Get Rich With: Moving to a Better Place

If you’re like me, you currently live somewhere. But can you explain WHY exactly you live there?

For most people throughout the history of our species, the reason they live somewhere is because they were born nearby. And the reason they were born there is because their parents were born nearby.

Very rarely, a brave and enterprising person will make a Big Move to a whole new place in search of wealth or happiness. Some of your ancestors did that, forming an interesting chapter in your family history. And maybe even YOU have done that in your own lifetime, and you’re currently living far from where you were born, probably because of a bold personal choice you made. Good for you!

I’m bringing up this topic because I am often amazed at the disparity in Niceness between different regions of the US (and of other countries and parts of the world in general). There are some areas which have drastically better weather, or landscape, or outdoor recreation, tax rates, job possibilities, mountains, ocean, lakes, beaches — you name it. And yet, as I study the areas with the best attributes, the cost of living in these areas is often completely uncorrelated with how nice they are.

I like to make fun of the New York/New Jersey region, because it is just amazingly expensive and crowded, and yet it is completely unremarkable compared to the rest of the United States – humid summers, rainy and cold winters, limited access to wide-open natural areas. All wrapped in a package of heavy regulations on small business owners like myself and shocking property taxes (annual tax on a house like mine would be over $10,000 there vs. $2300 that I pay now, even while the house itself would probably be a 1-bedroom shack in my under-$400,000 price range). It is true that some people make ridiculous salaries in New York City, and for those people it is logical to live there for a short time to maximize their savings. Others actually like it there, and of course many are tied by strong family bonds, which are very important. But after we rule out those groups, there are still millions of people who are just there because they are there, living a crowded and expensive life just because they haven’t realized how energizing it can be to MOVE.

Meanwhile, I’ve seen a lot of other parts of the US on my many roadtrips over the past decade. When visiting Tucson, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico, I was astounded by the gorgeous scenery, neverending clear blue skies, and the extremely low cost at which you can pick up a stylish stucco house on a palm-treed lot in nice parts of town near the university. Especially after the housing price crash we’ve enjoyed in recent years in this country. My own Colorado is mostly cheap and presents a nice balance of culture, recreation, and reasonable outdoorsy year-round climate.

In Las Vegas, you can get a very nice house in many parts of town for about $100 grand. A stylish condo near the strip which you can rent out to tourists for massive profits as a vacation rental, or a spacious modern house with a pool out near the foothills where you can swim and hike out of your back yard, and never see winter again. You won’t care about the housing market or even the job market, because your cost of living will be so low that you may be able to retire a decade earlier than normal! The same story of palm trees and neverending warmth combined with negligible living costs now exists in Phoenix, AZ, and even the desert suburbs near the foothills just East of Los Angeles.

In the Pacific Northwest you can live affordably in the land of Beer and Beards in hip towns like Portland, Oregon or Bellingham, Washington. You can even live on a rainforesty island in the nearby San Juan Islands, and spend many of your days exploring coastlines by kayak.

In the 200-mile-stretch of beach cities around Miami, you can pick up a luxury house, or a snappy condo complex with a sweet pool and hottub, or a skyscraper overlooking the beaches and turquoise waters, for pennies on the dollar thanks to bank foreclosures, making a waterfront tropical beach compound less costly than a vinyl-clad shack in a Toronto suburb.

Ahh, Toronto, the Big City near my birthplace. It’s the Canadian version of NYC. People pay fantastic amounts for modest houses that are buried in stale brown snow for several months each year, and commute 40 minutes each way through a 16-lane traffic jam to get to their jobs. Or Fort McMurray, Alberta, where people pay Toronto prices to live in a Mosquito Tundra near the arctic circle, just to plug themselves into an above-market income stream from the Saudi-Arabia-sized Oil Sands project that is in a permanent expansion there. What kind of life is this!?!?

Canada has the fantastic Oceany Cliffs of the Maritimes, where everyone is friendly, houses near the sea are nearly free, and the parties are legendary. It has the Sunny Granola/Marijuana hippy belt in Interior BC and the Okanagan valley. There’s the Hong Kong Cosmopolitan buzz of Vancouver, with its non-snowy winters, or the Indie Rock/University Town/Island vibe of Victoria.

I also love Australia and New Zealand, where pleasantly different and fun-loving cultures combine with much more Ocean and noticeably cheaper Food and Beer – all in a gorgeous climate that rivals the best parts of North America.

With the increasing number of careers and entrepreneurial businesses that can be done from ANYWHERE through teleworking, and the fact that an ambitious person can carve out a job for themselves in almost any city, I think that moving is often a fantastic idea, and it is mainly fear of the unknown and fear of change that is holding people back.

When I graduated from Engineering school, I moved 300 miles away from my hometown, because that was the location of the best jobs that I knew about at the time. It was also where my wonderful sisters and my girlfriend, the future Mrs M., lived. But as my career progressed, I learned about the work opportunities South of the border. They sounded fantastic, as did the increased choice of geographic settings, versus those available in my native Ontario (“Smoggy metropolis”, “Mosquito Forest”, or “Mosquito Swamp”). I did the research, got the interviews, fought for the work permits, and BOOM, here I was in a fantastic new land of untold adventure.

I can’t even express the joy this decision has brought to my life over the past twelve years. It’s strange, because I cannot deny that regardless of where you move, you are still the same person. So some would suggest that you should be equally happy regardless of your surroundings. But it doesn’t seem to work that way for me. I think that for some people, there really is A BETTER PLACE. For me, it was the presence of mostly nature and sunshine with just enough city thrown in to make life convenient, and the odd combination of culture in the Boulder, Colorado area that starts with an entrepreneurial and educated base, but throws the whole Workaholic thing out the window and seeks Quality of Life instead. Sure, we still have douchebag consumerism and the odd clueless fancypants daintily laying grocery bags into the back of an empty Cadillac Escalade. But it’s drastically less than in other areas. And the much-mentioned pressure to compete based on material possessions seems to  be nonexistent in the area I live myself.

And let’s not forget the economic argument to moving. For me, the irresistible combination of higher income, lower taxes, and a lower cost of living was the thing that allowed me to retire so early. If I had not moved here at age 24, I’d probably still be working an increasingly monotonous high-salary job to this very day back in Canada.  Mr. Money Mustache would not even exist yet! Early retirement is still completely feasible in any capitalist economy, of course – it’s just speedier in some areas than others.

So the combination of geography, climate, culture, and economy is what makes me happy in my particular Better Place.

I do miss my family, especially when I read the emails about casual get-togethers that I missed out on because of living 1700 miles away. But we were always a far-flung family who got together only a couple times a year anyway. With the new model of making a six-week visit every summer, we get almost as much visiting time, without having to give up the benefits of the better life when not visiting.

Moving is easy when you’re young, fresh out of college, and with no kids. It is mostly in the minds of those people that I am trying to plant these ideas. Considering new cities is like reviewing a broad and exciting variety of new dishes and deciding which one to eat. I highly recommend doing this type of dreaming and strategizing when you are young. My own way of browsing involves reading Best Places to Live lists, touring the country and the world in person, and virtually flying around to check out the terrain and the bike paths using Google Earth (and the house prices and ‘hoods using Realtor.com).

The Ultimate Human-friendly city in my own view is one with a population between 50,000 and 200,000, in a compact and bikeable footprint, separated from neighboring cities by Actual Cows And Fields, as opposed to the fake cities that exist by the dozen on the sides of giant cities. Denver has “Lakewood, Englewood, Centennial, Aurora, Westminster” and a bunch of other silly non-cities attached to it. It should all just be called DENVER. But you have to drive for some time and pass a number of different crops and animals before you reach the distinct cities of Boulder and Longmont, for example. This distinct city status ensures that you’ll have everything you need right in your own town, and yet you’ll be able to hit the streets and very quickly end up in the country soaking up open vistas and black starry skies, even without resorting to car transportation. Your cell phone will have data access, FedEx will deliver your Amazon packages efficiently.. but yet you’ll never find yourself paying to enter a parking garage or waiting in an endless line for a restaurant. There is space for everyone in these Person-friendly cities.

