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Old 02-05-2010, 08:13 PM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
8 posts, read 12,893 times
Reputation: 11

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Hey everyone,

I am in my mid-twenties and currently live in San Diego, CA with my boyfriend. I've lived here my whole life so I really know nothing about life other places - maybe I have an idealized view of "small town life", I don't know.

Recently we've been discussing marriage, starting a family, and buying a home in the future. We really don't think it's feasible here in San Diego, unless our job situations DRASTICALLY (and I mean drastically) improved. Not to mention, I am kind of ready to get out of here. I'm tired of the traffic, the attitude that a lot of people have, and the general lack of opportunity unless you're a millionaire.

Basically I'd like recommendations on great cities/towns to raise a young family where the cost of living is low enough to live a good life and buy a home. Currently we make about $60,000 combined, which I guess sounds like a good amount, but here in SD we're barely paying the bills and living in an apartment.

Things I would like:

1. Not so small that there's NOTHING to do - somewhat close (30-60 min) to a larger metropolitan area with arts, culture, etc. would be great

2. Not BIG either - no traffic problems, the "small-town atmosphere", friendly people, etc. is most important

3. Good schools - a great place to raise kids

4. Outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, etc. close-by

5. GREEN-NESS! By that I mean - somewhere where there are real trees and grass and the seasons actually change somewhat. Lots of parts of San Diego are so.. brown.

6. No insane weather. I know I'm ridiculously spoiled for living in San Diego and a 1/2 inch of rain bothers me, but I'll get over it. However I don't want to live somewhere that gets a lot of hurricanes, huge snowstorms, tornadoes, etc. Or somewhere where it gets colder than freezing on a constant basis in the winter.

Is that too much to ask? :-X

We looked at Hendersonville, TN and really liked what we saw, but to be honest the threat of tornados is terrifying to us (not really looking to live in Tornado Alley), and my boyfriend's uncle told us that as "card-carrying liberals" we would have a hell of a time adapting to the culture in TN. He also said that the schools are known for being bad. Not trying to put anyone from TN down here though - it's just one guy's experience - but it definitely turned us off a bit..
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:07 AM
 
135 posts, read 346,328 times
Reputation: 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by michachelle View Post
Hey everyone,

I am in my mid-twenties and currently live in San Diego, CA with my boyfriend. I've lived here my whole life so I really know nothing about life other places - maybe I have an idealized view of "small town life", I don't know.

Recently we've been discussing marriage, starting a family, and buying a home in the future. We really don't think it's feasible here in San Diego, unless our job situations DRASTICALLY (and I mean drastically) improved. Not to mention, I am kind of ready to get out of here. I'm tired of the traffic, the attitude that a lot of people have, and the general lack of opportunity unless you're a millionaire.

Basically I'd like recommendations on great cities/towns to raise a young family where the cost of living is low enough to live a good life and buy a home. Currently we make about $60,000 combined, which I guess sounds like a good amount, but here in SD we're barely paying the bills and living in an apartment.

Things I would like:

1. Not so small that there's NOTHING to do - somewhat close (30-60 min) to a larger metropolitan area with arts, culture, etc. would be great

2. Not BIG either - no traffic problems, the "small-town atmosphere", friendly people, etc. is most important

3. Good schools - a great place to raise kids

4. Outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, etc. close-by

5. GREEN-NESS! By that I mean - somewhere where there are real trees and grass and the seasons actually change somewhat. Lots of parts of San Diego are so.. brown.

6. No insane weather. I know I'm ridiculously spoiled for living in San Diego and a 1/2 inch of rain bothers me, but I'll get over it. However I don't want to live somewhere that gets a lot of hurricanes, huge snowstorms, tornadoes, etc. Or somewhere where it gets colder than freezing on a constant basis in the winter.

Is that too much to ask? :-X

We looked at Hendersonville, TN and really liked what we saw, but to be honest the threat of tornados is terrifying to us (not really looking to live in Tornado Alley), and my boyfriend's uncle told us that as "card-carrying liberals" we would have a hell of a time adapting to the culture in TN. He also said that the schools are known for being bad. Not trying to put anyone from TN down here though - it's just one guy's experience - but it definitely turned us off a bit..
Well the draw back here is that no matter what, you have to make some concessions to local conditions and it also matters what you 2 do for a living also matters where you can end up to find a job, if your skilled you can find a job.
Now some nice smaller town to look at in PA is Grove City, Slippery Rock, Butler, Pittsburgh, Clarion, New Castle, Dubois, Lancaster, Pottsville, Bloomsburg/Danville area, Oil City, Franklin and there are some other small towns in PA and Pittsburgh compared to San D is small and is a good place to raise a family and these other places I mentioned are also a good place to raise a family especially.

