Money Minx has decided to make a frugal leap of faith, to move to another city in order to save money. But she has one stipulation that’s causing problems. She’s come to Get Rich Slowly readers for help:
My fiancee and I have cut back on spending and gotten better paying jobs and in addition have each taken on 2nd and 3rd jobs. It’s still not enough, so the only thing left to do is drastic — move to a walkable city. It would have to be truly walkable and have a workable public transit system so that we can give up our one car.
I’ve done my best to find this paradise with online search engines, I’ve asked librarians for help, and i’ve even paid a doctoral researcher to help me compose a list of cities, but to no avail. I’ve found cities that had a walkable part of town for the tourists, but when grocery stores are a 5-minute drive from the houses, that’s not what I call truly walkable. Also, as in Houston, the buses don’t go everywhere, and a normally 20-minute car ride will take you at least three hours on a bus. That’s just not realistic.
I was hoping you could ask your readers to respond with places they know of so that we could research them as viable options. My national employer will not move us to California because of the labor laws. Other than that, the only requirement we won’t budge on is that it not be too cold. A rare snowfall is tolerable, but not guaranteed snow each year.
Is your city walkable? What’s the cost of living like? What are the financial advantages of living where you do? The disadvantages?
I live in Portland, Oregon. Portland’s downtown area is very walkable. The city is constructed on a human scale, with small blocks and roads that aren’t too wide. There are many walkable neighborhoods scattered throughout the city (including parts of the downtown area). The mass transit system is good.
However, I’m under the impression that Portland is moderately expensive place to live. There’s compensation in the huge recycling/frugality ethic present in the city. There are all sorts of cheap things to do, cheap places to go, and restaurants filled with cheap food. We’ve got places like The ReBuilding Center where people can get inexpensive used housing materials. Bicycling is accepted here; thousands of people bike to work daily.
But it does rain here. A lot.
What advice can you give Money Minx? Where can she move in order to save money? Which cities are most walkable?