Apartment Living ~> Stay or move to somewhere affordable? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 02-05-2015, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Apartment Living ~> Stay or move to somewhere affordable?

We live in Santa Cruz, CA and it is so expensive that a 2 bedroom apartment, even the crappiest one- starts at around $1700/month not including utilities, a free-standing house in a bad neighborhood either really far from town up in the woods where it's dark and moldy or close to downtown where there's crime starts at around $2000 for a one bedroom cottage, or $2500 for a 1 or 2 bedroom house, and is really run down.

Right now we're in a 1 bedroom apartment that is about 400 sq feet, underneath someone's giant beautiful home on a hill. There is no outdoor space, and our deck in the back has decayed and hasn't been fixed so we have no where to "be" outside.

I'm a stay at home mom to our toddler, so having to stay in a really tiny apartment with no outdoor space (and no light!!! it faces north and the sun doesn't shine in) all day really sucks. I'm tired of having to get out of the house to go places all day long, I'd love to be able to just go out once to the gym in the morning and then stay at home playing outside in our yard and doing things around the house. It gets exhausting driving around with a toddler and I hate for her to have to sit in her carseat so much and it gets expensive doing activities and it gets exhausting going to parks and for walks all day long which is what we do now.

My husband is a high school english teacher, and while he wants to find another job, he's not doing anything to find one, so chances are we will be in the same position next year. Our income is fixed, and $4800 (with him working 120% this year, next year our income will be back at $3800).

The rent at our current place is $1350. The kind of house that we want to live in in this town is a 2 bedroom in a nice neighborhood with a backyard- that kind of rental STARTS at around $3,000. I have no income, although I have sporadic doula and health coaching clients, I have nothing consistent, and any extra income I do have is immediately used to pay off debts. To afford the kind of house we want, we would have to make at least $9,000 a month. People who have houses here generally commute over the hill to silicon valley to work at google and apple and such where they make six figures minimum to afford the lifestyles that they have.

So.... what would you do? Would you stay in the town you love because you've lived there for 5 years and have community and like the ocean and redwoods and just deal with the horrible housing situation for your child's whole life.... OR would you move to a place where you could actually afford the kind of house you want at the same salary so there isn't any pressure to make more money.

eventually I will be making money, but as it is now, I'm in school for another 3 years getting my master's degree. After that, our income will go up. OR if my husband can miraculously find a job that makes 6 figures... our income will go up and we can stay here now.

also~ according to the 28% rule of how much you're supposed to spend on housing, we spend EXACTLY that amount on rent right now with my husband's income. Spending this amount JUST gets us by with careful budgeting and paying off 2 credit cards, 2 medical bill payments and a car payment.

I just don't know what to do... I am so unhappy living in this tiny space and I really want to have a second bedroom for our daughter and a yard.

We were thinking of moving to:
Grass Valley, CA (cheaper!! but colder, same kind of community though)
Kenmore/Seattle area, WA (where my school is-it's an online/hybrid format)
Portland, OR (have lived there before)
San Diego, CA (probably just as expensive though, but there's another campus for my school there and I eventually want to do the naturopathic program and that requires living on campus)
Florida (where my parents live)- this option would allow me to work because my mom would watch our daughter. This would be temporary as we pay off our debt and save money for a house somewhere we actually want to live. The town I grew up in is nice, but I dont want my daughter to grow up there.

What to do??? any insight on the places I mentioned?
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#2 of 6 Old 02-06-2015, 12:58 PM
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You need to move! That kind of rent is insanely high for a family on your income. You pay 28% of your income at your current pay and if I read your post correctly, your rent will be 36% of next year's income. If it was me, I would be scouting out a new location.

Moving stinks, but you have several things going for you:

High school teachers are needed everywhere. The world is your proverbial oyster. Go out and check out some new places. And you don't need to stay in high-priced cities. You named Seattle, Portland and San Diego, three very high rent areas. Look around, there are lots of small to mid-sized cities that are very affordable and can be great places to live.

You rent -- this is a blessing. I assume you need to give notice and you can simply leave. That is fantastic at a time when a lot of people are underwater on mortgages and cannot move.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Frugal, food growing mama to my four loves

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#3 of 6 Old 02-25-2015, 08:27 PM
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San Diego isn't as expensive as Santa Cruz,depending on the area. You would be able to get a decent 2bedroom for what you are paying now, and if you went inland, or a bit north, you could do better.

My ex was a teacher, and I was a sahm, so I'm well aware of the challenges that entails. I also have lived in cheaper places to save money, and that doesn't work if you hate the place and get depressed.

I would absolutely move, if I were you. I would check out places that have features you like but are more affordable. Your options all look good, I hope it works out!

"Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." Ralph Marston

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#4 of 6 Old 07-01-2015, 05:25 AM
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I would look into moving, look up job listings and check out the communities.
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#5 of 6 Old 07-01-2015, 08:56 AM
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Hi! I'm your neighbor! I was born in sc, and lived there for years I married my dh 5 years ago and we lived a year in a little apt off morrissey. I was perfect for newly weds a studio with a little deck. We payed $1200! We tried to live in gilroy where he is from, but his commute was too long (Monterey). Now we have a 2 yr old and I stay home. He is in construction so our income is not great. But we found a house in the country between salinas and Watsonville. We love it! We will never move, at least we never want too. Lol we pay 1350 for s 2 bedroom with a big yard. If you really want to stay in the area look into areas away from the city. If we hadn't moved to the country we would have moved out of state by now. We just can't afford to live in sc. Even with 2 incomes we were tight there. I would look into Ben lomand, just make sure it's a sunny patch! The mold is so bad! Corrolitos, prundale, and aromas. Don't just look in the papers or online to find rentals. Talk to people it's all word of mouth here. Grocery cashiers and people in the park, that's who to ask. GL!
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#6 of 6 Old 07-25-2015, 10:32 AM
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I know this is an old thread but we moved out of Santa Cruz last year. We were in Boulder Creek for 10 years, then Felton for 2. I love living there, I love the redwoods, but its unlikely we could buy a house there and rent was not cheap.

So we moved. My dh was able to get a transfer to Bellingham. Wa. It's about 1.5hr north of Seattle close to the boarder and on the coast. I'm still transitioning, but in general I love it here. Its beautiful, tons to do, lots of outdoor activities. We can actually afford a nice place here. A part of me will always be in the SC Mountains and all the wonderful families I know there will be missed, but it was absolutely the best decision for us.

Happily married, Waldorf-inspired homeschooler to Kylan (9yo), Everest (7yo), Bodhi (3yo), and a baby GIRL due in Oct 2015!
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