Tuesday, July 20, 2010

the cost of living...

my neighbor and i had a super long talk yesterday about how expensive it is to live in california. she came from another country and somehow found herself living in one of the most expensive counties in the nation. she isn't quite sure how that happened exactly, but she was wondering why she continued to put up with it. why she continued to CHOOSE to live here. so she started looking at "affordable" places to move too. the kind that were family friendly, with good schools and community...

and that got us both talking about how life is a choice.. and that we choose to live here. we choose to pay ridiculous housing costs that get us very little for our money. and in choosing to live this way, we put ourselves in situations where we HAVE to work. and i was trying to tell her that we pay for what we have- like we pay to live in california. and that is worth it. and then she asked me HOW it's worth it and i started laughing because i was like, "well it's not worth it as much up here, but in southern california, the way of life, the lifestyle.. it's definitely MORE worth it." but i also continued with the theme that maybe we make our life harder by living here. and maybe life doesn't have to be this much of a financial struggle all the time if we lived somewhere else?

and so i started wondering if those other "affordable" places to live in- well if it all balances out somehow. like if you make a third of what you would make here, so while it would still be crazy cheap housing costs (to us californians).. maybe it's not crazy cheap because you don't make enough money to pay for it and so you still feel like you HAVE to work all the time to pay for your house?!?

and so i don't really know and so i'm asking. for those of you who live in other states.. do you feel like the way of life is better and you don't have to work to live? or do you feel like there is a give and take? talk to me people.. tell me what you love and don't love about where you live.

our neighbor and i might be looking to relocate. ha

13 comments:

NGS said...

Minneapolis is a great city. I love living here. Yes, I could buy a house on a two acre lot in the tiny town where my mother lives in rural Michigan with what is in our savings account right now and it wouldn't be enough for a down payment on a house with virtually no land here, BUT it's worth it. There are jobs here. There are bike paths here. There are public parks. There are public libraries. There is mass transit.

My husband and I live here, quite comfortably, in a two-bedroom apartment and one car, with the equivalent of four part-time jobs between us (woefully underemployed). We live to live.

But sometimes I am jealous of your weather. Mostly in February.

Alison said...

We're paying to live in a prime location. It isn't for everybody, but we like it. I feel like we live comfortably. We have a nice house, the kids have their own rooms, the beach is 5 miles west, and the schools are awesome. Sometimes we complain about the traffic or the snooty people we live near, but I really wouldn't have it any other way. I feel lucky.

Come back!

mayberry said...

Like NGS - I live somewhere where it is DAMN COLD in the winter and winter lasts a long time. BUT I live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood with super nice neighbors. I work part time and my husband works full time and we can still save for retirement/college, take a trip or two, etc. We left NYC for this small town in the midwest because of real estate costs and CRAZY long commutes (2-4 hours a day). We did not have nearly enough time together and now we do.

Lara said...

I'm in the same boat you are - I pay ridiculous costs to live where I do, and I know it's the choice I'm making. I know that staying here, there's pretty much no way I'll ever be able to buy a home unless I marry someone with a much higher salary than I have, because I just don't make enough. What's hard for me is that in my career (teaching), I'd make pretty close to the same salary anywhere, and cost of living would go down, so I really could have a better net worth elsewhere. Still, it's better for me here - I love the community, the scenery, the social scene, and of course my friends. So I make the choice to stay. :)

judy in ky said...

I think it is definitely worth it to pay more to live in a nice area. We moved here four years ago to be closer to family, but I hate it! The weather is awful... freezing in the winter and brutally hot and humid in the summer. We are in the "Bible Belt" so the people are backward thinking and we don't fit in. We don't have Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, only Kroger where you can't find anything good. We have to go miles to get to a restaurant that isn't a chain.
I was much happier living in Philadelphia, where all the good stuff was readily available, and the city was vibrant and interesting. I grew up in the Midwest, but am sorry I came back here! There is a reason things are cheaper. I would rather have to pay more to live in a better place.

Sincerely, Jenni said...

I think you just live where you're happy. I grew up in Iowa, and its the only place I've ever lived. To me, the cost of living is low, and I feel that my husband and I make a decent income. We both work full-time, and we have enough money to live comfortably and support our kids and still have money to do the things we want to do.

But like someone else says, I do get jealous of your weather!

Grand Pooba said...

Well I guess I'm okay with living in Utah although I have always wanted to move out of state. Mostly to get away from the mormons. I can say this because my family are mormons ;o) Not that I want to get rid of them....just people like them. hahaha!

Ok, I'm totally sticking my foot in my mouth now.

