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Old 05-27-2017, 07:50 PM
 
25 posts, read 13,931 times
Reputation: 34

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High all, decided to register on the forums after lurking, there's some great threads here and I was hoping to make use of your accumulated knowledge and advice!


Long story short, I'm currently living with my brother in the Middle of Nowhere, North Dakota. We've come to grief, and he's given me a week's notice to pack up and leave. One of those 'I don't care where' levels of falling out. I'm taking it as an opportunity to leave and start again, since I wasn't happy here anyway and couldn't see myself sticking around.


About me: I'm 33/M, new(ish) to the country, having moved here first quarter 2015. I've lived in CA, IL, IN, and of course now ND. Some fundamental aspects of American life I don't understand, and I'm largely clueless about anything more than stereotypes about places (California is liberal, Texas is backwards, Florida is full of old people etc). I'm single, with no financial obligations and no debt. I currently have about $4000 in savings. I've only worked odd-jobs, retail, service, laboring etc. but my prior career history before moving here was in finance/admin.

So now I'm at a crossroads about where to go. I'll admit I'm a little scared because I have no idea where to even begin my search, and I'm wondering if I can make it on just $4000.


What I'm looking for:

-Reasonable rent & cost of living. Obviously, I realize your mileage may vary etc, but I need somewhere that won't break the bank, until I can get a job. Where I'm at now, I can get a single room apartment for $400, and some even going for $5-600 with all utilities and Internet thrown in. I was homeless for over a year in CA because even though I was in full-time employment, rent was so high. It doesn't necessarily have to be a major city, if you happen to know any good mid-sized cities.

-Following on from that; a reasonable job market. I don't mind waiting/retail, but I'd rather get an entry level office job with some no-name company. The jobs just need to be available!

-A little more urban, or at least with a decent public transport system. I don't drive, and most of the places I've lived have been very rural, which makes it hard to get around for work, and for actually doing stuff. I'd like somewhere where if I can't get a bus there sharpish, it's at least pedestrian-friendly. I'm also not really an outdoors kinda guy, so scenery is extremely low priority for me.

-That said, I'd rather not live in a crime-infested urban hellhole!

Some things I'd like, but we can forget about them if it's a deal-breaker:

-Diversity. I like meeting people from different backgrounds, ethnically, nationally, culturally, age, ideology, whatever.

-Good nightlife and male/female ratio: here seems to have a way higher proportion of males to females so it's been difficult meeting people.

-Heat! I'm more of a reptile than a polar bear and it's been hell living in the cold north for the last 6 months. I don't do cold.

Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old 05-27-2017, 09:14 PM
 
53 posts, read 46,129 times
Reputation: 40
I'm curious where you're from. Your English is good so that helps. Do you have a degree in finance/admin? What are your politics? No one here will judge you. If you really hate cold and never again want to experience snow again but still want a job and low cost of living then I'd suggest anywhere in Texas. If you don't mind a little snow in winter then Boise. Colorado might work too. Yes they get snow in winter but it isn't cold as ice like up your way. If you can't have any snow but don't mind the rain then the Southwest. If you don't mind the desert then Arizona has a booming economy. It all depends on where you'd feel comfortable.

I listed those places because they have low cost of living and growing economies, and especially Texas Phoneix and Boise.
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Old 05-27-2017, 09:42 PM
 
25 posts, read 13,931 times
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England, but I was born and raised in the States. I don't have a professionally related degree (my major was theology, go figure), but I do have 5 years of experience. Unfortunately, I think the problem there is none of my previous employers really exist outside of the UK, so I feel most potential employers here would look at the names on my resume think 'never heard of them' and just toss it in the bin. Political leaning is, I guess center-left. I wouldn't call myself a 'liberal' but I'm definitely not right-wing. I hadn't considered Boise; I once worked with a girl from there and she described it as 'very rural'. A lot of people on here seem to approve of Colorado, and I was looking into Greyhound prices for Denver, but I stumbled on a couple of threads here where users have commented that the cost of living is actually pretty high. Texas pops up a lot too, but I can't seem to find one city recommended over others.


Thanks for the comment!
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Old 05-27-2017, 10:17 PM
 
53 posts, read 46,129 times
Reputation: 40
Colorado cost of living depends on where you are. Denver and its immediate area including Boulder can be quite high. But other areas on the Front Range (east of the mountains) can be lower. Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Greeley and Pueblo are a pretty even mix of liberal and conservative. Call them the purple state area. Denver and Boulder are for sure blue. The economies are pretty good and cost of living is lower. On the other side is Western Colorado (west of the mountains). That's where you will find Aspen, Telluride and Vail. All very blue liberal mountain towns and extremely snowy and cold in winter and the cost is very high. Even higher than Denver. Further west near the Utah border is Grand Junction (that's where I live). That area is more red but is growing more purple. GJ itself is a college town of 60,000. The whole area is around 150,000 within a fifty mile radius. The area is rural with a very non-rural city core. 10 inches of rain. 20 inches of snow. Most snow melts off within a couple days. Very few days below freezing. 300 sunny days. There are some drug problems and a couple "bad" areas but I'm originally from southern California and find the "problems" here to be laughable by comparison.

As for Boise it is anything but rural. Boise has 220,000 and the metro has close to 700,000. It is growing fast. The economy is booming. There are rural areas around as Boise is at the western end of the Snake River Plain where 90% of the agriculture is grown. But it is very much not rural. It has all the benefits of Seattle and Portland but without the rain and crime. Wages are pretty low but cost of living is very low as well. The climate is almost identical to how I described Grand Junction. Like the rest of Idaho it is a red state but it also a college town.
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Old 05-27-2017, 10:22 PM
 
25 posts, read 13,931 times
Reputation: 34
You sound very familiar with Boise; would you rate it over Grand Junction? I'm liking what I'm hearing about both!
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Old 05-27-2017, 10:28 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
13,719 posts, read 8,612,921 times
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Salt Lake City.

