Author Topic: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale  (Read 9607 times)

Justaerin

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Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« on: September 03, 2013, 11:37:14 AM »
Hey all,

My job is opening up a position for me in Glendale, AZ, near Bell Rd and 55th.  It's a great job and a good opportunity to get out of a state that's been quite a financial drain on me.  What I'm looking for are tips on living locations and any lifehacks or just general advice to set myself up in the area with a strong bias towards the wisest financial setup possible, given a few parameters:

Proximity to work, or the ability to get there quickly via an easy commute.  Hoping to save on fuel and vehicle costs, of course.  I am not afraid to invest in a cheap motorcycle to make this choice easier, given that my Wrangler is not the best on fuel.  I do have a mountain bike for use, but there are no shower facilities at work and I'm not sure what walking/biking to work is like in Phoenix heat in regards to arriving at work in an unprofessional appearance of sweaty funk.  The 101 is a dang easy road, even in bad traffic.

Proximity or access to inexpensive quality foods.  I'm thinking Costco or Trader Joe's, or even something better I'm not aware of.  I eat a freaking ton, prefer lots of meat, veggies and fruit.  Food costs are a major expenditure for me and I'd like to trim this down.

Access to CrossFit and some form of combat art gym, preferably Krav Maga but I'd also be interested in getting back into capoeira.  A great yoga place nearby would be awesome too.  I do indeed realize what an investment these types of places are, but they are very important to my life and enjoying CrossFit and martial arts are a big part of where I'd choose to live.  They are also a potential source of a side hustle for me.

Access and proximity to any type of free natural rec area, park, trails, water, greenery, whatever.  I currently live in a cultural and natural wasteland of crime and stupidity, and have been seriously craving access to some nature.

I don't plan on having any kids in the near future, so I really only need a studio, loft, or one bedroom.  A safe area is preferred, no Fallout-style Mad Max-ish wastelands of gang violence or highway robbery, of course.

The career opportunity is a step on a path toward quite a bit more income for me, so I'd like to establish myself semi-permanently, but prefer apartment living.  I of course would consider buying a house or two as an investment property, but plan to stay away from any sort of permanent anchor to any one place.   I've of course read MMM's Phoenix post, as well as the grocery-curbing and clown car posts and have improved quite a bit in those areas!  So no need to berate me too much as far as those parameters of my move are concerned.  I'm looking for Phoenix(ish)-specific help.  Please feel free to include anything I may have missed thinking about!  I should be moving in the next month or two.  Thanks all!

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2013, 12:46:35 PM »
Costco is just north of Bell on 83rd Ave.  That's also the retail center of the northwest valley - Arrowhead Mall is at 79th and Bell.  Bell crosses the 101 there.  I believe Trader Joe's is just east of the mall on Bell.  55th and Bell is a so-so area, and it deteriorates as you go east.  Once you get into the 40's, you will see a lot of abandoned big box spaces in largely vacant shopping centers.  West of the 101 are the car dealers and then you are in Sun City.

Bell Road is the most heavily travelled street in the area.  If it's a chain, it's located on Bell.  I'd probably look for apartments north of Bell, probably around 67th IIRC.  Go too far north or west, and you will face a lot of commute traffic.  People drive in from Surprise on Bell, and it can be a nightmare.

It's too late to buy property in Phoenix that cash flows....  Can't help you with the rest of your questions.  You will be moving in October, one of the nicest weather months.  Daytime highs in the 80's for the most part. 

Justaerin

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2013, 12:53:05 PM »
Thanks for the response.  I'm out there a lot for work and have been eyeing apartments just north of Bell.  There is a CrossFit box on the other side of the 101 and I could probably walk to work and to Trader Joe's.  This is seeming to be the best place, but I really have no idea of what else is in the area since my scope is pretty narrow when I'm there for work.

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2013, 01:07:25 PM »
Are you familiar with Sprout's?  Lots of good food at great prices.  The best boneless, skinless chicken anywhere, at rock bottom prices.  Cheap produce equal or better than most chains, including Whole Paycheck.  According to the website, there's one near your work, at 5665 W. Bell.  They have good and generously sized sandwiches for $2.99 - I like the chicken salad on a roll.  They will have a little table area inside the store - get your lunch there some workday and check it out.

http://sprouts.com/stores/arizona-glendale-w-bell-rd

Click on the weekly specials to see what's on sale.  I much prefer Sprout's over Trader Joe's.

