Everybody has different standards of living, but it is important to know what exactly you are getting into when you move to a city with a high cost of living. The definition of cost of living is the amount of money needed to sustain a certain level of living, including basic expenses such as housing, food, taxes, and healthcare. Cost of living is often used when comparing how expensive it is to live in one city versus another.
Setting up a budget is essential to living successfully in a city with high cost of living. You must evaluate your income, estimate your debts, and establish a savings goal.
Housing is almost always the largest allocation of your budget. If you are needing to cut back on expenses, these is the area in which a change can make the biggest impact. Consider downsizing, living in less desirable (but still safe) neighborhoods, or moving outside the limits. In many places, housing costs can drop dramatically moving outside of the downtown area. Another benefit of living in lower costs area is that costs in groceries, parking, utilities etc. are also lower.
Utility bills are another area of easier saving. Monitor you use and looks for areas of saving. Instead of turning up the air conditioning automatically, open a window. Cut a 20 min shower down to 15. Replacing appliances with energy efficient models can be a large saver.
Another major factor in your budget is your choice of transportation. Owning a personal vehicle is obviously the most expensive option, but may be necessary depending on your area and lifestyle. Consider your commute when looking at housing. Choosing somewhere that allows you to use public transportation or a short commute can make a difference. Also consider your public transportation options. There are often significant savings for monthly or yearly passes, and discounts for seniors and students.
The easiest way to minimize the cost of eating in a city with a high cost of living is to eat at home. Cooking at home is usually healthier and more economical. Look for savings at super markets, frequent discount grocers or places that sell in bulk, buy fresh vegetables and fruits from local markets, and buy things that are in season.
When creating a budget, cutting out entertainment costs sounds a lot easier than it is. It is vital to most people's happiness to go, out, socialize, and be entertained. Again, students and seniors are often afforded discounts at museums, cinemas, and theaters. Never be afraid to ask. There are also combination tickets that can offer savings for a group of sites. Another option are last-minute tickets. Operas, theaters and other performance based venues may offer low-cost tickets shortly before show time. Movie theaters also offer low cost showings either for the first show of the day, of on a specific day of the week. Identify your favorite form of entertainment and inquire directly.
Don't forget the amount of free events in almost every city. Museums may offer free hours, art gallery openings even offer wine and snacks, and parks are a great way to spend an afternoon.
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