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so about that moving thing...

oh hai.

so, now that i've gotten a lot of things out of the way in seattle, moving is again back on the table. i'm looking at spring, when my lease is up (you might remember my previous 'the rent is way too high in seattle' post. well, that's not getting much better, i just managed to 1- room with someone for a while to save a little and 2- find a 6 month lease after that.)

i've been poking around and looking at cost of living in relation to seattle; realistically, almost every damn city in the country is cheaper. but if you fine people could provide some kind of numbers, that'd be great. i'm also figuring that car insurance might be kind of high, and that flood insurance is something i would need that also might get pricey. any light you can shed on that is great.

so, in seattle, living in a very desirable neighborhood (so desirable i had to leave it), the numbers looked like this:

-rent for a 350-400 sq foot studio apartment: $835 per month (the same building raised this to 1100). outlying areas of seattle are becoming just as expensive as the city itself but might be marginally cheaper.

-car insurance: $64 (this is minimum coverage only. it's what i had to have by law to drive the car. and since i moved out of that neighborhood it's lower, but not by much.)

- utilities: water, sewer and gas are generally included in many seattle rents. electric ran me about $30 every two months due to the small apartment size. internet: $60-70 each month.

- groceries (me and a cat, one week): approx. $50 (give or take. less some weeks, but covering bases)

- a decent beer at a bar that isn't a dive: $6-7 (i consider a dive bar one where i'd feel unsafe or uncomfortable as a woman alone)

- a good, non-fast food american meal out (ie, not mc donald's, but possibly still a burger or sandwich served with a waitress involved): $8-12 (the eight bucks is if you get a water instead of any kind of drink, and it's lowballing).

- renewing tabs/registration stickers on your car: $120 (please tell me this is lower)

- paying a parking ticket: $47

- parking your car somewhere for about three hours/parking garage/street parking: $2 per hour via pay-to-park kiosk; garages/lots are higher

- bus fare: approx. $2 depending on length of ride and time of day

- seeing a movie: $12.50-15 (the lower price is the matinee)

- a cup of coffee (somewhere other than a starbucks or chain): $2 plus a free refill (hey, this is seattle. we had to get something right.)

- a gallon of gas: last i checked, it was $3.80 for regular. it's been up to $4 in the not so distant past.*

anything else you can think of to share in the cost of living regard is appreciated. i'll be dealing with fees and insurance based on my profession, so i really want to make sure i know what i'm in for before i get too far into this.

thanks for any help!

*gas is cheaper outside the city, but i don't really get outside the city much. and since i'd be moving to another city, i want to compare prices that way. i've seen it as much as thirty cents cheaper, depending on the day, on the other side of lake washington. (not that far, but far enough because of traffic that i'm not going to go over there to run errands).


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 29th, 2013 03:54 pm (UTC)
- Rent: I have a two bedroom up by Tulane for $900, but it took two months of solid looking a year ago to find it. YMMV.
- Car stuff: sorry, don't have a car. Can't help you there.
- Utilities: Water is included in my apartment, but that's not the law here. So some places have it, some don't. Electric varies wildly based on how damned hot it is (and how new your AC is), anywhere from $25 - $125/month. Internet will be in the $50 range, but you can usually score a deal for at least the first 6 months of new service.
- Groceries: There are quite a few options near me. If I go to Rousse's, I probably pay about that. Whole foods is more. YMMV depending on what you eat and if you bargain hunt.
- We have no shortage of bars here. Beer will range from $2 to $8 depending on your brand, happy hour specials, etc. Lots of places do 2-3 for 1 specials
- We have no shortage of restaurants. Lunch you can do in the $10 range, but more often it's $12-15 for sit-down. Dinner for $15-20 and up as high as you want.
- Again, no car
- again, no car
- parking meters when you can find them are in the $2 range, lots will go from $5 - $35+ depending on where and length of time
- Street car and bus fare is $1.25. Transfers are 25 cents. One day, 3 day, and 31 day passes are available.
- Movies, about the same.
- Coffee, about the same, minus the refills
- Gas -- MUCH CHEAPER! No car, but last time I paid attention we were hovering right around $3. Definitely were in the high 2s the week of Xmas last year.
Oct. 29th, 2013 04:16 pm (UTC)
that's definitely helpful. thanks! do you do any renter's or flood insurance?

again, pretty much anywhere i want to go is gonna be cheaper than here, except maybe san franciso, LA and nyc. i'd happily pay similar rent to what i pay now to have a larger place. (i have another studio. it's not big--smaller than what i listed above, but all utilities included, and caps out at 900. so 900 for a place with a bedroom door? sold.)

the gas thing makes a big difference, too. i cringe when i fill up my gas tank here sometimes. i'd probably do a decent amount of driving to and from work after moving (i'm a pilates instructor; generally, i have 2-4 jobs so i can get lots of hours and pretty good money), so regularly paying that 3.80-ish really does add up.
Oct. 29th, 2013 07:19 pm (UTC)
I would strongly recommend renters, flood and wind insurance at least...a lot of people got screwed after Katrina cause they had either flood/water or wind, but not both.