Justaerin

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2013, 02:57:57 PM »
Heck yeah, the data center I work in is almost across the street from that Sprouts.  I've always eaten there and it should be right on the route between where I work and am considering living.  I was reading up on them and people were complaining of their prices, but I thought they were awesome so I was going to look around the area more.  I'm glad someone that is familiar with the area has added another data point - thank you.

Khan

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2013, 08:02:59 PM »
I can help you move whenever you get here, I live out in Chandler/Gilbert.

Also, I know Ikea doesn't have complete global coverage/domination yet, so if you need furniture/other home stuff, don't forget to check them out if you haven't been there before.

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2013, 08:15:27 PM »
There's a nice thrift store near 111th and Grand.  It's actually in Youngtown, off 111th, south of Grand.  It's good for dishes and cups and the occasional pan.  It's run by Sun City 4 Paws, a rescue organization that takes in and re-homes cats and dogs for seniors that die or that have to go to nursing homes.  The furniture isn't very good, but you can pick up kitchen stuff cheap.  Also, there are sales of house goods run by companies that specialize in selling off entire houses of furniture, décor and kitchen stuff.  Drive around Sun City and Sun City West and follow the signs.  Because of E-bay the best stuff sells quickly, but you can snag some good kitchen stuff.  I can't speak for the furniture.

Justaerin

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2013, 09:38:53 PM »
Thanks again for the responses, and Khanjar I really appreciate that offer.  I'll definitely keep it in mind.

I definitely am in no need of any type of home furnishings, bought most of that stuff at Ross and Big Lots as it is.  It will kinda suck moving a few of the big items but I have a couple friends out there that can probably help with the big stuff.  This will also of course be an awesome opportunity to cull more of my belongings.  I'm getting closer on a decision on where to live, really close to Costco and Trader Joes and to CrossFit.  It's about 2.5 miles from work, which is awesome.  No martial arts nearby that I've found, unfortunately.  I can roll with that or figure something else.  I was stretching myself a little thin on time and energy anyways.

Can anyone comment on the feasibility of walking/biking to work in the summer with that heat?  I work in a professional environment and there are no showers on site.  Makes me really consider getting a cheapo street-legal dirtbike and rolling that way most of the year.  I work in a desert already, and on most days I'd probably arrive at work as a sweaty monster.  It's 10-15 degrees cooler here though.


HoneyBadger

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2013, 01:22:40 PM »
Welcome Neighbor!  I live in the Arrowhead area (Union Hills and 75th Avenue), and part of the reason I like it is because so many affordable options are nearby.  Trader Joe's is located at 77th Ave and Bell, just outside Arrowhead Mall.  Sprouts is located at 57th Ave and Bell, and there's also a new one at 67th Ave and Deer Valley.  If you like to shop the loss leaders, Fry's, Safeway, Basha's and Albertson's are all within a few miles.  There's a huge Winco located at 59th Ave and Bell (great for bulk food).  There's a Sam's Club (ugh) located at 83rd Ave and Union Hills as well as two Walmarts (double ugh) - one on Bell and 59th Ave and one next to Sam's Club.  Costco (yay) is located on 79th Ave just north of Bell.  There's a Super Target at 83rd Ave and Bell (by the Peoria Sports Complex, if you're a spring training fan).  If you're truly hard core (like me!) there's an Oroweat bakery outlet at Bell and 99th Ave and a Holsum bakery outlet on Peoria, just east of the 101.  There's a Rainbow Grocery Outlet at 43rd Ave and Bell, and a Dented Can grocery outlet at 99th Ave and Peoria.  I have also found super bargains at 99 Cents Only stores - there's one at 67th Ave and Beardsley that's nicer than most.  Best of luck to you!

Justaerin

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2013, 01:51:09 PM »
Awesome, thank you HoneyBadger for the great list!  I'm actually planning to move in the area of 75th and Bell, so pretty dang close to most of those and nearby you.  Really looking forward to it!

