We are broke. The budget is tight and it will be like this for at least a few more weeks before we get back the money we invested in the remodeling to sell our house. I move money into budget categories and it becomes terribly obvious what the cost of living in San Diego is.
Let’s start with the utilities. We have a utility company in San Diego. No competition. Texas? There are seemingly endless companies willing to sell you power, ready to find you the best possible deal based on how you use it. My electricity bill this month? $ 52. And my house in Texas is 50% bigger with more light. In San Diego, I counted my blessings when it was under $ 150, but generally it was over $ 250, sometimes well over $ 300. The current bill is $ 82 for my home in San Diego, which is not connected and no one lives. Unfortunately I’ll have to leave the power on until the new owners take possession of it, but I’m still $ 18 under budget. It’s not even about internet (50% less) or water (25% less). We still don’t have cable TV and while it’s much cheaper here we don’t plan on getting it.
Food. I’m consistently between $ 100 and $ 200 below my average spend in San Diego. This is clearly evident in pork prices (be careful, Cali … pork will be completely unaffordable in March. Stock up now). The crazy thing is that because of my recent health crisis, I had to drastically switch my diet to whole foods, which are expensive, but I can still stay under budget.
Gas. Yes. It’s pretty much half the price in Texas. Nowadays I get really angry when I have to pay over $ 3 in Texas. I was happy in San Diego as long as it was under $ 5. To make matters even better, I live less than a mile from work. If the weather cooperates, I’ll go. I went from 26 miles a day to less than 2 miles a day. I put this money into the budget line item. My repairs budget (which is the same budget line as my gasoline money) got squashed a bit last year so it could use some growth. I think it’s great that I don’t have to make any changes to my budget and that I am at the forefront of this category.
Vehicle registration. I’ve mentioned this before. My registration cost several hundred dollars in California. In Texas it’s $ 92. I was able to reduce this budget line item by 60%.
The list goes on and on, but I wish someone had told me moving out of San Diego was so much more than less expensive housing. The financial difference is HUGE. The future is bright
The other part I want to take with you if you are considering moving to a new area with a higher cost of living keep in mind that it is so much more than more expensive housing. You are being hit on so many levels. Be prepared.