Tips for Frugal West Coast Living
On the weekend, I branch out from cooking-related posts and write about my family, answer reader questions, or just blog about what's on my mind! If you have a question or topic you'd like me to tackle, send it my way! :)
I'm a fan of your blog and have been following it for some time now. My family is soon moving from Kansas to Tacoma, WA and we couldn't be more excited. I have heard a lot though that the area has a much higher cost of living than Kansas. I was wondering if you would have any west coast tips for this Kansas girl.
This site has great charts and statistics for various areas! I especially love looking at weather charts. :)
We've found that housing prices are the biggest difference from living in Ohio. We moved from renting a 2-bedroom house with a garage and yard in Ohio to renting a 2-bedroom apartment north of Seattle and our rent almost doubled!
We've read (and found) that utilities are slightly cheaper here. We live in a 3rd-floor apartment and combined with the milder climate here, our heating costs are a lot less than they were in Ohio. The same goes for cooling -- since we use a fan instead of air conditioning like in Ohio! :)
Our picnic at the park
Food is slightly more expensive here overall BUT there are still great sales and quite a lot of stores to choose from! I like to get my groceries at Costco to keep things as simple and affordable as possible (having 4 young children, only 1 vehicle, and the weekend traffic being NOT fun!), but there are so many stores and farmer's markets and the options are virtually limitless!
I love that the weather here is conducive to getting out a lot more (no freezing cold winters or blazing hot summers), and there are beautiful parks and places to go for FREE! We've only scratched the surface when it comes to parks and trails and beaches!
Gas prices are higher here, but traffic is more of a hindrance to travel than gas prices. ;) Traffic is one of the downsides to this area. Aside from freeway congestion (and most north-south travel requires the use of I-5 or I-405), the stop lights are just plain LONG if you're trying to get anywhere during rush hour. So while everything is so close, it's not like driving the "2 miles to the store" we did in Ohio. We measure distance in minutes. "Two miles" seems a lot further when it's called "15 minutes"... or even more! :)
Car insurance is a lot higher here than it was in Ohio. I think our insurance nearly doubled when we moved! We still just have 1 vehicle, and we don't travel/drive a ton (to work, church, and the grocery store once a week!).
Overall, we really love living in the PNW! Aside from housing prices, I think everything else (utilities, gas, insurance, food) pretty much evens out and we get to enjoy the beautiful cool summers, mountain and Sound views, and woodsy trails! :)
Does anyone else have West coast tips to share??