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Old 03-04-2014, 12:39 AM
 
15 posts, read 34,655 times
Reputation: 16

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Hi everyone,

I recently graduated with a degree in GIS. I am moving from CA to Houston, TX. I've been doing budget projections for my move and I'm sure it's a good idea to ask local Houstonians about how realistic my budget would be there.

I have attached a picture of my budget, let me explain you a bit further.
I am looking to rent a room in a house, or share an apartment with other people, and from what I've seen in Craigslist I can find rooms that rent for $300 - $350 a month, some of them even include utility bills. Also I plan to just cook my own food, maybe an occasional dine out, which is why I put $200 as my food budget. Gas, I currently spend $50/month and I drive about 30miles per day 5 days a week, and I live in CA where cost of gas is expensive, I assume $50/month of gas in Houston would be doable because of cheaper gas prices.
Cell phone is paid by my brother, so for now no need to worry about that bill. I currently pay $35 for car insurance (no full-coverage though), maybe in Houston would be cheaper? Then miscellaneous stuff which includes everything else. My total monthly budget came out to be about $700, assuming I have a bit over $3K savings, I can survive 4 months without a job in Houston according to my budget analysis. Of course, if things don't work out as planned, I plan to take a weekend waiter tipped job in my 2nd month there, or an office job from a temp. agency.

So what do you guys think? Am I being realistic with this budget? Are there things I overlooked?
I know Houston has a lot of GIS employment (one of the reasons I'm moving there), I am hoping to find an entry-level GIS job in less than 2 months, any inputs on this as well?

I am very excited to move and make the drive to there . I would really appreciate any inputs. Thank you in advance!


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Old 03-04-2014, 12:53 AM
 
15 posts, read 34,655 times
Reputation: 16
One thing I forgot to mention, I plan to move there by the end of this month. Originally I was planning to move there in the summer to save more money, but college graduation time is late May, early June and I think summer is the worst time to look for jobs (more college grads = more competition). I want to move there before the graduation crowd starts competing with me in jobs, hence my move this late March.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Houston, TX
17,031 posts, read 27,342,598 times
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I'd get the job first before moving. Lots of folks trying to move here for the 'plentiful jobs'. Your budget seems pretty lean.
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:33 AM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston/Tricity
40,286 posts, read 58,379,307 times
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~$700 all incl. monthly expenses? Houston is cheap, but not THAT cheap.
I agree with Oildog - get the job first. The "plentiful" might be not so plentiful for you, and your savings will melt pretty fast while you look for a job.
BTW: you forgot about all those deposits you need to pay when you move here from another state, and your monthly expenses or travel costs are not realistic.

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Old 03-04-2014, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Non Extradition Country
2,164 posts, read 3,007,938 times
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I don't think you are being realistic at all. You won't just move here and find a place to live with someone. Isn't going to happen.

You are overlooking the biggest factor: JOB.
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Old 03-04-2014, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Richmond, TX
238 posts, read 589,794 times
Reputation: 177
A monkey swinging through the jungle wouldn't let go of a rope before grabbing onto another. Get the job first, then budget from there.

And $50/mo for gas? Unless you drive an 80 mpg, its not realistic. And your rent with a roommate or two will be closer to $500-600. Insurance won't be $35/mo... it'll likely be 4x that.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:47 AM
 
971 posts, read 603,010 times
Reputation: 904
I hate to say it but your budget seems unrealistic to me. The only part that's doable is the $200 for food since broccoli is like 4 heads per buck right now. At $3-400 any room that you can find is not going to be in a nice neighborhood where your car will probably get broken into. $50/month for gas is really low unless you're driving a hybrid or something like that. I drive about the same amount and I spend over $120 per month on gas.

$700 per month is NOT enough to live on in Houston unless you want to live like a refugee.

As far as the GIS jobs go I would check and apply online first to make sure that they are entry-level. A lot of the GIS jobs here are for oil and gas and may require experience with things like PODS. If you also have programming experience then your chance of being hired within two months will go up exponentially.



