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Old 03-25-2010, 01:41 AM
 
3 posts, read 10,116 times
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I need advice on expenses in and around Houston.

I have been offered a job @$20 which will put me @$55k a yr or $4k-$6k a month based on overtime(guaranteed min 48hrs). I am wondering what kind of living conditions one would have at this rate in spring or humble. I have a wife and son and will need to be able to support them by myself until she can find a job. We currently live comfortably off a combined income of $4k a month. I'm having trouble determining what groceries, electricity, gas, rent/own.... One thing i have to consider is my son is autistic and needs special attention with speech and social skills.

I would appreciate any help given.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:01 AM
 
Location: West Houston
1,075 posts, read 2,554,729 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosf3t View Post
I need advice on expenses in and around Houston.

I have been offered a job @$20 which will put me @$55k a yr or $4k-$6k a month based on overtime(guaranteed min 48hrs). I am wondering what kind of living conditions one would have at this rate in spring or humble. I have a wife and son and will need to be able to support them by myself until she can find a job. We currently live comfortably off a combined income of $4k a month. I'm having trouble determining what groceries, electricity, gas, rent/own.... One thing i have to consider is my son is autistic and needs special attention with speech and social skills.

I would appreciate any help given.
It costs more here than RURAL Mississippi (I moved back here from small-town Arkansas). It's roughly equivalent to Jackson or the Gulf Coast, depending on various factors. You'll find groceries more plentiful and of better quality, and you'll have more choices of stores (the big ones here are H-E-B, Kroger, Randall's, SuperTarget, and of course Wal-Mart, but there are others as well). Price of groceries is more or less equivalent to Miss.

One big expense you'll have here is transportation; don't know how far you had to travel to work in MS but do not underestimate commuting costs here (most people do and it bites them). Your goal will be to live as close to work as you possibly can while giving the family a decent place to live. Fortunately, that's very possible here because there are good and bad areas all over town. You will most likely not be looking "inside the loop" (many will scream "inside the loop!" because of access to cool amenities, but on that salary rate, "inside the loop" might be a challenge, at least until your wife can find work.) What kind of work does SHE do? You need to consider her employment possibilities when selecting a rental.

I say "selecting a rental" because I urge you in strongest terms to rent first. Moving from a smaller area to Houston is a major lifestyle change. You may get here and love it (as I do, as many others do), or you may be here 6 months and say, "I can't handle this" and go home. Don't tie yourself down until you decide if you like it. Also, you may try one area and discover the schools are not to your liking, or your wife gets a job on the other side of town, or you find the perfect church or other social community for you---but it's on the opposite side of town; all kinds of things. Rent a house or an apartment and "try before you buy". (Re: going home: I have to say, Houston is one of the friendliest places I've ever lived; you'll find it very welcoming here. Look around and carve out a niche for yourself with people of like interests and you'll find that living here is pretty cool.).

Commuting cost example: I live in West Houston, approximately 20 miles from my office just north of downtown. So it's 20 miles each way, 40 miles per day, 5 days per week = 200 miles per week on commuting to and from work, and that's with no other miles driven (which I do). Long story short: it costs me about $45 a week in gas to drive to work (one tank of gas for me). Add in other trips and you quickly get on up there. My friend drives a Dodge Ram Quad Cab pickup with a Hemi, and his expenses are 3 times that. Depends on what kind of vehicle you have. Also, you have to maintain your car here; you don't want to drive a clunker that's going to strand you on the side of the freeway. Then there are the oil changes, etc.

I do not have first-hand info on this, but there are several threads on here about "best school district for autistic children" and Katy seems to get the nod--but that's all the way on the other end of the universe from Humble. Search "autism" "autistic" on THIS BOARD (top right corner of board) for threads on that subject; several posters are in your shoes and can give you good advice. Don't automatically discount Houston ISD; there are good areas and bad areas within HISD. Just investigate carefully, regardless of which district you choose.

Energy costs are cheaper here than in Arkansas/Mississippi (mine are, and I have a friend who moved from Olive Branch, he says his bills are cheaper too). Texas deregulated electricity, so you have to shop for energy like you have to shop for cell phone service. Beware hidden gimmicks (and read the electricity threads here, too). Many will promise a low per kwh rate, but hidden fees will erase any savings. The "old" "real" power company here (that used to be Houston Lighting and Power) is Reliant. Energy is a big deal in Houston because of the heat/humidity/air conditioning use. If you're from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, you're used to it, but if you're from northern Miss, it's hotter here, and the heat lasts from April to Thanksgiving.

You will find rental houses and apartments in every price range here ("here" being an area the size of the state of Rhode Island; Houston is a very large and diverse place). Again, with your salary constraints, you're going to have to make some choices. Farther out usually = cheaper, but then you're getting into increased commuting expenses. If there's any way to do Metro's park and ride, that winds up being a bit cheaper, but only if Metro goes where you need to go. A lot depends on where you need to live on what you can pay for rent vs. where you work.

Taxes here are deceiving. Texans will proudly tell you that they don't have state income tax, which is true (so more money goes into your pocket from your paycheck). That's really nice, right up until they tell you about their property taxes, which are astonishing, astronomical, and beyond the pale (The Governor has to eat somehow...). So yes, while I'm not paying Arkansas state income tax, my monthly property tax bill here is almost exactly three times my annual property tax in Arkansas. All the other taxes are more here, too: registering a vehicle is more expensive, drivers' license is more expensive, etc. If you rent, your landlord builds his property taxes into the rent.

There are good and bad areas all over town, as I said before; it's very spotty. And there are a lot of snooty folks on here who will scream, "Oh, NO, don't live in X city!" when they don't know any more about it than what they see on the news. Plenty of nice, decent, hard working people live in East Houston, Pasadena, Humble/Porter/Lakeside, etc. Not everybody here lives in a $500,000 home in Cinco Ranch or a million dollar manse in Memorial.

If you can expound a little on where you'll be working (location) and what your wife does (i.e., where she'll need to go to work) we might help you zero in on some "best" areas. Also, as I said, search for the autistic child threads (I'm sure some of them will see this and step in to help).

Last edited by Malvie; 03-25-2010 at 06:57 AM..
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:17 AM
 
3 posts, read 10,116 times
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I will be working for a Tenaris division next to Sheldon Lake State Park. I currently live close to where I work right now but am no stranger to having to drive 30-45 min to get to work. I have some degree of mechanical sense so i can do most automotive work myself which should save money. I drive a manual 2000 mitsubishi which i have managed to mod the mpg up to 40. It might look a little rough on the outside but the heart is well kept. I was looking at spring and humble because a majority of the people at the division live in that area. Some go east of Sheldon and even further north of spring.

My wife has a BS Human Sciences for apparels textiles and merchandising with minors in gen. business administration and marketing. The marketing of fashion is what she usually tells me. She cant find any work suited to that degree that is even remotely close if it still even in state. She works right now as a manager for a check cashing place.

And Thank You Malvie for you time this is helpful information
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:42 AM
l3m
 
Location: Northwest Houston
105 posts, read 263,405 times
Reputation: 80
Here's a post worth reading re: autistic children.

Calling all Parents of Autistic Children!!!
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Old 05-03-2010, 11:23 AM
 
Location: over seas
8 posts, read 16,673 times
Reputation: 10
I am also thinking about moving to that area. I was looking at Spring, Humble, and Atascosita. I also have a son that was diagnosed with Autism. Can you tell me if you moved to Spring? How is the special programs in the school there? I will probably be moving there next summer.
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