Deciding-where-to-live-filter: How do I prioritize cost/budget, commute, amenities, and neighborhood cool-seeming-ness? (sorry: long, personal, and northwest DC/Maryland-based.)
(sorry for the long, personal/specific question here... asking my question to a internet-full of strangers seems to be the only way to silence my brain tonight):
I'm relocating to DC/MD for a year-long (possibly longer) fellowship program in policy work, and looking to turn over a new leaf for my finances (mainly, building up some savings, and not living paycheck-to-paycheck). Using the 33% of take-home pay as my guideline for rent, my rent budget allowance is... tiny. I found an older (non-pet-friendly) rental condo in a fairly walking-friendly area, near the train/buses and work, but a relatively unhip-seeming 'hood. It does however fit within my 33% rent budget, including utilities.
I'm comparing this to a new, modern, pet-friendly condo further away from work, but in the District. The rent sounds do-able (43% of take home), but overall living will be more expensive given the nature of DC (taxes, car insurance (I got markedly higher quotes with a DC address), etc). But it seems like a younger, more lively neighborhood.)
I'm stuck between these options (the cheapest/most convenient I've found, thus far) and am wondering if the hive-mind has some ideas about how to prioritize/balance a budget against general lifestyle-type happiness.
(PS: I'm the person who posted this
, if that helps. And it's Friendship Heights MD vs Cleaveland Park/Vaness-ish))
(PPS: I throw in the pet-stuff since I'd really like to have a dog, but again, cost has been an issue.)
(PPPS: I have only one piece of 'equity', my car, which I not only really like but am not ready to sell in a rush, in case I need it.)