Cost of Living

The weather overall has been lovely here the past week.   Mid to high 70s, a couple days in the low 80s, perfectly sunny, no humidity, a slight breeze, just perfect.  Sorry to rub it in for everyone who’s weather hasn’t been great.

But I won’t lie, weather like this is why I pay $4.75 a gallon for gas and deal with exorbitant taxes.  You just can’t put a price tag on this.

Well, you can.  It’s called a high cost of living.  But it’s worth it to me!


Warm weather makes  me want to drink iced coffee.  Or iced coffee with a twist: Chocolate Protein Iced Coffee

I crave lighter, juicier foods when it’s warm outside like tomato, edamame, and cucumber salads.

Vegan Slaw Dressing is my #1 go-to condiment.  Condiment talk was yesterday’s post.

I usually pair my fresh food with some protein, such as Sweet & Sour Honey Lemon Tofu

From my Horsing Around post, it was fun to hear who likes horseradish and also what your favorite condiments are.  Not enough people horsed around though over the weekend judging by the comments.  Darn.

Dessert: No Bake Toffee & Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites


1. Best thing you ate or did over the weekend?

Best thing I ate were No Bake Vanilla Cake Batter Chocolate TrufflesFor sure.

2. Do you live in an area where the cost of living would be considered low, medium, high?

I think by all standards, Southern California, less than 5 miles from the ocean, would be considered some of the highest cost of living in the country.

3. Would you be willing to trade off certain things in exchange for a higher/lower cost of living?

California is expensive.  Yes, indeed. But, we have great weather, the ocean, progressive-thinking people, and I just love the vibe here.

Oh and 99 cent strawberries count for something

I love where I live and would sacrifice and cut other corners and expenses from our budget in other areas in order to live here.

I learned the hard way that just because real estate in Phoenix is cheap compared to San Diego, it didn’t mean that the cheaper housing and cheaper cost of living was worth it, for me.  Everything was cheaper from gas to groceries to taxes, but I was extremely unhappy.  You can read about the whole story, here and why we only lasted 9 months before moving back to San Diego.  Our forever home.

So, I’d rather pay more and live where I want to live, and love it, even if that means a higher cost of living and other sacrifices and trade-offs need to be made.

Do you like where you live?  What things would you sacrifice or trade off?

I would never sacrifice cheaper rent for snow.  Or the desert.  Ever again. I would work three jobs in order to afford to stay in So Cal!

Enjoy your week!

P.S. If you’re just catching up on posts from the weekend, here are mine since Friday:


  1. I am SO jealous!! So Cal looks AMAZING!! I’d love to move there in the future, but I think I’ll have to save up first! :P

    I live in London, which is also pretty darn expensive!! I think I hear sunny California calling me though…! :D

  2. DC has a pretty high cost of living. Good thing I’m use to it since I’ll be moving to another area with equal if not higher cost of living ;)

  3. I would say Atlanta is pretty much in the middle with the cost of living, but on the high side. We are considering moving for lower cost of living though. With two kids and the economy being so crappy with no good things in sight, we want to be more self sufficient and start saving for theirs’ and our future.

  4. I live in NY, as you know. And it’s the second or third most expensive state to live in. I think it goes: CA, NJ, NY? Not sure. But yeah, taxes, and gas and overall living are outrageous compared to other areas of the country and we live upstate, not even in the city. Don’t even get me started on why the costs are so high. :roll: Ugh.

    I prefer colder weather, though. Heat and humidity are yucky to me! lol 70s is perfect; high 80s-90s and I get whiny!

  5. We had gorgeous weather and temps over the weekend, but awful storms today and temps dropped down to 50. I think where I live is on the lower end maybe the high end of low cost perhaps. I think I sacrifice culture here though and a very limited job market. But I do love where I am. I am still close to family, we have so many outdoor activities we can do, and fairly decent weather for the most part.

