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Old 02-01-2008, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
84 posts, read 535,167 times
Reputation: 39

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What's it like in Philly?

I'll be graduating in a year or so from college (I live in Wisconsin) and I would love to move to a big city. Philadelphia has always been sort of intriguing to me, along with Pittsburgh. I also love the rich American history that Philly has.

I'd think I could land a job starting around 35k a year. I really that's not much, but could I get by in a studio/one bedroom apartment near the downtown area?

Also, how are the Philadelphia winters? Call me crazy, but I love winter. Love the chill of the air and love snow.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:40 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,485 posts, read 8,318,272 times
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I don't have a good feel for the cost of living in Center City Philadelphia, but I think it might be a bit tight for a studio apartment on a $35,000 salary. It may be possible for you to get something at that salary in the University City area, if you are eligible as a non-student. (University City is the commonly used name for the area in west Philadelphia where the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University are located.) There are also a number of nice towns within 1/2 hour of Center City, some of which have pretty good rail transit into Philadelphia, where I suspect you could get something decent at that salary. Incidentally, the cost of living in the Philadelphia area is much lower than either New York or Washington, both of which are almost ridiculous.

In terms of weather, if you like snow and cold weather, you'd be much better off in Pittsburgh (or probably Cleveland, Buffalo, Rochester, or any place southeast of the Great Lakes). You hear about places like Buffalo and Syracuse getting "lake effect snow", but Pittsburgh gets lake effect snow too, just in smaller quantities. I swear, when I was living in western PA, about 50-60 miles east-northeast of Pittsburgh, we'd get snow flurries, often with small accumulations, about every 3-5 days in November and December or at least until Lake Erie froze over. By contrast, Philadelphia and the East Coast/Mid-Atlantic cities tend to get only moderate amounts of snow most winters, in part because the mountains to the west block the snow from coming from the lakes, partly because those cities are close to/on and west of the Atlantic Ocean or another large body of water. Occasionally though Philadelphia and the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic cities will get socked by 'Noreasters, which are winter storms that come up along the Atlantic Coast from the Gulf of Mexico and dump tremendous amounts of snow, usually at least 12-18 inches and in one storm in January 1996, 30 inches. Temperature-wise I'd guess Pittsburgh is probably about 5-8 degrees Fahrenheit colder in the winter on average than Philadelphia.

One final thing I'll note; if you like to travel, Philadelphia is probably a much better bet than Pittsburgh. Not only is Philadelphia an interesting city in its own right (though it does have many bad sections), but it is within 2 hours of New York and Baltimore and 2 1/2 hours of Washington. Numerous smaller cities/urban areas (which actually aren't all that small by non-Northeast standards) that have some items of interest are also within a 2 hour drive. By contrast, Pittsburgh is much more isolated and not that close to nearly as many places. Philadelphia is also about 3 times larger than Pittsburgh (when looking at the urbanized area population).
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:59 AM
 
97 posts, read 514,516 times
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General financial planning comment:

A lot of folks on this board seem to ask questions about cost of living, i.e., how much one needs to earn in order to live in XYZ town.

You can find free financial calculators on the dinkytown .net website. There's a section for calculating your net paycheck as well as a free one for what gross you must earn to get the net you require.

Once you know your net pay, if you figure a third of your take home pay for rent, you'll usually have enough left over to pay for utilities, transporation, food, cellphone, cable, internet and all those other goodies. This doesn't account for very low income (under 30k in a high cost area, though).

General rule of thumb:
$25-30 Rent must be under $500
$30-35 Rent must be under $700
$35-40 Rent must be under $850

There are exceptions to this, as some people earning under $40k forgo things like cellphones, cable and internet in order to increase their rental income available.

As a person's income increases, the amount paid for rent can increase disproportionately, since less of the total is needed for necessities.

Regarding Philadelphia and winter. One benefit of living in the area is having the Poconos a short drive up the turnpike.

Good luck.
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Old 02-04-2008, 06:00 PM
 
11 posts, read 72,255 times
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Default i live in baltimre..

which has a similar cost of living as philly according to most calculators.

i make less than 35K a year and bought a home. before i bought my house i pay about $650/month in rent (my mortgage isn't much more than that).

it is not a lavish lifestyle, but it's doable. i have a cell, cable, internet. i don't eat out often, spend very little on "going out" and i haven't bought a new pair of shoes in years.
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Old 05-11-2010, 03:50 PM
 
1 posts, read 25,087 times
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Philly is okay but If you have a car it will definitely get broken into. Expect to buy new windows! Its a common problem here an o yea lets not forget about the 1 or 2 murders here DAILY!. If you want to live near Philly move out to the suburbs or better yet move to NYC is you could afford it. It may cost a little more but it has tons to do and at least they don't have a high murder rate and theft rate.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:26 PM
 
119 posts, read 547,725 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhillyGuy1 View Post
Philly is okay but If you have a car it will definitely get broken into. Expect to buy new windows! Its a common problem here an o yea lets not forget about the 1 or 2 murders here DAILY!. If you want to live near Philly move out to the suburbs or better yet move to NYC is you could afford it. It may cost a little more but it has tons to do and at least they don't have a high murder rate and theft rate.

What a tool bag. I lived in Philly my whole entire life and grew up in a pretty tough neighborhood and have never had my car broken into, vandalized,or stolen.