For slightly older and more settled folks like the MMM family, moving is temporarily off of the menu – we want the lad to grow up in a stable place where the faces and friends stay the same from birth until high school graduation, and even the trees and hills and seasons become familiar through the span of his childhood.

But Mr. and Mrs. Money Mustache have  already got some more Adventure Moves planned for the many decades to follow in the future. Maybe we’ll move to a different college town as part of helping our son earn in-state tuition in another state. Maybe we’ll try Hawaii or another tropical island. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for San Diego.. but I also am fascinated by some expatriate destinations in Mexico like Lake Chapala near Guadalajara. Or maybe Victoria, on Vancouver Island back in the homeland.

You should live in whatever place works best for you. But you should be able to prove to yourself that it really is the right place – instead of just being the place you happened to be born.

Welcome New Readers! Take a look around. Feeling Hardcore? Start at the first article and read your way through using the links at the bottom of each article. Casual Sampler? Browse the complete list of all posts since the beginning of time. Hope to see you around here more often. ~ Love, Mr. Money Mustache

Where to next? Check out a Random Article

Stay in Touch: Subscribe to posts by e-mail, RSS Feed, or follow MMM on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the Conversation: Learn from Like-Minded Mustachians in The Money Mustache Community

Get MMM automatically
by email:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

117 Responses to “Get Rich With: Moving to a Better Place”

  1. LH September 28, 2011 at 6:27 am #

    I grew up in Toronto too! That was before embarking on Wall St and the fancypants salary (mid 6′s now, 5 years into the job). With my MMM spending habits working has already become optional. Don’t mind actually returning to Toronto, the weather sucks but the place has a lot going for it now.

  2. Frugal Vegan Mom September 28, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    Although Plymouth, MN (suburb of Minneapolis where I was born and raised) was ranked #1 place to live by Money magazine a few years back, I was intent on moving.

    I’d obsessively research cities from my cubicle, desperate to escape our frigid winters.

    I’d spend family dinners giving passionate alcohol fueled speeches about how we could all move together and buy an old duplex, live cheap and retire in the sun! (Still not a bad idea, but the family isn’t so motivated…)

    But both of our entire families are here, and especially now that we’ve had the baby we couldn’t imagine leaving.

    But, my outlook might be different if you ask again in January…

    • MMM September 28, 2011 at 9:08 am #

      My family sometimes talks about sharing some sort of compound together too! We like the idea of a bunch of adjacent houses where the kids can run out the back doors to play together. However, we can’t agree on a city for the destination.

      I’ve seen one family actually do a move this successfully as a group and the result seemed enviably fun. That’s part of the motivation for this article – to encourage people to be more adventurous about moving!

    • Jeff September 12, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      Take your family to south Florida in the winter for two weeks. Pick a small town friendly to bikes. Have them wear flip-flops and go to the coffee shop. Get sand in their shoes. Let them feel the trades blow through the house in January. Then put them back on the plane to Minnesota. They will have an awakening, I PROMISE you. People live in Minnesota for three reasons: Family, a job that cannot relocate, or lack of knowing any better. The ultimate solution is mine….Florida in winter, Chicago in summer.

  3. Teek September 28, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    I’m sure you expected it when you were typing up the blog post, but picking on a specific region — especially New York — is exceptionally narrow-minded.

    Is it more expensive? Yes, inordinately so. I make no bones about that. But to reduce it to humid summers, brutal winters, no access to wide open, space, so on and so forth…is just silly. Because you come off exactly like someone who hasn’t experienced it.

    In my life I’ve probably spent three times as much money living in the various five boroughs than I could have in Connecticut. But I would absolutely say that I have gotten ten times the value for my dollar than I would anywhere else. There’s a reason that so many people live here, and plenty more reason people call it the greatest city in the world.

    I think one of the things you forget is that numbers aren’t black and white, and that they have different meanings for different people. For a young 20-something with a good job and the means of living comfortably in New York? Absolutely. Go for it. The experiences he’ll have could be worth far more than living elsewhere.

    But if you’ve got a wife and two kids, and that apartment seems to look smaller by the day, then you have a different argument here.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong in your posts intentions. But you blanketed an entire region and populace, and a pretty weak reason too.

    Teek.

    • MMM September 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

      Haha.. sounds like you fall into the category of “people who actually like it there”, as mentioned in the article. I already said you’re allowed to stay. That’s not narrow-minded.

      Mr. Money Mustache just happens to dislike the whole Boston-through-DC metroplex, so he gets to make fun of it, because it’s his blog, sukka!

      • JKL March 27, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

        As you have mentioned,for those of us with strong family ties to NYC and even worse, Europe, there are not a ton of great options. I live in the West, but it’s really hard only seeing my family a few days (or weeks) a year, and as you have pointed out, the whole NYC area is pricey.

        Open to suggestions…so far I have made the choice to live in the west, but having all my family between two and seven time zones away is very difficult, and will only be worse as the folks age.

  4. JT September 28, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    What a timely post! I’ve been attempting to convince my boyfriend that we should leave the congested and expensive DC area for a college town two hours south of here (where I also happened to attend college). The thought of spending $3000/month on a mortgage/taxes with a hour an a half daily commute is insane and will become even more so when we start a family. He grew up in the area though and doesn’t want to leave friends and family. I’m still working on him. Maybe showing him this post will help.

    San Diego is amazing but inexpensive is one thing it is not. I lived there a few years and loved it.

    • MMM September 28, 2011 at 9:10 am #

      3 hours!? Pfeh, that hardly even counts as moving! Do it. You’d be doing that much driving every TWO DAYS with the insane commute you described. You must move to the new town, and live within biking or walking distance of work, since deliberately designing a Car Commute into a lifestyle is for fools!!

      San Diego still has expensive parts, but thanks to the housing crash, many areas outside the core are quite nicely ON SALE. Plus, if you ever want to live somewhere with more expensive housing, you can just rent a place – rents are almost always a better deal than buying in a high-priced city, when you work it out on a return-on-invested-capital basis.

      • Matt G November 22, 2011 at 8:16 am #

        We rented in San Diego for six years during the housing bubble. Moved there straight from Toronto, for an absolutely incredible change in weather (and wealth). It was so nice in SD that it made the beautiful Colorado weather we now enjoy seem crappy at first.

        If MMM ever moves to SD, I predict a sharp spike in the number of posts detailing ridiculous spending in the community. When we first moved there I asked a young coworker how he could afford his very expensive home in Eastlake — a very popular suburban area during the bubble. The answer: one mortgage for the first ~$400k, a second mortgage for the remaining ~$300k and a walletful of credit cards for the down payment! How can anyone think this is a good plan? And yet so many did.

        I still hear from some of these people. They tell me I was foolish for renting. The most recent argument: I should have bought a house in SD in 2004 …for the tax break on mortgage interest. Ummm, what? Someone correct this ignorant Canadian, but I don’t see how a tax break could amount to more than the meager income taxes I paid each year in California. Not nearly enough to cover the enormous loss in wealth I would’ve experienced through buying a house in SD in 2004.

    • Emmers April 26, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

      If the college town is Charlottesville, DO IT! Best town ever. DC’s all right, but I like the Maryland suburbs way better than the Virginia suburbs.

    • Lauren June 4, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      JT–Are you talking about Charlottesville, VA? My husband and I are considering this area. We live in metro DC and it is sooo expensive, especially since I don’t want to work right away when we start our family. However, there are so many nice things about living near a city……

      • EMily September 4, 2012 at 4:16 am #

        I just moved from Fairfax to Charlottesville! Commute went from 30 minutes to 3! I love it here.

  5. Katie September 28, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    The best place in the country to live (and it fits your criteria, too!) is Madison, WI. Low income and sales taxes, and lots of free entertainment (bike trails, concerts, ice skating, movies – all can be found for very cheap if not free). I’ve lived there, and wish I could forever (alas, no job for me or we might).

    Eventually, we will land somewhere near SE PA (where my in-laws live) and NJ (where my parents and extended family and oldest friends live). The one thing I have learned as I’ve moved all over the country for the last decade is that the price of not living near family for me is quite a bit higher than the cost of living/taxes/etc.

