pay about $30 a month for water and $50 a month for electricity.
To be fair, the bills here will largely be cheaper, and comparable to the half that I paid in Seattle for the whole house. But, they still could be a few dollars more in my budget than I used to spend since I'm not splitting them.
I have a lot more space than I did previously, so I'm spending more on my home
What I spent in Seattle: I wasn't one to buy many things for my previous homes. In Seattle, I owned a dresser I bought on sale for $90, and a bed frame and mattress gifted to me by a friend for free. I also bought a used IKEA desk and chair for about $50 total.
What I spend in Cincinnati: I have an extra room to furnish as an office. For my bedroom, I bought a new bed frame for $600. I have plans to buy a $300 mattress, too. I plan to spend more on furniture once I get settled.
In Cincinnati, I can afford to have far more space than I ever could in Seattle. I'm in the process of buying a house comparable in size to the one I used to share. And with my budget freed up with lower costs, and spending more time at home, I'm spending more on home items now.
While I'd been content with wobbly secondhand furniture in my rental, I want something nicer in my new house. My first purchase was a real bed frame, which I spent about $600 on, and I plan to buy a new mattress, too. In my mind, it feels a bit like lifestyle creep, or increasing your spending as your earning increases. I've never owned these things new, and while I do question whether or not I need them now, I can justify it since I'll use them every day.
I didn't keep any furniture in my move. Now that I feel less transient than I did while I was renting, I'm ready to have nice things that I know I can keep for a while. As a result, I've recently either bought or plan to buy all the things I held off on while renting. I've always wanted that new mattress, a KitchenAid mixer, and a nice, matching set of drinking glasses, and I'll probably spring for them soon. I also don't own any living room furniture, and while I'll start off with things from my parents' and grandparents' houses, I'd eventually love to own my own sectional sofa.
I've always been told that if you have more space, you'll fill it. That's certainly turned out to be true in my experience.
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