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Old 06-28-2016, 01:14 PM
 
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A friend of mine from Chicago, moved out here without a job lined up, she’s currently sleeping on my couch, lol. She’s only been here for about 6 weeks. Here’s the thing:

My lease ends in August, and I am trying to move out of this state. So she really only has a few months to find a full time position, and get her own apartment. I live in Plymouth Meeting/ Blue Bell. Unfortunately for her(and I LOL), the Philly suburbs are not like Chicago suburbs. They don’t have the same feel, the same amenities, or as much to do. And commuting to the city from Bluebell/Plymouth is horrible. My friends hoping to move to the city where the excitement is, and where there are more transplants and things to do. However based on her job search, there seems to be more jobs in the outer suburbs(Plymouth meeting, Bluebell, King of Prussia, Malvern,Horsham)where I live, in her field, than there are in the actual city center.This means that if she wanted to live in the city, she would really have a long commute back and forth, or she would have to catch the train (which she isn’t a fan of doing).

She had looked on line before moving out here, to compare the cities, and one of the things that attracted her was that housing in Philly was supposed to be very cheap.However, she’s been looking at apartments that are located in the city and in suburbs closer to the city, and what she’s discovered it really is not lol—unless you live in certain areas that are less expensive for a reason. She was surprised during the job search, that the salaries some of the jobs are offering in her field weren’t as high as they are in Chicago for her experience level—she believes she would have to take somewhat of a pay-cut(it wouldn’t be a huge one though) which was disappointing. She’s been struggling to get any responses back when she sends out her resume, and she admitted that while the job market wasn’t 100% in Chicago, it feels like it’s harder to find a job out here. It's only been 6 weeks, but I know she feels a bit rushed to find something since my lease ends in August

Since she’s been out here, we’ve only been to the city twice, and she liked the university city area (we went to a bar out there). She didn’t like Germantown, which seemed to be more affordable. We’ve been to Mt. Airy, which she said was pretty—but there doesn’t seem to be many apartments available for rent in the area, and also seemed like there were more families than there were people her age(she’s 30). I can't even recommend a suburb for her that is close enough to the city, but also close enough to the outer burbs (where the jobs are) that is exciting and nice looking, because she wasn't feeling Conshy, and honestly I don't like Conshy either lol.

I haven’t lived in Chicago since 2010, so I’m a bit more removed from it than she is—I was surprised that Philly really isn’t cheaper than Chicago… I'm sure I pay a similar amount for my 2 bedroom that I would pay in a Chicago burb, but it's hard for me to compare the way my friend did, because when I lived in Chicago I lived in a studio, didn't have a child, and so on. I'm really curious, is the COL, quality of life, salary for many positions, and job market better in Chicago—or is my friend just not having good luck? I've told her that in the fall, there will probably be more jobs hiring, and that perhaps a higher chance for her finding something in the city, but I'm now wondering if she's better off just going back to Chicago if the COL, salary, etc are going to be lower..

Last edited by toobusytoday; 06-29-2016 at 11:32 AM.. Reason: fixed typos and removed Sperling mention - that's a competing site
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Old 06-28-2016, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Midwest
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My wife and I considered Chicago and Philadelphia (as well as some other places) when moving here from Minneapolis. We ultimately chose Philly based on proximity to my family.

I do think a lot of what you said about Philly vs. Chicago is true. Especially in terms of viable affordable neighborhoods with amenities a person would choose to live in and jobs in the private sector that are actually in the city limits. Chicago has a lot more urban working class/middle class neighborhoods. Whereas a lot of walkable transitable Philly is either gentrified or impoverished (or on its way from one to the other).

But beggars can't be choosers. She moved here. There are plenty of apartments in Mt Airy - I live in one. Check craigslist. There are quite a few apartment buildings. And many of the big old houses are actually divided up into a few apartments. There's also nothing wrong with a lot of Germantown, I lived there a few years, and it is quite affordable and transit friendly.

