Why We Chose To Live In A Suburb

Mr. FE and I grew up in the same quiet suburb just 30 minutes outside of Boston, MA., not far from the Route 128 beltway. In case you are not familiar with Route 128, you can think of it as a place that is often compared to California’s Silicon Valley. Boston being the home of both Harvard University and MIT, had contributed significantly to the massive influx of high-tech companies such as Microsoft, BAE Systems, GE, and Raytheon.

Why We Decided to Move Closer to Boston

Massachusetts is well known for its competitive job market and we knew that if we could make it here, it would be a huge boost to our careers. So after graduation we decided to stay and move closer to the city.

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In search of an early morning espresso! North End, Boston MA

Our apartment sported 695 square feet of living space and was old, dingy and dark, with a mustard yellow kitchen straight out of the 70’s. To get our laundry done we had to hike down several stories using a very scary stairwell to a basement where horror movies were made. It was a high-priced toilet given that our rent back then was $2,000 a month. Trust us, our sad little apartment had no chance of ever making it on Robin Leach’s, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous!

We had an outlandish (think lunatic) neighbor above us that would blast Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits every night, and throw random pieces of furniture over his balcony out onto the street. Then in the morning the police would order him to lug it all back inside. It wasn’t uncommon for us to look out of the window and see a couch flying out over our heads. Needless to say, we never want to hear another Fleetwood Mac song again!

What We Learned About City Life

Living near the city allowed us both to grow in positive ways. We enjoyed the fine dining, museums, shopping, concerts, broadway performances, sporting events, and learning about the different cultures. We also learned random things like never to get in the middle of a discussion about politics. Yikes! In case you didn’t know, Bostonians are very passionate about their politics.

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North End, Boston MA

But for all that the city had to offer us, we knew that city living just wasn’t for us. Here are some of the reasons why.

  • Parallel parking – If we were lucky enough to find a spot, we needed a laser guided vehicle in order to park in it. Some of the spaces we managed to fit into probably should of made it in the Guinness Book of World Records!
  • Noise – Yep! It wouldn’t be a city if we didn’t have the constant sound of sirens all day and night. It was music to our ears!
  • Price – Boston is one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., and we needed at least half a million or more to even think about buying a worthy piece of real estate.
  • Entertainment –  Everything from flying furniture to streakers and people walking their cats on a leash, the city had it all.
  • Crowds – Think of us as sardines stuffed in a can.

After 11 years of living near the city, we missed seeing the lush green lawns and open landscapes. So we decided to move back to the suburbs. Mr. FE was able to transfer to another branch within his company, and I decided to take on the commute. This was well worth it for all that we gained in return.

  • Parking – We now own 2 parking spaces. No more driving in circles!
  • Peace and quiet – Our neighborhood is so quiet that it’s downright eery. Spooky, I tell you! In fact, on our first night at the house I thought I saw a shadow lurking in the bushes, so I sent Mr. FE outside with a flashlight to check it out. It ended up being a hostile raccoon that chased Mr. FE back to the house. He was in such a frenzy yelling “open the door” over and over again with his arms flailing up in the air. Now when I hear a noise outside, he ignores me.
  • Location – We are only minutes away from a major commuter highway, and have a huge retail district nearby which allows for a lot of comparison shopping.
  • Price – We got a great deal on a four bedroom, two full bath home with all the space we will ever need for half the price of living in the city.
  • Entertainment  – We are still within driving distance to the city, ocean, mountains, and lakes. We also have access to music venues, museums, and a theater, along with some outstanding restaurants.
  • Space – We have lots of it!

We still miss city life and find ourselves visiting the city often, but for all of these reasons and more we are happy to call ourselves suburbanites.

Do you prefer living in a city or the suburbs? What do you like most about where you currently live?

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39 thoughts on “Why We Chose To Live In A Suburb

  1. I have never lived in a metropolitan area but I have lived in the country, in small cities and I am currently on the outskirts of a city with a population of 35K. What I like most about the location I am at now is the quiet. I am planning to move in August and I will be scouting out my new location in June. The city is small, about 3K in population. I will be looking for an apartment within a mile walking distance of the downtown area and grocery store. Looks like there are certainly advantages to any locale.

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    1. You describe a wonderful place to live where you are currently! Good luck with your apartment search! It is a huge convenience to be within walking distance of an area shopping district, so we hope you find what you are looking for. 🙂 – Mrs. FE

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We have done similar, lived very close to the city for a while then to the ‘burbs. I remember our first night in our new ‘burb house, so quiet it was spooky! Wouldn’t change it for the world now – well we would, we’re moving to the mountains for even more quiet!
    I have a similar racoon story, except Mr. PIE sent me outside to look!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The nerve of Mr. Pie sending you outside! Lol! Of course, Mr. FE does the same where I’m always hearing noises. It was an adjustment moving to where we are now, but we have gotten used to the peace and quiet and prefer it this way.

      We love mountains and think they are absolutely breathtaking! More peace and quiet for you to look forward to! 🙂 – Mrs. FE

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  3. We are also in the suburbs – but 15 minutes from downtown. We have coyotes! On the plus side, we are in a migratory bird path. When DD is in college we would consider finishing DHs career in an urban area like DC.

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  4. We currently live in a suburb of a mid sized city, about an hour away from our capital city. Being farther from the capital allows us great jobs and a definite break on pricing.
    Living in the summer urbs of our own city allows us to be close enough to enjoy the dining and activities without being tempted. I used to work in the downtown and gosh it’s hard saying no when you see new shops moving in or constant ads for activities!

