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The Cost of Living in a City


I spent a full day last week apartment shopping with Princess. Holy Cow! It’s absolutely crazy the cost of rentals. From heart of the city in Atlanta to suburbs 20-30 miles out of the city, there were little to no options under $1,500 per month. It’s absolutely insane.

We looked at refurbished motels, ie completely unsafe, dumps to high rise tiny little studios. And everything in between. It was painful and an excruciatingly long day. And I think every single one of them called themselves “luxury living” on their signage or website. Like no reality in their descriptions or advertising.

Adulting is Hard

It was a hard day for Princess, as well. She learned a lot of hard lessons. We had lots of deep discussions. Lessons learned. We talked about the cost of time, ie commute time. We talked about the psychology of aesthetics. Are you really going to use the amenities they are “selling?” Are your guests even going to see the beautiful leasing office since they would come to visit you through the parking garage? (And it’s closed and locked up, outside your working hours.) Lots of psychology of selling lessons when you apartment shop.

We talked about the rule of real estate – it’s all about “location, location, location.” Although that didn’t seem to translate well since pricing was relatively similar in the variety of areas we looked at. We had a few standoffs…with her declaring “just let me do this.”

Back off, Mom

Finally, we went to dinner. Ran the numbers. And then I had to back off and let her process. It wasn’t my decision.

I had to sit there and just wait and watch. Ultimately, that is a parents job, isn’t it? It was hard.

So Proud

In the end, she made a solid, financially sound decision. It was not the one she wanted to make. And I couldn’t be more proud and excited for her.

Financial Implications

There are financial implications in this for me. More to come on that. But in the end, one more year and then all of my kiddos will be completely independent of me. One more year…

And better then that…not one of them will have college debt to deal with. I am proud of myself (and them) for that. Getting them started better than I did for myself.

Summer Plans


On the island of Capri

I remember teaching a night class at a community college while I was still a graduate student finishing up my PhD over a decade ago. This class was full of working adults – a room full of post-traditional learners, many of whom also had caregiving responsibilities, bills to pay, and all of the normal stuff that comes along with adulthood. That first day in the class I asked everyone what they did over the summer. The same question, when asked to a group of “traditional” college students receives all kinds of varied and interesting responses and tales of travels near and far. With my room of working adults? Nothing. A lot of “I worked” and not much else. Major fail on my part for not considering the audience.

Today’s Economy

I was chatting recently with one of my best friends from childhood, catching up on each other’s lives. She and her husband live a modest lifestyle. She is the secretary at the elementary school her children attend and her husband is the manager at a hotel. They have enough to meet their needs, but not much in the way of extras.

When chatting about summer plans, she has a little staycation situation planned. The family will be doing a day trip a couple hours way to visit some fun kid-themed places, and then they’ll stay at a hotel where they get a free room thanks to the husband’s job. I think it sounds lovely, but she seemed a little embarrassed at how modest it was. She explained, “I don’t know how anyone can do anything in this economy!” And it’s true….inflation has really been a kick in the pants.

Money and Feelings

I know my friend didn’t intend it, but it made me feel a little guilty. For so much of my life, I have lived completely bare bones. I’ve written past posts here from when my kids were tiny about making my own baby wipes. I’ve also made DIY cleaning solutions, washed and re-used (off-brand) Ziplock bags, and shared various side-gig hustles. It’s only in the past couple of years that we’ve started to go on “real” vacations (i.e., planned destinations versus just driving to visit family). It’s expensive, yes, but I’ve been working full-time in my career for a decade and I want to make some memories with my kids before they’re grown (they grow so fast! They’ll be 12 this month!

Finding a Balance

I know this is a “me” thing, as my friend certainly was NOT trying to make me feel bad. But I had just shared with her all about my husband’s and my recent trip to Italy! How could I not feel tone deaf and dense when turning around and asking her about vacation plans only to hear they’re going to a neighboring city for one night. Definitely took me back to that night class I taught at the community college way back when. Should’ve learned my lesson then!

Has anyone found themselves in a similar situation? I’m almost entirely debt-free aside from my mortgage and last remaining bit of student loans that are anticipated to be forgiven in under 2 years. No debt on credit, vehicles, medical, or other “extras.” It was only after reaching this point that I started to do more of the fun extra type of stuff (by saving up and paying cash). I don’t want to feel guilty about having that privilege, but I also want to be sensitive to the fact that many others are NOT in the same position to be taking European vacations, etc.

How have you handled these types of situations?

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