    • MMM September 28, 2011 at 9:13 am #

      I love Madison, WI in the summer! I’d probably combine it with at least 3 months of snowbird travel to skip the winters, since I have become extremely anti-snow in my old age :-)

      • Katie September 28, 2011 at 9:20 am #

        Winter is the best time! Cheap, nearby skiing, free ice skating, and snow! I miss Madison winters. Sure does beat cold and rainy that I have here and the last couple of places I’ve lived!

      • Travis September 29, 2011 at 11:40 am #

        I live near Madison. The weather here is very nice June though August. Other than that, I’m looking forward to moving south!

        If you don’t like the snow, your snowbird perdiod out of WI would be 4-5 months. The winters here are horrible. Long. Cold. Dreary. And VERY grey. I’ve gone weeks at a time without ever being in direct sunlight. That kind of thing drains me.

      • Danielle May 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

        I grew up in Chicago suburbs, and now Madison is my “better place.” Bike friendly, fun, hippy vibe, and the people-watching on State Street is unforgettable. I only get tired of the snow in February, when I usually head South for a week. MMM, if you’re ever in the area, I’d be honored to show you around!

  6. Saskaussie Fraussie September 28, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    Mate…..what location in Australia has cheaper food and beer? I’ve just returned to Oz after 6 years overseas (Canada and France) and the cost of living here has been a real wake up call. The climate does however make up for other shortcomings, particularly after several Saskatchewan winters….

    Couldn’t agree more with you on taking the plunge when young and without significant ties. It’s truly amazing the experience that awaits when you step outside your comfort zone. I quite enjoyed the challenge of adapting to a new place, if only to help you (and other family members) define what is really important. But like you, with two now elementary/primary school aged kids, it was time to settle for a bit. Family are still a 4 hour flight away, but it’s amazing the psychological boost that being in the same country brings them. Cheers!

    • MMM September 28, 2011 at 9:47 am #

      I’ll admit my Australian knowledge may be a little out of date – I was last there in 2003. At the time, however, I remember Sydney being very expensive, but beautiful beaches up the East Coast being very empty and affordable. And I remember these two pitchers of beer costing me about 3 US dollars each somewhere near Cairns :-) Australia Beer

      • Mrs. Money Mustache September 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

        Bwahahaha! Nice Jugs, MMM.

        I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this picture. The things I learn on this blog!

        I see you were having a flurry of fun traveling up the Australian coast back in 2003, before meeting up with me in Alice Springs. Luckily, I was having plenty of fun myself. ;)

        xo,
        Mrs. MM

        • Amber March 3, 2014 at 7:31 am #

          I love you guys!!!! It’s so nice to actually see another couple in love, having fun with each other, and not getting bat shit crazy about silly things! Keepin’ the priorities straight :)

  7. GP September 28, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    MMM – If you’re one of us lovely Canuck’s – how do you manage to live and work in CO full-time ? I’d love to move to the US but the visa situation doesn’t make it possible.

    • MMM September 28, 2011 at 9:16 am #

      NAFTA! The North American Free Trade Agreement allows people in certain professions to cross the border and work under a 1-year TN work visa that is very easy to obtain. From there, people who want to stay get it upgraded to an HN visa, then a green card, then full citizenship. It’s definitely a hassle, but definitely worth it.

      Much easier would be moving across on a TN work permit, but being extremely sociable and finding yourself a mate here, then getting married :-)

  8. Claire September 28, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    I concur!
    Although I’ve yet to find or carve out for myself a job where I feel my time is adequately compensated, moving to a smaller town has allowed me to exit college and the living-in-the-basement phase of life very well.
    An acquaintance and I share a duplex in a small city of 30,000 people. I pay 220 a month + MMM-style utility bills to live there. We’ve got a backyard and off street parking and are 5 blocks from a beautiful park and lake, and swimming in the Mississippi is a short bike ride away.
    Making money is still an issue, but luckily with my low cost of living, it’s something I don’t have to freak about like many of my friends.

    • MMM September 28, 2011 at 9:19 am #

      Nice story! There are definitely some skills that integrate nicely into a small town, like Accountant, Lawyer, Carpenter, Plumber, Painter, Doctor, Dentist, etc. Or you could get innovative and start your own Beer Brewery! There’s a product that is popular everywhere, and you get to combine marketing and interpersonal skills to build your brewery and possible eventual restaurant as well.

  9. Jenny September 28, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Even though we live in one of those “suburbs” of Denver, I find I rarely need to leave it – and my parents and sister who we rely on heavily, live within 2 miles (8 miles for my sister). However, we are kind of stuck in Colorado until our disabled child is an adult and can access Medicaid services without us wading through intense red-tape to access Medicaid for her while still providing for the rest of us (which means we work, for now). Leaving the state means we lose that – and start the process in a different state. And, we should be close to the many great doctors that are in our area for her. Actually, our close proximity to a Level I trauma center and Children’s Hospital probably saved her life. I think we’d love to live overseas, but we’re not willing to risk it now – resources for families like ours tend to be concentrated in large cities – and we live far enough out of it that it works for us!

  10. Shawn September 28, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    MMM, Im a fan. This post pushed me over the edge to comment. When you wrote about cycling to the big box home improvement store, I searched for sfr’s in Longmont. It sounds like a great place. I agree with many of your other choices as well harsh climates excluded. Sailing around the San Juan Islands is definitely on the list when retirement gets here. (three years or so at age 41) We are in the “moving is temporarily off of the menu – we want the lad to grow up in a stable place where the faces and friends stay the same from birth until high school graduation” mode so its great to make those retirement plans and dream of the not so distant future. Your style and your writing is great. Keep it up!

  11. Brave New Life September 28, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    I didn’t realize you were in Boulder. I’m a new CO Springs resident, having moved for the very reason you described – because Colorado fit mine and my family’s desires of cool weather, friendly people, miles and miles of mountain biking, and for 2 more years… a high paying job.

    My wife and I are seriously considering a move to Boulder when I retire, but we’ll see. We really like it here too. The only drawback of CO Springs is the military presence – but seeing people parachuting out of planes over the front range everyday is kind of fun. If we move up there, we’ll have to go get some beers. :)

    • MMM September 28, 2011 at 11:10 am #

      Nice! .. where did you move from?
      And, perhaps I’ll stop by your place on a pass through Colorado springs sooner than that – like on our upcoming December roadtrip!

      • Brave New Life September 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

        I moved from Texas. After a decade there and only 4months here, I find myself wondering how (and why!) I stayed there so long.

        Let me know when you’re coming through. I’ll buy you a beer.

    • Kim October 14, 2011 at 9:31 am #

      I just found this blog last night, and I think I’ve read almost everything…

      I’m extremely impressed with this blog, and very pleased to find someone further along the “no spending, DIY” route.

      My husband and I recently moved to Boulder from Washington, D.C., and it’s made an amazing improvement in our health and finances. D.C. was killing us in both areas, and Boulder (though expensive for the state) has been great in helping live better and get rid of debt.

      Maybe we should organize a MMM local meetup, we can have a convention of frugal people on the lawn. :-)

  12. Samantha September 28, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Just wanted to jump in and defend Fort McMurray, AB. This is actually a super beautiful city with lots of community events and natural beauty. I don’t think I’ve gone a day since living here without commenting on an aspect of it’s prettiness. Winters are cold, and the days are short at that time, but we have barbecues with amazing friends in the summers where we don’t lose the sun until close to 10! (Not many issues with mosquitos). We do have a hugely expensive house, but we have a legal basement suite we rent out, and rent out two of our spare rooms to our best friends (Earning us $1400/month after our mortgage payment). We originally moved here so my husband could finish his schooling, and I thought it would be easier to find a job here than back home (pretty much right where you’re from originally!). Anyways, we thought we were going to hate it, but we L-O-V-E it. Great friends, great job, great house. We are so used to everyone bashing this city, so I would say we’re a little more sensitive to it. But we’re going to be FI in less than 5 years and this city/economy helped us get to this point (we’re both 24). So… just my two cents on Fort McMoney, er, I mean Fort McMurray.

    • MMM September 28, 2011 at 11:32 am #

      Excellent defense! I am embarrassed to admit that I bashed the city without even having visited it. I am glad you’re enjoying it there, and that it was your own choice. However, if you have KIDS there, and they don’t enjoy the high housing prices and cold winters, or if YOU want a place to retire that is more laid-back, then moving will again become a good thing to consider.