  6. 1) Best thing I ate this weekend: sushi (4 different types of rolls) on Friday night
    2) I think our cost of living (Pittsburgh) is middle of the road. We’re voted the “most liveable city” two years in a row for whatever that’s worth.
    3) The only reason I’d move would be to avoid the weather. It seems like Pittsburgh goes from Winter to Summer and back with very little in between.

    But I do love my city (mostly my Steelers & Pirates), and the foodie scene is growing, which is great!

  7. Haha…why do I feel like you’re talking to me when you apologize for rubbing in your nice weather? :-)

    Eh, you know how I feel about where we are…but hopefully that will change in the next few years, if not sooner. Warmer climate living is calling my name!

  8. I live in San Diego and I know how you feel about the whole cost of living. But you are so right when it comes to the atmosphere and the vibe of SD. I love it here and everything it has to offer…even if I have to sacrifice some things :)

  9. I live just north of San Diego (in Corona actually) so although I’m about 30 minutes from the beach I am also about 30 minutes from the mountains so whatever floats my boat for the day, it’s so close to go to. I also would make changes to my budget in order to stay in this lovely part of the country. Love, love, love the California weather.

  10. Those are seriously the prettiest strawberries I have ever seen. I live just outside D.C. It’s expensive compared to a lot of places, but not compared to some of the other places I’d like to live (like SAN DIEGO!!!). My parents and my husband’s parents are all here. It’s home (now.. we’re all transplants).

    I love the politics vibe in D.C. Tons of men in suits. My husband works with Congress. It’s fun and interesting, and I feel like he makes a real difference.

  11. LA’s cost of living is pretty high, but I live in the Valley, which is more affordable than some other places, like near the beach. But I love SoCal and wouldn’t move for anything! My expensive rent is 100% worth it.

  12. We live in a small town like 5000~ people in Canada. So I’m guessing the cost of living isn’t that bad, even if it seems high to us. It’s all kind of relative. The same job my hubby works here in the city would pay at least double what he makes here. But we wouldn’t trade it. I love the weather, it’s a perfect balance of hot and dry in the summer, to cold and snowy in the winter. It’s close to 2 bigger cities so we have access to a lot of stores that aren’t actually in town which is nice. We’re also very close to the US, like 20 minutes. So that’s really nice for shopping too. I really can’t complain. We quite regularly go to the car in the morning and realize we left the keys in it and it doesn’t matter, I don’t worry that the house is unlocked at night. Everyone is so friendly, and like the saying, everyone knows everyone else. Those are things I can’t put a price sticker on. Yes there’s nothing going on usually, and stores are closed by 6 every day of the week. I never thought I’d say it when I was younger but I love it and wouldn’t change anything.

  13. I think we’re about medium when it comes to cost of living — only because I know of places that are much higher (hello CA!) and much lower (my sister/bro in law live in OK). But we’re probably on the lower end of the medium scale, if that makes sense.

    I remember when my sister first said they were going to move to OK. I asked why “houses are so cheap there!” — well duh you also make less money which means everything is cheaper. I’m not sure if that ever really made sense to her. I remember Jason got a job offer in CT once and the pay was much higher than what he makes now — but once you start looking at houses for sale, etc, it all makes sense!

  14. Averie, most of the time I totally agree with paying more to live somewhere great. I love living near the water and in such a fun city with great amenities (Chicago). Though I have to say, sometimes I do think of moving to a smaller town in New England for some reason! I would probably get bored after a while. Who knows! :P

  15. Averie! I couldn’t agree with you more. I just got back last week from my first trip to South Cali and I am in total love and adoration for California. I was everywhere from Santa Barbara, Malibu, Hollywood, LA, & Santa Monica…. Needless to say coming back to Wisconsin was not an easy task. I would consider moving in the next couple of years…. :)

  16. If I could afford to move out to Cal I would in a heartbeat. So jealous of you!

  17. I’m in the East Bay right now and have been so homesick for Southern California. I have realized that living in L.A. all my life has me spoiled-I expect everyday to be sunny/warm and if it’s not, I am not in a good mood (and not in the mood to run, which makes me sad!). I think I have learned recently that I need to live in L.A. to be happy!