The suburbs to the west and NW along the Paoli-Thorndale Line or the Norristown Line of the Norristown High Speed Line are the best place to live in terms of being able to commute to the city by train and also be close to what sort of acts as the commercial center of the region.

Sounds like your friend has to readjust their attitude or go elsewhere though - part of the chances you take moving somewhere without a job lined up is that things don't go your way. There's plenty of information to be found about the private sector job problems Philadelphia has. Being that she doesn't have a house or lease, it's not the hardest situation to change. Or do like we did and find a job that's acceptable to you and pays the bills even if it has nothing to do with your education, what you've done before, or what you'd like to do, and isn't going to particularly go anywhere.
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Old 06-28-2016, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Montco PA
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I agree with the above poster. I find it hard to believe that, pound for pound, there are less "amenities" or there isn't as much to do here vs. Chicagoland. You can't swim or fish in a lake in this region, I'll give you that, but shopping/dining/cultural and historical sites/quaint towns/outdoor activities/top-notch colleges, universities , and hospitals/etc., can compete easily with Chicago.

Here is a website that highlights the type of towns that are plentiful in this region but lacking in newer parts of the country:

Explore - Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia
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Old 06-29-2016, 09:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FamousBlueRaincoat View Post
My wife and I considered Chicago and Philadelphia (as well as some other places) when moving here from Minneapolis. We ultimately chose Philly based on proximity to my family.

I do think a lot of what you said about Philly vs. Chicago is true. Especially in terms of viable affordable neighborhoods with amenities a person would choose to live in and jobs in the private sector that are actually in the city limits. Chicago has a lot more urban working class/middle class neighborhoods. Whereas a lot of walkable transitable Philly is either gentrified or impoverished (or on its way from one to the other).

But beggars can't be choosers. She moved here. There are plenty of apartments in Mt Airy - I live in one. Check craigslist. There are quite a few apartment buildings. And many of the big old houses are actually divided up into a few apartments. There's also nothing wrong with a lot of Germantown, I lived there a few years, and it is quite affordable and transit friendly.

The suburbs to the west and NW along the Paoli-Thorndale Line or the Norristown Line of the Norristown High Speed Line are the best place to live in terms of being able to commute to the city by train and also be close to what sort of acts as the commercial center of the region.

Sounds like your friend has to readjust their attitude or go elsewhere though - part of the chances you take moving somewhere without a job lined up is that things don't go your way. There's plenty of information to be found about the private sector job problems Philadelphia has. Being that she doesn't have a house or lease, it's not the hardest situation to change. Or do like we did and find a job that's acceptable to you and pays the bills even if it has nothing to do with your education, what you've done before, or what you'd like to do, and isn't going to particularly go anywhere.
I will tell her to check craigslist. I don't think she utilized that option(admittingly I don't use craigslist and just advised her to check some of the mainstream apartment websites). I think she likes Mount airy enough to stay there for now, but I know she really wants to live in the city where there is a lot more to do. She's heavily into the black arts scene, and also enjoys clubs, and bars, spoken word, etc. Things that are plentiful in the city. Her concern, is of course as I mentioned before, that she won't be able to find a job in the city--if she gets a sublet near center city, and then finds a job later on, in the suburbs, the commute would be brutal.

I don't think she hated Germantown--but I have to admit, that a lot of the affordable Philly suburbs for the most part have a grittier look, and the rowhouses, and visible poverty can be uncomfortable for someone who's used to living in nicer suburbs. For reference she lived in the nicer part of Evanston for a while, Naperville(this is where she and I met), as well as in a nicer section in Hyde Park. I think she is really just surprised that Philly isn't as commutable, and that overall it isn't as affordable as she believed it was... This is partially my fault--I too had believed that Philly was cheaper than Chicago, because it's been a long time since I lived there, I told her that she could save a couple of hundred each month in rent, that the weather was nicer, that there was a black arts scene in the city and that she would be closer to NYC, Baltimore, DC, etc--all perks that made her want to come out here. I didn't think about the job situation, because I've never looked for a position in the city(I have a son and the schools are horrible in Philly for the most part, I hate charters so don't want to send him to those either). I also thought that the salary here equated with the COL... However, as I'm thinking about it, I'm sure that I would make slightly more in Chicago, too.

