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Old 01-26-2012, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Dimond, Oakland, CA
109 posts, read 243,094 times
Reputation: 117

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yeah, most of CA is pretty cheap outside of the urban areas. my brohter just purchased a house for under $100k, but it is in the central valley... not so nice. But, the home is big and in a nice area. anyhow, for rents, you can find cheap areas in a lot of places. if you want mountains, check out far north... weed, yreka, alturas, susanville, burney... those are pretty cheap. in the coast ranges between north-central and coast, there are a smattering of decent sized towns... happy camp, weaverville... these would be cheap. also, the sierra have some cheaper places. placerville outside of sac, chico, paradise, quincy... also, some towns in the foothills outside of central valley towns... columbia, angels camp, etc. also eastern towns arent too expensive, if you are into desert... lone pine, bishop. being the state is 800 miles long, you have your options! i have friends who used to rent a farmhouse on acreage in far northern california for less than $1k, so undoubtedly, you can find a room somewhere for a couple hundred bucks.
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:25 PM
 
Location: New York State
33 posts, read 219,368 times
Reputation: 21
FrenchKissed thank you for your suggestion of Redding. I have heard of it before but sometimes forget about those "up north" cities. I like the size of the population and how its smack in the middle of the woods... reminds me of home! And actually Arcata was already on my list...

What's the story with these Central Valley cities being so affordable? Is it because there's just no jobs in the area or is it something else?
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Old 01-26-2012, 07:18 PM
 
77 posts, read 272,163 times
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Those cities are hot and there's not much going on there. Not a lot of cultural things to do. Not many good venues for music. And some places have higher crime.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:36 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 10,564,722 times
Reputation: 2915
SF, Oakland and Berkeley are pretty much the only places in Northern CA you can get away with living without a car easily. Santa Cruz could maybe work too if you had a bike and lived in the flat area near downtown SC. None of these places are cheap though, if you want cheap and to live without a car, move to Chicago.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:42 PM
 
Location: San Francisco, CA
506 posts, read 899,808 times
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I would look into San Luis Obispo. (I did, actually, and it looks awesome, but I need an international airport nearby.) Halfway between SF and LA. Declared the "Happiest City in America" by researchers. It has a citywide smoking ban, so that may or may not work for you.
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Dimond, Oakland, CA
109 posts, read 243,094 times
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If you think Redding is smack in the middle of the woods, you will be disappointed when you visit. It is at the far end of the central valley and is one of the hottest places in the state. it is near to the woods, but not in them. if you aren't opposed to it, i would recommend looking just over the border into oregon. ashland is a great little mountain town, which has a university. there is cheap rental housing and of course always someone looking for a roommate. you can live there without a car. it is similar to arcata in vibe, but not nearly as much rain and not as isolated.
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:35 AM
 
13 posts, read 154,235 times
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Everywhere in the central valley (all the way up to Redding) gets wicked hot in the summer. The mountains around the valley are cooler, and in those mountains are small towns that may work for you. Paradise is a nice town, so is Weaverville. Mt Shasta City is wonderful. All are beautiful.

Anywhere in the north state, with exception of the coastal areas, is economical to live, IF you can find a job or start a cottage business. Jobs are not easy to find up here and the unemployment rate is higher. We have more homeless people now than I've ever seen up here in the past, so it's a serious issue. Small towns are not equipped to deal with it. There is no place to go if you find yourself homeless....
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:32 PM
 
96 posts, read 244,837 times
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You can rent a studio in Midtown Sacramento (where you can easily walk to restaurants, grocery stores, bars, the library, etc.) for less than $700 per month. If you compromise on the building, you can go down to less than $600 per month. If you're looking for smaller, inexpensive towns, look at Auburn, Grass Valley or Placerville. Be aware that the last two places *are* in the mountains and are pretty isolated if you don't have a car.
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
13,720 posts, read 22,139,489 times
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Visalia isn't bad, and you should be able to find apartments in the $500 per month range.


http://www.city-data.com/city/Visalia-California.html
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:40 PM
 
2,147 posts, read 3,927,369 times
Reputation: 1626
I know this thread is a month old, but just wanted to add my .02, since this is a pretty common type of post on the CA forums [also, many of these suggestions and comments are not really in line with the OP. Even if she was not specific as to geography, replies could either ask more questions or make a reasonable list.] I think central valley urban areas are most likely not what she was looking for, and she did say Arcata was on the list.
That narrows things down a bit.
I agree with these suggestions: Ashland, OR, just across the border-definitely give it a look via google, and the forums, at least.
Avoid Redding, for reasons mentioned, plus others.
Check out Sebastopol, in sonoma county, near santa rosa. It's just over an hour from SFO, and close to Marin county.
Chico-college town north
Davis and Santa Cruz [though they are more expensive, you can do car-free and a roomate option might be okay to start out.]
You might also love Petaluma, southern sonoma county, and Healdsburg, northern sonoma county is a fabulous place. Google their chamber of commerce and other sites for pics and info!

Ashland, OR, however, is about 20k, don't need a car, has affordable rentals, beautiful, not as much rain as the rest of oregon [fairly dry and brown, actually], and has something of an economy with the university and the shakespeare festival. It's also a little over an hour from Mt. Shasta, a small, lovely alpine community. Ashland is not really near other major metro areas, but Medford, next door, is decent sized and has a small airport. Ashland is pretty cosmopolitan in terms of amenities, for such a small town, so I don't think it would feel that isolated.

Of the places mentioned, my top 3 choices would probably be:
ashland, sebastopol and then any of these: petaluma/healdsburg/santa cruz, in terms of finding employment, not being too isolated, and fitting your interests as mentioned.

Hope the OP is still looking; if not, maybe this will help someone else with similar questions. Good luck!

Last edited by lrmsd; 03-04-2012 at 02:43 PM.. Reason: typo
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