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downsizing: relocation & cost of living
Old 05-11-2008, 05:04 PM   #1
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downsizing: relocation & cost of living

i couldn’t help but to notice that when i go out for vegetable lo mein in tampa, it costs about half the price of the pint i get at home in fort lauderdale. so why am i supporting pricey lo mein?

searching other threads titled downsizing, i don’t find one which specifically addresses budget items effected by location. the more i study the particulars, the more i find relocation can make huge differences. the extreme example of course is leaving the country for the developing world. but significant savings abound at home.

i posted on another thread the savings i’d realize just on car insurance in different towns where i think i’d enjoy living: daytona saves me $522/year & gainesville saves $686/year. savings magnify when looking at what portfolio is required to generate budgets over time. by the 25x’s rule, this one item reduces a portfolio required to support early retirement by $13,050 to $17,150.

insurance in florida, of course, is a big budget item. here again, price differences are staggering. to www.shopandcomparerates.com/hocomparerates.htm in florida really brings location to mind on cost of living budgets. for just wind insurance (along the coast we require liability, of course, as well as wind & flood), the chart shows my area priced (for 5-year old, florida concrete block home, with a current replacement value of $150,000, a $500 non-hurricane deductible, a 2% hurricane deductible, no claims, and no wind mitigation discounts”) at between $1,731 & 6,370/year. a move to daytona would reduce that range to $913-$1,904 or a move to gainesville reduces costs to between $556-$1,191. huge savings and i haven’t even left the country yet, never mind the state.

reduction to the required e.r. portfolio for a move from fort lauderdale to daytona? somewhere in the $20,450 – $111,650-range just based on wind insurance alone. of course the stores i use, services, professionals, etc. also pay that and pass on to me those costs in their pricing.

even gas varies. according to gasbuddy.com fort lauderdale currently ranges from $3.63 to $3.85/gal. daytona same. gainesville $3.67 to $3.89. but central tampa $3.55 to $3.79.

i do not know the accuracy of this www.bestplaces.net/col/ calculator, but it likely at least indicates the difference location makes and it amazes me.

based on all the catagories of food, housing, utilities, transportation and other items like entertainment, restaurants, clothing, i found only two florida areas, naples & key west, more expensive than fort lauderdale.

the savings are significant: cape coral (cheaper by) 15.3%; daytona or gainesville 26.6%; jacksonville 25%; lakeland 29%; palatka or pensacola 30.6%; even sarasota 11.3%; tallahassee 25%; tampa 23.4%.

now for a few road trips to find the best lo mein.

(i'm working specific budgets for relocation within florida and also for vagabonding in different countries. very difficult locating cost of living information on specific items of living. would appreciate anyone with such information listing it here. my interests are mostly central & south america & se asia though it would be good to see any & all areas.) (also is it possible to copy/paste spreadsheeted info onto a post?)
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Old 05-11-2008, 05:32 PM   #2
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I had forgotten about the bestplaces cost-of-living calculator. It tells me that my probable ER location in southern Missouri is 14.3% cheaper than here, mostly in housing and utilities. (Also 37.1% cheaper than Ft. Lauderdale, but it's not Florida by any means).

I'm all for lower utility bills (especially in snow country where I will have to pay for heat). Also I will probably net about $60K due to buying a less expensive house, even after paying for the realtor when I sell and paying closing costs when I buy. I plan to use much of that gain to pay for moving, re-furnishing, and redecorating costs once I get there. I might even do some updating before moving in (love 30-50 year old houses, but also love my present updated kitchen with granite). I will need to pay for an apartment for a while up there until I get my bearings and decide to buy, and maybe during any painting and updating and so on. Although $60K may seem extravagant for relocating expenses, I'm sure I will find a use for most of it.