In any case, I told her before she moved out here, how I felt about the city overall(which is not very positive lol) and explained how different it is from Chicago--but she's been wanting to move out to the east caost and it was either moving out here, NYC, or moving to DC. DC and NYC were too expensive without a job lined up, and a place to crash at--to move to--so she came here.
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Old 06-29-2016, 10:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BPP1999 View Post
I agree with the above poster. I find it hard to believe that, pound for pound, there are less "amenities" or there isn't as much to do here vs. Chicagoland. You can't swim or fish in a lake in this region, I'll give you that, but shopping/dining/cultural and historical sites/quaint towns/outdoor activities/top-notch colleges, universities , and hospitals/etc., can compete easily with Chicago.

Here is a website that highlights the type of towns that are plentiful in this region but lacking in newer parts of the country:

Explore - Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia
It's hard to compare Philly and Chicago pound to pound, because the cities are so different. For instance, the whole vibe in Philly is completely different from Chicago. I lived in various suburbs in Chicago when I lived there for 8.5 years, and my observations were always that the middle class, and/or nicer suburbs were pretty attractive looking, modern, with lots of greenery, each suburb has downtown areas with nice bar selections, food, and overall most of these suburbs were commutable to the city of Chicago without having to catch train and wait in traffic for nearly two hours just to get there. There were more jobs and opportunities as well(bigger city). Shopping wise, the clothing stores had more of a selection. Since I've been in Philly, I've had to utilize online shopping more than I've ever had. I live near KOP mall and it's sort of shame, that as many nice stores as it has, that the clothing selection always feels so different and limited in each store. Better club scene in Chicago. I think the food was better as well in Chicago. The food out here is good, but I feel like to get really good authentic food you have to get closer to the city out here... In Chicago, regardless of whether you lived in the suburbs, or close to the city, there were a lot more food options, and selections. Chicago has many top notch schools, colleges, hospitals and universities.

I think Philly does offer more history, and has a more urban feel. I think if you're a native, or lived here for a while, you get used to it. But I think if your coming from a more polished manicured, metropolitan-like area, that you'll find Philly ugly and gritty. I've come to realize that unless you can live close to the city of Philly, the things for people without kids to do is sort of limited to a few pubs and bars here and there... It isn't as transplant friendly in the burbs IMO, and there seems to be this strange disconnect(I can't put my finger on it) between the burbs and the city. As in, I will talk to people actually living in the city of Philly and they just seem to have completely different experiences, activities, etc than people that I meet that live out here in the Plymouth meeting blue/bell area. A lot of the burbs out here don't offer much of a nightlife, and even when it comes to family fun activities--I've noticed that those seem to be plentiful closer to the city of Philly but are limited in the burbs. In other words--yes I agree that if a person can live close to the city of Philly that they'll have many amenities, and things to do, comparable to someone living in the city of Chicago AS WELL as Chicago BURBs. But the issue is that if someone doesn't live in the city of Philly, because of their job, the experience is totally different.

Not to mention, even when living in the city of Philly, one has to get use to the urban grittiness that is very visible in most of Philly(which is why people often comment that Philly is dirty looking)--Chicago has it's pockets too, but there's more distinction between the nice parts and the good parts, where as in Philly since it's smaller, the distinction isn't as strong. Overall, I think if she can get a job in the city, and get a place in University City or even Fairmont, that she would grow to like Philly a lot... But from the way things are panning out, I'm almost wanting to tell her that if she can't get a job in the actual city, or doesn't want to commute that she'd be better off moving back to Chicago and just living with her parents or a friend until she can get back on her feet out there.
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Old 06-29-2016, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Dude...., I'm right here
1,241 posts, read 798,194 times
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It looks like we'll have another Chi-town vs Philly thread.