      As Canadians, I find most of us assume that winter is a fact of life and we just have to adapt to it and look forward to summer. This is a healthy adaptation, but I found that when I moved somewhere with what I consider to be virtually NO winter, it felt like my life had doubled – the biking season never ends and I can do everything I want outdoors, every day. It’s a bigger deal in quality of life than I had predicted.

  13. Bakari Kafele September 28, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    I drove my RV halfway across the country, toured with a traveling carnival in the mid-west all summer, drove through Canada to visit family in Boston and Buffalo, settled in a small town in NJ for a year, working both in NYC and at a local NJ factory, before finally deciding that where I had started was really where I wanted to be.

    So, now I am where I started (San Francisco Bay Area of CA), but not just by default. I took a lot of time, effort, and cost to get back from NYC, and it took living other places to confirm that home happened to be the best place to be all along!

  14. Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple September 28, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    I really liked this post. I definitely moved far from home. I grew up in a tiny town with not a lot of jobs in Western PA. In order to pay for college, I joined ROTC, so off to the Navy I went.

    Though from cheap-ness, I went from pot to frying pan to fire. First, Washington DC, which was a GREAT place to live as a young 20-something (read: single and not looking to own a home and perfectly fine with shared housing).

    But then I followed my hubby out to grad school and coastal southern Cal. Which is even more expensive. So we bought an overpriced house at the wrong time, and it’s tiny (and people make fun of us for our tiny house when you can get a 5000sf mansion on an acre for 1/3 the price in Ohio). But whatever. I can bike to work nearly year round (we do have a usually short rainy season).

    We also miss our families, as you mentioned. We see them once every year or two. Since having the kiddo, we’ve stopped flying out to see both families every year, and instead, go every two years and hit both (they are 8 hrs drive apart). If we see them on off years, it’s because the moms come to visit us. But our siblings? None of my 8 sibs have ever been out to visit, and spouse’s sister only comes every 4-5 years. They’d rather go to Europe or Myrtle Beach or the Caribbean. (Which is fine, but don’t complain that you don’t get to see us often!)

    The disadvantage to being away from our families is just having support – many of my friends with kids don’t realize how easy they have it with grandparents to help out when you or the kids are sick, or the spouse is traveling, or you want a date night. Much tougher when your family is just the 3 of you. The advantage is that you don’t get pulled into family squabbles.

    I think I am spoiled now by location…I don’t think I’d ever really like to live in Vegas, Arizona, Albuquerque, or Eastern LA – I’ve been all those places, especially in the summer, and it’s too damn hot and you can’t GROW much of anything. Though if push came to shove and we lost our jobs, we’d move. I always told my husband that if something ever happened to him, I’d move to his home town in upstate NY in a heartbeat. I am NOT meant to be a single parent.

    • Ash October 18, 2013 at 12:50 am #

      I loved living in DC in my twenties as well. It is plenty small enough to not need a car, has rent a car by the hour services and arguably the safest and most efficient Metro in the US. I left because I just could not get used to the lackof open space. Walking my dog in Meridian Hill Park was ok until I stumbled across people playing craps there, and dangerous looking fellows thy were that didnt make. Girl feel safe, dog at my side or not! I also got tired of losing friends o the peace corp, grauate school, or new jobs, and just the transient nature of it all. Getting a taxi that will take your dog to the vet? Tough. Getting one o take your og to the vet in pouring rain, prepare to beg, bribe and put p w constant omplaining from the asshole cabby. I do miss the hip music scene, mom and pop boutiques on 14th street, cafes on Connecticut, h street bars, and of ourse Artomatic! As well as loads of cool graffiti, dewey rainy days, the lovely georgetown campus, turkish food and hookahs in adams morgan, and i even stumbled upon a drum circle once, which reminded me of ….dunh dunh dunh….Boulder Colorado where i used to live! Now im in sc due to work an fixin to leave. I miss the West. It is my heart and oul. I have a two year exit plan in my current job that will give me the cashlow to move and the ability to transfer to pretty much any city in the US. I am thinking heavily of Salt Lake City. Can I get your toughts on that city please MMM and other? Thanks! Ps sorry for the typos my computer broke so i have to use my ipad and im not adept at it yet.

  15. Soso September 28, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    I started following your blog and a few personal finance blogs recently. Glad I did as frugality has been a foreign concept to me. What helps is my immeasurable hatred for debt. Thanks for the blog.
    Anyways, I get shocked just reading about lives of people in other countries (cities). The cost of living is quite scary. I am a South African temporarily living in Mozambique. A poor country with an unbelievably high cost of living. This post is helping me consider a move away from a congested city to a smaller town. I may even have my own river and mountain…. Lovely post indeed.

  16. Ana September 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    I just have to point out the one interesting conundrum about your desire to have your kids grow up in one place from cradle to high school – that is by far the biggest reason people stay in one place, it seems to me. What they grow up with is their comfortable place, and they know people. Obviously, there are plenty of people (me, for example) which sort of felt smothered and had to leave, and there are benefits to being raised in one place, but I don’t think it’s necessarily best plan. For us, our two boys, 7 and 4, have already lived in two countries, and will hopefully live in one more by the time they are 18. It does suck having to say good bye to friends, but I love how much they are learning about the world, and how amazing it really can be when you get to know a place. I hope that does them good when they are ready to get out on their own and makes them more willing to consider leaving their comfort zone for something else.

    It is very true, too, that what one person is looking for in a place is so not what someone else wants. We spent six years in the Pacific Northwest and I pray we never have to go back. It wasn’t expensive to live there, and so many people around us loved it, but the constant gloominess was really tough for us to take. I’d rather have a nice winter and sun in the summer any day! And moving is what taught us that, so bravo for moving!

  17. MIke September 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    I am one of those who live in Manhattan…I am very ready to move.
    I have been here for about 30 years. There is a lot that is great about the city
    but I am ready for a new adventure.
    My monthly bills are around $8,000.00. That is after a few years of trying to cut costs!

  18. Peter September 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    MMM,

    I grew up in Toronto, lived in Kingston and then London, Ontario before moving to the Wairarapa Valley, New Zealand, last year. There were no jobs back at home, especially for my wife, who is a teacher. Plus I got sick of the snow.

    It’s wine country, there’s vineyards and mountains everywhere. The ocean is a thirty minute drive away.

    I go cycling through the mountains every morning. The scenery is unbeatable.

    Wellington is two hours away by train (cheap tickets) and we aren’t lacking anything.

    Rent/food/elec/internet/phone is $1800/month and water is free. The houses are uninsulated and can get cold and damp in the winter, but you get used to it. Electricity is kinda pricey since all the heaters are electric – $160 on average throughout the year.

    I wouldn’t say food is cheap, it can get crazy expensive in the winter (one green pepper or cucumber – $6) but if you keep with in season vegetables and shop around it’s about the same as Canada.

    Everything else is pretty much the same, except the weather is milder, the small towns are nicer, with more amenities, the people are less stressed out and far more willing to help each other out and life is generally more fun (although we don’t make much money).

  19. Phil Lavoie September 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    I moved to Indianapolis after reading an article in Forbes stating it was the most affordable city in the country.

    Thankfully, I love it here! Likely one of the most underrated cities we have.

    I am nervous that when we host the Super Bowl this year, that the secret may get out.

    By the way, I contribute Indianapolis as a major factor in my early retirement this past July at age 36!

    • Stashette September 29, 2011 at 7:27 am #

      I love Indy as well, but I think the February weather will scare most people away. If the Super Bowl were held in October I would be more concerned.

  20. Gerard September 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    What I’m taking away from this discussion (which is maybe not exactly what Mr. MM intended) is that there aren’t nice places and not-nice places, there are just places that are nice *for you* (or not). The advantage that Mustachians have is that they/we can exploit the price/nice mismatch by not over-valuing the things that are nice or necessary for other people. Things like a job. Or a high-paying job. Or a garage. Or a status-symbol neighbourhood. Or living with people who look just like you (God help them, in my case). Or the pile of things you thought you needed, but that you just had because you thought it was the only way to make your job life bearable.