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2013, 03:55:32 PM »
There are a lot of multi-story, high density apartment complexes snuggled up against the east side of 101 north and south of Bell.  Noise, traffic, and parking problems are common complaints.  I would look for a little lower density to the east, staying north of Bell if possible.  75th would be fine.  If you like a little more space, you might luck into a townhouse or small two bedroom house with a garage for under $1,000. 

One thing you will have to get used to is the sales tax on rentals.  There is sales tax on food as well.  The Sun City Fry's at 107th and Grand is packed at all hours because Sun City does not charge sales tax on food.  Mostly thrifty old folks, but if you buy for a large family, the savings do add up.

Bell is neither bicycle nor motorcycle friendly.  During commute hours it's packed with frenzied commuters who can be as rude and pushy as anywhere.  It's often 115 degrees in June, sometimes hotter.  Monsoon season means heat and humidity, plus rain storms.  Check out the neighborhood streets for a safe route to work if you want to ride October to May.  Phoenix is laid out on a grid, so finding a fairly direct route is easy.

HoneyBadger

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2013, 04:21:32 PM »
As tight with a buck as I am, I've never braved the Sun City Fry's!  Although bus service in Phoenix is generally pretty dismal, there is a park and ride lot at Arrowhead Mall.  It might be possible to walk/bike to the mall and catch a Bell Road or Union Hills Road bus and get to work that way.  I used to catch an express to downtown there before I achieved FI.  The Valley Metro website - valleymetro.org - has route maps and trip planners.

Another great thing about the Arrowhead area is you're relatively convenient to three library systems - Glendale, Phoenix and Peoria.  The nearest Glendale branch (Foothills) is located on 57th Ave north of Union Hills.  The main Peoria branch is located at 8463 Monroe (just south of Peoria) and the Phoenix Agave regional branch is located on 36th Ave north of Pinnacle Peak. 

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2013, 04:32:05 PM »
Ah, HoneyBadger, you need to go at 5 AM, when Fry's opens!  It's quite an interesting collection of folks at that hour.

HoneyBadger

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2013, 04:51:37 PM »
Ah - a new category for discussion!  Cheap entertainment!

Justaerin

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2013, 05:31:53 PM »
I was looking at the Lodge at Arrowhead, along Grandview and that aqueduct/canal thing.  There was another set of them closer to work but further from CrossFit and Costco, north of Bell on 67th and still along that same waterway.  Under $900 for either, but I was hoping to have a garage for tools and camping gear at the first choice.  I'm going to try to get down there this weekend since I'll be in Flagstaff anyway.

Honestly I pay so much in taxes in California that it's hard to believe anything like that could shock me.  I'm amazed at the inexpensive quality food when I'm in Glendale for business.  Coming from Alaska to California... let's just say that's the single worst financial decision I've ever made - no sales tax, no state tax, PFD, 6% pay differential, close proximity to everything in Anchorage, man I've never had so much money.  Actually coming to CA and really needing to tighten my budget is what got me to this site.  Bell does seem pretty insane during prime hours, I was hoping to find a bike path, but I'll definitely look into transit.  It'd only take me about 45 minutes to walk to work from that location.

HoneyBadger

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2013, 09:48:37 PM »
You'll do much better here - the western suburbs of Phoenix are a low cost of living area.  Scottsdale, not so much!  Check out MMM's post on his trip to Phoenix/Scottsdale.  I've considered relocating, but the only areas that are less expensive than Glendale are places like Mississippi and Alabama.  We do have a hefty sales tax, but property taxes are reasonable and the state income tax isn't too bad.

Here's a link to bike paths in the City of Glendale - http://www.glendaleaz.com/maps/documents/Glendale20Bike20PRESS.pdf 
 

Justaerin

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2013, 12:17:49 AM »
Righteous, thanks for the link!  I was looking over taxes rates, sales tax is lower than here, and state income tax is way lower.  I think it's going to be a great move and I'm looking forward to it.  Thanks again for all the helpful insight!