I'm going to do y'all a favor a declare Chicago IS BETTER than Philly, because IT IS, so that other posters can focus on the problem at hand. Which is, how easy is it to find a job in Philly compared to Chicago and is it possible to live in the city while working in the exburbs.

My take, beggars can't be choosers. Your friend's priority should be finding a job. What field is she in? Most employers, outside retail, hire new/growth positions at the beginning of the financial year. That's my experience.

Once she has found a job, hopefully outside the city, she should live close to her place of work. I think living in the city is overrated. Most city residents are broke, anyway, because they are paying through the nose, so they tend to have a lower quality of life compared to guys in the suburbs. I should know this because I lived in London. Better to live in the suburbs, if you ask me, it's cheaper and you'll save money.
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Old 06-29-2016, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
4,743 posts, read 7,845,060 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faith2187 View Post
In any case, I told her before she moved out here, how I felt about the city overall(which is not very positive lol) and explained how different it is from Chicago--but she's been wanting to move out to the east caost and it was either moving out here, NYC, or moving to DC. DC and NYC were too expensive without a job lined up, and a place to crash at--to move to--so she came here.
First and foremost, I think--as some of your past posts alluded to--you and your friend have a fundamentally different experience as having come from a very different part of the country.

I'm certainly not faulting you for trying to find some familiarity or your comfort zone, but, and I'm saying this as someone who has also moved between different US regions, when you move somewhere that is relatively different, it can take a long time to embrace it for what it is. Even the East Coast is not uniformly the same. Boston, New York, Philly and DC all have their own unique atmospheres, even though they're often lumped together by sharing the same urban agglomeration.

That Philly is "uglier" or has "less to do" than Chicago may be something that you may always personally believe to be true, but at the very least it's important to try to continue to keep an open mind. If over 6 million people, with a wide range of backgrounds and many from across the world, find the Philly region suitable enough to serve as their home, I find it hard to be a bit hard to believe that someone from Chicago would feel like such a "fish out of water," so to speak, or that Chicago's suburbs are miraculously more entertaining. In both regions, the city would clearly be the center of activity.

As for your friend's job situation, finding a job definitely takes time. I've moved to/lived in both Boston and DC, and my job search experience in both situations could definitely be measured in months (not weeks). Salaries are also not necessarily accurate based on online postings--in fact, overall, Philly median wages are higher than those in Chicago: http://www.governing.com/gov-data/ed...cupations.html

Above all, your friend will definitely need to give it more time to find some success. I've been down the road of trying to feel established and settled in a new place, and it's not always fun or easy, but almost without fail it will take longer than you expect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ondoner View Post
It looks like we'll have another Chi-town vs Philly thread.
I'm going to do y'all a favor a declare Chicago IS BETTER than Philly, because IT IS, so that other posters can focus on the problem at hand. Which is, how easy is it to find a job in Philly compared to Chicago and is it possible to live in the city while working in the exburbs.
As I've said ad nauseum when this topic comes up, it's essentially useless to go down the road of city comparisons. You think Chicago is better than Philly? Fantastic--that's your perspective and opinion. For many, including someone like myself who has zero interest in ever living in the Midwest, the opposite would be true.

As everything else is in life, what is "best" comes down to personal perspective and priorities. That is literally never the same for any two people.

Last edited by Duderino; 06-29-2016 at 12:30 PM..
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Old 06-29-2016, 06:05 PM
 
Location: Midwest
1,283 posts, read 1,880,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faith2187 View Post
I will tell her to check craigslist...
A lot (not all) of what's around in Germantown and Mt Airy are small time landlords so craiglist can be a more viable option...they don't do big ad campaigns. Although there are some bigger companies up here.