  21. Jasmine September 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    My fiance and I are on our third move since meeting each other. We started out in Albuquerque NM ( I am desert born, he is cali born), then moved to Lincoln NE, and have found ourselves in Greeley CO. Each time he has applied for a new position within his company. I think it is much easier to transfer within your company to move since you know that you will have work waiting for you when you get there.One of only drawbacks is that you have to move where the opportunities are. Another one is that I have a resume full of businesses where I worked maybe a year. But it is a trade off. When we find something that he wants to settle into for a few years then I am planning on going and finishing my CS degree.

    The thing to remember is that life is an adventure. If you are happy where you are, more power to you. But I am enjoying my adventure and the new places and people I find.

    • Dancedancekj September 28, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

      Haha. I’m in Nebraska right now. I am happy where I am now, despite people telling me that Nebraska and the Midwest is a miserable place to be. I really like the low cost of living, less competition and congestion, and the Midwest niceness. Not to mention Warren Buffet :) My adventures for me are vacationing elsewhere, but I get to return home to my quiet, Mustachian life in the Midwest.

      • Jasmine September 29, 2011 at 11:38 am #

        too much corn :). I left some very good friends there and intend to take various trips back to see them. But Nebraska has killer taxes. Or at least Lincoln does. There is the 23% luxury tax that includes cell service, the wheel tax for the pot holes they don’t fix, the additional arena tax on all goods and services, and you have to pay sales tax on Kelly blue book value of your vehicle every year you register. Oh and our insurance dropped about 500 bucks when we got Colorado licenses for the same coverage. I still enjoyed living there… but it was expensive.

        • DTOM October 31, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

          Another (former) Nebraskan here. I was always under the impression that CO was more expensive tax-wise.

          There are pro’s and con’s for both states. CO has more outdoorsy type stuff to do, but the people there are more “city-ish” to me. Cross the border to Nebraska and it’s more farming communities with Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, and Kearney as you head East. For some, the political differences should be considered too. CO is definitely more on the blue side while NE is a strong red state.

          I can’t wait to move back to NE and tell these people on the East Coast good bye and good riddance. The niceness in the Midwest doesn’t existence anywhere else.

        • Ash October 18, 2013 at 12:56 am #

          Driving through Kansas, omg. The rain? If youre not prepared for it? Can be super scary!

      • DTOM October 31, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

        ” I am happy where I am now, despite people telling me that Nebraska and the Midwest is a miserable place to be. I really like the low cost of living, less competition and congestion, and the Midwest niceness.”

        Nebraska is severely under-appreciated nationwide. Whenever someone talks down on the state, my first question is if they’ve ever been there. Then you get 2 responses: A) No or B) Yes, we drove through it overnight when we were going to Colorado or Chicago or something.

        I usually start by pointing them to one of the many sites like Forbes and Parenting magazine that rate Omaha in the top cities to live year after year. after I tell them about the cost of living, niceness of the people, wide open spaces, low crime, job opportunities, and how easy it is to take weekend trips to a lot of places. After they simply blow it off, I discontinue trying to convince them how great it is because hey, I don’t want a bunch of people moving here and spoiling it. ;)

        • MMM November 1, 2011 at 9:57 am #

          I’m with you on respecting the Midwest. I’ve had a great night out in downtown Omaha, and many stopovers in other smaller midwestern places and I always loved the calm friendly vibe. I remember touring some of the neighborhoods of Des Moines and visiting a few local grocery stores as part of roadtrips in the past. I always thought, “I could definitely enjoy living here”. I think that the feeling of having plenty of land to go around feeds back into the culture and allows everyone to be more open and relaxed. The older I get, the more I appreciate the places that younger people consider somewhat slow and boring.

          • OWHL July 22, 2012 at 9:11 am #

            You need an article on how to efficiently execute such a move. For example, find a job in that area before moving versus moving then looking for the job? Or saving up emergency cash then moving versus vice versa? Do you rent/own before the move or just go and worry later? Would you ship your belongings or just take what you can and sell/leave/donate the rest?

            I think more people would benefit on a moving series!

            • Eldred December 11, 2013 at 10:47 am #

              I would *definitely* enjoy reading such a series. I’ve considered leaving Michigan for several years(can’t STAND the winters). But one, I’m stuck here for my dad, who’s 90 and has Alzheimer’s. And two, I don’t have a CLUE about finding a job in a totally new area. Hell, I had a hard ENOUGH time finding one in MY area…

        • Ash October 18, 2013 at 12:59 am #

          Best food I ever ate was in Omaha. Steak of course :D Iowa City was a close second though ( we were on a rd trip, yes) – we had ome kind of ouscous/zucchini wrap that was pure heaven!

  22. Chris September 28, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    MMM-

    It takes an adventurous spirit to “break away” from the place where you grew up. I knew in High School I had to get away. I grew up in a small country town outside of Oklahoma City, OK and joined the military out of college, partly to pay for school and partly for the adventure. I’ve gotten plenty of that. I’ve since lived in Del Rio, TX, Grand Forks, ND, Anchorage, AK, and Sacramento, CA, all while circling the globe with my job. Traveling and more specifically living in new places/regions gives you a broader appreciation for the differences in people/places and allows you to “in effect,” conquer the world! I feel like I could comfortably go just about anywhere on the planet now with a Credit Card and 50 dollars and be able to integrate just fine (well, okay, most places). Moving is fun, challenging and hard all at the same time.

    The wife and I are now trying to decide which locale in the Anchorage, AK area we want to settle in when we retire. I wish there were more compact communities up there, but there aren’t many (Homer and Talkeetna maybe). Most places you have to drive to get anywhere. But, where there’s a will, there a way and we’ll find a way to make it all work out in a frugal way. The crazy raw beauty up there is worth it and the crazy weather weeds out the rift-raft!

  23. Geek September 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    Moved from Corning, NY to Seattle (Redmond really). I really love my family a lot more at a distance. :)

    Following the dream – software jobs PAY out here!

  24. elorrie September 29, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    I’m also one of those adventurous people who relocated halfway across the country. Came from Iowa and decided to go to college in Boston (I think going to school someplace far away makes the move even easier, you have a ready-made community waiting for you). Though its much more expensive I love Boston and despite what most of the people here think they have it easy weather-wise compared to the midwest. It makes much more sense for me to live out here anyway since I work in Biotech and there’s a whole lot more job opportunities out here in that field. Also if you’re willing to live outside of the city you can find decently-priced housing that’s still near public transpiration (T or Commuter Rail). I work and live in the suburbs North of Boston now and we found a great deal on an apartment (retired landlord who prefers have good tenants that pay on time and take care of the place to turning max profit). The great thing too it that we live within a couple hours (or less) driving of great outdoor activities as well (we have the beach and mountains!).

  25. Ealasaid Haas September 29, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    My boyfriend and I are toying with moving to Portland — the biggest thing holding us back is the horrifyingly high unemployment rate (25% last I looked, one of the highest in the entire US). Seriously, I have heard horror stories from my friends who live there about folks who moved up there from the tech industry here in Silicon Valley and found themselves vying for jobs behind a counter at 7-Eleven. Yikes. So, we’re focusing on paying off our debts and saving up a bit before we take the plunge. I’m hoping to have enough saved and invested that I won’t really need a job beyond being the Book Roadie.

    • Claire October 1, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

      I would caution against a move to Portland without any job prospects. I too had friends who took the plunge but were unable to support themselves and ended up moving back. It’s an awesome city, but unless you’re already in the retired category, I think it’s tough to build a stash there.
      :/
      Good luck getting there eventually, though! :D

  26. poorplayer September 29, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    Well, I have traveled coast-to-coast, but have only lived in 2 states – NE and NY. Born and raised in the NYC metro region, but left at 27 for open spaces. Mostly followed jobs. Been in my neck of the woods in western NY state for 24 years. Love it. I actually like NY state because it has a little of everything – dairy farm country, Adirondack Mountains, ocean on Long Island, Finger Lakes region, Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario) coast line beaches, Allegany Mountains, Catskills, Hardest thing for me remains winter. I suffer from SAD so I do blue light therapy in the winter months and try to get out snowmobiling or snowshoeing (hundreds of miles of trails). 50 minutes to Buffalo, 2 hours to Cleveland, 3 hours to either Toronto or Pittsburgh, and a 50-minute plane trip to JFK when needed. Cost? $3K/year for city, town and county property taxes. Housing bubble never happened here, so neither did the bust. Along with the house I have 20 acres of land at about $350/year in taxes (undeveloped agricultural). I don’t see myself moving in retirement, but I do see myself becoming nomadic for some years before returning here (RV for snowbirding purposes). This area helped me raise three kids in one place, live on one salary while DW stayed at home with the kids homeschooling, and own a house and pay all bills. Can’t complain. Yes, I could retire tomorrow, but I very much like what I do, and as a college professor, work only a little over half the year, so why bother?

