Rural Ideas For An Expensive Housing Market

I’ve touted the benefits of living in Iowa before, but one of the biggest benefits of all is the wonderful housing market. I was able to get a 2000+ square foot home, built less than ten years ago, for less than $200,000. This success makes me never even want to consider living in an expensive housing market like many of my readers do.

Given that, one of my readers wrote to me with an interesting take on the dichotomy between his expensive housing market and my relatively cheap one:

I live in Cambridge, MA, and the amount of home that you can get for $150,000 or even $250,000 is basically low to nonexistent. A quick MLS search turns up the cheapest single-family home in my city for $339,000. There is a one-bedroom, 427 square foot condo listed for as low as $179,000, which is the lowest-priced listing. So the question I thought you might have some interesting insight into is this: how can those of us who live in higher-priced areas and have children work toward home ownership, assuming that we don’t want to uproot our kids and take them away from their families and out of their schools?

I have been following your blog long enough to know that you live in a cheaper, more rural area, but I think that this might actually allow you to have insight and perspective about this situation that I might not have.

The obvious question that this article brings about is if I were living in a truly expensive housing market, like San Francisco or Cambridge, what would I do without moving away?

Dealing with An Expensive Housing Market

1. Get over yourself

Check your ego at the door. Right. Now. This might seem almost arrogant advice, but it’s true. Many of the things you will have to do now will be things that you might not even consider yourself doing. I had to go through an enormous ego check a while back when my son was born and I realized that I needed to be getting my financial house in order. Just check your preconceptions at the door and don’t just say “No, no, that doesn’t work for me” unless you’ve actually given it an earnest shot.

2. Find the cheapest housing you can possibly stand

My wife and son and I have lived in a crackerbox apartment for the last few years in order to save up for a down payment and to have some cash for the things we would want when we move. My first reaction to the apartment when we walked in was “Over my dead body,” but the more I thought about it and looked at it, the more I realized that I could make this work for a while. If we had been living somewhere more expensive, we would still be stuck in a tiny apartment instead of moving on up to the figurative East Side.

3. Learn and practice frugality in every dimension of your life

You may think it’s silly to spend time doing something that saves only a dollar or two, but just keep doing it in every dimension of your life and that cash seriously adds up. Pick up The Complete Tightwad Gazette (never mind the cheeky name) and study it. Install CFLs in every light socket. Take public transportation everywhere. Find free entertainment (if you live in a hot housing market, likely there are tons of interesting cultural activities around). Use the library instead of the bookstore.

4. Build a cash emergency fund

I would build a few months’ worth of salary in a cash emergency fund in a high-yield savings account. This way, if something bad happens, you aren’t dropping it on the credit card and causing yourself to lose ground on your progress. Once you reach three months or so, let it sit there and let the interest build – only tap it when the only other option is to hit the credit card. Build this emergency fund first before you do anything else and if you do need to hit it, make sure it is built back up before moving on.

5. Pay off all of your debts before you do anything else

That housing payment is going to be a monster, so you need to be rid of all debts so you can focus on that big debt that is coming. Don’t pay attention to advice about leveraging low interest rates – you’re going to need every penny you can get each month when you move and a required payment of any kind isn’t going to help. Get rid of them now before you even start saving. The most cost-effective way is to start with the highest interest debt you have and throw every possible spare penny at it.

6. NOW start saving

With no debts, a cheap lifestyle, and an emergency fund in place, you should be able to sock a huge chunk of change away each month. I would put it in a diverse portfolio of four or five low-cost index funds – I’m a huge fan of Vanguard’s offerings. Just keep building up.

7. Keep yourself motivated

My wife and I window-shopped for houses constantly. We would look at every house for sale and discuss its merits. We saved pictures of houses we liked and put them up everywhere for motivation. This (plus the constant presence of our son) made us constantly realize why we were making hard choices.