So, the cost of living may turn out to be about the same, for me, if housing and utilities cancel out like this. I can't put a dollar figure on the adventure of it, though.
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Old 05-11-2008, 06:05 PM   #3
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Here is a site with links to data and calculators: Statistical Resources on the Web/Cost of Living
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Old 05-11-2008, 07:31 PM   #4
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Come on up to Jax. We have at least one authentic Chinese restaurant (frog congee, etc.) and tons of the regular Americanized ones. This is a very nice place to live.
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Old 05-11-2008, 07:56 PM   #5
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I had my doubts about the various on line cost of living calculators. So I have started my own research regarding groceries. So far the calculators seem to be fairly close on the grocery differences between the areas I have compared.

I am still surprised about the cost differences around the country.
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:04 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
a move to daytona would reduce that range to $913-$1,904 or a move to gainesville reduces costs to between $556-$1,191. huge savings and i havenít even left the country yet, never mind the state.

My sister has lived in Gainesville for most of the last 25 years, the exception being a 5 year stint in Daytona. I think Gainesville is a very pleasant place to live, very inexpensive, not as hot and sticky as South Florida, plus as a university town it has things that other comparably-sized towns might not.
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:07 PM   #7
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Come on up to Jax. We have at least one authentic Chinese restaurant (frog congee, etc.) and tons of the regular Americanized ones. This is a very nice place to live.
thanx for the invite. i will have to look into jax further. have only been there a few times to visit my favorite uncle who had a house on the river when i was a kid.

one of my first concerns is how gay-friendly a town might be. looks like jax has a pretty fairly stong gay population, though less than here, key west, tampa or orlando. daytona actually has a weak gay population but my current thinking is to just buy a place to port & maintain soh value, maybe travel domestically for a year but then close the place up and come back in 15 years to retire from vagabonding. 'cause when i'm 65, well, i might as well face it, it won't matter that i'm gay, certainly not to anyone who might interest me. so it might be nice to have a place a few blocks off the beach and take long walks to remember the very fun time i had when life was young and gay.

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Here is a site with links to data and calculators: Statistical Resources on the Web/Cost of Living
couple of interest links though a lot of that is a bit too statistical for my cyphering abilities. for a moment there i thought i found an excellent link comparing cost of living internationally but they want almost $600 bucks per country comparison.

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So far the calculators seem to be fairly close on the grocery differences between the areas I have compared.

I am still surprised about the cost differences around the country.
great news. thanx. would love it if you have any specifics to offer. i've been having this very argument with my brother and he can't believe cost savings would extend even to food. i guess it is hard for him to judge because when he leaves the area it is for vacation with his wife and three kids and whoever else is tagging along and, for him, budgets sort of go out the window then.

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My sister has lived in Gainesville for most of the last 25 years, the exception being a 5 year stint in Daytona. I think Gainesville is a very pleasant place to live, very inexpensive, not as hot and sticky as South Florida, plus as a university town it has things that other comparably-sized towns might not.
ya, i lived in g-ville for 2 or 3 years late 70s/early 80s. though my memory is that it is a bit more humid there (i'm just 3 miles inland here so usually have beach breezes). the only thing i'm not crazy about with gainesville is that the population won't age along with me, what with all the college students. i might be too vain to live there, even if it will bring my costs down.
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Old 05-12-2008, 05:43 PM   #8
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I find the cost of dining out to be much cheaper in Florida than a lot of lower cost of living areas . I think that is because of the competition for the tourist dollar in the winter and trying to keep regulars in the off season . We rarely spend over thirty dollars when dining out and that is including drinks . Most of the local places have two for one drinks and great deals on food . Our local Italian place has a special 50% off menu prices if you buy a drink . Our local seafood place has many $ 10.99 specials and these are nice restaurants . At the local dive we get drinks for $2.50 and sandwiches for $4.50 and a lot of entertainment that's free . When I visit my Mother in Wilkes Barre ,Pa . or my daughter in upstate New York both lower cost of living areas but surprisingly the restaurant costs are a lot higher .
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:20 PM   #9
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I think everyone will like this. It looks like TN is the winner.

