Comparing Cost of Living | Use CNN Money Calculator

Saturday, August 1st, 2009 By

Sticking to my story

Itching to live in a big city? You'll probably spend more time in your car than you do in your dramatically overpriced home.

Itching to live in a big city? You'll probably spend more time in your car than you do in your dramatically overpriced home.

A few weeks ago I wrote an article called “I’m Sorry I Don’t Want to Live in the Big City.” Yet another couple of my friends are moving across the state this weekend, further aggravating my condition.

My condition is one of mild irritation. It gets inflamed when people who live in this perfectly good mid-sized metro talk about “the big city” as though it is so superior. That’s fine — people are entitled to their opinions.

Fanning the flames

However, mild irritation is replaced by frustration and higher blood pressure when people try to talk me into jumping on this horribly ill-advised big-city bandwagon. Worse yet, they act befuddled when I tell them I have no interest in doing so.

They go all wide-eyed and gasp “Why not?” as though I’ve just said I don’t like puppies and music. Because of my frustration and blood pressure heightening condition, I usually just gasp “Whyyyyyyyy would I?” and leave it at that. But now, thanks to this nifty calculator I found on CNN, I can calmly, and coolly explain that I don’t want to have to get a personal loan every month just to pay my rent.

Check out the cost of living calculator

I found this simple cost of living calculator at CNN Money. It simply asks “How far will my salary go in another city?” You plug in  your yearly earnings and the city you live in, and it tells you how much you’d have to make per year to maintain a comparable standard of living in whichever city you choose to compare it to.

The best part, at least for me, is that it not only tells you how much you’d have to make to “get by” in this other city, it says how much more things cost there. For instance, in “the big city,” compared to the city I live in now, groceries cost 16 percent more and health care costs 12 percent more.

The dealbreaker

Best of all, I found out from the cost of living calculator that in this “big city,” this ridiculously overcrowded metropolis on the other side of the state, housing costs 91 percent more!

So next time I get the shocked, aghast “Why not?!” I have statistical evidence that life will not be superior in the magical, mystical big city. Not to mention that I’d have to make almost $10,000 more per year to maintain my eating and paying rent habits.

Don’t even try

There is more than one “big city” in my neck of the woods that my fellow residents apparently hold some sort of hero worship for just because it’s “bigger” and “closer to the beach.” So  it’s possible that after I’ve thwarted the Big City Number One argument, they’ll just start talking up Big City Two.

But I am a step ahead! I checked on this other Big City. The one that’s not quite so big but a little bit farther away and has a few more hippies. It says housing in this hip, environmentally friendly place will cost 65 percent more, groceries will cost 10 percent and utilities will be 11 percent more.

So, if you’re like me, and sick of fielding questions on why on earth you don’t want to pack up all of your things and move to a place where you’ll pay thousands more in rent for the privilege of sitting in traffic jams on a daily basis, check out the cost of living calculator.

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This post has 2 comments

  1. Big City Blues says:

    I live in the big city of Los Angeles and have lived here all of my life, I am trying to get out of here. The traffic is horrible, good luck with mass transit, that too is overcrowded. Cost of living is ridiculous!!! Why anyone would choose to move to a big city is beyond me.

  2. Tommy says:

    People who live *in* The Big City don't get stuck in traffic jams very often — we don't drive very often. We take mass transit to work, walk to the store, ride bicycles when the weather is good.

    How do I afford the higher rents? City jobs pay more. Plus I don't own a car, saving me thousands. I have a smaller place, which means I don't need to fill it up with furniture and tchotchkes, and my energy bills are lower too.

    Don't confuse living in The Big City with living in The Suburbs Somewhere Near The Big City, and don't forget the ways we Big City residents save money too!

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