Quote:
Originally Posted by lloyd_hugo View Post
Hi everyone,

I recently graduated with a degree in GIS. I am moving from CA to Houston, TX. I've been doing budget projections for my move and I'm sure it's a good idea to ask local Houstonians about how realistic my budget would be there.

I have attached a picture of my budget, let me explain you a bit further.
I am looking to rent a room in a house, or share an apartment with other people, and from what I've seen in Craigslist I can find rooms that rent for $300 - $350 a month, some of them even include utility bills. Also I plan to just cook my own food, maybe an occasional dine out, which is why I put $200 as my food budget. Gas, I currently spend $50/month and I drive about 30miles per day 5 days a week, and I live in CA where cost of gas is expensive, I assume $50/month of gas in Houston would be doable because of cheaper gas prices.
Cell phone is paid by my brother, so for now no need to worry about that bill. I currently pay $35 for car insurance (no full-coverage though), maybe in Houston would be cheaper? Then miscellaneous stuff which includes everything else. My total monthly budget came out to be about $700, assuming I have a bit over $3K savings, I can survive 4 months without a job in Houston according to my budget analysis. Of course, if things don't work out as planned, I plan to take a weekend waiter tipped job in my 2nd month there, or an office job from a temp. agency.

So what do you guys think? Am I being realistic with this budget? Are there things I overlooked?
I know Houston has a lot of GIS employment (one of the reasons I'm moving there), I am hoping to find an entry-level GIS job in less than 2 months, any inputs on this as well?

I am very excited to move and make the drive to there . I would really appreciate any inputs. Thank you in advance!

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Old 03-04-2014, 09:06 AM
 
552 posts, read 718,855 times
Reputation: 1061
yikes. $3k in savings to live off of.

Huge risk, but hey, you're young.... just do it. When i was young i had like $2k saved once i graduated college and moved to a different city with nothing planned. It took 3 months to find a job paying $10/hr, and then took another 3 months to find a real job paying a livable salary for single person ( $19/hr)

Granted this was 13 years ago so the cost of inflation was a lot different back then.

Based on the inflation calculator, your $3k 13 years ago is worth about the same as my $2k
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:50 PM
 
15 posts, read 34,655 times
Reputation: 16
Thanks for the honest inputs. Yes I know moving with a job would be ideal and I've tried that, but it's very unlikely to get it if one lives thousands of miles away, I was told that companies will dump your resume right away if they see a non-local address and I'm sure this is the reason why I haven't got any response so far. And I'm sure my chances of finding a job there will increase considerably if I live there. After reading your responses, I came with the conclusion that I have two options with their respective pros and cons:

1. Move there this late March and asap get a non-related job either at a restaurant or an office job through a temp agency to pay the bills while looking for GIS jobs (this is what I'm currently doing but GIS jobs are scarce in CA, hence my move).
Advantages: Less recent grads = less job competition + Spring being the time companies hire more people (research says this) = higher chance to find GIS employment in a short period of time.
Disadvantages: more uncertainty, higher risk of melting my savings because of solo moving, more up-front costs.

2. Delay the move for 2 more months, save a bit more money and wait for a friend who's going to join me in the move after his graduation in late May (he's majoring in GIS as well btw), that way we can split the cost of moving and split the rent & everything else.
Advantages: more savings = less risk of melting my savings, psychological support (hey it's emotionally not easy to move out by yourself xD), have someone to practice job interview Qs with, learn programming skills together (easier with 2 ppl), etc.
Disadvantages: Moving right when graduation crowd will start looking for jobs = more job competition, maybe would have to wait a bit longer to find GIS employment.

What do you think?

