Let’s face it: Living in Southern California can be expensive. With housing soaring well into the millions of dollars, and a starter home beginning at nearly half a million, finding a place to live can be a futile and expensive endeavor. This was one of the main reason we left So Cal behind and headed East-to find cheaper housing so that our life could be a bit easier. Whilel we loved the area, we knew that the price of housing really put us out of becoming homeowners, something that both of us really hoped to become.
We did research our move, of course, checking out new homes, looking into the cost of taxes, figuring out how much might be spent on electricity each month versus what we were paying in our LA home.
Yet other things are a bit tougher to research and, ironically, have proven to be a bit more expensive on this coast.
Take groceries. In California I could purchase fresh, in season fruits and vegetable for a fraction of what I am paying now, even though I am shopping at one of the ‘cheaper’ grocery chains. Our family eats a considerable amount of these items, too, so of course this has been a big dent in our grocery budget (and if you are a faithful reader you’ll know I have had a tendency to blow our budget in the near past!)
I could also buy great organic and/or natural food products there. If I can find them here at all, they are quite expensive, and so I don’t have it in my budget to include them in our meals.
While I shop with coupons here still, there are no double your coupons as there were in California, so again I am spending more at the store than I did back in the west.
Some items are a little less, though. Milk, for instance, costs about ten cents less a gallon at $3.89, and eggs are about ten cents less a dozen at $1.99. I can purchase wheat crackers for under $2 and always paid about $2.50 in California. A bar of cheese is a bit less as is the yogurt pretzels the girls and I love.
Electricity is higher here in the south. First of all, we didn’t even have air conditioning in our LA home. Here you need it; it’s not only hot, but the humidity is high. We ran our appliances on gas out west so we barely paid anything in electricity, and gas was so cheap that our bill never topped $30 for the month.
Car fuel is cheaper here, though I know that since we moved it dropped all over. The downside for us is having had to purchase a new car since my husband lost his work car when we moved. That entails insurance, gas and a monthly car payment that we didn’t have in LA. While cars are generally cheaper now than they were a while ago, they definitely aren’t cheap.
In addition, y husband’s salary went down some because of the adjustment in living costs. So, while the housing is less, so is the monthly income.
Insurance is much cheaper here, though, as are the taxes that we are paying. This has helped. Also, we now own a house for the amount that we were paying in rent out west. Suffice it to say, with some of the high-cost issues we’ve had to already face during the move, being able to actually own the house in which we live has pretty much made up for them.
So while housing costs are definitely much cheaper-and by this I mean we are saving probably $1500 a month on a housing payment and getting something much larger and in better condition than we could have afforded in the west-not everything is cheaper.
Will it work out in the end? I will keep you posted. As a family that loves to move (we are already planning our next escape, since we knew going into this move that it was not permanent), I’m sure that we will face these obstacles each time we pack up our family and head out of town.
Now, though, we have more of an idea of what to compare-not just housing, but insurance and taxes and food as well.