And somehow I got the impression that HoneyBadger just don't care.

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2013, 06:51:59 AM »
You will notice gas prices are significantly lower.  In California, one of the reasons given for high gas prices is the tight refinery capacity in the state.  Arizona has no refineries and lower gas prices, despite requiring smog-formulated gas in the Phoenix area.

You could save even more money if you were old enough to live in Sun City or the older areas of Sun City West.  No city or school property tax and no city sales tax on food or rent.  And those people VOTE, so the cost of living due to government isn't going up anytime soon.

Justaerin

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2013, 10:25:06 AM »
That's interesting about fuel prices.  In Alaska fuel was insanely expensive, and literally right next to a refinery.  But no taxes and we got the PFD, so it equaled out I suppose.

I'm 33 as of a couple days ago, not sure if that's old enough to live in Sun City.  That'd be really nice though.  The distance from work would probably be made up for in savings on taxes. 

HoneyBadger

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2013, 06:59:16 PM »
The minimum to live in Sun City is 55 - and they enforce it.  I don't know if you'd enjoy living in Sun City anyway - my mom lives there and they roll up the sidewalks at 7:00 pm.  Good early-bird specials though!

If you enjoy ethic cooking, I forgot another great source = Lee Lee's Oriental Market at 75th Ave and Cactus.  It's a supermarket with all types of ethnic food (despite the name).  It's my go-to place for middle eastern and Indian spices and other exotic ingredients. 

Justaerin

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2013, 12:27:46 PM »
Yeah I had a friend telling me about Sun City yesterday, probably not my ideal location regardless of age.

Thanks for the recommendation on the market, I'm most definitely going to check that place out!

So I checked with the complex I'm looking into, and apparently CenturyLink is the only ISP offered.  I've only dealt with them on a business level for enterprise circuits, never for home internet.  How are they?

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2013, 12:47:40 PM »
I'm surprised.  Cox is the cable provider in the Phoenix market.  Do they not serve this complex?

Justaerin

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2013, 12:58:46 PM »
I'd have to call the companies myself to verify, but the renting office said CenturyLink.  My guess is a deal was made during construction for Qwest to prewire and serve the complex, so they may not allow other providers to install equipment at all, regardless of their service area.  I've never been to a place that wouldn't let me choose a provider.  Link quality and stability are important to me, as I work from home often when something breaks or I have late-night maintenance window work.  I've read some pretty horrible things about CL, I'd rather use Cox I think.

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2013, 01:12:58 PM »
What BS.  Are there cable outlets in the units?  Call Cox and see what they say.

Justaerin

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2013, 01:19:38 PM »
Agreed.  There are probably coax drops throughout the units, but without their own fiber or coax plant extended to the complex, no one else could serve them, unless CL would offer to wholesale the service.  I'll hit up the providers and get some answers.

Justaerin

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #25 on: September 12, 2013, 05:52:32 PM »
With an inexpensive-enough bus commute I'm considering living further from work if there's enough benefit in "living local" in another area.  Are there any really affordable areas that have good groceries nearby as well as a great walking/biking community and lots of green space?  I'm currently looking at about $850/mo in an area conducive to low transportation costs, but if I could find something in the $500-$600 range in an area as described above, I think it'd offset the transport costs quite a bit and I'd be happier living there.  MMM suggests Tempe, but I've heard it's expensive.  In his blog post it actually sounds like he was staying exactly where I'm considering moving to.

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #26 on: September 12, 2013, 06:10:14 PM »
It will take you at least an hour during commute hour to get from Tempe to 55th and Bell.  No way would I consider that commute.

In your shoes, I would do a six month lease close to work and poke around during that time to see what appeals to you for the longer term.

Justaerin

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Re: Help starting over in Phoenix/Glendale
« Reply #27 on: September 12, 2013, 06:22:30 PM »
Yeah that's not worth my time.  I was pretty much thinking the same thing.  Had a friend swing by the prospective place today and said it looked great.  More expensive than I'd want, but less than what I pay now, and I'd say it's definitely worth it.  But I can live with a lot less.  If I could find a studio or loft that was actually cheaper and closer, I'd rock that in a heartbeat.