When I was there, my car was not registered in the city, but at my mom's address on the North Shore (north of Lake Pontchartrain), and that did save me a lot of money for insurance and stuff.

There were also Winn-Dixie grocery stores that were reasonable...at least the one I went to was as well.
Oct. 29th, 2013 11:26 pm (UTC)
i did not even know there was such a thing as wind insurance, but that makes sense. (i'm originally an east coast girl, and it's not like seattle gets tornados, so. ;) ) i will look into both and see what i can find out about pricing.

i wonder if i could 'sell' the car to my parents and have it registered with them. they're in florida. thanks for the thought--if i can make that work, that'd be great.

i am least worried about food, but it's good to know what choices there are. i rely heavily on trader joe's up here because some of their stuff is stupid cheap

all of this is helpful, thanks!
Oct. 29th, 2013 11:58 pm (UTC)
No Trader Joe's anywhere in the state of Louisiana, or even neighboring states like Mississippi. I missed TJ's a lot when I lived in NOLA, but now that I am back in the land of TJ's, I don't really shop there much anymore.
Oct. 30th, 2013 04:24 pm (UTC)
it's very sporadic with me. now that i'm near the u-district one and it's a song and a dance to get in and out of there without a car accident, i do go less. i just like how cheap some of their stuff is. pasta for 99 cents? yes, please.
Oct. 31st, 2013 12:02 am (UTC)
I do not have renter's insurance. I know, bad bad me. I tried to get it when I first moved in, called 3 places for quotes. None of them ever called me back. Sadly, a LOT of businesses down here work like that, basic drive and customer service skills are SORELY lacking. And I just let the apathy set in. But I also don't have anything terribly valuable (money or sentimental-wise) so haven't bothered. If I buy nicer stuff (or move again) I'll probably try and get a quote again.
Oct. 29th, 2013 11:55 pm (UTC)
I moved from NOLA to Seattle and gas is much cheaper in NOLA. Groceries were also cheaper, especially when purchased at Walmart (which isn't a viable grocery store option in Seattle).
Oct. 29th, 2013 11:56 pm (UTC)
PS - Meant to also say that car insurance post-Katrina is more expensive in NOLA than Seattle. And if you are a renter, seriously considering purchasing a flood insurance policy as well as renter's insurance in NOLA.
Oct. 30th, 2013 12:10 am (UTC)
definitely on the flood insurance. parents are in florida and were stunned at some flood damage they had, so i'd never go anywhere along the gulf without it. and theirs was minimal. i've already got renter's insurance so i'd just transfer it over. :) thanks!
Oct. 30th, 2013 12:33 am (UTC)
Good on you, we never rented without renter's insurance. Unfortunately, that is not the norm and you hear about horror stories. Though we never used our renter's insurance policy, the peace of mind that comes with paying a couple hundred bucks a year was well worth it!!!
Oct. 30th, 2013 04:25 pm (UTC)
yeah. it's cheap enough that i figured i should just blanketly do it.
Oct. 30th, 2013 08:36 am (UTC)
-Paying $625 for my studio in the Lower Garden District. You can probably find a decent 1-bedroom for what you pay now.

-car insurance: I pay about $80-$90 for minimum. Register the car somewhere else. It will be worth it to you.

- Utilities: water, sewer and gas: About $100/month for electric and gas and water is usually paid. If it's not paid, it's about $75/month. Utilities are crazy inefficient.

- groceries (me and a cat, one week): you can do $50-$75 a week in groceries. Winn Dixie is your best bet. Rouses is more expensive than it needs to be.

- a decent beer at a bar that isn't a dive: $5-$6 is about right. You can get cheap beer and wells for $1-$2 at some places. Our dive bars aren't as scary as some might think.

- a good, non-fast food american meal out (ie, not mc donald's, but possibly still a burger or sandwich served with a waitress involved): $10 for a burger or lunch. More for more.

- renewing tabs/registration stickers on your car: $20/year for an inspection sticker. Car registration is also decent.

- paying a parking ticket: $20-$75, but usually $40.

- parking your car somewhere for about three hours/parking garage/street parking: Depends on where you're going. If you shop or see a movie you can validate parking. Meters are $1.50/hr. Garages are way overpriced ($5-$20)

- bus fare: approx. $1.25, but that might change soon.