For the record, Mt Airy and Germantown are both in the city limits of Philadelphia. There seem to bemore than a few artists and artisants around Germantown - probably more the producers of art than the consumers of art though. I don't really know much about that scene though. Germantown is a majority black neighborhood, Mt Airy is fairly split black and white.

Train ride to Center City is 20-30 minutes on the regional rail (two lines serve the neighborhoods, the Chestnut Hill East and Chestnut Hill West - and from much of Mt Airy, Germantown, or Chestut Hill you can set yourself up to be within walking distance of both of them). The 23 bus has 24 hour bus service...and there are several other bus lines as well. It's not a bad set-up. I'm not the type of person that does much of that going out stuff....but it doesn't stop me when I do go out late. Doesn't stop me from going to work in Center City everyday, including the rare times I have to work night shift.

It's actually also probably a pretty good spot to be in to commute to some NW suburbs - especially Plymouth Meeting (you can even easily take the L Bus up to at least one of the big office parks).

There's plenty more to the city too I'm just talking about what I know better.

I don't begrudge her anything - coming from Minneapolis it didn't take long for us to realize that Minneapolis was indeed a more viable urban environment for us compared to Philly in terms of the type of walkable/transitable neighborhoods, diversity (especially economic diversity of neighborhoods), and job situation (We lived in the Powderhorn - Lake Street Area if you're familiar - although I'd guess Minneapolis people are more familiar with Chicago than the opposite). Actually if I was in the sort of set-up your friend was - not attached to a lease or a family, I might very well have taken an opportunity like this to go back on it.

Philly's not terrible though - we're taking the opportunity to do now what we should have done years ago (pay back student loans and get a little more ahead before our next big move, starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel). Good luck.
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Old 06-30-2016, 09:59 AM
 
633 posts, read 491,681 times
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Ah, another edition of "life is harder than I thought it would be!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faith2187 View Post
A friend of mine from Chicago, moved out here without a job lined up, she’s currently sleeping on my couch, lol. She’s only been here for about 6 weeks. Here’s the thing:

My lease ends in August, and I am trying to move out of this state. So she really only has a few months to find a full time position, and get her own apartment. I live in Plymouth Meeting/ Blue Bell. Unfortunately for her(and I LOL), the Philly suburbs are not like
Chicago suburbs.

well yes, because Philadelphia and Chicago are not the same city. They're not in the same timezone or geographic region and both cities were constructed and developed DRASTICALLY differently. Philly and Chicago are about as far apart in terms of distance as London and Prague. Your friend's expectation that traveling nearly 800 miles and finding no difference was mistake #1.

Quote:
They don’t have the same feel, the same amenities, or as much to do.


See the above. But not to turn this into a "Chicago vs. Philly!" thread (because that misses the point) there is a VAST difference between suburbs. Ardmore and Devon are WORLDS apart from say...Chester city, even though you could travel between the two in 15 minutes. And speaking of which...

Quote:
And commuting to the city from Bluebell/Plymouth is horrible
.


Blue Bell is barely what one would consider a Philadelphia suburb. It's nearly an hour out from center city not including traffic. Technically yeah, sure- its a suburb in the greater Philadelphia area, but no one sane is going to live there and travel to CC on a regular basis. it's simply not practical and most locals are aware of this. If you're living all the way out there, you're going to be working in KOP, West Chester, etc.

Quote:
My friends hoping to move to the city where the excitement is, and where there are more transplants and things to do.


Then she's going to have to make some serious compromises.

Quote:
However based on her job search, there seems to be more jobs in the outer suburbs(Plymouth meeting, Bluebell, King of Prussia, Malvern,Horsham)where I live, in her field, than there are in the actual city center.


It would help to know what her field actually is, and how she's been looking. Indeed is a pretty great online resource. LinkedIn can be good if you have strong connections. Craigslist and Monster are a waste of time. Philadelphia itself is heavy on education and healthcare. no shortage of those. If your field is something more specialized you may have to look elsewhere- there's a lot of finance in Wilmington for instance, for reasons that are obvious.

