I’m moving!

As I hinted in my last post, it’s been a season of existential crisis. I wrote about it two years ago—the summer is always a fun couple of months where I endlessly agonize over what I’m doing with my life and/or at the very least what I’m doing still paying as much rent as I do instead of moving somewhere slightly cheaper. And I chose not to move last year, either.

Well, I’ve got news for you: I’m moving!

This is big news for two reasons: one, I haven’t moved in five years. Yes, I moved into my apartment a few months after graduating from college and I’ve been there ever since. I’ve also been super lucky to have had two jobs in that time and been able to walk to both of them! But also yes, this means I have to go through the miserable process of packing up and moving (and I’ve got a lot of shit that’s accumulated the past five years). I absolutely 100% did not miss this awful process one bit in the five glorious years I haven’t had to deal with it.

And second: my partner and I are moving in together! If we weren’t I’d probably take the lazy route and find another roommate/stay yet another year. See aforementioned aversion to the cost and hassle of moving/inertia and no compelling reason to stay or go/my rent staying the same.

But we are moving in together and are super excited about it. Our relationship right now is comprised of spending weekends together and very occasional weeknights since my partner lives in VA, works way later than I do, and also has a horrendous commute; it absolutely sucks and we’re beyond ready for it to change.

Once we move into our new place, it’ll take a lot of pressure off our weekends since they won’t be the only time we see each other during the week. This will be a) more relaxing, b) will make me feel less guilty about sacrificing time spent with him to work shifts at my second job, and c) means we can do our own things on weekends if we so choose without that taking precious time away from each other. It’ll be extremely nice to spend time together during the week instead of relying on texts/calls.


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More scenes from yesterday’s snow day. My neighborhood is gorgeous to begin with but is ??? as a winter wonderland!

A post shared by Erin | Reaching for FI (@reachingforfi) on

Moving away from this scene?

The process begins

Getting to this point of knowing where my partner and I are living for the next year has been a hell of a whirlwind process. It was stressful and I don’t want to rehash it in detail, but long story short, we knew months ago we’d be moving in together after our leases were up. So the two of us, money nerds that we are, started looking into the real estate market here to explore potentially buying a condo in the DC area.

Let me be clear—there are plenty of places here that we could afford (even without a 20% down payment because jesus christ who has a spare $50k sitting in cash they can just hand over like that???) and the monthly payment would be less that we’re collectively paying in rent right now. Even places that weren’t less than our current rents were within our means.

But we’re not trying to spend the next 20 years living in DC and none of the properties around here would be even cash flow neutral as a rental property. And that’s also leaving aside the fact that the market here is insane so our chances of putting in an offer on a place that would be accepted were slim to none (ask us how we know).

Soooooo, after a very stressful couple of months, we finally moved on from our intense scrutiny of the DC real estate market. Good riddance because fuck this market and places you put an offer on that go for many tens of thousands over initial asking price.

Leaving DC?

As our odds of buying a place here started dwindling, we started thinking—both of us would love to move somewhere new. We have lots of plans for travel in our future, and we’ve both been in DC for a while (I’ve been here…more than a while ?). So we decided to explore other options. More specifically, cheaper options.

My partner could transfer within his company to another of their locations, and there were about three cities we were considering as a potential new home. One rose to the top and for the better part of a month we were seriously considering moving.

Our cost of living was going to be so much cheaper than it is here. Even if I didn’t have a job at first/took what would likely be a pay cut to move there, we could more than afford that scenario. And if we hated the new place, we’d bank a ton of money for a year or two and then move on.

We were so serious about this that I started looking for jobs. I found one that seemed perfect, so I applied for it. Aaaaaaaand then I didn’t get an interview for the job and that gave us a chance to slow down for a second: were we actually going to do this?

It’s not like we have a bad thing going in DC. Both of us still have many items on our to-do lists for the area and just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean we’re not doing very well for ourselves anyway. Hell, even I am saving very respectable amounts most months.

Also neither of us has ever lived with a partner before so were we crazy for pondering moving in together while also adding in the extra pressure of moving across the country/getting new jobs/settling into a new place away from our friends and families within in a span of about two months? Yeah, probably!

