Author Topic: Should I Stay or Should I go?  (Read 2686 times)


  • Handlebar Stache
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Should I Stay or Should I go?
« on: June 19, 2017, 05:02:47 PM »
"This indecision's bugging me...
...esta indecision me molesta"

The situation:

Should I stay here in SoCal and finish 1.5 years of school in order to become a refrigeration mechanic, or throw it in the wind and start over in Washington State as a warehouse loader making similar money with half the expenses, possibly saving enough to buy a house (but not retire especially early)

TL;DR pro/cons at bottom

Apologies if the thread's kind of messy.  I'm juggling multiple life decisions here and have multiple issues going on, writing it all out is kind of helping out my thought process already though.  Thanks for reading.

Currently making decent money as a warehouse loader at a major beverage company.

55k/year (am currently at 50k per year till next week), good benefits (though no 401k match due to idiot union)

Rent taking up nearly 60% of my take home pay.  Rent very high here, currently paying $1605 (includes pet rent for 2 dogs which limits our options by the way) for 1 bed/1 bath, downstairs, 775 square feet. Downstairs and roomy kind of needed for baby and two dogs. This is Orange County, CA by the way.

Am burning through money faster than I can make it.  I have drained cash reserves, cash gifts from family, and am running on empty here.  I'm due a large bump in pay which will bring relief, but still not going to get ahead.

SO staying home to take care of baby (6 months old).  No trustworthy family or friends can help here, though she eventually wants to go back to work.  For time being SAHM.

We have low expenses other than rent and "going out" (mostly Little Ceasars, lol) and will probably break even once I get  my pay bump.  No cable/dish, Republic Wireless Cell, 5 mile commute (hell yes).

Problem is we will not be "getting ahead" at all.  Savings right now is non-existent.  Have paused all retirement contributions (401k contributions now going to pay down 401k loan, ugh).  Rent is going up on average 5-6% a year.  Cheaper apartments are smaller, more dangerous areas, way further away.

Why it's hard:

Even though family and friends aren't especially close, it's comfortable here, nice weather, lots of stuff for us to do when baby gets older.  Seeing grandparents a few times a month is nice. SoCal is diverse as hell, accepting, and politically ok for us-we're hispanic and enjoy all this area has to offer.

Refrigeration mechanics aren't making much more than I currently am as a warehouse loader.  It's simply a career I have more options should my company take a dump (not likely, but sugar taxes have had affects at other locations, namely Philadelphia) or figure out how to automate.  Refrigeration, HVAC, electrical and mechanical has lots of opportunity career-wise, at the cost of time with my new family as I go to school.  I feel like I'm losing out on saving money for a job that's not going to allow me to make much (if any more) money.

My main goal isn't to retire in 10 years, it's to be financially secure.  I want a house, I want a good savings rate.  I feel sacrificing $5000 a year (probably a bit less since no income tax) in order to pay half the rent I am paying now and be able to purchase a house.  I feel the opportunity to buy a house is closing quickly with interest rates going up, and desirable places to live edging up in price.  It's a matter of time before I'm priced out of where I want to go.

I have zero dollars saved currently, and am running balances on credit cards.  This is hair on fire problem...

Stay Pros:
Friends/Family/stuff to do plentiful (good for baby)
Get certificates in refrigeration, more job opportunities

Stay Cons:
Fall deeper in debt
Never get a house

Go Pros:
Save more money
Get house
Nice scenery
Less costs, less stress

Go Cons:
Away from family
Less diversity/fun stuff
Might lose job to automation (though this is less likely than I once thought)

« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 05:11:46 PM by Johnez »


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Should I Stay or Should I go?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2017, 06:31:06 PM »
Have you checked the rental / housing market for the specific area you are looking at in Washington state? I know that the Seattle area has gone a little crazy over the past few years. It would be a shame to decide to relocate and then find you can't rent something you like for any less than you are paying now.

I would do as detailed a budget as you possibly can that will allow you to compare the actual savings between the two locales. Then decide if the additional money is worth relocating, leaving a place that you like and is close to family. This exercise might also give you an idea of where your money is going now which you might already know but you didn't provide any details aside from the rent you are paying.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Should I Stay or Should I go?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 08:25:13 PM »
Can you transfer to a job with your company in a low cost of living area that also has an HVAC tech program?

The real money in HVAC isn't in being a tech. It's in learning the business well enough to start your own business.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Should I Stay or Should I go?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2017, 08:33:08 PM »

I live in OC too, so I hear ya' on costs. Sounds like the type of advice your looking for requires a CASE study, so all facts of your situation can be fully considered.

apricdity22: I have been studying the Seattle metro area rents, and with the exception of the most exclusive areas, rents are significantly cheaper on the whole there. 3BRs in my current OC neighborhood are now going for $3200/month. I can get waaay cheaper rents in many locations outside of Seattle's core districts.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Should I Stay or Should I go?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 09:25:55 PM »
I'll be back, but a quick note, the area I'm checking out is Spokane, 2 bedroom apartment in Spokane I'm looking at $800 a month vs. my 1 bedroom apartment here for $1600.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 09:40:17 PM by Johnez »


  • Stubble
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Re: Should I Stay or Should I go?
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2017, 03:13:09 PM »
I don't know much about the trades, but is refrigeration mechanic one where you can eventually open your own business (i.e., similar to electrician) and then run it? From what I understand, opening your own business as a tradesman is the way to really make money (and do so faster and easier than many white collar degree-required jobs).

Would you get a license that you could easily transfer to your new area? If you go to a relatively big metro area like Spokane you might be able to open a business relatively easily


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Should I Stay or Should I go?
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2017, 09:06:13 PM »
Where is your heart in this scenario?  I quit a job I didn't like for a job that paid me 33% less, but i"m so much happier. I think happiness leads to health which leads to wealth.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Should I Stay or Should I go?
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2017, 10:07:45 PM »
"...esta indecision me molesta"
Totally off topic, but thanks for the lyrics, Johnez!  Always loved that song, and never knew what that line was!  LOL!  Best wishes with your quandry!