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Old 06-22-2011, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
13,457 posts, read 25,387,283 times
Reputation: 13529

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TygrrEyzz View Post
So I am assuming I am going to need to be making about twice that amount to live in LA the same way that I live here.
*Maybe like three or four times.

Someone's got to pay for all that sunshine, beach, and Hollywood.

Unless you (and whoever you may bring with you) get a huge income increase, be prepared to have a much lower standard of living than you have in Des Moines. Think small apartment, a higher portion of income going to rent, commuting, and traffic. Maybe roommates, less spending money and less free time.

I left Southern CA because I was too busy dreaming about places like Des Moines. Places where regular folk can own a home and have ten minute commutes to their jobs, while not spending the whole time they're not home worrying about their crap getting stolen, and still having money at the end of the bills to buy more crap that won't get stolen. Places where it snows.

Be aware, that there is no true "middle class" in LA. Most of LA's middle class would be considered filthy rich in Des Moines (based on their home's value and/or income). Many people that work "regular jobs" in LA have long commutes, have roommates, work second or third jobs, live paycheck to paycheck, or some or all of the above (I was all four when I lived 40 miles from LA).

I have hope for you. I'm happy that people like you still have the California Spirit. Sadly, the reality you're facing isn't all roses and sunshine. Living in Southern CA is hard for a lot of people, and many don't get to enjoy all it has to offer (because of having to work/commute too long just to pay the rent).

Good luck.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:22 AM
 
3,552 posts, read 5,714,675 times
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There are places in LA where whole entire families, sometimes 2 or 3 or even more live in the same small apartment and they're perfectly content.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Sometimes Portland, other times LA
600 posts, read 1,317,638 times
Reputation: 246
Quote:
Originally Posted by TygrrEyzz View Post
Heyyy everybody!! This question is going to seem off the wall but I am going to just be blunt and get right to the point: California is EXPENSIVE. Los Angeles is expensive. Gas prices, parking, food, etc. And above all, the rentals. I am NOT letting this truth discourage me from moving to CA and possibly LA, but it is something that I would like to come to terms with. How do you guys do it? I would consider myself an average renter. (I will not be looking to buy a house, BTW.) Here in Des Moines my household makes about 2,500 a month and we get by just fine. So I am assuming I am going to need to be making about twice that amount to live in LA the same way that I live here. But as I look at jobs, I see that the wages paid out there for what I do, definitely do not make up for the up in prices out there. So how does a regular middle class girl like me make it out there? Find an extra roommate? Get a second job? How do you guys get by? Let me hear your tips! You've all been awesome so far, and I really appreciate it! Any input you have would help me out a lot.
You pretty much answered your own question. And what used to get you by in Des Moines ($2500) will be peanuts compared to what you will spend here. Our gas prices are some of the highest in the nation, food is extremely expensive here, you have to pay to park EVERYWHERE and what is charged for rent is ridiculous, you will spend up to 3x what you do now on utlities. Do you plan on having a social life or eating out? Or shopping for clothes? Get ready to be working your backside off to pay an insane amount of rent and have little left to spend on you. And David is right - there is no middle class here. There is the homeless, very poor who cram a few families into one home to make it, the single people who do the same thing (only with roommates) and the uber-rich. I think you really need to consider why you are just trying to make this work instead of just being able to move.

Last edited by Daisy32673; 06-22-2011 at 09:41 AM..
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,345 posts, read 84,766,225 times
Reputation: 17581
Quote:
Originally Posted by yamota View Post
There are places in LA where whole entire families, sometimes 2 or 3 or even more live in the same small apartment and they're perfectly content.

Heck, why live so luxuriously?

This guy is perfectly content. And he has a higher net worth than 15% of the people in LA and Orange County: They're underwater and he owes nothing.

Last edited by Charles; 06-22-2011 at 09:24 AM..
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:31 AM
 
3,552 posts, read 5,714,675 times
Reputation: 3473

He pushes a shopping cart around and hasn't a care in the world, he is...the most interesting man in the world "I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer a half empty bottle from the trash."
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:00 AM
 
671 posts, read 1,916,308 times
Reputation: 882
Quote:
Originally Posted by pwright1 View Post
The one thing I find shocking is the price of homes. Tiny stucco pill boxes on tiny lots for $700,000. Seattle (where I came from) homes are a little less but wages seem higher with a much healthier economy. So I wonder too, how do they do it here? Apartments are about the same. I was reading in the paper the other day the average price for a home in LA is $325K. Where? How?
The main http://city-data.com site will tell you the price per zip code.