Staying in DC

So we decided to stick around for at least one more year. I have huge misgivings about one more year syndrome—I don’t want to look up in five years and be in the same place I am now. And that’s intensified this year, given that I have literally lived in the same place for five years. But the great thing about having a partner is that you work through this stuff together.

So then the local search began and we had to make some decisions—where in the area were we going to live? His neighborhood? Mine? Somewhere new for both of us?

And I’ve gotta say, after looking at cost of living in the city we were thinking about moving to, looking at rental options here was depressing as fuck. Either you can live in a horrible basement for a lot of money, or you can live in a super fancy luxury building for a ton of money. There’s not a lot in between.

But finally I saw a place that looked promising and I set about obnoxiously pestering the leasing company for a tour so we could apply before anyone else took the place.

I’ve never had to apply for an apartment before (Craigslist and individual landlords for the win) or pay a fee (okay, that’s just me because my landlord is… let’s say extremely hands-off and laissez-faire about his property) for the privilege of doing so. This made waiting to hear back about if we got the place even more stressful since there was $60 on the line (for each of us)!

Well, we got it. And we’re moving in a few weeks!

The cons

Literally moving down in the world

It’s a basement. Y’all, I’m leaving my nice second floor corner apartment with amazing south-facing windows (my plant children appreciate the windows, even the ones that have been banished to my east-facing room because they don’t play so well with inquisitive cats) for a basement. Which’ll come with more bugs and way less light.

Yes, I’m a solar-powered human. No, this does not make any sense.

Light is important to me—I want to say that in the name of saving money I’d live in a crappy, dark basement for a year. But also working towards FI means enjoying yourself along the way and not making life miserable now. So no, I would not live in a crappy dark basement for the sake of saving money. For a basement, our new place has a surprising amount of natural light, so we’ll see how I do with the transition. My sun lamp might need to make its way home from my desk at work this winter (#solarpoweredhumanproblems).

If nothing else, when the weather’s not horrible, not having as much light in my living space will be an incentive to get outside and read in a park or the backyard instead of on the couch. Except that there is no “not horrible” weather when you’ve got the DC summer humidity or super windy winters going.

Ideal for me, not for the both of us

My partner lives in VA right now and most days has a horrible commute out to farther away in VA. Since it would be easy for me to move out to VA and take the metro in to work, it would make sense that we’d move in together somewhere nearish where he currently lives. Nope. He’s going to be moving into DC. Which just means his commute is going to be that much worse on the days he has to drive in.

Sooooo that’s not great.

Not the money-saver it could be

Moving in together saves money, right?? Well it does, but considering we’re moving into a basement, we’re going to pay more than we were hoping to.

Granted, it’s less expensive than both of our current places. And it’s less expensive than moving into a swanky new luxury building (trust me, we debated doing that for a hot second. Those rooftop views and amenities!). But it’s a couple hundred dollars more than other basement options in the area.

The other stuff

This move is more of a hassle than normal because we have the added dimension of merging two apartments’ worth of stuff. Don’t worry, we have spreadsheets coordinating who is getting rid of their couch (both of us) and who is getting rid of their bed (me).

And lastly, and probably least important but still worth noting: I’m losing my gas stove for an electric one. Am I sadly already anticipating grocery spending going up as I realize I don’t know how to cook without a gas stove/oven and inevitably ruin things? Yep.

The pros

On the note about the apartment being more expensive than we wanted to pay: sadly it’s not an unreasonable price.

But for the price we’re paying, we’re getting a newly-renovated place with a ton of storage and (!!!) a nice kitchen, other than the lack of a gas stove. Not just a kitchen I don’t hate (although the bar is low for “kitchen I don’t hate” standards since we’re both stuck in tiny little galley kitchens with no counter space at the moment), but one I’m excited about.

Having a nice kitchen was a huge priority (that and having an in-unit washer/dryer—both nonnegotiable) and if I have to live in a basement to get a nice kitchen without paying $2,500 for rent, so be it.

Same neighborhood

I can still walk to work!!!!!!

Our new apartment is still in the same neighborhood I’ve been in for five years (Capitol Hill is the best neighborhood in DC. I won’t hear any arguments to the contrary) so my commute is still going to be a walk, but slightly shorter and on a different route.

