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Old 01-30-2014, 05:15 PM
 
3 posts, read 4,250 times
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I'm struggling on the Western Slope in a particularly pricey place to live with 10,000 people. I work in retail as an assistant manager. I take care of a sick relative and feel like I will never achieve the American Dream of buying a home if I stay here. On paper, Colorado Springs has a lot more to do and seems more like a Grand Junction than a Denver. Is this an accurate point of view? How hard is it to find cheap but decent housing? What's a good neighborhood to live in that's also affordable? How hard is it to find a job if you are really looking and not one of the many unemployed who just live on food stamps and government aid?

Thank you,

Jen
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:17 AM
 
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How hard is it to find a job if you are really looking and not one of the many unemployed who just live on food stamps and government aid?--That is a section of the population that exists far more in people's minds and stereotypes than in reality.

On paper, Colorado Springs has a lot more to do and seems more like a Grand Junction than a Denver. -- Colorado Springs is more like Denver than it is like Grand Junction. If you meant to compare Colorado Springs to Denver and decide which of them would have more similarities to GJ, then Colorado Springs would clearly fit that bill.

Jobs are not plentiful here, but there are some. Working for a living, instead of investing, pretty much assures that many parts of the American Dream will be out of reach. However, some cities (like Colorado Springs) are capable of providing higher wages and lower costs of living.

If your dream includes owning housing, then anywhere along the front range would provide a better starting point then the west slope. The challenge with living on the west slope is that costs are higher because the economies of scale do not exist.

Some cities have much higher wages, with much higher CoL, due to demand exceeding supply. Those are not in Colorado, but tend to occur much more on the coastal regions.

I picked Colorado Springs for an abundance of reasons, but among them was the cost of living to wages relationship. It made it very possible for me to buy a nice house while the housing market was priced low and the interest rates were extremely low.

So yes, if you want to do things like "buy a house", an oft cited part of the American dream, then Pueblo, CS, or Denver would give you much better opportunities.

Note that "assistant manager" can range a great deal within retail from around 10 to 12 bucks an hour to 23 or 25. In some coastal regions, that may go as high as 40, but the cost of living really offsets the benefits.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:24 AM
 
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Jenny, look at ppar.com for rentals, or padmapper.com but beware the many scammers on craigslist.
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Old 01-31-2014, 10:49 PM
 
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Ppar.com is great for rentals, been looking at it quite a bit lately.

Check out Myneighborhoodupdate.net for crime info for the areas you are looking in. I suggest expanding the search out to 12 months instead of the default 1 month.

Also this link is good for avoiding areas of high poverty. Mapping Poverty in America - The New York Times

Good luck with your search.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:03 PM
 
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For a person in the OP's situation, I recommend looking real hard at leaving Colorado. The Front Range definitely offers better job prospects than the Western Slope, but living costs are still high, especially for people at the lower ends in the white collar field (younger and less experienced).

Probably the state closest to Colorado that has relatively good job opportunities in those type of careers are the Linclon/Omaha area of Nebraska. There the unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country, the cities are relatively livable, living costs are reasonable, and the economies are staying pretty stable. You don't hear that much of about them in the news, and they are not the "glamorous" cities that people like to gush about, but they are pretty nice. I know several people from western Colorado who, because of the sour Western Slope economy, wound up relocating to eastern and central Nebraska and are faring quite well there.
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Old 02-02-2014, 08:06 AM
 
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Yuck. I would gladly stomach the difference in costs to keep the front range views and weather patterns over those in Omaha. If someone had to leave Colorado, Albuquerque is much nicer destination. I also like honolulu and San Diego, but if leaving Colorado because of the cost of living, clearly those destinations would be a poor fit.
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Old 02-03-2014, 02:03 AM
 
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Thank you for your replies. For now, I really want to stay in Colorado. I've lived in the Western Slope my whole life so this is a scary transition for me. If I tell anyone I know here that I want to go to the Springs, I mostly hear how miserable they think I would be and I don't know if this is just "small town" thinking by people who have never lived there. And it's kind of hard to "invest" if you live paycheck to paycheck.
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennydalpha View Post
Thank you for your replies. For now, I really want to stay in Colorado. I've lived in the Western Slope my whole life so this is a scary transition for me. If I tell anyone I know here that I want to go to the Springs, I mostly hear how miserable they think I would be and I don't know if this is just "small town" thinking by people who have never lived there. And it's kind of hard to "invest" if you live paycheck to paycheck.
It is small town thinking.

I've heard the same in other small towns. Personally, I can not stand small town living. However, the people that like it can't fathom how anyone could want something else.

Most investing has to happen that way. When I started my first business, I did it by going on a diet that I didn't need. I saved my grocery money to start my business. We didn't eat meals out, we drove a car that was about twenty five years old and literally falling apart. That was one car for the whole family. We didn't have cable TV, and we still don't. My Iphone, something I couldn't afford back then, costs me 30 bucks a month.

In short though, the pay to cost of living situation in CS is much better than in GJ.
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Old 02-03-2014, 10:01 AM
 
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Default Front range

Many years ago I lived in Colo Spgs. I always felt that it was a military town with a lot of transients. I moved to Longmont and most people were natives with a real home town feeling. However, Longmont has lost its status to me as it has not kept pace with other cities nearby as to growth. I would look toward Loveland and the areas nearby. There is growth. A wide range of living. Ft. Collins to the north has lots to offer (at a somewhat higher home cost) and Denver to the south which might fill in the blanks when needed. Loveland has much to offer from new to old, proximity to the mountains as well as plains. I think this is a city that IMHO beats CS hands down.
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Old 02-04-2014, 03:18 AM
 
Location: Pikes Peak Region
482 posts, read 933,715 times
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If you're looking at moving to the Front Range from the Western Slope, I can honestly say that I believe Colorado Springs is your best bet. I grew up in Delta County and between the boom and bust energy economy and the fluctuating price of cattle (the two main sources of living in my family) I grew tired of the economic instability over there.

Colorado Springs is very military and very transient, as DaysLateDollarsShort mentioned. But in a retail environment this isn't a necessarily bad thing if you're looking for a job. It means a revolving door of employees that create constant openings. I moved here on a whim without a job. It took me three days to find one. Granted, I work in the restaurant industry, but it's similar to retail in that regard.

You can find affordable housing in a decent neighborhood. I'm partial to the west side (Old Colorado City) and Ivywild. I do tend to gravitate toward older neighborhoods with character. Ivywild gets some slack around town but I currently rent a one bedroom duplex for $500 a month, all utilities included. I found a steal with this place, awesome neighbors and a small town feel to the neighborhood, but deals do exist in rentals here.

Coming from Junction, I bet you'll like the Springs just fine. It reminds me of a larger version of Junction in terms of the attitude and mentality of Junction. Just bigger, with more to offer while not being as overwhelming as the northern Front Range. I have a few friends that moved here from small towns in Colorado and loved it. It's big enough to be a city but not so big that you feel completely anonymous. I say give it a shot! And kudos for staying in Colorado. I tried leaving three times and keep coming home. :-)
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