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      1. This is definitely something I’m struggling with–I moved to Boston this spring and live in the burbs. I grew up in the mountains of NC and it’s still rural enough that my parent’s can’t get a pizza delivered!

        I’ve been frugal my whole life but living up here is a constant money drain, and while I want to experience everything my credit card just about smacked me in the face I was pulling it out so fast this month.

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      2. Welcome to Boston! Sorry to hear about that credit card bill! 😦 We know first hand just how easy it is for what we used to call “runaway expenses” Believe it or not Boston can also be frugal (except real estate) city where there is always a free event or activity going on somewhere. Once you learn your way around your finances will most definitely improve! 🙂

        Sorry the delay in responding to your comment and welcome to our blog! 🙂

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  5. Noise would be tough for me! But maybe I would get used to it. Currently we live in town, but it is a very small town and the noise is non-existent after 9:30 pm. We still have plenty of entertainment, it is kind of a happening little place, combine with a real strong community feel. In fact, it is downright neighborly. However, if we ever moved to the city again, I would try to live downtown, just to mix it up a little.

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  6. I love to go to Boston, but I would never want to live in the city. What you brought up in this article happens to be just a few of the things why even if I did have money to afford a decent place in the city I would not. I live in Stoughton, MA and I enjoy it. It takes me but a few minutes to get to restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, etc., and when I go home all I hear is peace and quiet:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stoughton, MA is a great place and we currently have family living there! We agree that the city is very expensive to live in and you get so much more for your money living in a suburb. Even though we don’t live in Stoughton, it sounds as though we have a similar setup where we both have a shopping district nearby. 🙂 – Mrs. FE

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  7. Haha. That sounds terrible Escapades. Personally, I would prefer rural…..but we haven’t made it rural….yet. Dense urban environments are fun to visit and even invest in…..but people seem too tense and competitive when they are shoulder to shoulder…..and stacked 10 stories deep 🙂

    Good space (or fences) makes good neighbors. Say, to to think of it….the same applies to family!
    -Bryan

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    1. Lol! Very true! 🙂

      We agree that urban living can be fun, and it was (still is) a highly competitive environment. It sounds as though you know exactly what you are looking for when you are ready to make the jump! 🙂 Mrs. FE

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  8. How glorious was it the first time you pulled into your driveway with groceries? I still remember that moment after I moved from a city where I could never find parking to my current home! It took a while to get used to the quiet though!

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    1. It was incredible! We cherish our two parking spaces now. Never again will we drive in circles braving New England weather to find a smidgen of a space. We did have some designated spaces throughout our apartment complex, but we were convinced that you needed to be home all day in order to snag them. It’s so nice being able to pull in any time, day or night! 🙂 – Mrs. FE

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  9. We have always been in suburbs – some of the houses we’ve lived in had almost an hour’s commute. I would love to try living in the city at this point in our life – now that we are early retired and have the money to offset some of the challenges you had when you were first starting out.

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    1. You are fortunate that you found the suburbs early on! We were definitely in the “young and broke” category while we were living near the city, but we still enjoyed the experience. It may be worth spending a year in the city to see how you like it, but bear in mind that it does eat up a lot of income where it’s much more expensive.:) – Mrs. FE

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  10. We live about 11 miles outside of Minneapolis, we are early risers (mainly to avoid traffic) so the commute isn’t to bad.

    The public transportation system is pretty good here so we don’t drive to work otherwise I would have to live closer)

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  11. I prefer the city because I want public transportation. Or walkability. Or affordable cabs. Driving is something I just don’t do. Better for the world’s safety and my pocketbook.

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      1. I hitch rides for everyone’s joy and safety. And tip cab drivers very well for keeping the world safe.

        You never know what you’ll run into with city walking. Whether happily or unhappily. It is an adventure.

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  12. Very nice changes, your life sounds infinitely better now 🙂

    We live on the edge of our city, within 10 minutes to the train station, beach and large green open spaces. We have 1 car parking spot, plus a garage and nice quiet neighbours. At this stage in our lives, it’s all we can ask for.

    We have a very chill city though, so living closer in wouldn’t be bad at all. Just a lot, lot more expensive.

    Tristan

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  13. Short-term, I love living in a city! I can bike to work, there’s plenty of entertainment, grocery, and public transportation options, and I rather enjoy the hustle and bustle (and being close to a major airport for easy travel). Long-term, though, I’d rather live in a suburb. Like you, I abhor finding parking on busy city streets (even worse if I have to pay for it!) and would love to have a home where friends and family could come visit me without worrying about where they’ll leave the car. I grew up in a small(ish) city where yards were big and neighborhood kids ran around barefoot, and dream of getting back to that one day when I have my own family. However, the big determining factor will be where the jobs are until I hit financial independence and can decide for myself where I want to live.

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    1. That’s really great how you love the *hustle and bustle* and everything city life has to offer! But yes, the parking is a challenge. You are better off riding a bike! It’s nice how you got to experience both worlds and have in mind what you may want in the future! 🙂 – Mrs. FE

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  14. Your city living situation sounds like a scene from a movie. That is crazy. I have to agree with you, although city living has its perks, its not for me either. Plus I am not the best parallel parker. When ever we try and find a place to rent we always try and be away from downtown life, but also an ear shot from it. this is for multiple reasons including: the rent is cheaper, we have 1 vehicle so its important that we live near a transit accessible place that is not too far from our works, we like parks and trails and walking outside without having to worry if a car will run you over. Good post.

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