  18. great conversation questions, averie!
    oh, i would definitely pay more to live where you are in sunny california…sadly, canada does not have any locations that can match you in weather (vancouver is mild, but i would hate all that rain!).
    i live in waterloo, the home of the blackberry! high tech companies abound…the cost of living is average-high. not as high as living in toronto, but there are a lot of cheaper provinces in canada where you could live…but i like my amenities like culture, shopping, activities, so i am happy where i am and will pay the prices that come with the territory.
    post sunny sky photos any time you wish! i live vicariously thru you! :)

  19. I am going to Santa Barbara in one month for two weeks… it’ll be my first trip to California, so I’m very excited! I live in Memphis, TN, which is okay, but compared to CA, people here are not very progressive AT ALL… plus, we had a huge storm today and looking through your pics, I’m very jealous!!

  20. I am so, so jealous!
    I am currently studying in Poland and yesterday we enjoyed 50F. That’s how far it gets in April, after-22F in December…
    Today, though, guess what: rain. again. :-(
    But that’s April I guess.
    But speaking about cost of living. Everything here is extremely cheap…But as you’ve said: I’d rather have it warm and sunny right now, than saving money on my groceries…

  21. I LOVE where we live in Northern CA. We’re close to Sacramento, but also close to Tahoe and only a few hours from San Francisco. Perfect location!
    We’ve had pretty much the same weather as you the past week. I’m loving this 70* weather today! :-)

  22. I’ve got to be honest and say that I’m not a fan (at all) of where I live, but I’m incredibly lucky and blessed that it’s only part time. On one half, I live in a brown, flat, gray area of the country. On the other, I live in a beautiful (spring, summer, fall), mountainous area with lots of wildlife and great community thinking. My husbands job is in the “blah” half and we get to “come home” on the weekends and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

    I do love sunny days though! I feel so much happier and energetic! We have had a lot of cold, gray days here and I’m soooo ready for the summer to actually arrive!

    Thanks for the pretty flower pics! I’m living vicariously through you!

  23. as a fellow californian, i couldn’t agree more–i may have less ‘stuff’ but i sure am happy!

  24. I’m a California native and I understand why you love it! We moved away when I was little because the pollution was giving me respiratory problems (we lived in L.A.) and my parents were just fed up with the high cost of living. We migrated to the south, and for my family it’s perfect! Warm weather, great food, low cost of living! It’s not for everybody, but it’s certainly for me! I live in Virginia now but when I’m done with law school I’m heading back to Atlanta ASAP!!! I am willing to sacrifice a lot to live there, it’s just where I want to be! If you don’t love where you live it makes life pretty difficult…not worth it at all.

  25. Living in Wisconsin all my life, I’ve grown up with the cold, but I will never get used to it. In-state tuition and scholarships are what’s keeping me here, but I do plan to move someplace warm when I am out of school and can afford it. I went on vacation to Phoenix AND San Diego, and I can agree that you are definitely in the right place. :) Your location is often times what gives you your lifestyle whether you like it or not (going for a walk in 5 ft of snow and -30*F… I don’t think so!), so I want to be in a place that fits my healthy, active, fun-loving, adventureous lifestyle and personality!

  26. im headed your way in two weeks and i cant wait to be back, look at that weather!

  27. I live in the Silicon Valley, and the cost of living is definitely HIGH here! It’s totally worth it though – close to the snow, close to the ocean, great weather. We pay a lot for things and may never be able to buy a house, but you couldn’t pay me to live anywhere else!

  28. I live in NYC, haha. I think it might be the most expensive city in the country. It’s definitely not somewhere I want to live my whole life, in large part for that reason, but for now it’s worth it to me! Then again, I’d probably pay a lot for California, as well. You can’t put a price on good weather!

    Best thing I did this weekend = walk the half. It was long, but I’m glad I got the experience!!

