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Old 04-07-2007, 09:05 AM
 
2,482 posts, read 8,714,211 times
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Hello all,

I am a soon-to-be grad that is considering accepting a job in Mclean, at Tyson's Corner. The job pays 31k base and "guarantees" at least 10k in commission. My boyfriend, who will finally get to go to school after working while I was in school, and I are considering our options. I've been looking around for apartments and the average rent for a 1br/1bath is somewhere between 850 and 1200. For those of you who have more of an idea of how much it costs to live in NOVA, do you think I can make ends meet with my salary of supposed 41k? What about at 31k?


Also, any apartment suggestions? I don't mind travelling anywhere from 15-30 minutes for work. I just want somewhere safe, reliable, and won't raise my rent every year by ridiculous amounts.
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Old 04-07-2007, 01:11 PM
 
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Well, you won't be on easy street at either $31K or $41K, but everybody starts somewhere, and if you watch your P's and Q's, you can get by at that level and hope that a raise or promotion or two will come along in the time before boyfriend hits the job market. Need a little more detail though. Tysons Corner is both a) a shopping mall, and b) a gigantic, sprawling business district. Access to either one at rush-hour is an extremely ticklish proposition (which is another way of saying that traffic there is absolutely off-the-wall abysmal), so knowing the at least approximatley specific location of your workplace will be critical in figuring out where you could live and still get back and forth to work without becoming homicidal. If you aren't careful, 15-30 minutes will end up being the estimate for driving the next three blocks (not an exaggeration...it has sadly happened to me...more than once). That said, if you know where you need to end up, you can figure out where you need to come from in order to get there, and then that tells you where you can live. On your starting salary of whatever level (assuming you don't have some bag of cash in the closet to fall back on), you probably can't go much beyond $1000/mo for rent, and even that's going to be a little tight, but there likely are available places that will work reasonably well for you. Almost everywhere in the Tysons area is safe, btw. As is the case anywhere, there is some background of property crimes, but personal crimes are quite rare, and no one here spends any time at all being concerned over it. The overall cost of living here is high. Not as high as Alaska or Hawaii perhaps, but maybe about on par with NYC or SF. If you're coming from a low COL area, there will be some sticker shock to get past. The plus side, of course, is that the area has a great deal to offer, much of which you might not be able to afford for a while, but if you can pennypinch it out for a bit, you'll soon find that almost anything you might want is available somewhere close by. Hard to beat, once you get your feet on the ground. So much for generalities. If you can be more specific on that work location, there's more than just me here who can help you get down to the nitty-gritty of it...
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Old 04-07-2007, 01:40 PM
 
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This is a tough one because I don't see how it can be done. First, I have to wonder where a decent apt can be found for $850. Tyson's Corner and the surrounding area is pretty expensive so I would be wary of anything that cheap. Rooms in a home go for over $500/month in NOVA. Even $1200 is fairly inexpensive, but you'd be strapped pretty tight if you have any other bills at all. I mentioned this in another thread, my oldest son graduated college last year and is living in Kingstowne (South Alexandria) and working about 5 miles from where he lives. He makes more than 50K per year and we figured he could live on his own on that, but it would be tight with a new car. His rent which he splits with a roommate on a 2 bed/2 bath is about $1600/month and even the 1 bedroom apts were over $1400. 31K gives you $2583/month gross and approx 1800-2000/month net. How can you pay rent, eat, pay utilities, etc on that if yours is the only income? I also mentioned someone I work with who is single (divorced and had savings) but has to rent in someone's home because on her salary of about 45K she can' afford to live on her own and have a car. Just remember higher cost of living translates into everything, not just rent. Gas, food, entertainment, insurance all cost more in a higher cost of living area.