8. Define clear metrics

I really found that having a clear progress bar made it easier to keep track of where we were at. I would fill in a percent of the bar each time I saved up that matching amount. To do this, you need to know the approximate price of the house you would buy and also have a good idea of the monthly payment you could actually afford – this will show you how much of the house’s cost you can actually swing on a mortgage. Save for the difference between the two plus about $20,000 (so you can furnish the home – trust me, you’re going to really want to when you move). Then, each time you save 1% of that amount, you can mark it off on your progress bar. For us, thankfully, we knew we could afford the monthly expenses of a house – our goal was just the down payment and a wad of cash to furnish the house after the move.

9. Keep your nose clean

The best way to do this is to eliminate all but your oldest credit card and only use that for occasional online purchases, which you pay off immediately (never, ever let a balance carry over). This keeps your credit nice and healthy so that when you go to get the loan, you’ll be in good shape to get a good rate.

Good luck! From my perspective, you’re going to need it!

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  1. UncleOxidant says:

    I was able to get a 2000+ square foot home, built less than ten years ago, for less than $200,000. This success makes me never even want to consider living in an expensive housing market like many of my readers do.

    There’s a reason you could get a house in Iowa for under $200K: there just aren’t as many high paying jobs there as you’ll find in urban areas.

    It’s all a matter of opportunity: if you’re an Electrical Engineer you’re not likely to find much employment in rural Iowa. But in the SanFran Bay area you’ll find all kinds of opportunities. Yes you’ll have to pay more to live there, but you’ll get a lot more pay too (and of course that means you’ll pay a lot more taxes).

    But in general, I think your advice here is sound: if you’ve gotta live in a more expensive area to be employed doing something you like then you should look for ways to minimize your housing costs. I would also suggest co-housing for those expensive areas: get a group of people together that can live together and rent a place.

  2. guinness416 says:

    Here are a few considerations from the perspective of someone who’s bought in both NYC and Toronto (but doesn’t know Cambridge too well at all):

    Shoot for maximising income. A great thing about the big smoke is that part time work is plentiful, other job opportunities are available, etc. This one helps a lot.

    Ditch the car (if you have one). A huge boost the bottom line, and a genuine option for those of us in cities.

    Consider looking for a place with a basement you can rent. Yeah, you have to become a landlord, and it’s a pain in the arse to “share” your house but it will get you on the property ladder earlier and you don’t have to rent that basement out forever.

    Prioritize very carefully. You’re probably not going to get a recently updated house, in a fantastic school district, 5 minutes from a subway stop, in a trendy neighbourhood. Figure really carefully what matters most.

    Consider condos or co-ops over houses. Haven’t done this personally, but many friends have.

    Use free entertainment. A great advantage of cities like NYC and TO is the wealth of free festivals, concerts, parks, waterfronts, bike trails, walks, etc.

    Give up the services. Some urbanites are hooked on the corner dry cleaner, takeout every other night, grocery delivery, cabs in the rain etc. If so, quit ‘em!

    Live out of the way. Trent’s suggestion to get a small place is good, but the urban equivalent is probably living out of the way – an extra 15-minute walk from the subway or in a basement or an ugly part of town or something can save you a packet over a year or two.

  3. DarkoBeta says:

    Trent, are you including student loans when you say pay off ALL debt? I assume that you are, per the recommendation not to leverage low interest rates. I agree with most of the rest of this post, but that might be bordering on martyrdom.

  4. MossySF says:

    I live in San Francisco and this is roughly my strategy. While average living expenses are higher in urban areas, there usually are options. You can find cheaper apartments. You can find cheaper transportation (smaller cars, bus, bike, rollerblade, walk). You can find cheaper food (farmers’ markets, ethnic grocery stores). You can find cheaper goods & services (cash-only merchants). You can find cheaper entertainment (lotsa cheap/free options).

    But the operative word is “can”. In the end, it’s all a matter of willpower and priorities. An important goal in mind (house, early retirement, self-employment, whatever) can keep you on track. But more important is to ignore what your peers are doing and stop caring about how others judge you by your external appearances.