Regarding my rent budget, I thought about what mkwensky said and did some research on it, turns out many of these <$300 rooms are in the undesirable areas (3rd, 2nd, and 5th wards); however increasing my budget to $400 - $500 will give me better options, I've found rooms in that price range to be concentrated in the following areas: Chinatown, North Alief (near Kirkwood & Bellaire intersection), Dairy Aschford/Beechnut, Northside Village (near I-45, area seems sketchy, safe?), Clearlake (too far from jobs?), Katy TX (north of I-10), Montrose (hit or miss?), and Washington Ave & Patterson St (inside the inner loop south of I-10). Are any of these areas safe or decent? From what I've seen in Street View many of these areas look fine, and as far as I know they are out of the dangerous areas (Greenspoint, Sunnyside, Wards 2, 3, 5, Independence Heights, Acres Homes, Gulfton), am I missing more? Thoughts?

I really appreciate your honesty, thank you all. And btw Tcoma11, where did you move from? How was your moving experience? Any regrets?
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:33 AM
 
971 posts, read 603,010 times
Reputation: 904
The only areas that can be considered "safe" in your list is Katy, Clear Lake (?) and Montrose. The others ones like Chinatown and North Alief are iffy at best. You can get a lot of good food at cheap prices at those locations though.

Many of the GIS jobs I think could be found in the "Energy Corridor" which is off the I-10 near Katy on the west side so Katy is a good option in that regard.

If I were you I would go with option 2. Having a friend with you in a strange city is a much bigger advantage than moving at the peak of a hiring season.

Whereabouts in CA are you from? Have you looked in Redlands for GIS jobs?

Good luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lloyd_hugo View Post
Thanks for the honest inputs. Yes I know moving with a job would be ideal and I've tried that, but it's very unlikely to get it if one lives thousands of miles away, I was told that companies will dump your resume right away if they see a non-local address and I'm sure this is the reason why I haven't got any response so far. And I'm sure my chances of finding a job there will increase considerably if I live there. After reading your responses, I came with the conclusion that I have two options with their respective pros and cons:

1. Move there this late March and asap get a non-related job either at a restaurant or an office job through a temp agency to pay the bills while looking for GIS jobs (this is what I'm currently doing but GIS jobs are scarce in CA, hence my move).
Advantages: Less recent grads = less job competition + Spring being the time companies hire more people (research says this) = higher chance to find GIS employment in a short period of time.
Disadvantages: more uncertainty, higher risk of melting my savings because of solo moving, more up-front costs.

2. Delay the move for 2 more months, save a bit more money and wait for a friend who's going to join me in the move after his graduation in late May (he's majoring in GIS as well btw), that way we can split the cost of moving and split the rent & everything else.
Advantages: more savings = less risk of melting my savings, psychological support (hey it's emotionally not easy to move out by yourself xD), have someone to practice job interview Qs with, learn programming skills together (easier with 2 ppl), etc.
Disadvantages: Moving right when graduation crowd will start looking for jobs = more job competition, maybe would have to wait a bit longer to find GIS employment.

What do you think?

Regarding my rent budget, I thought about what mkwensky said and did some research on it, turns out many of these <$300 rooms are in the undesirable areas (3rd, 2nd, and 5th wards); however increasing my budget to $400 - $500 will give me better options, I've found rooms in that price range to be concentrated in the following areas: Chinatown, North Alief (near Kirkwood & Bellaire intersection), Dairy Aschford/Beechnut, Northside Village (near I-45, area seems sketchy, safe?), Clearlake (too far from jobs?), Katy TX (north of I-10), Montrose (hit or miss?), and Washington Ave & Patterson St (inside the inner loop south of I-10). Are any of these areas safe or decent? From what I've seen in Street View many of these areas look fine, and as far as I know they are out of the dangerous areas (Greenspoint, Sunnyside, Wards 2, 3, 5, Independence Heights, Acres Homes, Gulfton), am I missing more? Thoughts?

I really appreciate your honesty, thank you all. And btw Tcoma11, where did you move from? How was your moving experience? Any regrets?
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