Should You Rent Or Buy? How About Free Travel?

I’ve got a little secret to share.

I didn’t start this miles and points fascination because I had dreams of jetting myself around the world in first class. It didn’t start with ambitions of dipping my feet into the warm water of the Maldives, or overlooking the canals of Venice. I’m a much simpler guy than that.

The miles and points fascination began simply because I was tired of paying as much as I was for rent.

You see, my home base is in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a big city, and there are plenty of places that are “reasonably” priced. However, my job is in Santa Monica, which is one of the most expensive areas of the city – hell, the entire country. Why don’t I just move somewhere cheaper? Because then I’d be dealing with a minimum of an hour commute each way in traffic. I value my time far too high to be willing to give up two hours, five days a week, sitting in my car.

Instead, I walk to work, I walk to the beach, and I walk to the bars when I want to go out for drinks. I drive my car maybe twice a week.

To give you an idea of the cost of living in Santa Monica, I present you with a few select quotes from this article.

The median home cost in Santa Monica is $1,172,400. Home appreciation the last year has been 18.80 percent.

Compared to the rest of the country, Santa Monica’s cost of living is 194.60% Higher than the U.S. average.

Nearly 200% higher than the United States average.

I’m currently paying $2,015 a month for my one bedroom apartment. I am paying a bit of a premium because it’s a nice place with a huge patio and garage, in a fantastic location, but it really doesn’t get much better, price wise. My buddy pays $1,700 for his place, which is a 400 square foot studio shoebox, with no parking space – and he pays $1,700! In contrast, my place is about 700 square feet plus a 500 square foot patio.

Point is: Los Angeles, specifically Santa Monica, is expensive.

And I was getting really tired of signing a check away for over two thousand dollars every month. I have no interest in purchasing real estate at this point in my life, so I’m stuck with paying rent. I started looking at ways to get something out of my astronomical rent fees, and stumbled across the miles and points community.