Author Topic: What factors into "cost of living"?  (Read 7774 times)

FuckRx

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What factors into "cost of living"?
« on: June 28, 2014, 01:38:00 PM »
I understand the basics of cost of living, rent, car payments, commuting, food. But is here more to it? I'm in a city that's considered to have a very high COL. I am contemplating a move to another city with a lower COL but what changes from a city to city. Is food expense lower? is labor price lower? obviously home prices and rent would be lower but what else is included in COL?
I am renting currently and moving to this new city would be a 30k drop in income.

Gin1984

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Re: What factors into "cost of living"?
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2014, 01:41:08 PM »
In buffalo we spend almost half of what we spent in California for the same food. 

Cwadda

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Re: What factors into "cost of living"?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2014, 02:08:09 PM »
Taxes too. In CT where we live gas is $4.00/gallon. In NJ where my dad works it's $3.50/gallon.

sly

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Re: What factors into "cost of living"?
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2014, 05:01:58 PM »
most standard measures of cost of living focus on things like rent, groceries etc.

I live in NYC, I pay a lot for rent but I also make a lot more money in my job than I probably would anywhere else. I can live car free and there is loads of free stuff to do around the city. So while I understand the "live somewhere cheap" idea, I'm not convinced it's always the best solution.

Spartana

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Re: What factors into "cost of living"?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2014, 03:33:52 PM »
Utilities can be a biggie - especially if you need to heat and/or cool a lot where you live. Water can also be higher in some areas (desert SW). Increases for things like sewer charges and trash hauling often go up every year. Utility costs seem to be always rising and, for most people, aren't something you can do without like cable or internet when it gets too expensive.  Other things are increases in medical, dental, home and car insurance, maintenance and repair costs for home and car (living in a higher wage state means your mechanics will be higher paid in most cases), fuel for your car, property taxes, rent if you rent, food, and clothes. Some of those things can be mitigated by living in certain places or in certain ways (i.e. being car free, growing your own food, living in a temperate climate, etc...) some, like taxes and insurance, probably can't. One reason I'm tempted to stay living in Calif is because of the property tax structure - 1% of the purchase price and can't go up by more than 2% a year. I keep hearing stories of people in other states who's property taxes increase so much, so fast, that they are forced from their homes because they can no longer afford to pay the taxes. Same thing with high heating costs when oil prices go up or oil is scarce. The temperate climate where I live (coastal SoCal) also means I never have to heat or cool my house so have very low gas and electric bills) and I can bike most places so have low fuel and maintenance costs for my car.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2014, 03:39:25 PM by Spartana »

Emilyngh

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Re: What factors into "cost of living"?
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2014, 05:49:46 PM »
I understand the basics of cost of living, rent, car payments, commuting, food. But is here more to it? I'm in a city that's considered to have a very high COL. I am contemplating a move to another city with a lower COL but what changes from a city to city. Is food expense lower? is labor price lower? obviously home prices and rent would be lower but what else is included in COL?
I am renting currently and moving to this new city would be a 30k drop in income.

I moved from the DC suburbs (high COL) to central Va (medium to low COL), and was very curious to compare things myself.   These are the differences I've noticed:

-housing: the biggest.   Housing costs literally 1/3rd of what it would for the equivalent.   Taxes and insurance on that housing are also lower.
-car insurance: next biggest difference.    Same cars and coverage dropped by almost half just by moving to a less busy area.
-labor: hiring electricians, exterminators, contractors, etc, costs waaay less.   Depending on the job, it can cost half as much.

I noticed no difference in the cost of utilities.   Things like food, clothing, and your average consumables have the same prices (pretty much same chain stores, same prices).   If anything they cost more here because there are fewer stores and fewer options, if one is willing to shop around for a deal.
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ZiziPB

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Re: What factors into "cost of living"?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2014, 07:24:16 AM »
Other than housing, I would definitely look at:

- insurance costs (car, housing)
- taxes (income, sales, real property, personal property, school, etc.)
- restaurant prices (a similar restaurant meal will likely cost a lot more in NYC than in Albany or Hartford, especially in restaurants that are not chains)
- utility costs
- groceries and alcohol
- commuting (public transport)/car related costs (gas prices, registration, inspection, etc.)

frugalmusician

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Re: What factors into "cost of living"?
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2014, 10:38:17 AM »
Hawaii is more expensive (esp. Oahu and Maui) and you take a pay cut in most industries.  Many working professionals live with their parents or in laws.  Some of them pay below market rent.  Also it is common for for kids to take care of elderly parents.  I have to pay rent and I don't think some of the people here fully appreciate living rent free / cheap.