I just loved the place. And if you are the squeaky clean type you will find a welcome there. You need to be the right type, though.

I made my start there many years ago when I got out of the service at age 25.
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Old 05-27-2017, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Ohio
12,201 posts, read 10,438,641 times
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The cities which seem to have the cheapest cost of living and lowest unemployment numbers are mostly in the middle of the country, like Des Moines IA and Omaha NE, but wouldn't fit your desire for warmer weather or more diversity (well, they're at least better than N. Dakota). You could also look at Madison WI, again cold in the winter, but a really cool college town with good economy, liberal, pedestrian and bike friendly, good nightlife and lots of Midwestern college girls.
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Old 05-27-2017, 11:04 PM
 
25 posts, read 13,931 times
Reputation: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natural510 View Post
You could also look at Madison WI, again cold in the winter, but a really cool college town with good economy, liberal, pedestrian and bike friendly, good nightlife and lots of Midwestern college girls.
Sounds like potential! I'll definitely check it out, thanks
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Old 05-27-2017, 11:38 PM
 
53 posts, read 46,129 times
Reputation: 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnostiko View Post
You sound very familiar with Boise; would you rate it over Grand Junction? I'm liking what I'm hearing about both!
First off I have been a Boise State football fan for years and many years ago I dated a girl from Boise and I even went there to meet her family. Turns out they are all UofI fans and so that didn't work out, but I fell in love with it there. The climate was very much the same but there was just more to do. That is why I would rate it over Grand Junction just because it has a lot more to offer.

If I had to compare the two, Boise is GJ on steroids. Both have fairly conservative religious populations but Boise has more Mormans and GJ has more Protestants. Boise has a huge airport and GJ has a small regional airport. Both have really cheap housing and low cost of living.

The economy in GJ is very energy focused and has booms and busts pretty regular. Sure there is a good degree of tourism but the vast majority of residents work in gas and oil or work in the various service and retail industries that service them. As such we have a lot of self proclaimed red necks. And weed is legal so I guess when you lose your job you can get high. As for shopping and dining we pretty much have everything a bigger city has, just fewer of them.

Boise, on the other hand, is much more diverse. Agriculture is a big driving force as is Boise State and tourism. But it's sheer size 220,000 (700,000 metro) in comparison to Junction 60,000 (100,000 metro) means so much more to do.

Junction doesn't really have suburbs. There are two others cities in the valley but neither are burbs. Palisade is at one end and is the state's big wine growing region. At the other end is Fruita and is a big mountain bike town, second only to Moab. Junction is right in the middle and most of the amenities are in GJ so you have to drive into town to do anything, although it's so small you can drive from one end to the other in about fifteen minutes on the Interstate.

Boise has a number of suburbs including the state's second and third largest cities. Nampa is the state's second largest city with 80,000. Meridian the state's third largest and fastest growing city with 75,000. All three have all amenities of big cities. It takes about forty-five minutes to drive from one end to the other on the Interstate.

Both are considered semi-arid desert towns, but not desert like you think of in Arizona. It just means they get less than 15 inches of rain. GJ is at 4,500 feet. Boise is around 2,300 feet. Both have a plethora of outdoor activities within minutes of town.

Personally I'm actually looking at moving to Boise. Junction is just too small and rural for my tastes. And I've been laid off twice within the past two years. The economy is kind of on a slump. Unemployment is down but most of the jobs are low paying retail and service jobs. Boise has much more variety and as the capital and financial and economy center of the state has a lot of financial and manufacturing jobs.
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Old 05-28-2017, 08:53 AM
 
21,220 posts, read 30,443,839 times
Reputation: 19674
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnostiko View Post
What I'm looking for:

-Reasonable rent & cost of living. Obviously, I realize your mileage may vary etc, but I need somewhere that won't break the bank, until I can get a job. Where I'm at now, I can get a single room apartment for $400, and some even going for $5-600 with all utilities and Internet thrown in. I was homeless for over a year in CA because even though I was in full-time employment, rent was so high. It doesn't necessarily have to be a major city, if you happen to know any good mid-sized cities.

-Following on from that; a reasonable job market. I don't mind waiting/retail, but I'd rather get an entry level office job with some no-name company. The jobs just need to be available!

-A little more urban, or at least with a decent public transport system. I don't drive, and most of the places I've lived have been very rural, which makes it hard to get around for work, and for actually doing stuff. I'd like somewhere where if I can't get a bus there sharpish, it's at least pedestrian-friendly. I'm also not really an outdoors kinda guy, so scenery is extremely low priority for me.

-That said, I'd rather not live in a crime-infested urban hellhole!

Some things I'd like, but we can forget about them if it's a deal-breaker:

-Diversity. I like meeting people from different backgrounds, ethnically, nationally, culturally, age, ideology, whatever.

-Good nightlife and male/female ratio: here seems to have a way higher proportion of males to females so it's been difficult meeting people.

-Heat! I'm more of a reptile than a polar bear and it's been hell living in the cold north for the last 6 months. I don't do cold.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Given a very stated intolerance for cold weather I don't get how cities like Boise, Salt Lake City and Madison are considered viable options.

If you're looking for warmer weather, a moderate cost of living, good job possibilities, diversity and a city vibe along with decent public transit a city like Charlotte would make much better sense.
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