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Old 11-26-2006, 10:27 AM
 
997 posts, read 1,433,554 times
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I was recently offered a job in Northern Virginia, but decided to turn it down b/c I felt like it wouldn't be enough to survive up there. I've been looking at other jobs, but the salary range for someone right out of college wanting to break into an IT helpdesk position seems to be in the range of $28,000-40,000.

How do people, who are just graduating from college get by? I really love the area, but feel like I wouldn't be able to survive up there, let alone save up to eventually buy a house. I know the area has a ton of jobs, but most seem not to pay very well for that area. Any advice in terms of job hunting in this area? Are there cheaper areas within the area, that's not too far out.

Thanks

Jay
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Old 11-26-2006, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Ashburn, VA
26 posts, read 130,368 times
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Jay,

I wonder the same, although it is possible. There are apartments in the area that have lower maximum salary caps - can make $40,000 or less a year. I just moved the area myself, for the good IT jobs, and it is a very nice area.

There are companies that pay great, especially to people right out of collage. There are variables that determine this though (ie the school you attended, degree, etc.) It would be safe to say a degree from MIT would land you at least $60,000 right out of collage, as an example. If I were you I would send a resume to all the large defense contractors - Lockheed, Northrop, etc. They have a lot of entry level IT positions, and are great companies to get in with.

Best of luck to you.

Joe
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Old 11-26-2006, 03:03 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,344,802 times
Reputation: 1791
You can survive on 28K/year. You can't live well, but you can definitely survive. If you break it down, 28K is really with taxes taken out approximately $1800/month to live on. While one-bedroom apartments generally start at around $1000/month (a bit less some places), if you find someone to room with, or rent out a room in someone's home, you can substantially cut back the cost. You can rent out rooms in a townhouse or condo, utilities included, parking, and some with your own bathroom and furnished for as little as $600/month (although I'd say the average would be closer to $650-700). So with $600 out of the way, that would leave you with $1200/month to cover gas, food, car payments, insurance and other bills. While these expenses can vary wildly amongst people, I would imagine they would be under $1200. I'd imagine gas (depending on commutes) would run some $100-150 a month, then figure an additional $100 in car insurance, a few hundred for a car payment (I have no clue how much car payments are to be honest since I paid for my crappy used car in full upon purchase), and then food, and whatever is left over is spending money or money to put in the bank. Living like this, on this salary certainly won't put you on the track to be owning a home in several years or putting thousands of dollars in the bank every month or eating out every night, but it is doable.
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Old 11-28-2006, 12:07 PM
 
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Yep, I started out making about $29,000 a year in my first job and was able to get by just fine by sharing a one bedroom apartment in Alexandria with my girlfriend.
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Old 11-28-2006, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Gainesville, VA
566 posts, read 2,753,295 times
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One thing I have noticed about this area is that if you stick with a company for a few years you can quickly move yourself up the corporate ladder. I know many people that started exactly where you are and within 3-4 years they had doubled and in a few cases more than tripled their income. Some of them stuck with the same company and others left for the highest bidder. So, it is doable, but you have to be willing to make some sacrifices and be patient.
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Old 11-29-2006, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Sometimes Maryland, sometimes NoVA. Depends on the day of the week
1,501 posts, read 10,751,626 times
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Most everyone I know who came up here after college did one of three options:
(a) found a room in a group home. For those straight out of college, this usually works fairly well, as you are often living with other 20-somethings.
(b) lived in their parents basement.
(c) moved in with a gf/bf

My parents live in TN, but I lived in their best friend's basement the first year up here. LOL One year later, I bought a house and 5 years later, I'm making more then double.
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Old 12-01-2006, 05:27 AM
 
221 posts, read 915,537 times
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This was concerning me, as well. I am an experienced teacher, looking at Stafford and Loudon counties. They are actually interested in hiring teachers, unlike here. I was able to live in PG county, by myself, on a Catholic teacher's salary (1995-2000), which was pretty low. I had extra jobs, but my quality of life was delightful.

