What The Calculations Are Telling Me

Plump hens a-baking. Nothing beats the taste of home-baked chicken.

Hi folks

Most of you know that we have moved house at least 26 times in about 25 years ..... actually it probably is more times than that but we have actually lost count to be truthful.  Most of these moves across the years were for deeply dubious reasons, however in the last couple of years the last two moves have been for very strategic reasons that have honoured the principles of sound budgeting, frugality and self reliance (or at least in part).

So recently, after finishing my two years project in Sydney I am now back in a local role with a different income that required me to completely rejig the budget.....such fun! (Actually it was a very satisfying task this time to be honest). Due to this, my mind has been resharpened to finding obvious waste in our lifestyle and budget.  Also, now that the HM daughters have finished school and are at their various universities, colleges and placement sites, our current suburb which originally was within a very short commute to the HM daughter's school and my Sydney-bound train station is now 100% irrelevant.

We live on the lower west side of Lake Macquarie yet now everything the family does is on the opposite side of the lake.  As much as I now hate moving house and crave to just 'stay-put' I think there may be some compelling reasons to move again.  I have made some conservative calculations on what our commute is costing us. In these following calculations I have been careful only to measure excess distances and times and not total distances and times to be truly conservative.

Hot hens resting before being carved up for dinner and hopefully
some left over for lunches tomorrow.

The Calculations

Daily we travel an unnecessary full hour by car per person as a minimum.
Daily we travel an unnecessary 72 kms (45 miles) as a minimum.
Weekly we travel a minimum of 500 unnecessary kms (311 miles).
Weekly we spend a minimum of 7 hours unnecessarily commuting per person.

Yearly that equates to:

  •   336 hours of unnecessary excessive travel time per person (that's over 2000 hours collectively as a family!)
  •    24000 km (1500 miles) of unnecessary excessive km 
  •    $3120.00 in petrol conservatively.
I have not calculated the wear and tear cost on the car doing an extra 24000 km yearly. I have also assumed us all only using one car to do this extra unnecessary travel - in actual fact it would be probably closed to 1.5 cars doing these kms.  I have not calculated the cost of 336 wasted hours per person (how do you calculate this....in wasted pay rate or perhaps time robbed of available time at a personal level? Dunno.). I also have not calculated the cost of disconnection from the communities that we spend the best part of days in by living so far away from or daily activities.  I'm sure there are other costs both social, physical (sitting in a car) and psychological too, but I do not know how to measure these.

We'll miss our lovely deck
if we move.

The two huge down-sides if we were to move is that we leave the eldest HM daughter behind - that's pretty tough and also a very good family friend that lives in our current neighborhood too (good friends that are family-by-choice are rare as you know).  Less important down-sides are the possibilities of not being able to take the chickens with us and not living in a beautiful, peaceful, semi rural environment.

None of us are in the mood to move house (it is the elephant in the room at the moment) but cognitively know and often comment we probably should. Maybe we are overreacting.

Would you move based on this empirical evidence? Is it enough reason to make the move?

Take care folks and stay nice.

Mr HM (Phil)


  1. Wow that is a lot of moving, but all the travel, I would make life easier by cutting out the travel so I would go for another move to simplify life, good luck with your decisions.

  2. Personally I would stay put, Mr.HM but that's just me. I can see you are doing the maths and feel it would be the wisest decision.

  3. If it were up to me, I would stay put. Sometimes the good things are worth sacrificing the extra dollars you could have/ would have saved. Good luck with the decision.

    - Jade

  4. I don't like driving, so if it were me I'd definitely move. It would save a lot of time and money, and the frustration that comes with long hours of driving/commuting.
    Mr HM, no matter where you live , you will live simply, and create another beautiful home.

  5. intereting concept of moving 26+ times. I'm guessing you don't own homes where you are. We owned all of our homes and sell when we want/need to move.

    Our first home was close to the city and very small. Hubby found a job about an hour drive away but was required to live within a 30 minute drive so we moved to exactly 30 minutes. Selling a home and moving isn't really easy and a ton of paperwork as well as finding a "good" home. This was about 27 years ago that we moved out of a home we lived in 5 years. So then we raised our family in a big, country home. Four years ago hubby retired so now we were stuck at least a 30 minute drive to my work and the kids' school as well as family. So we sold our lovely home and moved back to where we started, into a very small home that has had a lot of expensive issues. I want to say that if I could do it all over again, I would have stayed in my home that was a 30 minutes drive and just done the driving. But on the other hand, we are so much closer to everything including grocery stores, family, work, that I'm glad we moved.

    What is the reason for so many moves? Is that a way of life where you live? That almost doesn't make a lot of sense to me.


    1. We have had a lot of moves too Alice - not as many as Mr HM BUT it can be job related like it was for us. We are farming and some moves were to go to a better job, some for advancement and some because after getting the farms up to speed ( and in one case helping the farm owner build a new cowshed which was not a part of our contract) they put the farms on the market and sold them!!!

  6. I love moving, I get bored in three years even if the home, town and country otherwise is great, but that is me. I say clear out and go!

