TL, DR: Move closer to work. Or get a job closer to home. If you can't do it now, think about it, let the idea sink into the 'someday I will' section of your brain. You can thank me later.
I had always planned to live close to where I worked when I 'grew up'. Shortly after college I settled for a commute of one hour by public transport. I had a dongle that connected my laptop to the internet, so I could spent that time online, reading, or sleeping, as the fancy took me. Since that was a large proportion of the choices I'd make if I had the time at home, I was happy with that. It also meant that despite working in the middle of nowhere, I could live walking distance from town, which was fantastic. It was my first (and only) time living alone and I loved it there.
A few years down the line I found myself pregnant. We had only my income to live on, he was still in college, and my tiny flat couldn't fit a family. We did some calculations and decided we could afford either rent or childcare, but not both. My wonderful sister and brother in law took is in, rent free. Unfortunately, that move took us further from my dream of living close to my workplace, because I couldn't even get public transport. My commute didn't take as long, but I had to get a car.
I commuted for years, half an hour, each way, five days a week. I got through quite a few audio books, listening an hour a day, and convinced myself that made up for the lost time. I struggled with the affect I was having on the environment, but couldn't see another choice. I read this excellent post from Mr Money Moustache and thought 'but he hasn't allowed for my situation'. I decided not to comment to say as much, for fear of getting labled a Complainypants.
After four great years, it became clear that it was time to consider moving out. All three of the children in the three bedroom house were getting bigger and older and space was starting to seem a little tight. My husband was finished college and having no luck in finding a job. So we decided that we would our son out of
creche, my husband would stay at home with him and we'd spend what had been creche money on rent. If my husband does manage to get a job, we can put him back in a creche (there are two in our estate alone) and cover the costs out of my husband's wages.
So anyway, we thought about where we were going to live. We seriously considered staying in the town we had been living in with my sister. It's a fantastic place, I fell in love with the town when I went to college there, and I never fell out of love with it. It would be nice for our son to live close to the people he'd been living with for four years, including his cousin his own age. We also considered moving closer to my husband's grandparents.
And then it hit me. I no longer had any reason NOT to live near where I work. I remembered my statements a long time ago about 'when I grow up'. I remembered Mr Money Moustache's excellent post. And I thought, why not? In fact, if I was getting to work under my own steam, my family could have the car, freeing them up to get out of the house without the hassle of a small child on public transport.
We moved here a few weeks ago. My old commute was half an hour by car. My new commute is half an hour walking, fifteen minutes running or less than ten minutes cycling. Or if I'm not feeling up to it I can call for a lift and it'll take about five minutes. When I walk, I still get the same amount of my book listened to, I need to leave the house no earlier, and I get a half an hour exercise I wasn't getting before. Running to or from work means I get my lunchtimes back. Cycling to work gets me cross training that I wasn't getting before. All of these, even in the rain, tend to be more enjoyable and/or more satisfying than driving. This move has been one of the best things I've ever done.