Or see the Trulia Heat map for LA County: Los Angeles County Home Prices and Heat Map - Trulia.com

Also, the LA Times publishes the DQ News chart every months about home sales and prices per zip code. DQNews - Los Angeles Times Zip Code Chart

Most houses in South LA, East LA, and North East LA are less than $300K.
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Old 06-22-2011, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Santa Monica, CA
1,626 posts, read 3,395,604 times
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To the OP, I moved out here grossing $4k/month and living alone in a 1BR apartment basically spent every penny I made. My income grew faster than my cost of living. I am now grossing $6k/mo and it's the first time since moving out here I actually feel financially comfortable. Which means even after I pay my bills I still have enough money to make some discretionary purchases ($300-400/mo), go on vacation and still save for retirement. I do not live like a king on that income, nor do I live like a broke college student.

Living by yourself $4k/month gross will only allow you to afford a studio apartment in a decent neighborhood. $5k/month gross will allow you to afford a 1BR apartment in a decent neighborhood. Any less than $4k/mo an you need to split the rent with a roommate to afford it. Check out the apartments section of Craigslist and prepare to lower your standards. I'm not saying LA is a bad place to live but you need to be realistic when it comes to cost of living.

Last edited by Dunbar42; 06-22-2011 at 02:05 PM..
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Des Moines, IA
219 posts, read 570,873 times
Reputation: 80
Thank you everyone for your responses! I especially appreciate the blunt honesty.

All right, now I promise that I am not completely wearing rose-colored glasses, though it may sound that way. I spent about 4 months total in California through various travels and I have seen that it isn't all glitz and glam and I am not expecting to make my every dream come true in the sunshine of Los Angeles. I am a hard working girl from Iowa who is bored to DEATH of all the monotony. I am financially secure here but it doesn't mean much to me because there is no excitement in my daily life. Yeah Yeah, I could create it for myself in different ways if I really wanted to try but I'd much rather put that energy into trying somewhere else. Somewhere that gives me the same feeling that California does. I've been to a few places, but nowhere makes me feel the way CA does. I can't explain it, but I'm willing to guess that most of you probably understand that I'm talking about... The desert, the mountains, the ocean, the 8 National Parks, the tumultuous and colorful cities. I'm willing to work hard to "make it" out there, even if I'm only surviving. I'm just curious how far my money is going to get me. And that's why this forum is such a blessing because I can talk to people who are living the life that I want first hand.

I am moving out there with two other people. Our ideal place would be a three bedroom townhouse. I'm really liking the San Fernando Valley so far. The prices seem (of course off the charts compared to where I live!, but...) reasonable. I want one decent paying job. I work at a CNA/CMA and I'm hoping for at least 15 bucks an hour. And in my free time I want to concentrate on my writing and photography. I want to be able to afford a few luxuries here and there but for the most part, I'm used to living on a budget.

David, I understand everything that you are saying because it's what I think about when I envision my move. And what you want is what I have... but isn't that just how it goes? I need to move away and experience that "adventure" or whatever you'd like to call it. Maybe in 10 or 20 years I'll want what I had here all along, but now that I'm young and willing, I want to make a go of it. But I want to have a very realistic picture of what I'm going to get when I arrive there. So thank you EVERYONE for your responses and suggestions, etc. Keep 'em coming if you want.
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Old 06-22-2011, 05:00 PM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
13,457 posts, read 25,387,283 times
Reputation: 13529
Quote:
Originally Posted by TygrrEyzz View Post
David, I understand everything that you are saying because it's what I think about when I envision my move. And what you want is what I have... but isn't that just how it goes? I need to move away and experience that "adventure" or whatever you'd like to call it. Maybe in 10 or 20 years I'll want what I had here all along, but now that I'm young and willing, I want to make a go of it. But I want to have a very realistic picture of what I'm going to get when I arrive there. So thank you EVERYONE for your responses and suggestions, etc. Keep 'em coming if you want.
Yeah, you most definitely don't want to be looking up when you're in your 40's wondering what "could've been". So do it now.

I've already made my Des Moines-esque dreams come true, in two non-CA cities. I wouldn't trade my "leaving home" experiences for the world, and you probably won't either.
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Old 06-22-2011, 05:12 PM
 
Location: California
31,519 posts, read 34,785,450 times
Reputation: 27196
I think with roommates and jobs you could live pretty well. You may not land in the perfect place with your first apartment but that's ok, leases expire an in the meantime you will have figured some things out and know what you want/need. Even if it's not a permenant move it will be fine. My daughter is in SoCal now, on her second apartment and second roommate. She likes it fine right now but still isn't sold on being there forever.
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