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Costs of Living in California

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One of the things I was most concerned about moving from Massachusetts to California was the costs of living out here. I had 30 years to research every optimal deal around Boston. I didn't have to sign up for The Grocery Game, because I had been living it for years.

I'm not quite as efficient out here in San Mateo county. Here are the ups and downs thus far:

- Housing - I have to rent, there's zero chance of me buying a home. Renting isn't that bad overall. It's probably about the same as Boston.

- Utilities - This is going to be a pretty big win for our household. With the ideal weather I don't expect that we'll use the heat and very few places even come with air conditioning because it's simply not necesssary. Our cable and Internet bill will be about $15 cheaper. In fact the package is actually cheaper with HBO - a solid bonus.

- Transportation - My fiance used to pay $200 a month in gas to drive to her job. Here, she'll get $65 towards a metro pass from her job. That means that she's going to have to come out with something like $20 to supplement that subsidy. My costs are going to go up as I am now the one that has to travel, but my math says it's about 2 gallons of a day or about $100

- Food and Materal Possessions - Food and clothing is taxed in California! That's a shock to us who have lived in Massachusetts where it's exempt. We aren't talking about a 5% state tax either, it's 50% more or 7.5% overall. I haven't been able to find the same grocery deals that I found back home, but Costco is about the same price as home, and I'm hopeful that Wal-Mart will be my friend on the grocery front. On the plus side, my job has lunch, snacks, and soda brought in daily. If I'm there late (7PM-ish), they'll bring in dinner as well.

- Gym - The gym will be $10 less for my fiance. That was a great surprise, because the real estate for running a gym is more expensive. While she wants a full gym, I will take advantage of the small fitness center in the apartment complex - a savings of $40 a month for me.

All in all, I think the costs of living will be a little more expensive, but we really need to put together a budget before we are sure.

Last updated on July 29, 2011.

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