  27. Dana September 30, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    I just wanted to say that this blog post lit a fire in me like no other. My husband and I have talked several times about fleeing the Northern Virginia/DC Metro Region (because you’re right…it does suck), but haven’t really thought where to go, until I read this.

    I’ve now set my sites on Roanoke, VA. I went to college down near there, and that town has a nice vibrant culture, much like a big city, but still somehow has a small town feel…plus it’s nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Housing and cost of living down there are much more reasonable compared to the DC region, not to mention I’d think the general attitude of the people isn’t so retail-centric.

    Because of your post, I’m forming an exit strategy. Given that our current mortgage is under-water right now, we’ll work on paying it down so that we can sell it and be able to make a nice down-payment on a more reasonably priced home down in Roanoke. It will take time, which is probably a good thing: time to unload household crap, carefully consider and research the destination, what we want, etc. It’s another nice little goal that I can set for myself, also with the hopes that we can eventually enjoy a slower pace of life and hopefully be surrounded by like-minded people who know what’s important and what isn’t. Thanks for the inspirational post!

    • poorplayer October 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

      I’ve been to Charlottesville and liked that town a lot, but I did not get too much chance to investigate actual costs. Perhaps that’s another option for you.

      • JT October 3, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

        Charlottesville is the college town I’m considering (talked about it in a comment above). I loved my four years there as an undergrad. Housing costs are WAY lower than in DC, two hours north but there is still lots of culture and things to do.

  28. Christine Wilson October 2, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    Interesting post. I wouldn’t mind moving to another place. I don’t care for the weather and living in Toronto in general. I’ve always thought about moving to California in the back of my mind – Mountain View, Palo Alto, etc – as it’s where everything in my industry is happening. Prices there aren’t very low but they do not seem to be anymore expensive than Toronto surprisingly. Even a place like Colorado would be quite nice, a little more for inexpensive living, outdoor recreation and year round nice weather.

    So if I were to move to US I would need to interview with US companies and get the job and get them to get me a visa? Then I’d have to sell or rent my house in Canada, move down to [insert state here] and rent a place. Move my furniture down to the States – how much will this cost? Now I’m already married… so that won’t be how I get my green card! Do I get my company to renew my visa every year and after a certain amount of years I can apply for a green card? Can I purchase a house without being a citizen yet?

    It’s an interesting thought but I have so many questions! Do you have any of these answers or know of an article or website that may address these questions?

    I love creating websites and it would be awesome to live in the hub of it all. I feel that it could be worthwhile too as I would be able to make connections with other people passionate about their work.

    Anyways thanks for the post! I agree that people get used to “how it is” and not “what it could be”. I think the perception of loss makes people stay where they are. I’ve heard that people react badly to losing money even if it gains them more in the long run. Perhaps the pain of paying all this money to move, having to meet new friends, etc invokes a lot of fear in people. And yes people in Canada seem to think waiting for warm weather is “normal”. No it’s not! I’m cold half the year and I hardly go outside during this time. Warm weather would be awesome!

    • Moxie October 2, 2011 at 10:07 am #

      - So if I were to move to US I would need to interview with US companies and get the job and get them to get me a visa?
      – Or, get your own visa, move down, and interview. But it depends on the field of work you’re in and what types of visas you may or may not qualify for.

      - Then I’d have to sell or rent my house in Canada, move down to [insert state here] and rent a place. Move my furniture down to the States – how much will this cost?
      – Moving furniture will cost a lot. Not to mention potential customs/immigrations issues (which I have no idea about). My friends moved a small apartment worth of furniture & household items from Chicago to Texas for several thousand dollars. The cheapest way was to rent a truck and drive it themselves. But one-way rentals are much more expensive than Round-Trip rentals, so you could build in extra time and plan to drive the truck back to the starting point… you’d also have double the gasoline costs.

      - Now I’m already married… so that won’t be how I get my green card! Do I get my company to renew my visa every year and after a certain amount of years I can apply for a green card?
      – If the company is sponsoring your visa, you should find out up front if they are willing to sponsor for a green card or not. Some visas are only intended to be temporary, but others (like H1B others have mentioned) can be seen as a gateway to residency. You can also apply for a green card on your own, which will likely be more costly and cumbersome.

      - Can I purchase a house without being a citizen yet?
      – Yes. Almost the only thing you won’t be able to do is vote!

      It’s an interesting thought but I have so many questions! Do you have any of these answers or know of an article or website that may address these questions?

      • Christine Wilson October 3, 2011 at 11:47 am #

        Thanks for answering all my questions! Gives me a good starting off point to plan if I want to do this. Um anyone happen to know what happens to your bought house if your visa runs out and you have to move back to Canada? Is it simple? You need to sell it.. that’s it? Just try to sell it before the visa runs out?

        • MMM October 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

          It’s even easier than that – a Canadian doesn’t have to do anything in particular with a house they bought in the US. You could keep it as a rental, or you could sell it.. some Canadians keep second homes in warm places just for occasional visits.

          The only trick I found when buying my first house here was that some lenders are wary of 1-year visa holders. I had to show the paperwork for my 3-year H-1 visa before the bank would relax and lend to me. As with everything in life, much of the hassle disappears if you can simply afford to buy a starter home with no loan. But there are still many thousands of homeowners here from Canada, India, China, and other places who are keeping the lights on in many of the high-tech companies, who qualified for mortgages with TN or H1 visas.

  29. MeanyGoat October 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Great post, really interesting. Have a look at http://www.meanygoat.com for similar ideas. I live in France and very similar points come up….either the place is nice and the people of pretty horrible or vice versa. In the end you are where you are but you can make a plan to get to where you want to be. Frugal ideas help here because they can help you accumulate the cash needed for your next adventure!!!

  30. Acorn October 12, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Hmm, NYC is my early retirement location of choice. I just like the cultural diversity, public transportation, and yes, even the weather. Something like this would be nice -
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/nyregion/one-roof-three-generations-portrait-of-a-chinese-american-family.html

  31. Pretirement Shannon October 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Hi MMM –

    Loving the blog and wanted to share my story of maximizing lifestyle and income by moving. My husband and I are originally from Vancouver and were fed up at paying the ridiculous rents there. We are entrepreneurs who can work from anywhere so a couple of years ago we decided to move to Costa Rica for two months to avoid the rainy, depressing depths of winter in Vancouver. It was awesome! The next winter we did the same thing (but for three months this time). During that trip, I woke up one day next to a beach in CR and thought, we don’t have to go back to Vancouver! We could go anywhere! So, I started to do some research into cost of living in Whistler. Turns out, during the off-season (May-Dec) people rent out their beautiful ski chalets by the month for a fraction of the winter cost. We hooked up with a great couple from Palo Alto on Craigslist who own a chalet and ended up renting their place *furnished* for 1/2 what it would have cost us to rent an *unfurnished* place in Vancouver. We are finishing up this leg of our journey in Whistler in mid-December and then back to Costa Rica for a few months. We plan on moving back to Whistler again next year. I love that our housing costs are less than half of any of our friends and we get to live in the places they can only visit for a week holiday or a weekend. Keep up the great writing!!

    • Christine Wilson October 14, 2011 at 6:17 am #

      Hi Shannon… I just have to say that’s really cool!

      For anyone trying to do cost of living comparisons I found this nice website that gives you a general breakdown:
      http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparison.jsp

      • FiveSigmas October 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

        I’m a little late to the party, but that’s a neat site. Thanks for the link!