It’s super selfish of me to have gotten to stay in my neighborhood and keep my walking commute when it means my partner has an even shittier commute than he already does. We’re both excited about this move, but I do have that in the back of my mind.

Barre classes are definitely further away, to the tune of a half hour walk instead of 15 minutes. I’ll have to figure out what works for me in terms of only going to classes right after work so I don’t have to make the half hour walk both ways/getting up early to go to morning classes, showering there, and then going to work/getting a bikeshare membership so I can bike one or both ways/canceling my barre membership and figuring out some other form of exercise (don’t make me!!!!).

I’ll be going from being about equidistant from two different metro stations on different lines to very close to one station and much farther from another on a different line. So that’s going to take some adjustment, as well. Same with the figuring out a new grocery shopping strategy since my preferred store is much farther away now.

Lastly, staying in the neighborhood means I don’t have to pay to register/inspect/transfer the title for my car in VA and I also don’t have to do that months before my current registration ends—I’ll just renew my DC registration and parking permit when the time comes in November. I guess I could think about getting a new license with my new address but ehhhh we’ll see if that’s actually worth it.

The best neighborhood

Splitting costs

I’m actually still on the fence about this one, which is that we’re going to split everything else (groceries, utilities, etc) evenly, but we’re not going to split rent evenly.

This makes financial sense: my partner makes quite a bit more than I do so yeah, it’s fair for him to pay more than half of the rent. By splitting rent the way we’re considering, he’ll be paying about the same as he is now, and I’m going to be able to save hundreds of dollars a month. He’s doing just fine at his current level of spending and meanwhile we’re doing the math to figure out if I could then be able to afford maxing out my 401(k) this year, which would be huge.

So of course I feel guilty about the discrepancy in what we’d both be paying for rent and the fact that my expenses would go down while his wouldn’t. Especially because I’m the one that gets to keep a lot of my same lifestyle and my walking commute. Except that one of us is maxing out his 401(k) while one of us can’t currently afford to even with two jobs, which goes to show you the power of making more damn money. We’ll I’ll work through it.

The Gwen

As we know, I’m currently living with Gwen, which has been awesome awful just kidding she’s probably reading this so I have to say awesome ?

Except that she’s ditching me to go live out in Virginia closer to her job or something dumb like that. Except that my partner and I were talking about moving in together/ditching her which led to her preemptively ditching me so I guess she’s only mostly to blame!

It’s a good thing and a bad thing.

It’s been awesome living with her, but it will be better for both of our productivity when we don’t live together anymore and constantly distract each other. Granted, I’m not sure how well my partner and I will be able to set boundaries for not distracting each other when we need to get work done, but hey, that’s future me’s problem!

I’m gonna miss the cat but not his hair everywhere. Also he won’t miss me one bit because he’s a cat and therefore a jerk even though I’ve fed him multiple times when Gwen wasn’t around! Ingrate.

A fluffy jerkface. He’s so cute ?

Gwen moved in with a lot of stuff and we knew this situation would be temporary, so she’s got a bunch of boxes sitting around in the common areas that never got unpacked and it’s stressing me out a bit. I know not having as much space as she wants to herself is also stressing her out. So neither of us is going to be sorry to move into our new respective apartments. It’s likely Gwen might take one or two of the pieces of furniture I’m offloading, so that’s mighty convenient for me.

I was nice and scheduled my vacations this month in the middle of the month, right when Gwen will be packing up and moving, so that works out really well. We keep making jokes about “in the divorce, who gets the [massive Costco bottle of] olive oil? What about the [massive Costco bag of] rice?” Good thing she moves out before me so I’ll be able to tell if she ends up taking things like the rice even though we decided that was mine! ?

Side note: as I’m writing this, Gwen just shoved a plate of broccoli into my face. Ewwwwww thanks, mom. Granted, I said yes when she offered me some of her veggies but still, I’ve gotta get out of here!!!

Second side note: I am not going to miss Gwen’s horrible jokes! She thinks she’s hilarious…

Extremely long-winded story short…

…there are some big changes coming!

Moving itself is going to suuuuck (and ahem, I am not at all sure how regularly I’m going to be posting the next few weeks since I’m on vacation and then hopping right in to moving) but I am excited for the move. It’s about time for a change around here.