  5. MaryBeth says:

    Sorry for this nonproductive comment, but I’m really dissappointed in your arrogance. I live in New York. I don’t think you get it. It’s damn near impossible to find an “over my dead body” place for a decent price, let alone a place you actually want to live in. Please check your ego at the keyboard.

  6. Trent Trent says:

    DarkoBeta: every debt payment you have each month works against you when buying a house, because lenders take that into account in seeing what you can afford each month.

  7. Trent Trent says:

    MaryBeth: you’re making the choice to live there, not me. Honestly, I don’t understand why someone would choose to live there – I was just responding to a request for advice, and if I were forced to live there, I would live in someone’s closet if it meant that I could be saving for something better than the 150 sq. ft. apartment that one of my friends lives in for $1,600 a month in lower Manhattan.

  8. Danielle says:

    Trent-

    We are all entitled to our own opinions, but I think our views are very colored by where we grew up. You have lived in a rural setting your whole life so I can see how that is what you prefer. You would be a fish out of water in NYC:) However, there are lots of people out there that love NYC for lots of reasons one being the culture, diversity, etc. (hence why it is so expensive in the first place) eventhough you cannot fathom. As you love Iowa there are many people that may not share those feelings. One person being my brother who went to law school there (Go Buckeyes!!), but could not wait to hightail it out of there after graduation and move to NYC. Diversity makes this world great. It would be pretty boring if we all had the same views.

    Good Luck with your move!!
    -Danielle

  9. Danielle says:

    Um, duh I meant Hawkeyes in my post above!! Buckeyes would be Ohio and that makes a WORLD of difference!!

    Sorry -Danielle

  10. J.D. says:

    Both the Iowa and the NYC folks are wrong, anyhow. Portland, Oregon is the place to be!

  11. UncleOxidant says:

    JD: Portland, OR isn’t all that affordable anymore either. The median house price here is $350K according to http://www.housingtracker.net/

    while the median household income is about $50K. Definitely affordability problems here in PDX.

  12. Ms. Clear says:

    We live in these places because they are our homes. I grew up near Boston and I love and I want to stay.

    It isn’t easy. I’m reconciled to renting for many years, if necessary.

  13. 60 in 3 says:

    I live in the San Francisco bay area. Prices here are indeed high, but it’s possible to own a place. I bought mine seven years ago when I was 26. It took a lot of hard work and saving, but it is possible.

    I aimed low at first, I bought a townhouse that was built in the 70’s. I slowly fixed up the place and now I’m about to rent it out and move into a larger home.

    One thing to keep in mind is that high price areas also offer higher price jobs. I believe our local police force offers 70 to 80k as a starting salary for example. So it’s possible to make good money here even if you’re not an engineer. The rest is up to you.

    Gal

  14. Brip Blap says:

    I own a place in metropolitan New York City (well, right across the Hudson in New Jersey, so 15 minutes by public transportation from Manhattan). It took a lot of hard work, a single-minded focus on saving for years beforehand, and some luck. If you want to live IN NY, SF, Boston – you had better be a two-income family with at least one of you earning 200K+ per year OR you should be willing to live in a substandard box. Or rent. But if you look at the market and can’t afford it even in your dreams with massive saving, etc. – get a higher paying job, settle for a small, out of the way place in Jersey or Long Island, or move. New York has so much more to offer than the rest of America (110% JUST MY OPINION) that people are willing to pay off-the-chart premiums, and that’s just the way it is.

  15. Beth says:

    I’m in the bay area, and I’d rather have a short commute and rent than a crazy-long high-traffic commute just to own a McMansion. (Not that I could on my single income anyway!) I figure it’ll take me 8 years to save up the 20% down payment for a $350k home… not that I know where one of those may be found!

    I think people are too hung up on the notion of owning, frankly. Just because we’ve been told owning is the American Dream doesn’t mean it’s MY dream. Of course I’m a little bitter; one of the reasons I was able to leave JD’s Portland is that I felt completely priced out of the market. Why not live in one of THE most expensive places, if I can’t own anyway?

