After years living in the suburbs to save costs, I rushed back downtown

By Don Qujhote   May 31, 2024 | 04:18 pm PT
After years living in the suburbs to save costs, I rushed back downtown
Traffic on Nguyen Huu Tho Street in HCMC's District 7, April 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
I initially moved to the suburbs to save on rent, but the daily 35 km commute left me too exhausted to enjoy my life at home.

With rental prices in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City soaring to VND10-12 million (US$393-471) per room per month, many people wonder why not move to the suburbs for a cheaper place. I used to rent a house in the suburbs, facing a daily commute of 35 km to work and back. After a few years of this routine, I decided to move back to the city center. Here's why.

Firstly, the distance from my house to my company meant enduring a long struggle with traffic congestion every morning and evening. To avoid the worst of it, I had to leave home at 5 a.m., have breakfast in the city, and often return home as late as 7 p.m. Despite my efforts, congestion remained a constant challenge.

Every day after returning home, I was too exhausted to eat, drink, or engage in any leisure activities. I realized that spending more on rent for a place closer to work would save me time on the road and allow me more time to rest and enjoy life.

Secondly, although suburban areas have become more comfortable and complete, they still cannot compare to the city center. The infrastructure, including roads, hospitals, bus stations, and shopping centers, is not as developed. For instance, ordering food online in the central area takes about 15 minutes for delivery, while in the suburbs, it can take 30-40 minutes due to fewer shops and delivery personnel.

Thirdly, the quality of accommodation in suburban areas often falls short of that in the city center. While suburban houses may be more spacious, the amenities and overall quality are usually inferior. Office workers with a monthly salary of VND25-30 million are unlikely to accept substandard living conditions in the suburbs. They would rather spend a bit more to live closer to work with better amenities. Those who choose to live in the suburbs often look for nearby work to avoid long commutes.

In conclusion, living far from work in a cheaper place can drain your energy, making it difficult to improve your income or personal growth. Given the high rental prices in the city center, it's wise to cut unnecessary expenses and invest in education to enhance your knowledge, improve your qualifications, and ultimately increase your income and living standards.

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