I initially moved home to the suburbs with a time limit. I planned to stay with my parents for a year to make a big dent in paying off my debt, then hoped to return to the city immediately – a built-in escape plan. But as I crept up on the one-year mark, I noticed that my desire to take off had subsided, and I began to recognize how much I had gained just by being out of town. I saved on the expensive lifestyle that can come with living in the city, from sky-high rents (of course buying a place in the suburbs would cost a whole lot more) to countless restaurants and things to do. But the life I had created was also undeniably more balanced, and a lot of that had to do with me moving to the suburbs. These are some of the things that have changed for the better.
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I cook much more often.
There was no way I could afford to live in the city without roommates, which meant I always shared both the kitchen and the fridge. Anyone who has lived with roommates knows that you have to be strategic when it comes to shopping and cooking. Between playing Tetris with your one shelf of fridge space and guessing if someone is already using the kitchen, cooking felt more like a timed task. Meal planning becomes a lot easier when you can actually stock your fridge.
I am able to invest more in my interests.
My original motivation for moving to the suburbs had a lot to do with rent prices, but pretty much everything is cheaper outside the city. In addition to paying off my debt, I have previously been able to invest in things that felt like luxuries. I joined a weightlifting gym, picked up a few more instruments, tended an ever-growing garden—all things I never had the space or funds for. Even if I had been able to shove a drum kit into my bedroom in Brooklyn, there was no way I would have gotten away with practicing without complaints from the neighbors that surrounded us on all sides.
Hosting friends and family is much easier.
When I lived in the city I would have friends over, but mostly as a first stop on the way to somewhere else. Sometimes I got invited to dinner parties, or to the random friend’s house with an inexplicably large apartment, or to someone else’s place with rooftop access, but mostly we went out. As much as I loved constantly exploring new places, being able to invite a bunch of people over for a BBQ is an undeniably good time. Pros include no waiting for outdoor seating and only spending what I would have burned through in two hours at a bar anyway.
Part of what I loved about living in the city was its walkability and how much there was to explore. It’s easy to get around, but it’s not so easy to leave. People always joke about how New Yorkers never leave New York, and once you live there for a while, you realize that’s kind of true. It makes sense because it always feels like there’s something worth experiencing close to home, but since moving to the suburbs, I’ve planned many more trips. The extra funds definitely help, but I think living in some cities (especially the East Coast) can make you feel like you’re constantly on the move, which can be exhausting. Since moving to the ‘burbs, I’ve found myself much less exhausted by the thought of traveling and more motivated to go to brand new places.
My cat clearly loves it.
I’m sure other cats growl at the UPS guy and meet their parents at the door awaiting belly rubs, but my cat’s particularly dog-like qualities have made her especially grateful for the extra yard space. Which, as a cat lover, is no small reason to love living in the suburbs.
This piece is part of Transformation Month, where we feature amazing home makeovers, brilliant little tweaks, inspiring before and afters and so much more. Go over here to see it all!