Cost of Living 4th Quarter 2007

Want2retire you might look into joplin mo it is the cheapest in mo.
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Old 05-12-2008, 07:13 PM   #10
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Never mind
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Old 05-12-2008, 07:21 PM   #11
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If cost of living were our only priority, perhaps Joplin would have popped up more frequently as we did our search. However, it is not.

Thanks, though!
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Old 05-12-2008, 09:24 PM   #12
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I had forgotten about the bestplaces cost-of-living calculator. It tells me that my probable ER location in southern Missouri is 14.3% cheaper than here, mostly in housing and utilities. (Also 37.1% cheaper than Ft. Lauderdale, but it's not Florida by any means).
If I have to ER in Misery, I would want the upper part, not the lower part. In all seriousness, I'm actually headed there for the a business trip in July, so I will report back if the place is hospitable. Google street view shows the place looks like Anyville, USA, but you never know until your feet are on the ground.
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Old 05-12-2008, 10:05 PM   #13
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I find the cost of dining out to be much cheaper in Florida than a lot of lower cost of living areas,
This may be not true in Orlando. It was moderately high last summer.
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Old 05-13-2008, 07:34 AM   #14
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If I have to ER in Misery, I would want the upper part, not the lower part. In all seriousness, I'm actually headed there for the a business trip in July, so I will report back if the place is hospitable. Google street view shows the place looks like Anyville, USA, but you never know until your feet are on the ground.
Have you never been to Missouri? I hope you have fun there on your business trip. It is a long way from New York, where you are located according to your profile.

We have been going to our probable ER location for several weeks a year during the past several years and we are quite familiar with the area. We were last there for a week in February, and went to open houses that time thanks to Nord's encouragement. That was fun! That visit was two and a half months after our previous visit. We plan to go again soon, probably before your trip.

I have lived in St. Louis (among other places), and my grandparents lived in southern Missouri. Frank and I happen to appreciate the slightly Southern flavor of southern Missouri, though maybe that is just a "Southern thing". But then Goonie has stated that he appreciates southern Missouri like we do, and I don't believe he is from the South.

UncleMick is from my area and he seems to appreciate Missouri - - he too has told us about it in his posts over the years, though he lives further north in K.C.
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Old 05-13-2008, 08:52 AM   #15
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Doesn't Missouri get hit with a lot of tornados ? After Katrina I'd be heading to an area without hurricanes ,tornados or earthquakes even if the cost of living was higher .
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:28 AM   #16
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Doesn't Missouri get hit with a lot of tornados ? After Katrina I'd be heading to an area without hurricanes ,tornados or earthquakes even if the cost of living was higher .
Image:Tornado Alley.gif - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:35 AM   #17
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Doesn't Missouri get hit with a lot of tornados ? After Katrina I'd be heading to an area without hurricanes ,tornados or earthquakes even if the cost of living was higher .
Yup, I wondered about the same thing.

But one person's hell is another's paradise. (Many would say Florida is both.)
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:06 AM   #18
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Well I live in a red area and we have had two in five years. Both were about a mile away from the house. If you think MO is bad look at OK on the map.
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Old 05-13-2008, 11:08 AM   #19
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Tornado History Project - Tornado Database

Be sure to specify a county as well, if possible, because there's a limit to how many it'll show on the map.
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Old 05-13-2008, 12:11 PM   #20
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In retirement as in real estate the rule is "Location, Location, Location." We live in Indiana and our town is the lowest I can find, but cheap is not pleasant. The town has a problem with their waste water facility and the town smells of ,shall we say, Pampers. Also the cost of Misc. is one of the higher catagories. It is also the lowest in housing costs, but that's because there isn't much wealth in this city. Mostly lower incomes. We are stuck here, so you had better look very closely at those lower rated living areas. There is usually a very good reason for their rating.
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