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Old 06-07-2013, 12:48 PM   #21
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OTOH, we have noticed that groceries seem to be cheaper in areas where cost of housing is higher....presumably b/c there are more grocery stores, who compete fiercely for customers. For our in-depth, scientific research, we have made comparisons across parts of VA, MD, D.C., WV, PA, NJ, NC, and FL.

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I think this is true when comparing a solidly middle class suburb to a more marginal one. Partly this is due to occupancy costs, partly shrinkage, and perhaps mostly the mix of products carried there.

It is definitely not true in cities where in-city housing is considerably more expensive on average than suburban housing. Every large chain store that I know of within 1 mile of the city core prices higher than the same store 4 or 5 miles out. There is a new Target almost dead center Seattle downtown. Its prices are higher than a Target 4 or so miles away. Rent downtown is expensive, and it can be expensive to recruit and keep adequate workers.

City or very close in neighborhoods favored by well off people may not even have the base supermarket chains- only Whole Foods, and other very high end stores with high end products like Jamon Iberico at $69.95/#, or black cod at $25/#, etc.

As far as eating out not being important, perhaps it is not to you, but it is a very important use of leisure to very many urban people, and in relatively expensive cities it costs plenty. No issue for me, as I just journal some funds over from my charity account to my sidewalk café account when I run short.

Ha
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:01 PM   #22
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Yep, and we gave found that once you get past housing, the 800 lb gorilla in the room, the differences are relatively small, depending on your elective lifestyle choices. Lots of exceptions but housing rules (and is often climate-related).
Moving from a cheap southern city to the Bay Area, that has been my experience also. Housing is much, much more expensive. But in general, our other bills have not changed that much.

I do think however that moving to a more expensive area could invite some lifestyle creep due to the wealth effect. After living here for a year, a $200 dinner out is not shocking anymore. I see so many Ferraris and Bentleys that buying a Benz would seem entirely reasonable. And expensive weekends in Napa are pretty much non-events. So if you let it, your expenses could definitely explode.
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Old 06-07-2013, 01:04 PM   #23
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As far as eating out not being important, perhaps it is not to you, but it is a very important use of leisure to very many urban people, and in relatively expensive cities it costs plenty. No issue for me, as I just journal some funds over from my charity account to my sidewalk café account when I run short.

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Old 06-07-2013, 01:14 PM   #24
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City or very close in neighborhoods favored by well off people may not even have the base supermarket chains- only Whole Foods, and other very high end stores with high end products like Jamon Iberico at $69.95/#, or black cod at $25/#, etc.

Ha
Yep, sometimes when we are in Chicago for a w/e, we end up walking through the near north side with multi-million condos in the area, and stop by a local market/deli for a light lunch. Lunch is actually not so high priced, and very good, and a pleasant little seating area - but then it's not a full service restaurant either, just soup/sandwich (but very nicely prepared). But then we walk though the market/butcher, and OMG! Everything is the highest quality, with prices that seem even higher. Sticker shock for the average person.

I guess that might be one definition of 'rich' for me - shopping for some groceries there, and not even batting an eye. Maybe it's only the 'help' that shop there?

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Old 06-07-2013, 01:58 PM   #25
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Yep, sometimes when we are in Chicago for a w/e, we end up walking through the near north side with multi-million condos in the area, and stop by a local market/deli for a light lunch. Lunch is actually not so high priced, and very good, and a pleasant little seating area - but then it's not a full service restaurant either, just soup/sandwich (but very nicely prepared). But then we walk though the market/butcher, and OMG! Everything is the highest quality, with prices that seem even higher. Sticker shock for the average person.

I guess that might be one definition of 'rich' for me - shopping for some groceries there, and not even batting an eye. Maybe it's only the 'help' that shop there?

-ERD50
Oh yeah, I =forgot to mention- dry aged US prime beef, a strip or rib steak $25/pound. Do not ever buy this, it will ruin you for supermarket beef for the rest of your life

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Old 06-07-2013, 04:30 PM   #26
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Yes... Here's what is on the bill:

water: $2.76
sewer: $2.07
garbage: $13.89
mosquito control: $1.72
park maintenance: $1.36
Louisiana state admin fee: $1.60
Total: $23.40

Actually we are only billed every other month, so we are billed for twice this much; these are the monthly amounts.
My trash, water, and sewer is double yours, and I get no mosquito control. Now I am a man so I venture to bathroom after night more than you do, but my increased flush totals aside still would not get down to your low total. Good for you, W2R!
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Mosquito Control?
Old 06-07-2013, 04:42 PM   #27
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Mosquito Control?