15 Replies to “I’m moving!”

  1. Congrats on the move and the moving in together! And thanks for sharing a lot of your thought process on how you decided to move (or not move). Those decisions are never easy and they almost always require compromise, but if it’s the right decision for you in the long run, then that’s all that matters!

    1. Thanks, Britt! It’s a pain that these complicated decisions mean lots of stressing and things to figure out, but we’re glad to be done with it for now and can eventually relax and enjoy our time together!

  2. As someone with a sucky commute, I can say he must REALLY love you to trade his already-sucky-commute for an even-suckier-commute. But it’ll mean less hassles for hanging out and for activities in the City, so that’s cool too.
    BT-dubs, see you in two months!!! Whaaaaat‽ Hooray for FinCon

    1. He doooooesssssss, which is gross because couples are gross! (Just ask Gwen) But yeah we’re definitely excited for less hassle. I’m ready to be done with taking all the things I need for a weekend (hiking, bathing suit these days, work clothes usually, it’s a lot) on the metro and/or sitting in traffic in preparation for spending weekends together. Way easier to be going from one place!

      Oh wow that’s so soon, can’t wait!

  3. I like how I get my own entire section. I feel special!! I will definitely miss getting to hang out with you so much but ya know, space and being able to set THE THERMOSTAT TO NOT BOILING HOT will be nice too. Good thing is your mom isn’t going to kill me so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

    1. MOVING AIR MAKES ME COLD CONSTANT A/C IS THE WORST. Also have you thought about how much money you could save by taking your lunch to work adjusting your thermostat?? ?

      And oh yeah I forgot that my mom threatened your life! Good call on subliminally pushing us to stay in the neighborhood with our move so that she doesn’t come after you for not being able to walk to all her favorite spots when she visits ??

  4. Not sure how I missed that your new place is in a basement?? The photos make it look so light and airy! And from someone who did move cross country when I first moved in with my husband… it’s most definitely more stressful that way ?

    Also. My husband and I have varied on the “who pays more” front. For a while there it was him, then me, then equal, and now while we’re paying more for our fixed costs, I’m putting more into our investments (the joint stuff), which makes sense as I now make more again.

    1. It is indeed a basement. Or an English basement as we call them here to make them sound fancier! And yeah, we figured making our lives harder was maybe not the best move right now. What’s wrong with spending a few months just enjoying living together before we get back to the annual existential crisis cycle of where we’re living?? ?

      Ah yeah that does make sense. Obviously not quite the same for us since we don’t have joint finances but it’ll accomplish the same thing since I’ll have more money to invest!

  5. Who would have thought that moving within the same neighborhood would have so many variables to consider!?! ?

    Moving is quite the hassle so it’s lucky it’s the first time in 5 years you’ve had to do so!

    Let me know if you need some help moving your things and hopefully I’m around that weekend to help out!

    1. Haha right? You’d think it would be a super easy decision!

      Oh nice—I thought there was a chance you wouldn’t be around that weekend? I’ll let you know! Because yes, it’s such a hassle. I am really looking forward to being done with it already ?

  6. Moving is the WORST but having moved in is the best! Your new place does sound pretty great, though, and I hope your partner doesn’t mind the commute getting measurably worse for him.

    May this go smoothly and may Gwen leave you the rice! ;D

    So uh, why did your mom threaten Gwen’s life again?

    1. Not that he doesn’t mind, but he’s willing to make the sacrifice.

      Haha because she loves coming up to visit and walking around/to all her favorite places. When my partner and I first started looking at places to buy, VA was going to be the likely scenario because the numbers there make slightly more sense than they do in the city. Apparently when my mom first met Gwen (long story short, I wasn’t around the first day my mom was visiting after Gwen moved in), she told Gwen something along the lines of “don’t you dare let Erin move out of this neighborhood! How am I going to be able to walk around all the lovely gardens and go xyz places if she doesn’t live here??” ??

  7. Ahhh that’s soo exciting! I’m moving to Maryland and we’re currently looking for 2 bed rooms (or 1 bed + den) in MoCo and omg the prices… I’m crying tears of blood. So happy for you guys that you found a place! 🙂
    Looking forward to being “neighbors” soon!

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