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My friend is considering moving from her small mid-west town to the Bay area, CA. She contends that overall the cost of living will be either the same as where she now is, or even cheaper. I think she is wrong.

She said that the cost of food in CA is much cheaper than in the midwest, as so much is grown there. She also said that utilities are much cheaper there as she would have no heating or cooling costs. She did say that gasoline would probably be more expensive.

She wants a small home, about 900 sq. ft., and feels that she could rent one for about $600 a month. If she purchases, she is confident that she could buy that size of home for less than $90,000.

She said that property taxes there are much lower or similar to midwest taxes.

I am really concerned that she will make the move and then find that she is unable to afford living there. She is deeply in debt right now. She is an older woman, but thinks that she will have no problem finding a job in nursing, and she said that nursing pays very well in CA.

I could be very wrong on my impressions of living in CA. Can any of you enlighten me?
 

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She's not going to find a $600 apartment or house to rent in the Bay Area unless it is in a dangerous neighborhood. If she gets a nursing job she will get excellent pay. We moved from the Bay Area to MN and the cost of living is much less here.
 

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My friend is considering moving from her small mid-west town to the Bay area, CA. She contends that overall the cost of living will be either the same as where she now is, or even cheaper. I think she is wrong.

She said that the cost of food in CA is much cheaper than in the midwest, as so much is grown there. She also said that utilities are much cheaper there as she would have no heating or cooling costs. She did say that gasoline would probably be more expensive.

She wants a small home, about 900 sq. ft., and feels that she could rent one for about $600 a month. If she purchases, she is confident that she could buy that size of home for less than $90,000.

She said that property taxes there are much lower or similar to midwest taxes.

I am really concerned that she will make the move and then find that she is unable to afford living there. She is deeply in debt right now. She is an older woman, but thinks that she will have no problem finding a job in nursing, and she said that nursing pays very well in CA.

I could be very wrong on my impressions of living in CA. Can any of you enlighten me?
I have lived in Northern California for many years, my husband is a Native and I pride myself in researching areas costs of living and being informed before a move. I think your friend will be very disappointed, thinking it is cheaper there.

Now if you asked is more beautiful, yes definitely. There are many recreation and fun things to do very frugally or free, it is a beautiful state. The property taxes can actually be lower then the Midwest in many areas due to it being around 1 percent of your purchase price, if you get a deal . The San Francisco bay are is currently 1.59 percent I believe. Here is the link to calculating your tax How to Calculate California Property Taxes on a Newly Purchased Home | Home Guides on SFGate.com Your home could be valued much higher there and you pay so much lower in taxes depending on when you bought etc, now the prices are falling there but 90,000 in the bay area I would find that hard to believe. Um...... I check out the prices there all the time in Northern, and depending exactly where she wanted to live, now in crime ridden bad areas of Oakland maybe...... In all honesty you can always find a cheap house anywhere in the country but with the crime in that area would it be worth living there only she would know. I mean you can find houses in Detroit for 100.00 right now, but would you want to live there. All in choices that people make I guess. But I would never recommend a single older lady to live by herself in the tenderloin district of San Fran or Oakland, just saying.

There are deals out there now, but many people are finding the cost of living impossible to deal with. I have a daughter in college there and the cost of food is much cheaper in the Midwest by a long shot. Gasoline is higher there , commutes are longer, meaning more gas, and quite frankly since they deregulated utilities, I found they can be very high there. Now for a single person, being frugal, and not using much maybe she can do well in that area.

Good luck to your friend. I miss California immensely , would love to go back and plan to someday but cheaper no way. I consider us to be wise with our money, frugal and researchers and we did well there .It did take work though, found a house for a great price at the time etc.
 

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Unless she has found some hidden gold mine situation, I would be very concerned for your friend. Almost all of my family has moved out of CA, as well as many employees in my current job, due to the high cost of living out there. My ex lives out there and complains constantly about the high cost of living as well.

We have all moved to Colorado, by the way, and although some areas here are as high priced as CA you can find a steal here and there. We got lucky. Even my parents who moved from Nebraska to Colorado to join us have noted the higher prices just from their state to ours. They frequently visit CA and comment all the time on the cost of things out there compared to CO.

Best wishes to her, but I wouldn't do it.
 
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Ca is not cheap. Even a little cracker box house will cost a lot. Taxes in Ca is8.75. Food is not cheap and our utilities are high. The Bay area is colder then where I am at. It's not a good move.
Fern
 

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She WILL have heating and cooling costs if she's moving to Northern Cali. People don't seem to realize that Northern Cali is cold and rainy in the winter. They see movies and TV shows based in S. Cali and think the whole state is warm and sunny year-round. It's 45 degrees here today and its going to get into the 20's tonight and here where I live in the summer (especially July/August/early September) it's regularly in the 90's and heat waves into the 100's. Based on food prices I've seen people post here on the Village, food IS more expensive. We have a high cost of living here. Property is very expensive. DH and I rent because we cannot afford to buy. We live about 2 hours north of San Francisco in a semi-rural area and you can't touch a fixer upper for less than 279,000 (that's how much the house across the street just sold for. 3 BR/1 BA) There are no rentals for less than $1000/month here unless you have roommates. I hope your friend doesn't make a mistake.
 