Quote:
This means that if she wanted to live in the city, she would really have a long commute back and forth, or she would have to catch the train (which she isn’t a fan of doing).


Tough. She needs to come to terms with the fact that if she has no job and no place to live, compromises will have to be made. The regional rail specifically isn't much of a compromise at all- it allows those who want/need to live in the burbs to actually work in the city when transportation costs and time would otherwise prohibit it. Getting used to things she isn't a fan of doing is probably going to be a theme until she's better established and in a position to pick and choose.

Quote:
She had looked on line before moving out here, to compare the cities, and one of the things that attracted her was that housing in Philly was supposed to be very cheap


It is cheap. Go north to NY or South to DC to compare similar metro areas on the east coast. It's not significantly cheaper than Chicago though, because Chicago is in the Midwest.


Quote:
However, she’s been looking at apartments that are located in the city and in suburbs closer to the city, and what she’s discovered it really is not lol—unless you live in certain areas that are less expensive for a reason. She was surprised during the job search, that the salaries some of the jobs are offering in her field weren’t as high as they are in Chicago for her experience level—she believes she would have to take somewhat of a pay-cut(it wouldn’t be a huge one though) which was disappointing. She’s been struggling to get any responses back when she sends out her resume, and she admitted that while the job market wasn’t 100% in Chicago, it feels like it’s harder to find a job out here. It's only been 6 weeks, but I know she feels a bit rushed to find something since my lease ends in August


Regional supply and demand dictate salaries. Philadelphia has a LOT of educational institutions in the immediate area- more than most of the country (though I can't speak for Chicago) and the NY and DC metros are very close by. Theres no shortage of new grads for companies looking- with the exception of a few newer and up and coming fields that are in high demand. If the market says your friend will have to take a pay cut, then she takes a pay cut. It's an employer's market, not an employee's market. Be thankful she wasn't looking for employment in 2010.

Quote:
Since she’s been out here, we’ve only been to the city twice, and she liked the university city area (we went to a bar out there). She didn’t like Germantown, which seemed to be more affordable. We’ve been to Mt. Airy, which she said was pretty—but there doesn’t seem to be many apartments available for rent in the area, and also seemed like there were more families than there were people her age(she’s 30). I can't even recommend a suburb for her that is close enough to the city, but also close enough to the outer burbs (where the jobs are) that is exciting and nice looking, because she wasn't feeling Conshy, and honestly I don't like Conshy either lol.


again, since your friend is unemployed you find the job first, then use that to decide where you want to live- not the other way around. When she's more established then she can be pickier.

Quote:
I haven’t lived in Chicago since 2010, so I’m a bit more removed from it than she is—I was surprised that Philly really isn’t cheaper than Chicago… I'm sure I pay a similar amount for my 2 bedroom that I would pay in a Chicago burb, but it's hard for me to compare the way my friend did, because when I lived in Chicago I lived in a studio, didn't have a child, and so on. I'm really curious, is the COL, quality of life, salary for many positions, and job market better in Chicago—or is my friend just not having good luck? I've told her that in the fall, there will probably be more jobs hiring, and that perhaps a higher chance for her finding something in the city, but I'm now wondering if she's better off just going back to Chicago if the COL, salary, etc are going to be lower..



casual comparison of cost of living can be found on sites like this one:

MOD CUT: Removed link to competing site.

Philadelphia is barely cheaper than Chicago across the board- and finding this out took seconds.

She probably IS better off going back to Chicago, since her research on Philadelphia seems to be lacking, and what she expects out of the job market and living situation isn't realistic. Its likely she'll be successful eventually, but that will likely mean a year or two of living in a less desirable location in a suburb that might not be "hot", for less money than she thought she'd be making at 30.

That's life.

Last edited by toobusytoday; 06-30-2016 at 12:30 PM..
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Old 06-30-2016, 12:32 PM
 
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Adding this to compare the cost of cities: Cost of living: How far will my salary go in another city? - CNNMoney
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