Having been on the waiting list since I first accepted the job, I've now reached the front of the queue for an appartment in the KI visiting scholars' complex, the Wenner-Gren Centre. I have to decide by Tuesday whether I want to take up this place.
I'm much minded to stay where I am, to be honest. Let's do a comparison chart and you guys can advise me if you feel like it.
Staying where I am: Pro:
I really like it here. It's a gorgeous appartment, the landlord is a darling and everything suits me just perfectly.
It's nearer to work.
I have 2 1/2 rooms plus a proper kitchen and bathroom, and plenty of space and enough for guests.
It's expensive. I'm spending nearly half my salary on accommodation and related expenses.
Moving to the Wenner-Gren: Pro:
It's a lot cheaper. I'd probably save around £200 a month, maybe more.
Social advantage of living with other researchers, it would be as close as I could get to going back to student-type living.
Close to the city centre, so convenient for shul, for socializing and for getting more into the cultural life of the city.
The hassle and expense of moving. I'm getting stressed just thinking about it.
The timing isn't sensible. I would move in mid-September, and the most likely thing to happen is that my job will finish at the end of May 2008, so I'd get less than a year in the flat. The second most likely thing is a two-year extension, until summer 2010, but if that happens I will have to move twice because I can only live in W-G for two years ie until September 2009. The least likely outcome is a one-year extension until summer 2009, which would make moving somewhat more appealing at least on these grounds.
Further from work, though not ludicrously far.
The flat is freaking tiny; it's a studio with a kitchenette and a bathroom, and although that might be easier to clean, I'm not sure I want the living in an inconvenient box aspect of student living.
So, what do you reckon?
Edit 11 June: I contacted the admin person today and said I wouldn't take the flat and they should make it available for someone else. Thanks for all your good advice; it's always pleasant to have one's inclination confirmed by more neutral friends!
I guess the question is, what would you spend the £200 a month you'd save by moving house on? Is it money you need or can you afford to continue living where you're living without missing out on anything much other than a bit of extra spending money?
Financially? I'm doing ok at the moment; I have to keep close track of what I spend, but there's not a lot that I want but can't have, as long as I'm careful. I suspect that if I had the extra money, I would mostly hoard it, I'm like that. But 9 months (minimum) times £200 per month would add up to quite a couple of really nice holidays plus less stress about financial things in between. I don't think it's worth it to move to a tiny little student box, though.
The way you've written that list, it sounds like you'd like to stay where you are. When I've been making house-moving decisions recently the cost has been one of the lowest factors on my decision-making scale. If it's affordable and you're not feeling stretched for cash because you're paying rent on a place where you're comfortable and secure, then ... well, why move? Has being farther from the city been troublesome? Do you want to go back to living like a student?
You're totally right, I would very much rather stay where I am now. But it's an awful lot of money to throw away, and I can't claim I really need the extra space. As for living like a student, in some ways I do miss that, but in other ways I like being more independent. And I'm not kidding myself that living in the W-G would be like being in college in Oxford.
Thanks, that's pretty much how I'm thinking. And it's good to have some support from someone who is used to living on a tight budget; it's all very well to say that money doesn't matter, if you have plenty of it. The thing is, having a flat where I feel absolutely comfortable makes a big difference to quality of living, in a way that few material things would.
I'd say stay, because you don't like moving, having space is nice, having a lovely landlord etc is good, having space for guests is good, plus you don't have to deal with the silly timing issues. And you seem to be managing pretty well so far as social life goes, aren't you?
My social life is not quite as good as it probably should be. But I doubt the inertia would be a great deal less if I were 15 minutes' walk from the town centre rather than 40 minutes including a train ride. The problem is really the inertia, not the travelling time. Moving to town wouldn't change the fact that too much of my social life is centred around the Jewish community, rather than my peers. And the longer daily commute would mean I had even less energy for going out in the evening.
For me, the dislike of moving is probably the weightiest argument!
Well, obviously on one level I can afford the rent here, since I have been affording it for over a year and haven't starved yet. Nor really suffered any serious deprivation, just needed to keep track of my spending. But can I really afford to throw away £2K just because I'm too lazy to move?
I should definitely invite people here more. I don't want to give myself the excuse that my flat is tiny, either. I have encountered people who are a bit reluctant to travel out to the suburbs; I consider Älvsjö pretty well connected, but if you think like an urbanite it is a bit out of the way. But if I invite people and some say no because I live too far away, that's still a gain compared to not being able to invite anyone because my flat is too small.
It's not really a cottage, let's not exaggerate! But yeah, thanks for advising me to do what I already wanted to do anyway. After all, I did manage to persuade you out here a couple of times, in spite of the inconvenience of being out in the suburbs.
What you're suggesting isn't on the table. A decent sized flat near W-G but not in it would be both unaffordable and likely unavailable even if I won the lottery. That's precisely why they built the W-G in the first place: waiting lists for accommodation in central Stockholm can be in the order of years or even decades, and the prices are astronomical where they aren't capped. Hence, the only way that visiting scientists can live in the city is in the subsidized and dedicated accommodation centre. (The location is actually sensible, because the KI has a split campus and about two thirds of researchers are based on the north side of town, close to the W-G. I'm in the minority working on the southern campus.)
But I like the view that the best use of my money is to have a flat where I'm comfortable. That is kind of what I think, I just wanted some confirmation from my lovely flist :-)
Thanks. It's not just smaller, it's a lot smaller. If I'd got one of the 2-room places I put my name down for, the decision would be a lot harder; it would be hard to justify spending lots of money to have two and a half big rooms rather than 2 small rooms. But it's not just space, there's a big difference between a proper flat and a studio. Even in that case, the longer commute combined with the hassle of moving would be a major negative.