  29. I live in San Francisco right now and the cost of living is insane. I am still a college student so I don’t have to support myself yet but I know that after I graduate my boyfriend and I have to move out of CA. Im thinking Michigan because that is where all of my extended family is and plus I love cold weather :) Right now my average 1 bedroom apartment is $1900/month. I could get an amazing apartment in Michigan for like $600/month. Ahhhh! Definitely have to move.

    • I’m in Michigan and even though I would love LOVE to live in California or somewhere warm, there is no way I could afford it (unless I was adopted by some rich family or won the lotto.) While I don’t enjoy the cold in the winter, lack of Trader Joes or Whole Foods, etc. Michigan is beautiful and right now, much more affordable. I would rather have a house and garden to call my own than a tiny apartment in California. ;)

      But yes…I am jealous of those that live there :)

  30. I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life, but it is soooo expensive! I still live at home because I would rather live with my parents than pay 800 dollars a month to share a 2 bedroom apartment with 6 people. That’s what my brother was doing when he moved out, and he wasn’t even living in a nice apartment! I must say that this weather is spectacular though :)

  31. I would live in a cardboard box if I could get away from snow!!!

  32. I bet the cost of living is really high in San Diego! It is so goregous there – everyone would dieeee to live there :) Well, I am moving to Houston and apparently the cost of living is super low (and it is the 4th largest city in the US so it kind of surprised me when I heard that)

  33. I live in the most expensive town in NH.. so yeah.. it’s pretty pricey. The schools are EXCELLENT which is why we moved to this particular town and we pay the property taxes to fund them! .. but it has been worth it. I’m also only 5 miles from the ocean.. BUT… the winters are getting to me. We had sleet all day today and 5 inches of snow two three days ago

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  35. I was made to live in a warm weathered climate ::sigh::

  36. mmm! i think the best thing i ate was just like 2 hours ago! i had a huge kale salad and put toasted sesame seeds on top! they were an amazing crunch-o factor. i think i wanna toast them a wee bit more next time though :)

    boooo i’m SO jealous of your great weather! especially when it’s about to rain all day tomorrow haha. enjoy your night girly!

  37. I live in Colorado Springs, and I think it’s an amazing city to go to school in. My campus is definitely a liberal bubble among the conservative city, but it’s easy to get involved in the community, and it’s a great one. I’m even planning on doing my thesis next year based on the city’s green evangelical movements! It should be interesting. I love Colorado, but I really hate the cold, so I’d love to live in California one day (hopefully I can afford it!), and as of now I’m looking at grad schools down south. It’s so exciting to think about where I might end up!

  38. The cost of living where I live is average. I do think it’s worth it to pay a higher cost of living if you are where you want to be, and by how you rave about SD, you clearly are.

    The best thing I ate this weekend was double chocolate coconut cookies. Almost the entire batch. Oops.

  39. hi averie!

    best thing over the weekend? dogsitting an adorable scottie-westie mix. i’m having separation anxiety today. :-(

    i live in one of (if not the highest) cost of living cities in The Great White North. Rent here could be a great mortgage payment in other cities/towns. The cost of a detached, 3-bedroom home in another town/city gets you… barely a 1 bedroom condo here.

    however, I will not trade living in this city for living in another city with a far lower cost of living for many reasons:

    – transit: I can get all over this city, including work, WITHOUT having to drive
    – walkability: in my area, everything is within walking distance, if not, it’s within easy transit distance
    – safety: I can walk by myself at night in most areas and be OK
    – culture: practically, if not all, cultures are represented, which makes for an incredibly vibrant city
    – LGBT-friendly!
    – food selection: wow – I can grocery shop to my heart’s content and find any food I need (organic, healthy, vegan, ethnic, etc)


  40. Holy heck on your gas cost, we’re just hit $4 here. Cooler, moist foods are definitely better in warmer temps.

    1. Not much, saw a movie and went out to dinner with my sisters.
    2. Probably high, but not as high as a few years ago.
    3. I’m pretty happy where I am being close to family, getting decent weather and having snow, great cities and beaches pretty close by. I wouldn’t mind it being cheaper, but I wouldn’t trade living far from family.