    • Christine Wilson October 14, 2011 at 6:19 am #

      Oh and can I ask what you and your husband do?

      • Pretirement Shannon October 14, 2011 at 10:30 am #

        Hi Christine – We both are entrepreneurs. My husband works in technology and I own an advertising consulting firm.

  32. Bart B. November 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    I’m about to make the move from Vancouver, BC (avg house price: $767,000) to Fredericton, NB ($162,000).

    The combination of high house prices and modest incomes make Vancouver the world’s least affordable housing market, right after Hong Kong and Sydney. Is Vancouver a nice city? I’m not sure: I’m stuck in the suburbs. It’s not nice enough to slave my entire life away paying for a scrap of land.

    I was fortunate enough to find a job in Fredericton matching my current salary. I feel like I’ve discovered a cheat code to the financial system.

    • MMM November 24, 2011 at 9:42 pm #

      Great choice! I agree that Vancouver prices are irrational.

      For the price of one Vancouver house, you could buy a house across the border in equally-nice Bellingham, Washington, AND have well over $500,000 US left over which you could use to buy a nearby small business to qualify for an EB-5 “Green Card Through Investment”. Then you could live off of the cashflow of your new business and occasionally stop in to thank your 10 employees for paying for your groceries :-)

  33. Uncephalized June 11, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    Don’t move to Phoenix! Sorry, MMM, but unless you’ve lived here you wouldn’t know what a shithole it is. “Never-ending warmth” is not how I would describe the climate here–try “brutal heat that could literally kill you if you are stranded outdoors for a few hours and makes you unwilling to leave your house for the middle part of every day between June and September”. Throw in the dust storms, crappy traffic, extreme lack of walkability, and general neo-con, truck-loving, gun-toting cowboy culture for good measure. I will grant you that the climate is nice in the winter, so if you can snowbird it might not be so bad.

    Your Tucson recommendation is a good one, though. I’ve lived both places and Tucson is pretty nice, cooler than Phoenix year round (though it still gets blazing hot in summer!), smaller and more intimate with lots of great restaurants and local businesses. It gets more rain, and the natural Sonoran environment is much more accessible because it’s a smaller city. You often see javelina or coyotes trotting down city streets in the mornings and evenings. There was a coyote pack that lived right across the road from out old apartment that we heard yapping every night when we went outside.

  34. Aviva June 12, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    Hi MMM!
    I just found your blog and love it. Particularly love this post (and the one that just stopped me from forking out for the iPad3!!)
    It made me think about my own moving experiences. I’m Australian, 27 years old and have lived and worked/studied in 8 places- 5 Australian (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Darwin,Perth) and 3 on the South American continent (Buenos Aires, Santiago, Cuenca). I think I’ve given other places to live a fairly good go.
    Interesting thing is- this year I chose to come back to my hometown, which I never thought I’d do, isn’t that funny?
    As a base I’ve realized it’s perfect for me (my criteria for great living are pretty much identical to yours. I particularly hate commuting so walking/bike tracks and public transport are key things for me). I tried the sexy big cities, tried the smaller more outdoor cities like Darwin. Thanks to moving I’ve now realized I need something in between, the beautiful outdoors with interesting job prospects and a good salsa scene on weekends!
    Having my family nearby as well is a huge bonus- we’re pretty close and I’ve missed being near them. That adds majorly to my happiness.
    A lot of my school friends have never lived anywhere else. I like that I can honestly say I chose to end up here- I know it’s perfect for me right now because I’ve tried other places.
    The other bonus with having moved is all the ex housemates and friends I now have around the globe to visit on my holidays- I’ve travelled so much on my own, now I love just traveling to see loved ones and enjoy their hometowns/countries. Plus it makes for much cheaper holidays!!

  35. zencracker July 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Please keep quiet about Vancouver Island. It will help keep housing prices affordable for us youngin’s who already live here! Thanks and love your blog.

  36. Justin Robert Forbes October 4, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    This is a great story. Im up in Halifax, nova scotia and this story is still relavent to me.

  37. Chelsea November 2, 2012 at 5:25 am #

    Interesting article, even if half the places listed sound incredibly boring to live in(capping ideal city size at 200,000 people? Bleh. The smallest city I’d consider moving to is Madison, WI, and that has 236,901 people in it!). Though maybe that’s biased by my young age and desire to live in a vibrant city with good public transit(sorry, but America’s pretty terrible at providing that in medium cities, let alone small ones) and a wide variety of things to do. I’ve recently had to move to Generic Suburban City #1406 for my first Real Job, and I’m already getting depressed by the fact that there’s nowhere to walk except a couple of small parks with one-mile trails(which I have to drive to!) & a bunch of roads that aren’t really laid out to be walkable.

    Although I’ve read a lot on urban design, and there’s a lot to be said about how the typical suburban town design is more expensive, less healthy, and less satisfying for everyone involved. You can’t walk anywhere, there’s not enough density for public transport, teens who aren’t old enough to drive are bored out of their minds, old people who can’t safely drive either drive anyway or are stuck at home all the time, 99% of the stores you find are cookie-cutter chain stores, people are encouraged to buy big, expensive houses that use a ton of space with giant lawns that need lots of watering…bleh to it all.

    • Gerard November 11, 2012 at 5:58 am #

      Sounds like you’d be better off in a real small city, or college town, rather than a big suburb. Most of the problems you mention (and I agree with you that they definitely affect quality of life) are not an issue in places like St. John’s, NL, or Bloomington, IN.

  38. Fawn November 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    I grew up in Philadelphia- blah weather and crime ridden to boot. My husband is an active duty military member, so we didn’t stay in Philly, but we don’t get to choose where we live either, and we move every three years to a new state- like clockwork. This has wreaked havoc in some areas of our lives (my career) but has been extremely enriching in other areas. Obviously not everyone can or would live like this, but when my hubby retires from the service we will have seen and experienced every region of the country first hand and will choose where we retire carefully and with first hand knowledge.

  39. Jenny December 29, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    MMM,
    Would you happen to have specific names for the communities/neighborhoods in the areas you describe as “desert suburbs near the foothills just East of Los Angeles”? I would love to do some research on the feasibility of my moving to one of those areas. I live in Los Angeles and want to stay here because my grandmother is here, in-state tuition for my soon to be going to college son, and the weather. But I need to find somewhere cheaper to live and moving to the desert would do wonders for me health wise. I was trying to figure it out on my own….are you talking about the San Gabriel Valley? East of the San Gabriel Valley? (And if so how far east?) Further North like the Antelope Valley? Am I on the right track? Thank you for any additional information you can pass along my way. I am new to your blog and am really enjoying looking around. And while I have also lived according to your “MMM” principles, some of them are not realistic for me. I am in a long drawn out divorce, disabled and simply do not have the skills to do many of the cool MMM things you do. All my savings (which I had been acquiring since I was a teenager) have been eaten up in my divorce. But I’m trying to hold out hope that I can still make it somehow; and your blog is giving me a little of that. Thanks again.

    • Mr. Money Mustache December 29, 2012 at 9:48 am #

      Hey Jenny – good luck! When I wrote this post, I was browsing through realtor.com and looking at houses around LA that were heavily discounted due to the housing crash. The fire sale conditions may still exist in places, but you’d have to browse around a bit yourself. Choosing a region and then sorting by price: low-to-high, is usually a good start.

      • Jenny December 29, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

        Thank you; I will do that!

    • shavenllama January 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

      Hi, JennY!

      I happened to be putzing around with the Random Article generator, and I happened across this one.

      Anywhooo-

      How long have you lived in the LA area? Have you looked into areas like Saugus/ Canyon Country just north of LA metro? Bakersfield/ Taft further up? Riverside/ Corona to the east? Menifee, Yucaipa, and Fallbrook (southern Riverside county/ Northern east San Diego county) might also be up your alley as they are close enough to shopping and roads but took a big hit with the housing meltdown.

      Good luck!

  40. Segmond January 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    I live in Michigan, in a very quite suburb, 3 car garage, half an acre of backyard, nice walking and biking trails, 25 minutes to Detroit downtown. Michigan felt the worst of the recession, housing is sooooo cheap. But the great thing, I took the opportunity and I’m now mortgage free! I employeed and make about the same as the average professional, being mortgage free means I can put away so much more each month. I’m giving up some sun shine, but it’s working for me. Michigan is a great place for those who can work remotely or find a somewhat stable job that can last for a good 5 yrs.