Whatever you do, do not count on the commissions to live on. In sales that's called "betting on the come" and is never, ever guaranteed. My feeling is if the commission is guaranteed, it should just be part of the salary. I'd have some questions on that one.
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Old 04-07-2007, 01:55 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
743 posts, read 3,888,525 times
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Yeah, about the commission, it's probably more like "You'll make 10k a year, or we'll fire you because you stink". In the end, I think you can make it, but your boyfriend will more than likely need to get a part time job while in school. Just be carefull, and always be prepared for unexpected expences.
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Old 04-07-2007, 02:35 PM
 
19,198 posts, read 31,378,135 times
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100% agreed on the commissions thing. It ain't money until it's in the bank. Also on the thought that Boyfriend could be called in off the bench to take a few swings if things were to go the wrong way with the position at Tysons, which could always happen. And it's pretty clear that we're talking about starting near the bottom here, while hopefully not staying there for too long. And if you've ever been near the bottom, you know that you can become quite creative in coming up with ways not to spend money. The current USG starting salary for a GS-7 college grad is $37,640, and they have a hard time at first too, but almost all of them do manage to scrape by for a while. With any commissions at all, we aren't out of that same ballpark here...
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Old 04-07-2007, 03:03 PM
 
2,482 posts, read 8,714,211 times
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Thank you everyone for your replies so far.

In terms of the location at Tyson's...its Greensboro Drive in McLean...the business area. A couple of things I wanted to clarify. I have:

-No college loans
-No car payment
and boyfriend has a pretty darn great car insurance plan that I think I'm going to sign onto (and I also have a pristine driving record).


I'm fully aware there'll be many things I won't be able to afford but as for expensive apartments...I really don't see where the 1400-1600 apartments are coming from considering everything I've seen on move.com and apartmentsearch.com and even craigslist haven't exceeded 1300!

Apart from rent, are there any other particularly huge expenses? Its generally just rent and car insurance that are usually the two "big money taker uppers" right?

Thanks you so much for all your helpful insight!
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Old 04-07-2007, 03:38 PM
 
1,261 posts, read 6,088,732 times
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Default Property tax on the car...

In VA, you pay personal property tax on the car.

Just wanted to share that when I first started working in DC, my salary was $27,000 and I was paying $625/month in rent and supporting my mother. That first year was tough until I got a raise. Good luck with your relocation plans.

Last edited by mlv311; 04-07-2007 at 04:37 PM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 04-07-2007, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
743 posts, read 3,888,525 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmerkyGrl View Post
and boyfriend has a pretty darn great car insurance plan that I think I'm going to sign onto (and I also have a pristine driving record).
When I added my wife to my car insurance, my rate actually went DOWN $85 for the whole year... as in, the two of us were cheaper than just me on my own. Of course that had a house insurance discount added in, but a lot of it came from the multi-car discount, and they actually had a marrage discount as well. Maybe if you need a little extra cash, he could pop the question?
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Old 04-07-2007, 04:17 PM
 
19,198 posts, read 31,378,135 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmerkyGrl View Post
Thank you everyone for your replies so far. In terms of the location at Tyson's...its Greensboro Drive in McLean...the business area.
I'm familar with it. I do some business with Booze-Allen, which is at Greensboro and Solutions. It's a tough area, commute-wise, as it's like its own little cluster back in there with no real alternate means for entry or exit, so you'll have at least some of the bad stuff to deal with no matter what. You'd probably want to approach if possible on 123-South in the morning, which means from the McLean side of Tysons. There are moderately-priced places like the Commons and Dolley Madison off 123 just the other side of the Beltway. Not too much else off the top of my head in Mclean, but you can sneak in that way from Falls Church fairly easily also. Were any of the places you had looked at in those areas?
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Old 04-07-2007, 04:23 PM
 
19,198 posts, read 31,378,135 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlv311 View Post
In VA, you pay property tax on the car.
Property taxes are actually assessed only on land and improvements. Cars are hit by the personal property tax, but you only pay 30% of it. The other 70% is picked up by the state. Unless you have a couple of late-model spiffy cars, the bottom line isn't going to amount to a whole lot of money, but you do have to pay it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlv311 View Post
Just wanted to share that when I first started working in DC, my salary was $27,000 and I was paying $625/month in rent and supporting my mother. That first year was tough until I got a raise. Good luck with your relocation plans.
I think that's the scenario everyone sees. It will be tough for awhile, but with any luck, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Just have to get down to the end of the tunnel...
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