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My family made a huge move this summer from a moderate cost of living area to one of the higher cost of living areas. The advantages of this move are enormous; we live a short distance from one of the most exciting cities in the country. The nature, culture, arts, shopping, and access to just about anything is fantastic. Our weather is outstanding. The job opportunities are good. The public trasportation is better than in our old locale. And, finally the scenery is breathtaking.

All is Not Perfect-The Pros and Cons

According to Salary.com cost of living wizard the cost of living in our new home town is a whopping 40% higher than in our old borough. Wow, I knew it was more expensive here, but I didn’t realize it was this much higher! I’ve personally noticed that groceries, gas, restaurants, and housing are significantly more costly in this dream city.

We made the move with our eyes open. El Carino’s new salary is higher than his prior pay. Our daughter is grown, so we didn’t need to worry about the school district when buying our home. The housing crisis made buying our condo about $150,000.00 cheaper than if we had relocated three years ago! We made the move well aware of the costs and have amassed enough net worth to relocate without jepardizing our financial present or future. And, for us the lifestyle changes warranted the move to this premium locale.


Compare this move with an antonymous decision when our daughter was a toddler. At that time we lived in beautiful and costly San Diego California. We decided that El Carino would look for work in an area where I could afford to take some time off from the rat race to be a full time mom. In a cheaper location we could maintain a nice lifestyle in an area with good schools. Thus, we gave up the paradise of ideal weather, beach, and excitement to move to the midwest. During those years, we saved and invested a lot, lived in good neighborhoods with well regarded school districts, and grew our net worth.

That decision to leave San Diego for the midwest many years ago enabled us to afford our current move without sacrificing our retirement.

Is Moving to a Lower Cost of Living Area Right for You?

Life is all about compromises. You cannot be successful in life, marriage, or just about anything without compromise.

We decided at the outset that we were willing to settle in a moderate midwestern city in order to facilitate the family lifestyle we wanted. After leaving San Diego in the early 1990’s we bought a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home for well under $175,000.00 in an extremely desirable midwestern neighborhood surrounded by much more luxurious homes. I stayed at home and enjoyed being a mom and head household manager for a few years. We put the maximum into both a workplace 401(K) and Roth IRA’s. And during those years, in the middle parts of the country, our family-focused life set a solid foundation for our future.

For those living on the coasts and in the high cost areas of the country I recommend living in a more affordable locale. The financial savings are enormous and the lifestyle, while not as glamorous has it’s advantages. We didn’t get stuck in a traffic jam for many years. Of course, like all decisions, money is not the only decision making factor. There is family proximity, job outlook, and personal preferences. But, don’t rule out a move, there are some beautiful places off the beaten path. Even Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live article recommends some unique locations.


Have you considered relocating to save money?

image credit; James Hetherington




  1. Thanks for the mention! Choosing a lower cost of living area can help you to accomplish certain lifestyle goals. Oh the joys of living in the NE. *sigh*

    20's Finances

    November 18, 2011

  2. Before you have kids and after your kids have gone to college, both are good times to seek out new places!

    Moving to a city with a lower cost of living is definitely a smart choice when it comes to saving money. (Not to mention, it can be quite an adventure too!)


    November 18, 2011

  3. I live in a high cost area (southern California) and have no plans to move away. I moved here a long time ago and our children who are now adults live in California. Living in California a long time allowed us to ride the real estate roller coaster and accumulate a nice nest egg. I like the weather, close to our children and friends.


    November 18, 2011

  4. Thank you for including my article!

    Sounds like you moved to an amazing place.

    Amanda L Grossman

    November 18, 2011

  5. The midwest is a great place to live and do the family thing. I grew up and live there still. It’s definitely not beach weather year round, but there’s something in seeing the seasonal changes that’s good for the soul.

    Thanks for the press too.

    JP @ Novel Investor

    November 19, 2011

  6. I grew up in the Inland Empire area of California and moved to the beach when I was 19. I love where I live and there was no way I could move back to the valley. So, we stuck it out on a single income and it was really hard at first, especially trying to buy a house. I know it pushed me harder to increase my income and become successful here.

    Bret @ Hope to Prosper

    November 20, 2011

  7. Since we live in San Diego, we’ve considered what you did several times. However, we just love living here so much!

    Robert @ My Multiple Incomes

    November 20, 2011

  8. I live in the cold NE, so it’s hard for me to imagine giving up beautiful sunny California. It really seems that you have many more opportunities now though, given your willingness to be flexible!

    The housing costs are high, here, and if we have a crash I will be pissed but we won’t be wiped out. I think the more realistic scenario is stagnation, but that’s fine. What we pay is not far off from what rent would have been so that’s not the end of the world, and living in a building with owners as neighbours definitely makes up for the small extra.

    Invest It Wisely

    November 25, 2011

  9. I think making sacrifices to improve the quality of education and life your children have is well worth it. Especially if you can do it and save money for the future. But, I also believe we need to make sure we spend some time enjoying what we have because we don’t know what tomorrow may bring.

    Half Off Deals

    December 5, 2011


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