I recently moved from an relatively small and expensive city on the West Coast to a much larger city in the south eastern portion of the United States with a similar, or cheaper cost of living. Hearing that you might initially think “budget win.” Unfortunately, not exactly…
The Old Job, the West Coast
In the old job, I was a live in staff member at a mid-sized university (think, resident director). Despite the high cost of living, my live-in status was huge for debt repayment as a furnished, one bedroom apartment was included in my compensation, which included internet, laundry, and all utilities. In fact, my only real “cost” was my parking space which cost me roughly $500.00 for the year. Additionally, my commuting cost were non-existent because I could walk from my apartment to my office. Taxes for this state were actually pretty reasonable and I was able to put almost $1.300.00 towards my debt each month (Note: I was only in this role for a year…maybe more on that later).
So, why leave? While it might seem like a luxury for someone in such significant debt to make such a choice, I left because I was really unhappy at the university. While things were looking up in my department, overall, I was often unhappy and didn’t feel like I was ever able to do my best work. Additionally, all of my family and friends live on the East Coast and I was never able to establish community.
The New Job, the Southeast
In the new job, I still work for a university but in a much different role. This role is much better suited to my skill set and I am really excited about the direction the department and university are taking with respect to my actual work. The new job pays about $3000.00 more annually than my old job, however, because it is not a live-in role, I am responsible for all of my living costs. While there are higher taxes in this state, my boss has told me that throughout the year, there are opportunities to earn additional income through consulting work/projects and bonuses.
While the loss of included living expenses will be a huge blow for my budget, I think I have been as reasonable as possible in my transition to paying for them myself. My new studio apartment will cost me $685.00 per month and includes utilities and laundry! I am only uncertain as to whether or not I have to get my own internet service provider. The apartment is only five miles from the university I work at and the university has a shuttle pick up not far from where I live. For the short term, I am hoping to bike to the shuttle station and starting biking to the university once I am in better shape.
I will create part 2 of the Plan, which will essentially be my budget, once I sit down with HR and figure out how deductions will impact my take home pay.