I'm looking for advice -- specifically on what makes the most sense on where to live.
We currently live in an extremely expensive city in California, recently ranked #2 worst place to raise children because of the cost of living, crime rate and income level/school districts. The problem is I love it here- I've lived here for four years and have built a great community of friends, and have made lots of parent friends and it's absolutely beautiful- ocean and redwoods.
We have to change our living situation though. We are paying 35% of my husbands salary on rent, and we have debt to pay off and rather than breaking even each month we go more and more into debt- anywhere from 500-1200 depending on the month. We are about to run out of credit and max out all our cards- I'd estimate we have 3 months left til that happens. After all our "have to pay" bills are paid, we have about $300 left over for gas, groceries and incidentals-- because so much goes to rent, utilities, credit card payments, etc. We have already cut everything we can cut (i just sold my car and we are sharing 1 car), we got on a family plan for the phones, we are on the averaged out utility bill plan instead of one that has seasonal spikes, etc... it's just that the rent is too damn high and our CC payments make up too much of his income. we're in a big hole.
I'm a SAHM, hopefully soon to be WAHM but that takes time for my internet business to start generating income. We need an additional 2500/month to stay where we live and break even PLUS start saving and paying off the debt OVER just the minimum payment which is what we need to do to to get out of this mess. We can afford $1000 a month for rent including utilities, NOT the almost $2000 we are paying.
The only solutions I see to this are:
1. miraculously find a situation here where we can pay 1000 or less - but it would have to be a live-able situation with another family (not random roommates) and a house that has enough space and privacy for everyone. This is what I've been looking for the last 3-4 months but haven't found it.
2. move to florida where my parents live where we'd have childcare on demand so I can work if i need to and where we could go ahead right away and buy a house because its so much cheaper. We'd also have lower expenses overall and would be able to pay off the debt (~20K) instead of continuing to go into the hole every month- the only problem is my husband would have to find a job there first, and he's hesitant to lose his tenure as a teacher here.
3. move somewhere cheaper in california, but we'd also have to find my husband a job. the plus to this is we'd still be close to all our friends and community and be living in a state we love. my husband is not a fan of florida and I'm not really either, but i love the beach... but there's no hiking and no mountains.
What to do ???? I'm feeling a sense of urgency to fix our situation as soon as possible, because I foresee the financial strain becoming a huge issue in the next couple months when our credit cards are maxed out. Any other suggestions on places to live that are similar to Santa cruz, Portland, Boulder, Austin, etc but are not so expensive???
While we have up some things we gained others. Of course work is far more available for DH in the area so that was what made it much easier.
Is there anyway you can find a credit counsellor?
Is the 35% in rent... Rent and utilities? Or just rent? I've been in a place where rent and utilities and stuff was costing over 50% but we also never used credit to keep us afloat, simply to get us out of the odd emergency. 35% in rent isn't really that bad, so I guess I'm wondering if you can see someone to help with your finances and figure out how to help you out of your credit situation before looking at moving?
Good luck mama! Money stress is one of the worst there is!
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