This type of thing can happen ANYWHERE!! at ANYTIME to ANYONE!!
Regardless of were your at.....

Since when did NYC become a utopia of crime free urban bliss???

Wasn't there just an incident a couple of weeks ago were a homeless man laid bleeding to death in broad day light on the sidewalk and people were actually stepping OVER him right in the middle of NYC!!!

I can't take the Philly/New York nonsense anymore.


Coming from Wisconsin the City might be a bit of a culture shock to ya, people tend to be a bit more stand-offish, things tend to move quicker, and you have to be mentally tough to deal with the sometime endless idiots you'll encounter.

There's definitely some really bad parts of Philly that you would want to avoid and there's some really nice parts too.
With your income things might be a bit tough for you in the 2 neighborhoods your interested in. I'll let someone with more knowledge in that area help you out.

As a single dude I think you'll like it here. Just be prepared it's not Wisconsin.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:39 PM
 
Location: Suburban Philly
55 posts, read 189,205 times
Reputation: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by j_rode View Post
What's it like in Philly?

I'll be graduating in a year or so from college (I live in Wisconsin) and I would love to move to a big city. Philadelphia has always been sort of intriguing to me, along with Pittsburgh. I also love the rich American history that Philly has.
It will be considerably more expensive than Wis., esp. if you're not from a city there. Prepare yourself for sticker shock on all sorts of common items.

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_rode View Post
I'd think I could land a job starting around 35k a year. I really that's not much, but could I get by in a studio/one bedroom apartment near the downtown area?
You could do just fine on an income like that. I know of studio apartments in center city/avenue of the arts that go for $900-1100 + elec, web, etc. In other parts of the city you can rent a row house with a small yard for that amount but you'd have to take the subway if you're working in center city - of course you could even get a room mate and split the cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by j_rode View Post
Also, how are the Philadelphia winters? Call me crazy, but I love winter. Love the chill of the air and love snow.
The winters aren't very harsh - certainly more mild than you're used to. This past season was a fluke that seems to happen every 10 years or so. You have to go to the nearby mountains (1-2hr drive) to get some real snow if you want to ski or hike or something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhillyGuy1 View Post
Philly is okay but If you have a car it will definitely get broken into. Expect to buy new windows! Its a common problem here an o yea lets not forget about the 1 or 2 murders here DAILY!. If you want to live near Philly move out to the suburbs or better yet move to NYC is you could afford it. It may cost a little more but it has tons to do and at least they don't have a high murder rate and theft rate.
what a douche (note, this if phillyguy1's first and only post). Just be prepared to deal with occasional douche-baggery like this fella and you'll get along fine - keep that head screwed on straight.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:42 PM
 
34 posts, read 120,061 times
Reputation: 15
I know, I'm tired of the New York b.s. also. I've had it up to my ears with New York and New Yorkers. I don't recall anyone asking them to all move here anyway. If you don't like it here, move. Who needs you.

Anyway, to the OP-I live in a "bad" neighborhood of Philly and have lived here for over 8 years. "Bad" neighborhood meaning, there's a lot of black people who live here. I don't have a problem with black people so it don't bother me living in a bad section. Almost every neighborhood in Philly has a trash problem-except C.C. where they have people going around cleaning up the streets everyday. Nobody has ever bothered me in my neighborhood. If you don't get into drugs and stay away from trouble, for the most part, trouble will stay away from you. Be alert when walking alone at night and don't wear headphones or not pay attention as you're walking in areas that are not in the C.C area.
My car has been broken into but only because I left rolls of quarters out and that was my own stupid fault. Don't leave anything in your car, ever.
You can get a studio apartment in or near C.C. for $800 or maybe even less. You don't need a car because there's tons of public transportation and there's the Philly Car share where you can rent a car for a day on a needed basis. Also, there are tons of cabs.
It does move quicker here. People talk faster and walk faster and drive faster. But you get use to it.
Look on Craigslist\Philadelphia for studio apartments in C.C., Old City, Society Hill, Bella Vista, Pennsport and there's a bunch of other good neighborhoods. Stay away from most of N. Philly and all of most of West Philly. You'll do fine with $35K a year. Especially without a car.
You can always find a house to share with roommates. There are always people looking for roommates.
Good luck!
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:48 PM
 
34 posts, read 120,061 times
Reputation: 15
Center City / Rittenhouse Square Studio (http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/apa/1735448172.html - broken link)

Appealing Rittenhouse Square / Center City Studio (http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/apa/1735496508.html - broken link)

Small Center City / Rittenhouse Square one bedroom (http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/apa/1735441772.html - broken link)

Graduate Hospital Studio apartment (http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/apa/1735214557.html - broken link)



Just a few apartments I found for $800 and under in descent areas, very close to C.C. or in C.C. without even really trying. You can definitely swing it on $35 K a year.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:49 PM
 
Location: Suburban Philly
55 posts, read 189,205 times
Reputation: 37
Re: cars getting broken into:

I've driven a convertible in the philly area for the last 10 years. I have parked it all over the city with the top down, unattended for hours. I've parked the ragtop in some pretty shady neighborhoods. I have never had a break in or anything stolen or damaged at all... not even my stereo head unit.

Honestly I've had more problems with break-ins in the suburbs & rural towns of PA than in Philly. Surprises the **** out of me to say so!
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