Today’s guest post comes to us from Jordan, a dedicated blog reader and voiceful commentator.
In a previous post on this blog, I had analyzed how my costs of living had changed after hiring movers and moving from the southern US to the Northeast. Jordan’s post, on the other hand, will take a look at how the cost of living in California stacks up to the rest of the world. Let’s get started!
Cost of Living in California Compared to…Anywhere Else
California…Hollywood, Beverly Hills, serfdom. It’s not often that I take time out of my day to moan on paper…er, electrons. Sure, I take plenty of time to gripe in person, or over-the-phone for that matter. But when one of your best friend calls you and gives you a legitimate stage for your molestations, you just have to go with it.
This post will attempt to reconcile the differences between living in California and, well, living in any other part of the world. Of course, being that money is the backdrop here, I will try to steer clear of political diatribe and objectively comment on the sound financial facts.
TO FRAME A PICTURE:
Of course, we have to put all this in context now, don’t we? I have lived on multiple continents and experienced many cultures. And when I wasn’t an inhabitant, I was traveling there. Business…pleasure…it matters not. The point is that I have sampled many corners of the globe and can candidly say, without any qualms, that California is the most expensive place to live – ever.
THE FIRST STROKES:
I moved to San Francisco, California nearly two months ago for work. I was given an Extended Stay hotel to call home while I looked for a place to rent. I was making six figures, had a car paid for, no college debts, and a very healthy credit score. Even though the housing markets in the US are still WAY overpriced, I figured they would have fallen enough in California that maybe I could find a decent deal. Wrong. I linked up with a Realtor and she explained that, unless you are willing to commute 60 minutes to work, one way, there would be no way I would be able to afford a house in a respectable area. I asked her for the definition of respectable…let’s say that many homes come with barred windows to keep out the neighbors.
Realizing that I didn’t want to be the first straight white guy to die in San Francisco, I decided that safety was a priority. So I ended up finding a 700 square foot apartment for myself. 1 bed, 1 bath. $2000 a month. Not bad considering I could buy the same unit for a meager $825,000. Definitely wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
BUILDING THE THEME:
When I got tired of crying myself to sleep at night over the money I was literally throwing away on rent, I decided to go to the DMV to register my car. It is, after all, illegal to drive an unregistered vehicle for more than 30 days. So a short 6 hour wait later, I got to pay $500 dollars to register a 2006 car in California. My eyes bulged. My wallet hid. The guy next to me laughed as he told me he just paid $1800 to register a new truck. I will quit now before the political wheel starts turning.
THE FOCAL POINT:
Okay, I have been sodomized by the state of California so far. I’ll just cut back on other expenses to make up for it. Yea right. Gas: $3.25 a gallon. Milk – more expensive than gasoline: $5.20 a gallon. Tickets for entering an intersection during a yellow light (they have sniper cameras): minimum $300 dollars. A pound of low-grade, shit bird turkey meat: $11.00. Parking ticket for not paying a meter when there are NO change machines around: $50 (even after explaining that I got the ticket WHILE I was getting change for a dollar inside to pay the meter). Parking anywhere? Bring change! State income tax: 10%.
THE MASTERPIECE COMPLETED:
I think it’s fair to say that California is going to cost me nearly 400% more than it would in the midwest. Use an online calculator and that is your base rate. Are you white, male, and able to pay taxes? Square it. All in all I would never choose to live in California. This is the only place I know of where a six figure salary buys you minimal protection and only the bare essentials. Sure there are plenty of things to do, but it takes money to do them all.
How about you all? Have you all lived in California and experienced these kinds of living expenses?
Do the costs anywhere else in the world compare to California? Let everyone know by commenting below!