Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Walking to work

I have a great advantage at the moment. I am only a walking-distance away from work. No, I don't walk in a suit. It still takes about 20 minutes, but that is miniscule. It saves money (because you don't have to pay for transport), saves time (no traffic, you have the total control; if I want, I can rush back home in 10 minutes) and it is definitely good for health (40 minutes of walking everyday).

Walking in the winter is a bit difficult though. It's not because of the outdoor temperature, but because of the wind that usually flows from north, which hits straight on my face. It is winter now in Australia, but we have passed the peak, so it is getting better. But the summer could be a totally different monster, but I have walked outside at 40C temperature, so I should be OK.

The rent in Melbourne is pretty steep. When I was looking for our first apartment, I had to take the transport expenses (or, the lack of it) into consideration. I pay $345 per week for our current apartment, which is quite a lot of money. During my search, I came across houses/apartments with a weekly rent of around $325 but they would have required me to drive to work as they were not very close to my workplace. I could take the train, but the fares would cost about $23/week if I get the myKi pass for the whole month. If I drive 15km each direction, that would be 150km each week or about 18 litres of petrol, which would be about $20/week, so it is similar to what I am paying right now. Our current apartment is smack in the middle of all the shopping areas, so it is very convenient, which you sometimes cannot value by money.

There are times I have to drive the car to work though - if I have to return home quickly (eg: to take my wife or kids to doctor) or if it is raining heavily in the morning. I love driving the car, but I don't like to drive to work. There is not enough parking at the workplace. Only two employee vehicles can be parked off-street. Rest of us have to settle for on-street parking. There are only 5 people competing for the parking spaces, so it is not that bad. But the problem is, there are other offices nearby who also share the same on-street parking spaces. So if they are all full when you arrive at work, you have to park the car far away, on-street. I am reluctant to do that. I understand my car is about 9 years old, but to me, it is still my precious.

Sadly, at some point in time, I will lose this advantage. There is no point paying a monthly charge (rent in this case) for a place you do not have any control over, when you can pay a little bit more and own a place of your own. So, I will eventually have to build/buy a house, but that would require me to move a bit far from here, which means I will have to either take the train or drive to work. (To afford a house from around here, my current salary needs to double.)

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