  16. sfgal says:

    I live in San Francisco in a run down and disgusting apartment with two roommates (males) in a great location. I chose to live in a run down place for cheaper rent ($550) compared to the $800 for better living conditions.

    But if people are willing to give up the car and the expensive lifestyle and choose a different neighborhood they can own too.

    And there’s so much free entertainment – why pay $20+ for one event when if you look outside there’s tons to see and do. lots of street fairs, art gallery events and free concerts. there’s a fun song called “nickels and dimes” by a local SF band about the budget-minded SF resident. the song suggests opening your window for all the culture, hopping the side of the buses and more.

    i budget $20 a month for entertainment though occassionally and rarely i’ll bump it to $100 for a show i haven’t seen.

  17. Jennifer says:

    Why do people always assume that home ownership is the best option? I live in San Francisco, admittedly one of the most expensive places in the country to own. And while San Francisco rent is not cheap, it is still cheaper than home ownership. For what I pay for a rent-controlled 2-bedroom apartment that is walking distance to the park, public transportation, cafes, shops, restaurants and grocery stores, I could maybe get a studio condo. And that studio would be outgrown if I got married and/or had a child. I probably wouldn’t be able to rent it out and cover my mortgage.

    I’m aware of how much I could comfortably afford in mortgage (about $500 more than what I’m currently paying in rent; I make around 80k per year). Instead of buying a place for the sake of getting into the market, I’ve chosen to save that $500. And, for now, that $500/month invested in an index fund seems like a better investment than real estate.

    I wouldn’t move out of San Francisco to somewhere less expensive – not even to the distant suburbs (where I’d have to buy a car and spend $3.00 + per gallon of gas). The benefits of living in this city, to me at least, are probably as numerous to Trent as the benefits of living in a rural area.

  18. I have lived with in stone’s throws of both Cambridge and San Francisco. I think in each place, you might want to consider renting and not owning. There is a large disconnect where buying in those areas has just way outpaced the ratio of what a rent would be.

    Yes, all these frugal things will help and may make it possible. As Trent says, you’ll probably need the good luck. I imagine that selling all your stuff and moving in 150 sq. ft closet (borrowing from Trent) is going to be a worse shock to your lifestyle than the uprooting.

    As someone mentioned, one of the best advantages of living in a place like Cambridge or San Francisco is that there are more opportunities than say Iowa. I’d use that to my advantage. Focus some strong effort on your career. Always have your resume on the job marketting looking for a higher paying job. If you are in a low paying job such as a teacher, perhaps you can look to take steps to be a college professor. If you enjoy the good feelings of working for a non-profit (and sacrificing cash to do it), think about moving to a for-profit job and donating time on the weekend to good causes.

    Lastly, consider times when uprooting children is possible. It might after they finish high school, but even if you have a 7 year old now, that could be 10 years away. To be honest, the last time I looked at the Cambridge school system, uprooting might not be the worst idea in the world. (I bet I’m going to draw a little criticism for that, so be it).

  19. Want to live in a HCOLA? I do and have since I left home 10+ years ago. How’d we afford a townhouse at 26 that is $575k when our gross income averaged $40k the previous 5 years?

    Living cheaply. We bought in 2002 in a super hot market a 1 bedroom condo. All of our friends thought we were stupid. They were “waiting” to buy a 2 bd condo or bigger, they were not willing to live in a tiny 1 bd condo (cost $150k).

    We flipped it 3 years later for almost $300k. So who laughed all the way to the bank? We did. Even now we had a choice to buy a single family home and stretch. Instead we bought a ridiculously expensive townhouse, but it wasn’t the most expensive thing we could have bought.

    So how to live in a HCOLA? Well you have to be willing to live in smaller places than people who live in other areas of the country buy. What we paid for a 1 bd condo in 2002 was more than the average home in the US!

