For the last ten days it has been at least partly sunny and over 80F here in Tampa Bay! Yay! So why am I writing about the weather? No it’s not because I’m desperate for a subject and running out of ideas. It’s also not because I’m bragging to make you folks freezing your butts off in frostbite falls jealous. I raise the topic to explore how weather can relate to cost of living, convenience and overall quality of life; and to discuss how the choices you make as to the climate you live in can improve your lifestyle.
What’s So Great About Warm, Sunny Weather?
From my perspective, everything. Putting aside the obvious that it just feels nicer than a cold, rainy day or 16 inches of snow, it just makes life easier all around. When I think about all the hassles I don’t put up with compared with compared with living in New York City, I imagine myself saving at least $20 thousand a year. But the real savings can’t be quantified. Warm weather is cheaper, a lot easier to deal with, and a lot more fun.
Two Seasons Cost Less than Four
I never really gave this much thought before I moved here, but after spending two months of the winter down in Florida, I can’t believe it wasn’t obvious. Unlike up north, where you have winter, spring summer and fall, here we have two seasons—rainy and dry. Because temperatures usually don’t fall much below 70F at any time of year, that saves you a lot of more materiel. The way I see it, each season presents unique sets of problems and requires different clothes, equipment, activities and perhaps even food. So for example, if you live in a four-season climate, you might need at least two, maybe three jackets, one for winter, one for spring and fall, and a light one for those cool summer nights out at the beach. In a two-season climate on the other hand, you might need no jacket at all, or at most only a light one. (As I tend to be a clothes horse who loves jackets, this benefit may not redound to me much, but it doesn’t detract from my overall point). Or take, for example winterizing your car. In a four season climate, you may need to switch out different types of anti-freeze depending on whether it’s winter or summer. In a two season climate, you don’t need to worry about that.
When you apply all the costs of seasonal equipment changes to a family of four, it really adds up. My two kids are growing fast as it is. I’m glad not to need to change out their wardrobes seasonally on top of their growth spurts.
Two Seasons are Easier than Four
In addition to the monetary costs, a warm weather, two-season climate is just easier to live in all around. When I was living in New York, I couldn’t have had it more convenient under the circumstances. I had a drug store, supermarket, dry cleaner, fishmonger, cheesemonger, gourmet foods store, Starbucks and a wide variety of restaurants all in walking distance—and I rarely left the house in the winter months. Here in Tampa, I have to drive several miles to all of those places, but I go out all the time. Why? Because the toughest thing about leaving the house is putting your clothes on, and the more clothes you have to put on, the tougher it will be to leave. On a typical February day in New York City, if I wanted to go out for a coffee, I had to change out of my sweats and into jeans, find a decent shirt and warm socks to wear, dig out my boots and hat, and go out into the cold. Here in Tampa, I just throw on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, grab my flip-flops and jump in my comfortable, climate controlled car. Now multiply this by getting my kids ready to leave the house and you see how much hassle you can save. And it goes way beyond clothes. In this climate, there is no shoveling snow, no salting the driveway, no tracking mud and slush into the house, no dragging your coat around the mall because you get too hot when you’re indoors. You just go about your life. Sure, it can rain a lot in the rainy season, but you don’t have to shovel that.
Should You Choose a Warmer Climate?
That’s not a straightforward question, and for many people a lot of factors go into it, including proximity to family and job opportunities. However, I will say that there seem to be plenty of job opportunities in the sun-belt, so you should be able to find one. And all other things being equal, I think it’s easier. So I think if you’re like most people, living in a warmer climate is a pretty effective life hack that removes a lot of minor but cumulative stresses, tensions and expenses.