PA is a nice place to live even tho we have winter it is not as bad as the rest of the country actually kind of mild, but it is a beautiful place in the winter with the snow and the state is beautiful throughout the rest of the year and you can always find something to do and lots of outdoor activities to do and things to go do from water activities, hiking, camping, biking, motorcycling, boating then you have lots of opportunities to further your education as well in just about anything you could possibly want and wide range of entertainment, lots of different places to visit with all of its scientific, political, and historical aspects it is an interesting place to live.
Good Luck
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Rolla, Phelps County, Ozarks, Missouri
1,069 posts, read 2,255,120 times
Reputation: 1259
Quote:
Originally Posted by michachelle View Post
Currently we make about $60,000 combined, which I guess sounds like a good amount, but here in SD we're barely paying the bills and living in an apartment.
What do you do for a living? What are your job skills? How much do you think you'll be able to make living in a small town in another state?
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:21 AM
 
9,807 posts, read 13,681,328 times
Reputation: 8170
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozarksboy View Post
What do you do for a living? What are your job skills? How much do you think you'll be able to make living in a small town in another state?
Good questios !

I was going to make some recomendations, but after seeing the OP listed 6 criteria, and finding a job wasn't even mentioned, I took this thread as a fantasy thread.
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Old 02-06-2010, 12:49 PM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
8 posts, read 12,893 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozarksboy View Post
What do you do for a living? What are your job skills? How much do you think you'll be able to make living in a small town in another state?
Right now I'm an administrative assistant at a commercial insurance company and about to go back to school for an elementary teaching degree, right now I just have a HS diploma.

My boyfriend is a commercial property manager but also has experience as a commercial insurance producer. He has a bachelor's degree from UC Santa Barbara in political science.
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:22 PM
 
Location: A Yankee in northeast TN
11,131 posts, read 14,800,760 times
Reputation: 25423
Couple of links to some handy tools.

COL salary calculator. Low COL usually translates into lower wages. Living Wage Calculator - Counties and Places in Tennessee or Living Wage Calculator - Introduction to the Living Wage Calculator

School ratings. Focus on individual schools, not school systems. Just because the system as a whole has bad a rating does not mean each and every school within that system performs poorly. Look at high school ACT test scores for comparisons. GreatSchools - Public and Private School Ratings, Reviews and Parent Community

Tornadoes. http://www.highlandbaptist.org/jan/images/tornadoalley.jpg (broken link) Breakdown by county Tennessee Tornadoes or The Tornado Project Online!

TN links included because, hey, that's where I live! Seriously east TN ( not middle TN!) sounds like it might fit most of what you are looking for if you research carefully. We do have some good schools, we have some areas where tornadoes are practically unheard of, we have the green and the plentiful outdoor activities, and moderate weather to enjoy those activities.
Being a "card carrying liberal" might limit your options some, or make for a bit if culture shock. But I think if you aren't all up in peoples faces with it you would be fine in a lot of places. I'd look in /around Knoxville, Chattanooga, or Johnson City maybe.

Last edited by DubbleT; 02-06-2010 at 07:53 PM..
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:20 PM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
8 posts, read 12,893 times
Reputation: 11
Thank you so much DubbleT!

I'm definitely not the type to get in people's faces about my political feelings -- mainly my biggest concern is that I am a huge supporter of gay rights and gay marriage, and that's polarizing enough here -- probably even worse in the South. I usually keep it to myself around people I know to be more conservative, but it definitely bothers me a LOT when I hear some of the things people say.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:24 PM
 
29,988 posts, read 37,764,209 times
Reputation: 12782
Have you investigated Greeley, CO?
http://www.greeleygov.com/default.aspx

Close to both Denver and Fort Collins.
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Old 02-09-2010, 03:04 PM
 
29,988 posts, read 37,764,209 times
Reputation: 12782
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifelongMOgal View Post
Have you investigated Greeley, CO?
City of Greeley Colorado

Close to both Denver and Fort Collins.
edited to add: Guess this won't work for you since snowstorms were on your list of characteristics you don't want.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Western North Carolina
5,039 posts, read 8,027,705 times
Reputation: 10809
Check out Missoula, Montana. Theres' a lot of liberal attitude there, it has the outdoor activities you are looking for, plenty to do for people in their 20's, and the seasons change. The job situation, though, can be tight, unless you can find employment at the U. of Montana. Lots of Californians have relocated to the area.
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