    But we said sure 500 sq ft, we can make it work. We weren’t greedy and even now we’re living in smaller space because we’re moving up slowly. Our goal is to keep on moving up slowly by paying down a mortgage, appreciation, and the plan is in another 5 years we can buy a single family home pretty comfortably.

    Problem is a lot of people in HCOLA expect to be like people in LCOLA. They expect to afford a $750k single family home. They expect that $500k will buy them a house (not true). It’s the “I want a house, and I want it NOW!” mentality.

    Did anyone living in these HCOLA places even consider buying a super tiny 1 bd condo? Did they even consider settling for a townhouse? Probably not, at least in my experience of living in CA and Boston.

    Most people our age are trying to jump directly into single family homes like elsewhere. NOT going to happen.

    I guess like everything else in the world, you have to be satisfied with what you can afford and stop being jealous of everyone else.

  20. MoneyNing says:

    I live in Orange County, CA and the house prices are definitely very high!

    Lately, I’m comtemplating whether I should buy a house in a less expensive area than one in a more expensive area because houses is really a lifestyle investment and not a financial investment. It would make sense to keep more money in equities and others than the house. I’m still battling about this since it is totally not the conventional thinking.

  21. Rob says:

    Lenders also take into account how much money you have (though of course it varies how much weight they place on it). So not paying off your low interest student loans also means you have all that money in the bank, which is another thing they consider. General rule is, banks like to lend money to people who demonstrate they don’t need it.

  22. Imelda says:

    All the scrimping and saving in the world is not going to get you a home in NYC if you earn an average salary. Especially if you’re single income.

  23. DJ says:

    Trent, I’ve been reading for a while and I do enjoy the site, but you give the exact advice in every situation. How is this post different than any other post on saving? What part of it is tailored to this situation?

  24. MVP says:

    MaryBeth and Danielle, NYC is obviously a very expensive place to live, but somehow lots of lower- and middle-income people manage to live there. I’m sure it’s because they do many of the things Trent mentions, like living farther out, away from public transportation hubs and settling for something less than ideal. No need to take these suggestions personally. I don’t think Trent was meaning to comment on folks’ personal living location preferences; I think he was trying to outline ways people can be as efficient as possible with their $ so they can live where they want, no matter where that is.
    Brip Blap, FYI, rural America also has a lot to offer that NYC and other big cities don’t. Go there sometime (by the way, I love NYC and big cities in general, I just choose to live in the country because it offers me, in particular, a better quality of life ;)
    Imelda, that’s exactly the kind of comment that gets under my skin; it’s like when people say being frugal doesn’t really make a difference. Whatever.

  25. Rachel says:

    I have been married for almost 27 years and a homeowner for almost 20. Here is what I do not understand. Where I live(Florida), it cost just as much to rent as it does to buy. In other words, we rented an apartment for $450.00 once, and then bought a house with payments of $500.00. After selling that house 9 years later, we rented for a year at $800.00 per month, then bought a house with payments of a little over $800.00 per month. So here’s my question, how do people manage to rent and save money at the same time? Maybe it is different in other parts of the country. There are not a lot of apartments available where I live, so I know that keeps the cost up. We bought our second home with no money down, because it qualified for a rural development loan. Our daughter is living with us temporarily to save for a down payment on a house, but this is causing her and her boyfriend to live apart while they work non-stop for this. I keep telling her they would do just as well to go ahead and buy with no money down, make extra on the payment each month, and start building equity now.When we sold our first house we made $17,000 on the sale, and I doubt we could have saved $17,000 over the course of nine years renting for almost the same as we were paying to buy. So I think getting into a home as soon as you can is a good idea.

  26. Trent Trent says:

    DJ: there’s not much different between the two, really. Advantages of the city include public transportation – that’s simply not an option here – and more options for free entertainment (in some ways). But the same basic principles still apply – live cheaply and sock away money.

