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We always hear that certain areas are cheaper to live in than others. But are they really cheaper to live in or is it only just the house that are cheaper? An example of this is Hagerstown Maryland has 3.20 a gallon regular gas but the homes are cheaper but in laurel, Md off of I95 the gas is 2.99 a gallon. I know salaries are lower across certain parts of the US but how do they claim it is cheaper to live if gas and food etc are still high? Just curious. I have had homes in MD. PA and Va and each has advantages and disadvantages. Md is too liberal and anti gun but they don't have a car tax. Va has the silly car tax and taxes personal property and in NVA the prices are really high. Pa does not tax retirement income but their sales tax is 6 percent. So is there any truth to any of the saying about, "lower cost of living".??
 

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I would think to see the biggest difference you would have to look at different regions of the country, not just 1 hr from your current location.
 

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I would think to see the biggest difference you would have to look at different regions of the country, not just 1 hr from your current location.
I think he's asking just that:
what is the comparative cost of living across the nation, from the lest expensive area in which to live to the most expensive area in which to live?

Is there really an area in the U.S. about which you could say that it is significantly less expensive to live there than in other areas of the U.S. ?
 

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I think he's asking just that:
what is the comparative cost of living across the nation, from the lest expensive area in which to live to the most expensive area in which to live?

Is there really an area in the U.S. about which you could say that it is significantly less expensive to live there than in other areas of the U.S. ?

I guess I could google all the info for him or...maybe you could. Or we could just tell him west coast and northeast are more expensive than the south.
 

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Yes.

I think you may be right, most of it is due to housing, but as housing expenses are typically people's greatest expense over their lifetime it makes sense. I would imagine, even though food prices have risen across the nation, they have risen more in the N.E. due to their distance from major agricultural areas.
 

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I moved from Colorado to Missouri in 2002.
Houses are maybe 2/3 as expensive, but I paid more property tax for a house that was 2/3 the cost.
And utilities cost more here.
 
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I've lived in 8 states, including the Northeast, South, Midwest, and West. My unscientific observation is that housing is the biggest difference. It is sometimes one of the few differences, if the only difference.

I found food, clothing, transportation, etc. in New York City to be comparable to other places I lived. The only difference was housing, but that would be a deal breaker, IF I had wanted to stay there permanently.

Take a look at some lists that compare housing costs. There's quite a range between California and Hawaii vs. W Virginia and Mississippi.
 

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We have 5% income tax, 6% sales tax, personal property tax on vehicles, some of the highest taxes on gas, alcohol, and cigarettes.

Per capital, CT has the bighest tax burden in the country.

Oh, regular gas is $3.399 to $3.599 depending on where I go.
 

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Seems like the far west has some of the highest costs of living. Next, probably the Northeast. The south is mostly cheaper. Salaries are somewhat relative, higher in the west and NE, lower in the south.
 

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We're house hunting and want to keep in the $400k-$450k range in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland (3 or 4 bedroom, 2 or 3 bathroom) It truly is slim pickings, we've probably looked at 30 in person and hundreds on the internet, there might have been 3 that didn't need updating top to bottom, there are a lot of people with original appliances that are 20+ years old, original windows, etc, etc, etc.

I know that down in Texas, my same budget would probably go much further and not buy me a house that needed another $50k-$100k to be decent.
 

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We have 5% income tax, 6% sales tax, personal property tax on vehicles, some of the highest taxes on gas, alcohol, and cigarettes.

Per capital, CT has the bighest tax burden in the country.

Oh, regular gas is $3.399 to $3.599 depending on where I go.
So is there any truth to any of the saying about, "lower cost of living".??

Yes.

I live in Wisconsin, historically one of the heaviest tax burdened states in the country.

Many people have a hard time believing that; but the top ten are Hawaii, California, a bunch in the NE (CT which Harlanm already pointed out, NY, NH, etc.), Ohio and Wisconsin.

I've always used retirees as a good measure since they are usually in a position where incomes are fixed.

