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Old 08-30-2010, 05:41 PM
3 posts, read 4,804 times
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I am looking to move to the DC area, and thought this would be a great place for my questions. I'm in my mid-20's, and currently make around $35,000 a year.

I'm wondering if this is a decent salary for living in the DC area. I've heard it is a pretty expensive city, even if you're outside the metro area in Virginia and Maryland. I know my salary is on the lower end, but will I be able to afford rent in a decent area without struggling to make ends meet? I'm assuming that my rent should be about 30% of my net income, so it would be around $650/month. So far, it seems that this may be impossible to find. :/

I'd also appreciate any input on areas to live. As a young woman, I'd obviously like to live in a safe area, and will likely be looking for roommates.

Just trying to decide if I will be able to afford the area on my current salary, or if I should look into another job altogether. Thanks for your help!
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:07 PM
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You'd likely be looking for a group house on Capitol Hill to start, or some place like that. Many of the young staffers working for the Congress make what you make (or less) and share the expenses in a group house. It's actually quite common in DC (almost a rite of passage for living in the city).

Check out Rollcall newspaper or the Hill and see their classifieds, or visit the office buildings on the Hill and look at the bulletin board messages seeking roommates. While not all of the homes listed are on the Hill it does seem that for Hill staffers it is a very common thing (don't know about other government agencies but might as well start somewhere).
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Old 08-31-2010, 08:39 AM
Location: Washington, DC
2,010 posts, read 2,856,112 times
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I think you might need to bump your rent threshhold up to 40% of your net income. You can definitely make ends meet at 35k, but it will be tight. I just don't see many rents, group house or otherwise, in safe neighborhoods creep too far below 1k.

For me, 45k was the threshhold at which I felt financially comfortable living with roommates.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:00 AM
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,032,494 times
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It depends what kind of a lifestyle you're looking to lead, if you have any debt, if you want/need a car, etc, etc.

$35k will be tight. The cheapest place I ever lived in the area was $700/month (plus utilities) to share a house with 5 other people, straight out of college. (This was in Virginia, too--not even the district). It will be doable if you don't have other major obligations, but you'll have to budget carefully.

If it's your only option, there's room for quick advancement, or you're dying to live in DC, go for it. If you have a similar salary in a less expensive area, think there are other opportunities in the pipeline, or expect to make approximately $35k for the foreseeable future, I wouldn't come for that.
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