A lot of home buyers are pushing out into the exurbs because the houses are cheaper there — but long commutes come with hidden costs that could seriously dent any money you might save on a mortgage. A personal finance blogger with the trust-inspiring nom de plume of Mr. Money Mustache (okay, so he's a mustache, but it's a MONEY mustache!) has calculated that a two-car commute of 19 miles each way would cost a couple $125,000 over 10 years. That makes a $250,000 home into a $375,000 home, but all you get for your extra money is a tension headache.
Here are Mr. Money Mustache's figures, in case you don't trustache his conclusions and want to check the mustmath (say it out loud, I promise the joke kind of works).
Let’s take a typical day’s drive for this self-destructive couple. Adding 38 miles of round-trip driving at the IRS’s estimate of total driving cost of $0.51 per mile, there’s $19 per day of direct driving and car ownership costs. It is possible to drive for less, but these people happen to have fairly new cars, bought on credit, so they are wasting the full amount.
Next is the actual human time wasted. At 80 minutes per day, the self-imposed driving would be adding the equivalent of almost an entire work day to each work week — so they would now effectively be working 6 workdays per week.
After 10 years, multiplied across two cars since they have different work schedules, this decision would cost them about $125,000 in wealth (if they had for example chosen to put the $19/day into extra payments on their mortgage), and 1.3 working years worth of time, EACH, spent risking their lives daily behind the wheel.
Get Grist in your inbox