Andie said...

Well, the COL in New Orleans is definitely cheaper than Cali, but at the same time, we have trade offs too. Plus, it gets REALLY hot here. LOL

but I think it all depends on what you love and want out of where you live!

Anonymous said...

I live in a small rural town where I grew up. All my family is here. I swore that I'd move to a big city when I grew up and somehow I managed to land back in my hometown, in my (deceased)grandmother's house, on the same driveway as my mother. COL is extremely low here. In exchange for that, I have to drive 45 minutes to a Target, the one grocery store is NOT great (the "better" grocery store is Wal-Mart, which is in the next town - 15 minutes away, if that tells you anything), schools aren't top-notch, but not horrible. When I drive through nicer areas where all the stores, parks, amenities are, I imagine how GREAT it would be to have that near me. Then I think of the property taxes, home costs, the hours of work it would take to earn the money to keep up the lifestyle. Our COL allows us to work in jobs that pay lower that we would make if we lived in different areas. I work in the public sector, get off at 4:00 each day, my mother keeps my children for free, I know the whole town, live on 350 acres of land... When I think about it, I'm not sure if I would say it would be worth it if I hadn't grown up here and it be HOME. It would be tough to have experienced a difference lifestyle (besides my college town) and to come to this. I would have to say I'm happy, though.

Laura

Issas Crazy World said...

I had to work my ass off to afford my lifestyle in LA. I was looking at having to put the girls in private school. 25k a year. Each.

There are things I miss more than anything about living in Colorado. But I can stay home with my kids when they are sick. I can leave my work for a few hours and go to some event at the school. I never could have done that there...I worked for a very anti-family company.

I don't think I'd have my son if we'd stayed there. I don't think I'd of thought it was affordable. Which just is unacceptable to me.

I miss it Ster. You know I do. I miss the ocean. I miss the lifestyle, the weather, the food...oh man how I miss that.

Yet..I don't miss only feeling like I was missing watching my kids grow up. And friend? I was. I was missing it. I find that the lifestyle I have here works for now. My kids? They won't be little forever. One day, I'm sure I'll end up back in California. But this is best for now.

My house is about the same size and a 1/4 of the cost as my one there was. It's also newer. In a better neighborhood. No, I'll never make here what I did there, but that's okay too. Pluses and minuses in all of it, you know?

Spidey said...

I guess it depends on what you are looking for. I looked up locality pay for different cities, and in the San Fran area, I would make a little over 30% more for my job (BTW, your area has the highest locality adjustment in the country for the fed gov't!). Then again, house prices are probably 3x cheaper here, so yeah, I'd say life is easier in that respect. Then again, I could buy a house in my rural hometown for much cheaper than here, but then I'd be an hour+ from a major city and the school I went to growing up wasn't top quality. But, I could also have land there and a nice peaceful lifestyle, so it really just depends what is important to you. I am happy here in Columbus, because I think it is a nice city and is big enough to have most of the things I would want in a city, but is not so big and crowded that traffic is out of control. There are things about Cali that are much nicer than here though, so of course you are paying to live in a nice place. I would only do it if I was really rich though, because I like not worrying about money!

Smug said...

I live in a smallish city in Virginia and I know that my town is below the state average when it comes to wages and Virginia is below the national average. I'm not sure how our housing prices compare, but for myself and my husband, we purchased a pretty low priced home (149,000) and it's nice, but not huge. Since we had our daughter, I work part time and he works full time and we struggle! We don't have a lot of credit card dept (under 2,500) and only pay for our basic needs. (we just cut off the cable TV) we don't pay for anything that is not a true need and we still struggle!! I think that you adjust to your situation where ever you live! If you lived in my town, you would make our wages and pay our housing prices and still struggle!

nakedjen said...

I left there and moved here because of a whole host of reasons, but one big one was because I couldn't really find affordable housing for me and both my dogs.

I live in Salt Lake City for 1/3 (I am not making that up) that I spent living in Santa Cruz. So guess what? I miss the beach and the redwoods with all my heart and soul, but I also now work part-time and feed the dogs and myself our very picky organic food, live in a great neighborhood in a two bedroom house, and when I need the beach, I go back to Santa Cruz and visit for long visits. Or I go to Hawaii. Or other places. Because I can and I don't have to work so hard or worry about how I'm going to pay for things. For the first time in forever I actually have a growing savings account.

I will also admit that the winters are long, but that Utah has a certain beauty. And I'll also admit that the people here are actually REALLY NICE. Almost too nice. Like I spent the first 18 months wondering if they were truly for real?