We’re broke. The budget is TIGHT and it’s going to be that way for at least a couple more weeks until we recoup the money we invested in the remodel to sell our house. I’m moving money around in budget categories and it’s becoming terribly obvious how high the cost of living is in San Diego.
Let’s start with the Utilities. We have one utility company in San Diego. Not a lick of competition. Texas? There are seemingly endless companies willing to sell you power who are willing to find you the best deal possible based on how you consume it. My electric bill this month? $52. And my Texas house is 50% larger with more lights. In San Diego, I counted my blessings if it was under $150 but it was generally over $250, sometimes well over $300. The current bill is $82 for my house in San Diego with nothing plugged in and no one living there. Unfortunately I have to leave the power on until the new owners take possession but I’m still coming out $18 under budget. That’s not even talking about internet (50% less) or water (25% less). We still don’t have cable TV and, even though it’s way cheaper here, we have no plans to get it.
Groceries. I’m consistently $100 – $200 under my average San Diego spend. This is very noticeable in pork prices (heads up Cali…pork is going to be completely unaffordable come March. Stock up now). The crazy part is, because of my recent health crisis, I’ve had to drastically modify my diet to whole foods which are expensive yet, I’m still able to stay under budget.
Gas. Yeah. It’s pretty much half price in Texas. These days, I get very upset if I have to pay over $3 in Texas. In San Diego, as long as it was under $5, I was happy. To make matters even better, I live less than a mile from work. When the weather behaves, I walk. I’ve gone from 26 miles/day driving to less than 2 miles/day. This money I’m letting build in the budget line item. My repairs budget (which is the same budget line as my gas money) got beat up a bit last year so it could use some growth. I love that I don’t have to make any changes to my budget and I’m coming out way ahead in this category.
Vehicle registration. I’ve mentioned this one before. My registration was several hundred dollars in California. It’s $92 in Texas. I’ve been able to cut this budget line item by 60%.
The list goes on and on but I wish someone had told me that moving out of San Diego would be so much more than less expensive housing. The difference financially is HUGE. The future is bright.
The other part I want you to take from this, if you are considering moving to a new area with a higher cost of living, remember it’s so much more than more expensive housing. You will get hit on so many levels. Be prepared.