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I am afraid if she does it, she is in for a rude awakening. The Bay area is very expensive. And like HappyMama said the prices she is seeing (maybe on the internet?) are most likely in bad areas. I lived in SoCal for 30 years. Housing and gasoline are definitely going to be A LOT more expensive. Food and utilities will probably be more too, and jobs are scarce. She would HAVE to line one up before she moves.
 

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Ca is not cheap. Even a little cracker box house will cost a lot. Taxes in Ca is8.75. Food is not cheap and our utilities are high. The Bay area is colder then where I am at. It's not a good move.
Fern
That is so right. A friend of ours moved out there and got a house a hair bigger then what was listed in the o.p. It was close to 1/2 million - for a cracker box!! Even in my area the cheapest apartments in halfway safe neighborhoods start around $800. I think your friend needs to do some better research.
 

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We moved from Iowa to the central Oregon and the cost of living is much higher here. Housing, food, and transportation costs are all higher. That said, poeple are moving here because the cost of living is lower that in California.
 

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Lol moving to CA?

Is your pal nuts? Everything on the West coast is more expensive. I am originally from Texas and moved to the Seattle area. OMG everything is so expensive.

You might want to consider moving to Texas. Cost of living is very low, weather is great, housing is cheap.

Fort Worth is a super place to live.

I will move back there when my Washington-native husband passes, should I out-live him. Sounds weird, but ya gotta have sumpin to live for!:hubba:
 

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As a native Californian, I love it here. Heating and cooling costs WILL be less IF she stays in the bay area, because the temps are much more moderate there, summer and winter. However, it is also a VERY popular place to live, so I doubt she'll find anything she likes for the price she is willing to pay. If she wants to move to Stockton, MAYBE, because of all the foreclosures, but even there, I doubt she could find anything decent for under $150,000.

Food costs are, I think, comparable, but there is more variety of fresher foods here. I was miserable when I had to spend several months in Georgia/Florida, because you couldn't get anything that even resembled fresh fruit, unless it was an orange. So she would pay about the same, but get more quality for her money, grocery-wise.

I have traveled all over the country, and if I were just picking the cheapest place to live, I wouldn't live in California. But, when I consider ALL the reasons I stay here, I am more than happy to pay more for housing. As they say, you get what you pay for.
 

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My friend is considering moving from her small mid-west town to the Bay area, CA. She contends that overall the cost of living will be either the same as where she now is, or even cheaper.
OK, I do hate to laugh at people, but seriously, where did she get her information?? She's wrong on all of her "facts." Everyone else who already answered spoke about costs, but I just wanted to chime in in agreement. I've lived in California (not "Cali", no one here calls it that) all my life, in the Bay Area since I was 7. There are lots of reasons to live in California, but favorable cost of living is not one of them. Also, re. the job market, I believe that traditionally nursing has been a dependable, well-paid profession, but the job market is awful here, in all industries, and with the state of health care/insurance and hospitals, even nursing isn't a sure thing any more.

Please encourage your friend to do a lot more research.

Kara
 

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mark twain said the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in san francisco.

or was that charles dickens?
 

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mark twain said the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in san francisco.

or was that charles dickens?
So very true! Mark Twain :D
 

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I've lived in California (not "Cali", no one here calls it that) all my life, in the Bay Area since I was 7.
I've lived here 30 years, I don't call it "Cali" either. I don't call San Francisco "Frisco" (Californians HATE that) I type Cali because I don't want to have to type out the whole spelling multiple times.
 

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600 a month won't even rent you a room in someone's house.
 
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I've lived here 30 years, I don't call it "Cali" either. I don't call San Francisco "Frisco" (Californians HATE that) I type Cali because I don't want to have to type out the whole spelling multiple times.
OK, fair enough. I like shortcuts, too. :) And yeah, Frisco, yuck! It's "the city" or "San Francisco", darn it (SF when typing)! ;)

California native who dreams of moving to Seattle (because it's cheaper there!),
Kara
 

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Having lived in the Bay Area (San Jose), I can vouch that it is definitely NOT cheaper. My husband and I lived in a 3rd story walk up apartment (approx 1000 sq feet) and after rent, utilities, and parking we paid about $2500 a month. Gas is almost $3.50 a gallon, and food is definitely more expensive. And as a previous poster mentioned, it is California, not Cali, and the city, not "Frisco"! *pet peeve* lol.
 
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