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Old 05-22-2012, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
16 posts, read 13,589 times
Reputation: 15

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I want to apologize upfront for yet another thread with questions about moving to Seattle, and I assure you I have spent quite a lot of time reading relevant threads. However, certain things just won't be addressed unless I ask specifically about our situation.

My boyfriend and I plan on moving out to Seattle in about a year to a year and a half's time. We do NOT have degrees. We will be moving with around $10,000.00 saved, hopefully more.

What I've gathered from reading other posts regarding the cost of living in Seattle is essentially that if you make less than $100k/yr, you will die. Immediate, painful, poor people death.

..okay, I'm exaggerating slightly but my point is this: The way I calculate things, even if we are only making minimum wage (full time), and given a budget of $800 for rent and minus all our other bills, we should still be in the green even with inflated prices of, well, everything. We are coming from Oklahoma City, by the way. We make $30,000/yr ea here but, without degrees, its a fluke.

Some things that will help form advice:
-We do not have kids.
-We do not care if we have to live in a studio or rent out a room
-We do not have pets
-We do not mind living on the rougher sides of town
-We will have a car, but would love to use public transportation/walk (I assume public transportation is cheaper than commuting via car?)
-We are not above eating a lot ramen. Mmm. Ramen.
-We DO have a ton of motivation and drive for getting the heck out of Dodge.

So, that said, are we being absolutely delusional in thinking we could live off two minimum wage incomes in Seattle? That is assuming we can't get better paying jobs -which seems unlikely given what I've read about Baristas even having degrees.

Thanks so much in advance!
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:43 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle, originally from SF Bay Area
14,808 posts, read 18,138,230 times
Reputation: 10352
Minimum wage is $9.04, so that would be about $35,000 all together. Other people have made it on that here but did get their jobs when the economy was better. The reason Baristas have degrees is just that they can't find anything better. The hiring these days is at better paying high-tech jobs. I would say that living on $35,000 here is about like living on $25,000 in OKC. Here is some interesting data:

Moderator cut: link removed, linking to competitor sites is not allowed

Last edited by Yac; 05-29-2012 at 07:14 AM..
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
9,250 posts, read 12,389,528 times
Reputation: 6765
You'll be fine.

We moved a similar distance in 2007 (to a different city) without jobs (or prospects for jobs, or degrees, or skills, at ages 23 & 25) with only $6K. And kids. We're still alive.

Worst case scenario you have to live in Everett or Kent (neither of which is a bad thing IMO).
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:25 AM
 
Location: 206
176 posts, read 309,005 times
Reputation: 163
I agree with poster above you can make it out here with that income, you just wont be living IN Seattle. You will be living in an out lying city which is not a bad thing. There are many areas north and south of Seattle with reasonable rent, especially if you are willing to live in a rough neighborhood. With a budget of $800 you will most likely be looking at apartments but depending on the area you are willing to live in you could come across a small house.

What area are you wanting to live in? Many people say they are moving to "Seattle" but are not actually moving into the city but a surrounding town.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:55 AM
 
Location: North Edmonds area
116 posts, read 108,369 times
Reputation: 52
You will make it. A very close friend has lived in Ballard, on an income under $30000 for TWO.
And then you have thousands of students with budgets well under that figure. I know a few of those
as well, and they are not all starving. Some on this board tend to push the reality costs here a bit.
Yes you will not buy a house in the city proper, but you will find a decent apartment in an outlying
area or shared housing also affordable. No immediate painful, poor people death!
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
16 posts, read 13,589 times
Reputation: 15
Thank you all very much!

Great link Hemlock, thanks!
David - that is more reassuring than you know! Id love to hear more about how you guys made it work, if you wouldn't mind. Whick city did you move to? How long before you landed jobs? What industries?
Scotty and gwix - that is what we were hoping for. My next question is spurred from your comments but anyone can help answer...

Is commuting via public transportation cheaper than gas would be? How much do you spend on average for public transit if you live outside of Seattle proper?
Does public transit even reach most suburbs? Kent or Everett, for ex?
If we do settle for living outside of Seattle, will we still have the feeling of living in Seattle? Not sure if that makes sense. OKC is so spread out that the suburbs here can seem completely unattached to the city. I want to swing by downtown as often as I want without it being a huge hassle. I want to have that "big city" feel, even if we do have to live a bit out.

Thanks guys!
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:49 AM
 
570 posts, read 661,399 times
Reputation: 332
i would save up to 20+k before moving unless you have something already lineup for you.
without a job, 10k won't last that long even if you are going to live in cheap area. Sometimes, people can take months to a year before they find a job. Of course, you find a job in couple of weeks too if you are lucky.

the question is what are you going to do if you used up all the 10k before landing a job.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Oregon
56 posts, read 55,753 times
Reputation: 48
I use to live in Seattle but now live in Portland. Huge mistake I mean PDX is ok but I loved living in Seattle. When I moved it was 20 + years ago we didn't have much savings and we managed do do fairly well.