  27. Trent Trent says:

    Rachel: here in Iowa, it is vastly cheaper to rent. My housing costs will more than double when I move.

  28. lorax says:

    The first comment, from UncleOxidant is directly on target.

    What matters is the total income. A microbiologist making $120k living in Cambridge, MA and paying for a $400k home is a heck of a lot better than making $30k and paying for a $150k home in Iowa.

    Even if the homeprice/salary ratios were equal, you’d have more net income in Cambridge. Same percentage, different base, so more money.

    The story is quite different if you can’t get a good paying job in the city. Then moving to a cheaper environ make sense.

  29. Tristan says:

    I uprooted my children and took them away from friends and family. They did fine. I moved across the country. I didn’t want to work thirty years to pay for an overpriced house……not unless friends and family members wanted to contribute. This is not popular advice because people get so attached to an environment or situation. You can make new friends. You can fly to visit relatives. Owning your own affordable home is a good cure for the short time you will feel homesick. Too many people use friends and family as an excuse to avoid change. See where you want to be in ten years then be brave enough to do what it takes to get there. Don’t make excuses.

  30. guinness416 says:

    In fairness Tristan, plenty of people live happily in places like NYC and rent their whole lives. Forgoing home ownership in the face of a culture that tells us buying is a natural part of any grownup’s life to stay close to family and friends and a city you love (the really important things in life) seems to me to be the brave choice. I’m fortunate that our salaries and spending habits have allowed us to buy in some expensive cities, but have no doubt I’d rent rather than go somewhere else.

  31. cami says:

    @Rachel, I’m not sure what part of Florida you live in, but from everything I’ve read it costs significantly more to buy in Florida then it does to rent, especially when you factor in insurance (if you can get it) and taxes.

    As someone who grew up outside of New York city and currently lives in Iowa I can see both sides of the argument. The truth is it is a lot more expensive to live in New York, especially if you a lower income worker. And while it’s great to say that people should save more or work more, if you have children or other family obligations it may not be possible. There are issues to consider on both sides, and often it’s hard to put a price tag on them because they vary highly from person to person. For some people, closeness to family, religious, or cultural groups cause them to stay in a HCOLA. If you’ve ever had to drive over an hour just to find someone who could do your hair, or drive two towns over to attend a religious service, you may just find you’re not that interested in smaller town or rural living. And it can get worse once you have kids and they struggle with constantly explaining why they look different, or eat different foods, or celebrate different holidays and can never just be who they are.

    I also think that rundown, cheap housing in some parts of the country are not the same as others. It’s one thing to live in an old house or apartment building with leaky faucets and windows. It’s something else entirely to explain to your three year-old what those popping sounds during the middle of the night were. And in some cities, that’s what a lot of the cheaper housing looks like, and the find something safe can be very expensive, if you can find it at all. However, as many have pointed out, if you’re willing to use some critical thinking skills and see if you can make it in a HCOLA by renting instead of buying then that might be the best situation for you.

  32. Joe says:

    For me, the main advantage to living in a big city is jobs. I live in Chicago and love the cultural activities, but more importantly we are the third largest market with many large corporations. I work in Market Research and could possibly find a job in a smaller (and cheaper) town, but what would I do if I was subject to a layoff? Most people I know in Chicago that have lost their job were able to find something very quickly without relocating.

  33. MossySF says:

    For all who say “can’t buy a home in XYZ on an average income”, there are plenty of people who have done it and continue to do it. I know of many many cases here in San Francisco (I grew up here) and New York City (my wife’s friends are there) where new immigrants making puny amounts of money somehow saved their way into a house. It goes something like this — you steadily save your money for about a decade (none of this 6 month/1 year timeframe nonsense) to build up a downpayment. During this time, no X-mas gifts, no birthday gifts, no birthday parties, no eating out, no toys, no vacations, no discretionary spending of any kind, no cars, working multiple jobs. (Yes, I grew up in this type of environment.)