  41. Best thing I did over the weekend? Went boogie boarding at Hapuna beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. Worst thing? Had to come home from our vacation.

    Yep, I live in Santa Barbara, 1 mile from the ocean, definitely a high COL area. Though if I bought my house now instead of 7 years ago, it would be a lot cheaper. :)

    The only way I would leave is if we had to for work. In order to afford to live here, we need 1.5 of my income or 1 of my husband’s. It’s not worth it to stay here and be destitute.

  42. I would love to live in a progressive place, but not too yuppie. I don’t want the same people who have global warming stickers then to be the ones who oppose public transit. Progressive, yet not exclusive. I live in a cheap area that is not progressive. But we don’t have choice with spouse’s job. I like that I don’t have to “fight” just to live and that people are down to earth. While I would love to live on the ocean, I would love to live there with money.

  43. I love where I live, I just hate how cold it can get. Our bedroom window overlooks an amazing pasture with cows, and a big red barn… it’s beautiful out here in Alberta. There are days where I say I wouldn’t trade it for anything – like when we go to the Rocky Mountains for the day, or we get to ride horses through an amazing field with the sun beaming down on us…. but then the winter comes, and it’s cold, there is so much snow, there’s no end in sight, there’s no sun… those are the days I wish I was in San Diego (or better yet, Carlsbad). Maybe one day we’ll be snow birds and travel south for the winter. That would be ideal! I don’t know if I could ever leave Alberta for good. My heart is here… when it’s warm!

  44. I think you and I are total opposites. I cannot handle the heat and anything above 15C (60F) is just too warm for me! It has been raining like crazy for the past few days and I am LOVING it! I’ve had the patio door open to let all that fresh air in and to look at the lush greenery, too. Love love love.

    1. Best thing you ate or did over the weekend?
    I celebrated my boyfriend’s Birthday. We had a nice dinner and I baked him a cake.

    2. Do you live in an area where the cost of living would be considered low, medium, high?

    I live in Victoria, BC, Canada. Victoria is the capitol city of the province, is surrounded by the ocean, and is one of the “major cities” in southern BC. The cost of living is much higher compared to my hometown (3 hour drive away).

    3. Would you be willing to trade off certain things in exchange for a higher/lower cost of living?
    Probably. I suppose I’m doing that already. I want to go to this particular university so I am living in a more expensive place. But afterwards I want to move back to a place closer to home (both in spirit and in cost of living!)

  45. Weather sounds amazing!!! I’ll admit, I’m jealous, but I’m also glad you get to enjoy it!! ;)

  46. Oh, you are so rubbing it in lol! We had snow here yesterday!

    I’m in a small town in Michigan and it’s a medium or low/medium cost area. It’s a nice area, with lakes and lots of recreation. But it’s too cold for me, that’s for sure. It’s crazy to spend 6 months of the year being cold. So, someplace warmer is definitely in my future! And YES, I’d pay more for it!

  47. I live in San Diego and I know how you feel about the whole cost of living. I love it here and everything it has to offer. Sometimes the Sunshine tax can be hard to take if we have no sun, which is usually not that often:)))

  48. Can’t put a price on happiness! But you can drink iced coffee in the northeast no matter the temperature, even if it’s -30 degrees us New Englanders drink iced coffee. So that’s one thing to be grateful for when it snows…right? right?!

  49. I’m extremely jealous you live in San Diego, I live in the SF Bay area and while it is extremely nice, in my book it’s nothing compared to San Diego. I was in Orange County this past weekend and I’ve been thinking about moving to San Diego, Orange County, or Arizona as a last choice but the cost of living is high even compared to where I live their are lower cost areas. Maybe in June I’ll make the move start in orange county, and then later move down to San Diego.
    P.S. I’ll have to try some of that no bake Toffee, looks delicious

  50. The cost of living is very high in my city. We actually boomed during the recession, and things have been getting out of hand in terms of cost.

    Our gas prices are $1.20 per liter right now! It is crazy. Our home prices, and groceries are out of hand too.

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