    1. I used to me like that when I was younger but now I am in my 50s I want stability. I used to like moving after 2 years in one place just to see different parts of the country.

  7. I say go but then that is me! You will figure it out!

  8. I would stay where I am. Family is priceless so staying near those we care about would outweigh money for me. A few years of extra cost vs comfort and joy.
    Will the travel to the other side of the lake remain constant or might it change again in a few years?

    1. Having 2 kids 7-8 hours away --- I have to say that I totally agree with Candace. Family is priceless. Keeping your family together as long as possible is priceless. Time comes soon enough when they will spread their wings and fly. You will be glad for the added memories down the road. So I say stay. :)

  9. We down sized to our piece of heaven seven years ago, in the last few years one neighbour has been terrible in her feelings towards us, she has made up stories about us. We love our home and spent loads of time deciding should we move. We are still enjoying our home, we ignore her and her words, our other neighbours help by supporting us. We are glad we stayed.

    1. Sad to read that Marlene. She must have had a reputation already by the way the other neighbours support you. Good on you for not being bullied out of your home.

  10. Totally you and your families decision, but given that you have not long moved into this house, I would stay put for a bit. Did you factor in moving costs and time? I know it's only a once off cost/time but it still needs to be spent.

  11. We have always lived near our work place, for me this is important the ability to walk or ride to work. You have the luxury to do this because you are renting. We had the neighbours from hell but we sat tight and eventually they up and left.

  12. Peace and serenity win here hands down for me. Can't put a price on contentment xx

  13. If it was me I would stay put. Children grow up and leave home and also you have good relationships with people where you live now. You might not be able to buy a home in the same price bracket and then there is the costs associated with moving. We had friends who extended there house and got a mortgage on their mortgage free home to do it and it only took their son to leave home 1 year later and then they had the extra bedroom they required.

  14. You haven't mentioned the cost of housing on the other side of the lake... how does it stack up when compared to the cost of petrol?
    Even if you could bring yourself to leave eldest DD, chooks, close friend (you can always visit DD and friend on weekends) - you might save yourself petrol money but pay higher rent and negate all the benefits of moving. As well as be away from the rural lifestyle you like.

    We choose to live rural and commute - DS goes to school 40km away. We could move to walking distance but just love where we live so much!

  15. You have to factor in the huge "commission" cost to the real estate for selling and then stamp duty buying again....that could be anywhere from $20K to $30K straight up.

  16. We've been in the same house for 27 years so obviously
    I'm not one for change! But I like our house, the area
    we live in highly walkable and cycleable and everything we
    need or want is nearby. If I was in your situation, I would
    stay - to me, having the house you want and quality of life
    is more important than money.

  17. That's a tricky one. Like someone else said - is the rent higher if you live closer to work? Maybe check out a few places to satisfy your curiosity. You make risk swapping good neighbours for bad ones or move only to have the owner sell the house once the lease is up (although that could happen anywhere I guess). Also you'll need room for the organs you are restoring. I do see you point about having more time though. Good luck with your decision

  18. Ha, I'm planning a post to do with this very thing. Our kids' party is this weekend, so then I can get back to regular blogging. But just quickly, I'll say, there's always a downside to wherever you live. Relocating for small measures, is an expensive exercise. So live where you will experience the most happiness. Sorry, I can't add more - times a squeeze until the weekend is over. :)

  19. Sometimes, making a move like this isn't just about the "math". While we can do all the calculations on paper, what is really important is a sense of home.

    One cost you haven't taken into account, and it's a huge one, is the stamp duty you'll pay for a new place. That is of course if you plan to buy rather than rent.
    It can be a difficult decision to relocate, especially if you like where you are, can't take your chickens with you and may end up on a suburban block instead of the semi rural block you're on now.

    I'm wondering though why you would consider moving and going through all of this hassle, when your long term goal is to head to a more rural property in the future?

    I've moved a lot too through the years, although not as many as you and have been in my current place for almost 20 years. I often think how nice it would be to get a house on a bigger block of land etc, but to be honest, this is home.

  20. I will go from the perspective that you are renting. I rented for 20 years until I finally bought a house and moved around 10 times in that period.
    Every landlord I had seems to think they are entitled to some bond money, even the ones that were to demolish the house to rebuild wanting money as the walls weren't clean enough (they didn't get it mind you), so that is an expense worth considering also.
    Do you see (as much as we can predict these days) that the local job is long-term or is there a likelihood of a Sydney commute again?
    Also are the 'savings' actually going to be tangible or will they end of being absorbed by another cost elsewhere?

  21. That's a ton of moving! I hate moving. I would be kicking and screaming if I had to move, but that's just me. With your daughters in school and just starting out, I might wait a few years to see where they settle down to avoid moving yet again.

  22. I wouldn't move. Moving is always an expensive excercise! I have moved about 15 times in my 40 years and I have moved continents twice. I drive about 35 km to work and back each day but that wouldn't make me move into town. then I would need to give up the animals and the big fruit and veggie garden and buy eggs and meat and and fruit & veg. If I were you and you like it where you are now, I would suck it up and stay.

    Find me on http://dumspiro-vivo.blogspot.com.au/


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