I'm single and healthy. My little Hyundai will be paid off in March. I have one credit card payment. I have no interest in buying a home or expensive jewelry. I have enough clothes, and going out to eat is a treat- but I can cook. I'm a bit nervous about hearing about the expense of NVa. I'm not a person who needs the $600,00 house, the huge SUV, the three week vacation in the Bahamas, the ski trip- you get the idea. I adore wandering around DC, and I have friends on the MD side. There is work to be had in this area, and I believe the salary will be @ $50,000 (less in Stafford). Unlike folks in business, my salary is "capped", but what can you do? I have trouble believing that a person wouldn't be able to get by on that. I've gotten by on much less and been perfectly happy. Does this sound ridiculous? Yes, traffic is heavy, but I drove the Capital Beltway, B-W Parkway, and 95 for years. You just adjust your time and keep a full tank of gas in your car. My main goal is to return to my own classroom and continue teaching- which is not possible here. Am I kidding myself about the COL? I love the DC area- there is so much that goes on there, and I would like to return.
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Old 12-01-2006, 09:44 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,344,802 times
Reputation: 1791
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldiebutgoodie26 View Post
This was concerning me, as well. I am an experienced teacher, looking at Stafford and Loudon counties. They are actually interested in hiring teachers, unlike here. I was able to live in PG county, by myself, on a Catholic teacher's salary (1995-2000), which was pretty low. I had extra jobs, but my quality of life was delightful.

I'm single and healthy. My little Hyundai will be paid off in March. I have one credit card payment. I have no interest in buying a home or expensive jewelry. I have enough clothes, and going out to eat is a treat- but I can cook. I'm a bit nervous about hearing about the expense of NVa. I'm not a person who needs the $600,00 house, the huge SUV, the three week vacation in the Bahamas, the ski trip- you get the idea. I adore wandering around DC, and I have friends on the MD side. There is work to be had in this area, and I believe the salary will be @ $50,000 (less in Stafford). Unlike folks in business, my salary is "capped", but what can you do? I have trouble believing that a person wouldn't be able to get by on that. I've gotten by on much less and been perfectly happy. Does this sound ridiculous? Yes, traffic is heavy, but I drove the Capital Beltway, B-W Parkway, and 95 for years. You just adjust your time and keep a full tank of gas in your car. My main goal is to return to my own classroom and continue teaching- which is not possible here. Am I kidding myself about the COL? I love the DC area- there is so much that goes on there, and I would like to return.
Considering your rather low-maintenance lifestyle, you could get by just fine on 50K/year in either Stafford or Loudoun counties. Your dollar will go a bit further in Stafford, but it also of course is further away from DC and is not as developed, which may be a positive or negative for you. The traffic is horrific on the main commuting roads, I-95 in Stafford, and Route 7 in Loudoun but what can you do? It's sort of a compromise you have to make living anywhere in the DC area and I'm sure if you've lived in PG County, you're experienced with DC area traffic.
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Old 12-02-2006, 07:24 AM
 
221 posts, read 915,537 times
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^
Thank you so much for your reply! I think, between the two, it will be Stafford County. It seems more my style. I know- traffic in the entire region is awful, but you just adjust, I guess. If I can still wake up early on a Saturday and buzz up to DC for the day every once in a blue moon, I'll be happy. Oh, I shall miss my New Carrollton metro stop, though. Easy to get to, and the portal to the city, that was.
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:37 PM
 
2 posts, read 4,473 times
Reputation: 10
E2ksj3,
I know you posted sometime back, but I have been wondering what the heck is going on with salaries in Northern VA/DC. Then I just saw an editorial -from 2013- stating a single person can make out well on $88,000 in the Northern VA/DC area. My response was ARE YOU HIGH?!?
This is also what I said:
"I grew up in Arlington VA. I joined the Army and fought overseas. After my last deployment, I got out with 12 years. I went to college on the GI Bill, and I am a mid-level executive. NOTE: I thank the American people with all my soul for demanding that benefit for me and my fellow veterans.
I moved back to the Norther VA area to be near my aging parents. With a GI Loan I got a modest 875 sq ft house a little outside the beltway.(again, than you) Everything here is expensive beyond belief. Let me list some: Fuel is astronomical, Groceries are the most expensive I have ever seen (except Hawaii), Utilities are high, Auto insurance raped me so badly I sold my 2009 VW and rebuilt a 1998 Toyota, Parking costs me $1500 a year, I considered getting a MyPass -after getting routed on to the easy lanes and getting a $115 fine- but that was out of my budget. I am trying to put at least $50 dollars a month into savings. However, sometimes with helping my parents with their medication costs, I cannot do that. I could go on, but I think you get the point of how expensive it is here.

BOTTOM LINE: If you are single, not a government worker/military that are getting a cost of living adjustment, or one of the numerous former government retirees who are additionally supported by their retirement, you can not make it on $88,000. I make a good bit more than that, live a FRUGAL life style and I am just making it. If I had kids, forget it."
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