I lived in Everett, Edmonds and in Seattle on Capital Hill. That was an interesting experience for someone coming from a small city on the east coast.

Seattle is so vibrant with plenty of things to do. I just looked at a cost comparison and it said Seattle was lower than Portland. I went to Apartments for Rent | An Apartment Finder & Guide for Rentals - ForRent.com and it didn't seem to me that rent was lower. I looked at places I use to live.

I would move back to Seattle area if I could in a heartbeat.

The biggest downer of the northwest is the rain. From late fall to early spring it can be pretty rainy and just overcast. But the summers here are the best, and with so much recreational stuff to do you will not be bored.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:24 PM
 
561 posts, read 603,447 times
Reputation: 367
Quote:
Originally Posted by bansley View Post
Is commuting via public transportation cheaper than gas would be? How much do you spend on average for public transit if you live outside of Seattle proper?
Does public transit even reach most suburbs? Kent or Everett, for ex?
If we do settle for living outside of Seattle, will we still have the feeling of living in Seattle? Not sure if that makes sense. OKC is so spread out that the suburbs here can seem completely unattached to the city. I want to swing by downtown as often as I want without it being a huge hassle. I want to have that "big city" feel, even if we do have to live a bit out.

Thanks guys!
bansley,

Just an FYI, I'm a transit operator for King County Metro, so I'm pretty familiar with public transit in the area.

The questions you're asking are complicated, but I'll give it my best. Most suburbs have very good public transit, but it mostly goes between the downtown Seattle area, and the park and ride lots. You can drive to the p&r, then take transit from there. Depending when you do this, it will still be significantly cheaper than driving. Driving is expensive not just because of gas $, but because parking is expensive and time-consuming. If you commute during normal hours, traffic is awful, and it's probably better to just use transit. If you're commuting during off-hours (night) driving is easier and cheaper.

Generally, living in a suburb will feel very different from Seattle. Everett, Lynnwood, and Bellevue, are all fairly generic suburbs. Some areas are a little more distinctive (Issaquah, Kirkland, etc), but still feel different from Seattle.

Something to consider: If you're willing to give up you car(s), you'll have more money for living expenses, which will probably enable you to live in the city. I've been car-free here for more than a decade, and love it! It's so much cheaper and less stressful. If you live and work in the city, being car-free is absolutely doable; in the suburbs it's much more problematic.

In terms of your questions about work and income, that's pretty complicated as well. Seattle is one of the most highly educated cities in the country, so you aren't at least moderately skilled in something, finding decent paying work can be tough. I have a psychology BA, which is pretty much useless, which is why I drive for Metro; in terms of pay/benefits it's just about the job I've found that isn't at least moderately skilled. Like so much of America these days, there are ample opportunites for more skilled/educated workers; options for unskilled workers are limited.

As far as how much money you need? That depends on your lifestyle. I live in a cheap little apartment, don't have a car, and generally have a simple, minimalist lifestyle. I do just fine on about $35K, but there's no way I could afford a house or even a condo. When people write, "You need an income of at least $100K to live in Seattle!", I think this is for the American Nightmare, err, I mean 'dream' lifestyle: a 3-bdr, 2-bth house; 2 cars; kids; etc.

So it really depends on the type of lifestyle you want to have. You can find decent (not great) older 1-bdr apts for $800/mo; anything larger than that will be out of your price range unless you go outside Seattle.

Good luck and I hope this helps.
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Old 05-23-2012, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Seattle
780 posts, read 719,627 times
Reputation: 1081
It's totally doable! If you guys are ok with a large studio or small 1 bedroom - Cap Hill and Lower Queen Anne can easily fit the bill for close-in living, excellent transit, neat neighborhood character and terrific walkability. You could live in either one and not miss a car for $800-1000/mo. Now I'll grant you, that is for something more 'vintage', and not nice, new construction. But Seattle does have a lot of neat, older buildings if you don't mind something with 'character'. Now if you decide you want something larger - it's going to be tougher. There's an interesting phenominon where there is a decent supply of reasonable 1 bedrooms and studios in older buildings, and then WHAM! 2 bedrooms are pretty spendy and in short supply.

You could have a much larger, nicer place farther out for that, but my personal preference is to live in less space closer in because the transit and walkability are so dang convenient in the neighborhoods near DT. Gas and insurance are pretty spendy here so if you can minimize your car usage - the savings don't take long to add up. Plus there's so much to do within walking distance!
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