    Now you might say this type of sacrifice is insane and how can anybody be expected to live like this. The problem is if you live in NYC or SF or other urban places with high immigrant population, your competition for homes are either super-earners or super-savers. (For immigrants, they probably saved 40% back in their home country and 60% income here is still a major leap up in lifestyle.) If you are not one or the other, embrace the renters’ life and don’t let the social pressure/stigma for homeownership affect you. Stocks beat housing long-term anyways — I’d much rather have a 1M portfolio than live in a 1M house.

  34. Joe says:

    The only difference between NY and Iowa is that NY is more fun from ages 22 to 27, after that your life in NY would be about the same as in Iowa, except people in Iowa could care less where you went to college–a Rutgers graduate would have the same doors open as a Harvard grad out here. Iowa has diversity of people and thought–walk around Des Moines or Cedar Rapids–there is diversity — guess what Iowa has voted Democrate one year and Republican the next so no party has this state locked up (diversity of thought in my book)

  35. Imelda says:

    MVP, I am actually an extremely frugal person. But that does not mean I can afford to buy an apartment in NYC, nor will I be able to anytime soon. If ever.

    MossySF- Personally, I don’t know anyone who has done what you said in NYC, though anything’s possible. I will say this: the average income of NYC residents is a little above $50K per year; the average apt. costs $745K. How can anyone earning $50K per year make that kind of mortgage payment? For instance, I could live with my parents for several years and live as you described, which for me is not insane sacrifice. I could save enough for a down payment–but I still couldn’t afford to own.

    (See http://www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/chapter04_files/sheet012.htm for income data;

    http://www.observer.com/2007/apartment-prices-citywide-report-says for apartment prices)

  36. guinness416 says:

    I do Imelda – my inlaws are a waiter and a Macy’s salesperson. First-gen immigrants, no college. They bought a house about a year or so ago. It’s in Queens, not Manhattan, required a LOT of work to make the interior acceptable, is a hike from a subway stop, and they rent the basement out. And they saved their arses off for probably 5 years for the downpayment. But they are on the property ladder, the house looks great now, and they are very satisfied.

  37. Rob in Madrid says:

    An interesting article (hat tip to Trica @ bloggingawaydebt.com ) for this one.

    Lessons Learned from a few super saviors in New York

    http://tinyurl.com/yp99rv

    What I did notice while they were able to save up a down payment none of them were low wage 1st Gen immigrants. All earned a decent wage.

  38. Sandy says:

    Interesting comments, all.
    Our story is possibly unique…we’ve lived in both high priced areas and in the midwest. My husband has always had great paying jobs in the NEOHIO area, and has worked for 3 major corporations based here. Corporations have a really tough time attracting employees from the coasts. If they do coma, they don’t know where to look for culture, ethnic foods, whatever. So they work a few months and leave. The fact that they can have a really affordable lifestyle doesn’t seem to be important to them. All of the things that were available to me in urban areas (Paris, Brussels, Dusseldorf) are also available to me here…I’m from Ohio and know where to look, and while I may need to drive a bit more to get to the place, it’s not much more than a trip to the other side of Paris on the metro.
    I have a neighbor who moved here from Boston, and she is very lucky to live here, she feels, as her son was born with a heart defect. There is no way she could have pulled down a full time job, as she would have had to in Boston just to pay the rent. As it is, they bought a small house in a great neighborhood, and was able to be there with her son during his ongoing treatments. Her husband has a great job with a local corporation making the same amount that he made in Boston.
    That’s the flip side of this, too…my husband often gets calls from head-hunters, for jobs in NYC or other high priced areas of the country. The pay that they offer him is only slightly higher than he makes here in Ohio, but his cost of living would be crazy higher, compared to our costs of living here. Why in the world would we move? Plus, there is (because it’s not always easy to find east coasters willing to live in Ohio)some level of job security with that. We’ll let them move us to other places on the planet, due to his skills, but we’ll keep our low cost of living house and rent it out while we are gone…this has worked for us.

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