- seeing a movie: In the city proper, it's $11 for Prytania and $8-$15 for Canal Place. Multiplexes in the burbs run you about $8-12, and more for IMAX and all that good stuff.

- a cup of coffee (somewhere other than a starbucks or chain): $2 sounds right.

- a gallon of gas: Cheaper than the West Coast.

Hope this helps!
Oct. 30th, 2013 04:30 pm (UTC)
oh, wow that helps a lot.

i am intensely jealous of the cost of your rent. i think that my cheapest place living out here was still 650, and that was four years ago. even adding your utilities in, you're about $200 under my current rent. and this place is wee tiny.

... if i can, i'm going to register the car with my parents, though then it'll have out of state plates. eeeh.

the tab renewal cost likewise makes me want to openly weep. this year, when i had to fork over that 120 or so, i asked the clerk at the DOL to explain to me why it was so high. her explanation made sense, but also made me enraged. it's got to do with roads needing work, not having toll roads, etc... i'd rather have a toll road.

thanks, your numbers really help me get a better picture. now it's just trying to secure income as i get closer to when i want to move (which is spring, so i've got a bit yet)

Nov. 4th, 2013 03:24 pm (UTC)

-rent for me is $560 for a 1000 sq ft place with central ac and washer dryer. This is not normal. There's a fight over who gets our place when we move. I live in a dodgier area of town (7th ward/esplanade ridge) that makes some ppl uncomfortable but suits us just fine. If you're new to the city I recommend places like uptown, Irish channel, lower garden district, marigny, broadmoor, (and if you're keeping your car) Algiers Point for apartments and those get pricier. I have never seen an apartment outside of the French Quarter that is 300-400 sq ft. Think more like 600-1000 sq ft (depending on neighborhood) for what you're paying.

-car insurance: $100

- utilities: water, sewer and gas :$45. electric can be all over the place due to sized insulation. For 100 sq feet and under, plan for $150 in the summer. $30 for winter. Levilized billing is your friend. internet: $60-70 each month. (I am a chronic over estimater as a rule. I'd rather gauge too much than too little.)

- groceries: I know groceries are cheaper here than in Seattle but as for how much for you, I can't say. We are 3 people and 5 pets so I can't even begin.

- a decent beer at a bar that isn't a dive: $4-5

- a good, non-fast food american meal out: about what you said. Can be lower depending on where you go.

- renewing tabs/registration stickers on your car: $?

- paying a parking ticket: $20-40

- no idea. We street park.

- bus fare: $1.25

- seeing a movie: $8-12

- a cup of coffee (somewhere other than a starbucks or chain): $2 plus a free refill (that's about right)

- a gallon of gas: last i checked, it was $3

I have never had renters insurance, nuts I know, after Katrina you'd think I'd have learned, but no.
Prices to get into shows and event nights are much cheaper here. ($5-20), the museum has free days for ppl with a Louisiana id, get your insurance elsewhere. Seriously. Don't transfer your car here, it's insane money. And hanging out and sightseeing is free. It's one of the best things to do here. Most people become broke here because of nightlife money. Drinking a lot. I don't personally but it's a thing. Don't get wrapped up in it. This is a very conversation motivated town. People love a story. We love performance and entertainment and music and dancing. And none of that costs a lot of money. Most people I know who have moved here from the pacific northwest have some severe culture shock. Don't be afraid to ask respectful questions. It's an odd town and we forget that sometimes when people don't know the rhythm.
It can be the best place you've ever been or a dead end. You determine your trajectory.
Nov. 4th, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)
this is a big help, even if your living situation isn't typical/you have more pets/etc. thanks!

i really feel like seattle was the dead end for me, so i'm really, REALLY ready to get out of here. i'd be out of here already but i don't want to break my lease. encouraged that apartments don't seem to come in the same variety of tiny they do here... i don't mind small, because it is just me and cat, but lord. seattle really gets away with murder on the rent front. google, amazon and microsoft salaries drive up our rent prices, so people who DON'T have those higher paying jobs and are single or just can't do a roommate for whatever reason get so royally screwed. i only know one couple that doesn't have rent issues, and it's because the lady of the house has a full time position at microsoft (those are unheard of. usually they are contract.) even if your rent is lower than normal, right off the bat, i won't have to deal with that, and i couldn't be happier to get away from it. thanks for neighborhood recs, too. it's good to know the safety aspect/housing affordability, for sure. i've been to NOLA a few times and i've been all around, but it's hard to get a handle on all of that walking or driving around while on a visit. :)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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