I grew up not too
far from you up & down the west coast (you already know that, though
) Your numbers aren't all that different from there.
The cheapest rent we ever had was our last place we lived in down there, a 600 sq ft 2 bed/1 bath condo for $800 a month. Granted the water was
included, it wasn't enough to call it "cheap" rent discounting it.
I realize we got pretty lucky up here in the Grand Rapids area with our rent, we got in right when the market started to explode. It took us 3 months
of living in a hotel & competing heavily with other potential renters to snag a rental.
It's a 1400 sq ft 4 bed/1 bath house (2100 sq ft if you include the partially finished basement) on a half acre of land, and we pay just over a grand
($1100 to be exact) A house this size, on a plot of land this size in Florida would be an easy $2500 on the "cheap" side. More realistically, $3K plus
would be accurate in SW FL.
I haven't browsed too heavily, but as far as jobs go, it seems $15 an hour (or around $30k a year) seems average, since it's a manufacturing area.
Although the Payscale site says average pay is around $47,000 (puts hourly equivalent around $22 p/h) It definitely doesn't seem to be all that hard
to find something paying around $15 an hour, that's for certain. The Payscale site's given average is close to my husband's income, and it wasn't hard
for him to climb the company ladder to that despite not having the college degree qualifications his current position requires. Employers up here seem
fairly forgiving in that respect, even the apprentice welder across the street makes a good enough income to own his house. The rule of thumb seems to
be that if you do the job well, you get paid well.
As for rentals, that runs the gamut, and the higher prices are starting to become all that's left. $1500+ for some fancier/hot locale apartment/home
is pretty normal. For the most part, a 2 bed/1 bath seems to be going for an average of $1000 right now, which was pretty much expected due to the
influx of people coming up here, it's a hell of a hot housing market. So hot that renter competition is fierce enough that our hotel stay is something
to expect to do while hunting. My hubby has several people from FL working with him now that moved up here for work, and they all faced the same hotel
stays before finding a rental.
Hell, even buying is a "like hotcakes" thing, the last house that sold on my street sold within 24 hours of the sign going up. The old vet living
there picked a buyer at random because he had 20 offers by afternoon & he wasn't going to drag that on longer than needed O.O
The CoL is dirt cheap here, so that helps a LOT. Our last winter electric bill for last month was $150, and the gas was $80. The electric ran higher
than I wanted to see for April, but we didn't run the gas furnace as much at night and just turned on the electric heaters in the bedrooms instead.
This month's electric is sure to have sunk like a stone, I'd wager it's probably going to be around $100, and the gas definitely plummeted. That one
just came in for $30.
I can't remember what our highest winter electric was, but I remember our highest winter gas bill pleasing the hell out of my husband at a mere $140.
I think the highest electric was not much higher than April's bill. Basically, one month of being close to or on par with regular FL summer cooling
bills, and we're not well insulated in this house. If we were, it'd be even cheaper.
Our grocery costs are for 5 -- 2 bottomless pit kids & 3 adults -- and it runs us about...$400 a month for fresh meat, fruit & veggies, and very
little in the way of prepared/convenience foods. The sirloin we're going to grill for dinner tonight ran us $5 a lb (I know damn well back in FL
that'd be at least $7 or $8 a lb) We get fresh-made sausages & brats for $3 a lb, the boneless, skinless chicken breast we stockpiled in the freezer
was on sale for $1.50 a lb (normally $2.50 or $3. I think. It's cheap compared to FL, I know that much) We tend to get ground sirloin for burgers at
about $4 a lb, and thick cut bacon's about the same price (eat that, prepackaged brands!)
Stuff like lettuce is almost always $1 a lb, sometimes fluctuates upward a quarter, so we eat a LOT of fresh salads around here (plus the rabbit &
bird, too) Apples are always a steal, I've paid as little as 69 cents a lb in season for Honeycrisp apples, and that's if I don't get half bushels.
I'm buying by the half bushel by apple season anyway, so at most, a $12 a half bushel, but normally for something like Galas or Fujis or whatever,
it's $6 or $7 for all of that. One of my kids is the Bubba Gump of apples, so this is a very affordable way to keep her eyeball deep in her favorite
The only major drawback I can see for the CoL up here is insurance, it's very high & fluctuates by area. My brother's full coverage runs him over $300
a month in suburban Detroit for an older rustbucket, but he swears he's getting a good discount o.0
I'm not sure exactly how much my husband pays, but it's well over $100 for basic, and he never paid that much for basic insurance in other states.
Hopefully that all helps you, Mblah
edit on 5/23/2018 by Nyiah because: (no reason given)