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My trash, water, and sewer is double yours, and I get no mosquito control. Now I am a man so I venture to bathroom after night more than you do, but my increased flush totals aside still would not get down to your low total. Good for you, W2R!
I would love to have a bill this low. However, I love my expensive Southern California. Just having to pay for mosquito control alone makes my expenses in taxes, water, housing, etc. are worth it to me.
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Old 06-07-2013, 05:14 PM   #28
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My trash, water, and sewer is double yours, and I get no mosquito control. Now I am a man so I venture to bathroom after night more than you do, but my increased flush totals aside still would not get down to your low total. Good for you, W2R!
Thanks but to be honest, I think it is just that it is cheaper here for everyone. Frank pays the same as me. We are lucky that we do not need to water the lawn, but otherwise I guess we each use about the same amount of water as any single person might.

The Parish (=county) does a great job with mosquito control. I haven't been bitten by a mosquito for years.
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Old 06-07-2013, 05:35 PM   #29
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And from a link in the OP article:

"A T-bone steak from a Manhattan grocer averages $15.52. In Harlingen, Texas,... the same steak goes for $8.34.")
I've noticed groceries down here to be less expensive than groceries in other parts of TX, even though I'm shopping at the same chains. And Texas groceries are low compared to the rest of the country I've traveled through.
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Old 06-07-2013, 05:55 PM   #30
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(from the article: "A T-bone steak from a Manhattan grocer averages $15.52. In Harlingen, Texas,... the same steak goes for $8.34.")
Of course there are no toll roads on the cattle drive between the ranch and Harlingen, while there are a bunch on the way to Manhattan...
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:02 PM   #31
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Of course there are no toll roads on the cattle drive between the ranch and Harlingen, while there are a bunch on the way to Manhattan...
That's right!
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:20 PM   #32
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Since i live in the 9th cheapest city, am posting from our latest bill:


Water -
customer charge 4.32
water consumption 19.92
Fed safe drinking water act .30
taxes 1.99

Sewer 41.96

Sanitation
pick-up 12.90
taxes 3.50
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:37 PM   #33
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My trash, water, and sewer is double yours, and I get no mosquito control. Now I am a man so I venture to bathroom after night more than you do, but my increased flush totals aside still would not get down to your low total. Good for you, W2R!
Yeah, mine's about double W2R's also. That's for a 1 bedroom apartment that I live in 4 days a week when I'm working in east Texas. My wife's apartment in Bossier City, where she lives 7 days a week, and where I spend weekends, is actually a little less than that. I figure it costs more in Texas in exchange for no state income taxes. My utility bill taxes are probably a bit higher.
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Old 06-08-2013, 12:31 AM   #34
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I guess what I found amusing/curious/interesting was comparing the list with another linked in the article -- 10 Best Cities for Cheapskates, Springfield, IL being the only city to make both lists.

10 Cheapest U.S. Cities to Live In

10. Idaho Falls, ID
9. Conway, AR
8. Springfield, IL
7. Pueblo, CO
6. Wichita Falls, TX
5. Fayetteville, AR
4. Memphis, TN
3. Norman, OK
2. McAllen, TX
1. Harlingen, TX

10 Best Cities for Cheapskates

10. Wichita, KS
9. Jonesboro, AR
8. South Bend, IN
7. Eau Claire, WI
6. San Antonio, TX
5. Spokane, WA
4. Kalamazoo, MI
3. Springfield, IL
2. El Paso, TX
1. St. Louis, MO

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Old 06-08-2013, 01:17 AM   #35
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Oakland is on that? That's crazzzzzy!
Why crazy?
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Old 06-08-2013, 06:13 AM   #36
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Hmph. I hope, when you do, that you are careful to pay 1/10th of the lunch bill for someone less fortunate.

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No issue for me, as I just journal some funds over from my charity account to my sidewalk café account when I run short.

Ha
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:43 AM   #37
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Oakland includes some pricey neighborhoods with pricey boutiques and specialty services (Rockridge, for example, and Montclair). As you go up the hills and get your San Francisco and bay and bridge views, housing prices escalate. http://wwm.redfin.com/CA/Oakland/623...18/home/602332 (This is in Rockridge, and is an unremarkable though nice house. Street parking is hard to cone by, and you are near freeway noise and local lightrail elevated track noise.)
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