Topretirement.com just posted it worst ten states to live in-and Wisconsin is one of them

http://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/our-worst-states-to-retire-list.html/

I've been seriously looking at moving since I hate this state. My job is nearly full time telecommute so it would come with me. I've estimated with my current salary and some of the places I've been looking at like Texas, Tennessee, and Idaho my standard of living would increase anywhere from 15-30%. Not only would it increase, but in places like San Antonio, TX I've seen houses on line with 3400sf, 5 BR, 4 Baths, cul de' sac, pool, gated community etc for $225,000. This same house in Wisconsin would easily fetch $500k. Granted basements are a Midwest thing, but even adding in a ridiculous amount like $80,000 for a unfinished basement and the home is still a steal
 

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I think the use of the term "cost of living" is BS.

For example for the same job you can get radically different salaries depending on where you live. They claim it's due to "cost of living"

OK, what does "cost of living" consist of? Housing costs, taxes, not much else. The only time you really need to figure in other costs is if you are in remote places like AK where most anything will cost more due to higher cost of shipping everything in. Most anywhere else in the country prices are the same.

So a house may cost half of what it would anywhere else in the country. Taxes may be lower. But percentage wise I am willing to bet that the lower paid are actually paying more than the higher paid. :upeyes:
 

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Sure, there are large differences from one region to another. Most of that being housing and taxes. Factor into that the quality of life, crime, healthcare availability, entertainment, climate etc. There are plenty of cost of living calculators on the web.

Back when we weren’t in a depression and corporations relocated employees on a regular basis, many of them factored in a regional cost of living differential.

The I-95 corridor, from Baltimore through D.C. has not experienced much of the real estate downfall as the rest of the country is continuing to experience. You can mostly thank the hiring practice of the gubmint for that.
 

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You have to look at more than housing costs and fuel costs... food, cloths and so forth vs average income.
 

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Cost of living does vary and it does make a huge difference.

For example, I lived in Southern CA for years. Before I left I was renting a 3BD 2.5 bath 1400sqf town house (4 houses in a huge square together) tiny little yard. RENT was 2K a month and the places were selling for $400,000 + (our neighbors sold theirs for $445000 right before I moved out.

I moved to Central TX and was living in the most affluent neighborhood in the city. Best schools for the kids, extremely low crime etc, etc. I was in a 6BD, 4.5 bath 5000sqft house with an attached 2 car garage,and detatched 2.5 car garage on 2.5 acres and my mortgage was less than $2K per month! Grocery's were more affordable, Fuel and maintenance on vehicles was more affordable and the wages were about 80% of what they were in Southern CA.

So overall... I had more money in my pocket at the end of the day in TX, and that money went further than it ever would have in Southern CA.

I have a classmate from High school that has been saving $$ for over 25 years so she can buy a house in Anaheim CA. She just bought one and it is a nice house, built in the 60's and in a decent neighborhood. Not all trendy etc. Heck... half the people in rural America have their house near paid off in 25 years after high school.
 

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know salaries are lower across certain parts of the US but how do they claim it is cheaper to live if gas and food etc are still high?
Gas and food prices certainly aren't flat--I paid 3.89 for gas in downtown Chicago last night--but more than that, the fact is that you have to add up the total cost of EVERYTHING to get a "cost of living." Housing makes up the bulk of the price differential. For what I spent on my 3 bedroom condo in the near north suburbs, I could have gotten a nice house 20 miles further out, or a closet in Streeterville downtown, or a mansion in downstate Illinois. That's going to be the biggest hit to "cost of living"; cars cost basically the same across the country, gas changes but not TOO much, but your mortgage payment can quadruple on the same type of property depending on location.
 

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http://www.payscale.com/ enter two cities and amount you make in one to find out how much you need to earn in the other to stay whole.

50k in Birmingham AL versus Los Angeles = 75,832 for same level of living
LA overall is 52% higher
groceries are +11%
housing is +199%
Utilities -10%
transportation +22%
Healthcare +20%
Taxes????
 

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costs of living vary dramatically.

Whenever I was offered jobs in other states or cities I always researched the new area compared to current since the money offered meant nothing until I understood the cost of living breakdown in the new city.

Places Rated Almanac rates over 350 USA cities on everything you can imagine and more.
 

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So is there any truth to any of the saying about, "lower cost of living".??
Overall, probably not.

But there is no question that I am better off in NoVA than I would be in East Tree Stump where houses are $50K but the best job I could find was $6 an hour down at the feed store. Just as the folks in East Tree Stump are better off there, as here, they'd have the higher prices but would still be making $6 an hour.
 
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