Moving? Test your new commute with Abogo.

If you've ever commuted by car, you know what a pain it can be. Recent studies have shown that people tend to underestimate the impact a long commute has on their happiness. While a big house in the suburbs may feel more like success, that extra hour (or two) you spend in traffic every evening adds up. Fast.

So, if you're thinking of moving, it pays to consider your transportation costs. That's exactly what Abogo helps you do.

Abogo was developed to help you uncover the hidden transportation costs of living in areas that are more (or less) accessible. Their website uses a mix of household-level and regional data to deliver accurate estimates of what people in your neighborhood spend on getting around. 

It's incredibly easy to use. Just type in the address you're interested in. Abogo generates a "dollars per month" rating for transportation costs associated with that specific address, along with a regional average that lets you compare your address to others near you. The carbon footprint of all that transportation is calculated too. They recently added a really neat tool that lets you track the impact of gas prices on that "dollars per month" rating. 

Drawbacks: Some of Abogo's built-in assumptions may not apply to your household, so you may not actually be getting an accurate estimate of transportation costs for your commuting patterns - especially if you don't own a car, or don't use it as often as the tool expects you to. I've found the most useful feature to be the comparison of your selected address with the local area: it lets you determine which areas are cheaper and more convenient to get to, and make a choice of where to live that really works for you over the long term.

Here are a couple of sources, as requested. If you search for "commute happiness correlation" you'll find more articles and perspectives than I've listed here, though many refer to the same study as #1 does. 

  1. which refers to the actual study, here:


Freecycle: free, easy, neighborly

Freecycle is one of those beautiful ideas that I wish I had thought of myself. It's a simple premise: a network of volunteer-run websites let neighbors post things they want to give away, and things they need, and exchange them. And it's all free.

To get involved, just google "freecycle," click "browse groups," and sign up in your area. They ask that you start out by offering something for free. It can be something as simple as a three-ring binder, a book you've already read, or office supplies. Or it can be something big that you don't want to worry about carting out of the house - a dining room table or an old by

I've used Freecycle many times, both to give things away and find things I need, and it's worked really well for me. My best find was a beautiful old wooden desk that needed to be sanded and refinished. That was 5 years ago, and that free desk is still one of the most beautiful pieces of furniture in my apartment. I also picked up some great free lamps and curtain rods, all from people within a couple of miles of where I live.

Drawbacks: Sometimes people don't show up on time (or at all) to take the free stuff I offer. There is a temptation to get frustrated when people don't show, but really, it's their loss. To make sure I don't lose time waiting for them, I've started telling people when to show up instead of asking for times that work for them.

There are plenty of similar resources out there. Maybe your area has a Facebook Buy, Sell, or Free group. Look around, see what you find, and don't forget to let us know how it works!