    What you pay in rent in most places for 2 years, will buy a house cash in some nice neighbourhoods, if you are willing to downsize to a modest 3 bedroom 1100sq ft house with garage and possibly basement and $2000 property tax.

    My friends that are out of state can never wrap their head around why I’m still here, but that’s why. Lots of things to do! Chicago is 4hrs drive, Toronto 4 hrs drive, Cleveland and Columbus 3hrs drive. Tigers, Red Wings, Lions, Pistons, Michigan and MSU football and basketball, tons of things to do.

    • CH May 2, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

      Hi Segmond,

      Been thinking about Michigan as one of my future locations. I hope this doesn’t come out stalker-like :-D, but could you please say what suburb you’re in?

      Been in DC 6 years – hoping to get out in the next year or two. My major requirements are nice places to run, coolish weather (okay, stop laughing!), a good job (prerequisite for moving), reasonable cost of living, lots of elbow room, a friendly live-and-let-live attitude, and trees.

      Thanks!

    • Ash October 18, 2013 at 1:19 am #

      Ok but how often do you actually go to Chicago? The reaon I ask is because i live in a city only 4 hrs from the beach, and I really never go. So for me, the amenities would need to be within an hours drive to ‘count’.

  41. Alain February 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    Having lived in two countries, I settled in Toronto 8 years ago. I must say I find it awfully expensive, plus I disagree with many of the things that make it a supposedly great place. I really would love to move to the States but that’s too much of a hassle right now that I’m married and a new father. Oh, and my wife hates the winter, so she’s definitely sign up to move to a warmer place.

    That said, if we were to stay in Ontario, can anyone recommended a medium sized city that’s reasonably priced and had somewhat better weather than Toronto? Thanks!

  42. Cyrus April 28, 2013 at 12:50 am #

    “The Ultimate Human-friendly city in my own view is one with a population between 50,000 and 200,000, in a compact and bikeable footprint, separated from neighboring cities by Actual Cows And Fields, as opposed to the fake cities that exist by the dozen on the sides of giant cities.”

    Welcome to lovely Missoula, Montana.

  43. irisheyes May 2, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    You are so on the money. (baDUM!) I am almost desperate to leave Los Angeles and stop giving money to our whack slumlord (we have had three now, in 1200-1500 one bedrooms) and enduring the crime, smog, traffic (bike? I wish! whats a bike?) and general smashed together existence. I really miss regarding my neighbors as great friends rather than fighting them for parking and resenting their dogs and kids. Unfortunately, its all about the job in this decade. I graduated right in to the lap of the crash in ’08 and carried on working as a dance instructor just like college never happened. Im pretty weary of making it in a smaller place with my particular skills. My guy is terrified of leaving his job too. I fantasize about taking my savings and running away to the mayan riviera. I could live for years off money that wont put a dent in a mortgage here.

  44. Campinas May 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    I too a fellow Canadian in a new country! I am on my third year living in Brazil (brazilian husband now) and I have a million worries under the sun about our retirement. We are both 30, late earners (grad schools and traveling the world took all our time and cash), but we are saving around 50% of what we earn monthly. Everyone talks about the opportunities here in Brazil, that its booming etc but we just dont see it! High inflation rates, high cost of living (look up Sao Paulo) and zero customer service makes us very scepticale to investing any of our savings here. Getting our money back to Canada is too costly and we are just so confused on what to do with our savings while we are here. We just moved from Sao Paulo which is all the negative you mentioned in this article times 100 to a quite city of about 1/10th the size and price. DEEP EXHALE…. With a better living situation we hope we can change our investing situation too. Any suggestions on out of canada/US investing? International investing? Am I embarrasing myself? We are good savers but then what? Investing is scary, but even scarier in a foreign country! We are adventurers so we will take this on!

    • Souza July 31, 2013 at 11:32 am #

      Hello Campinas, I´m a local Brazilian and it seems you lived in one of the worst cities in Brazil, S. Paulo. I´d say the places of opportunities are in specific locations all over the country. I myself have been living in R. de Janeiro, another of the worst places in the country, expecting to retire within 7 years, before I am 47, and expecting to move elsewhere in the country afterwards. I´m happy to find someone in Brazil interested in Mustachian subjects. Regards.

      • Aja November 8, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

        I agree with Souza about São Paulo, though I finally visited Rio recently and loved it. Not the cost of living, though. I’m an American who’s been in Brazil for a little over 4 years now. I lived in Curitiba and a smaller town in Paraná before settling in Bonito, MS. Thanks to tourism, we have a fabulous balance of work opportunities (for bilingual folks and entrepreneurs) and small-town benefits… Bike culture, friendly people, safe plus beautiful weather and, with a few good friends, free or discounted entrance to the ecotourism sites. Not great if you’re into consumerism, but the main thing I miss being able to buy is imported food, so I just stock up on exotic ingredients when I visit the big cities and have fun cooking at home. I too am starting to think about investing here. Perhaps we should start a group and share what we figure out?

        • Souza November 9, 2013 at 9:13 am #

          Hello Aja, I´ve been learning about this and putting money into Brazilian investments for 8 years now, since I began saving 50% of my earnings. I´d be glad to share information about this subject. Perhaps we could open a topic in the forum.

  45. Johnny Credit May 13, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

    I have to defend NYC here.
    First of all great blog, I’ve been obsessively reading since the Washington Post article linked to you.

    1.) Crowding; You have to love people to live here, look at the way we live, stacked in boxes on top of each other.

    But if you think of people as resources, (I have many very wonderful neighbors, in close walking distance), then rather than try to live as far separated as you can from them, and abhorring others, you can find great enjoyment from people here.

    We share services, which means, in my 2 family home in Brooklyn, I pay less than $1300 a year in property taxes. Sure you can pay between $5,000 and $30,000 a year in NJ or Long Island, if you want, but why?
    You can build equity faster with less taxes in your mortgage. And with tenants helping, (the vacancy rate is extremely low here), you can knock it down in no time.

    2.) Cars; Lose the car, we have perhaps the finest public transportation system in the world. Hate public transportation? Get on a bike, you are not a freak here, there are bike lanes everywhere.

    3.) Rent; It’s high in some places, but if you own a home that you bought at fire sale market crash prices, high rent is your friend. If not, factor in higher wages, and the fact that you don’t need to own a car.

    4.) Wide open spaces; it’s not the West, but you have the Catskill Mountains, the Adirondack mountains, you can ski in the winter, you can bike, or take the subway to a variety of beaches (Coney Island, Rockaway etc) in the summer.

    There is a 3 acre Park, a couple of blocks away, that I walk to every day, with my dogs, and some much larger ones, walking or biking distance away.

    Sure mid winter can be snowy and cold, mid summer is hot/humid. Spring and Fall can be gorgeous, my favorite is Spring.

    But if you’re smart, you can live a very Mustachian lifestyle here.

  46. Sérgio May 28, 2013 at 6:24 am #

    Why don’t you try Coimbra? In Portugal Or even Alentejo.With you stash and your current level of spending you cold live here like kings

  47. James July 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    I live in NJ, and still dream about Portsmouth, NH….

  48. michelle August 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    When we bought our house 3.5 years ago, we knew we wanted to live in town vs. a suburb. It caused quite a ruckus with friends and family. (my parents left their almost paid off house in town to over buy in the suburbs) One of the craziest arguments we got was, “Why would you want to live in a used house?!”. Seriously….a used house. People here upgrade their houses as much as they do their cars. Most buy a POS “new” slapped together house in the suburbs where they have to drive at least 10 miles for anything(even a convenience store). We live in the middle of town, within 3 miles of EVERYTHING. If we choose not to bike, we can catch a bus 100 feet from our front door.

    Yes, our house was built in 1942 but with REAL lumber! Our doors and beams are solid old growth wood, not hollow foam core and composite wood. The landscaping is mature and we didn’t have to build a fence or put in a sprinkler system. Right now, it’s perfect sized for our family of 4 (1800 sqft and feels HUGE). When the kids leave, we will definitely downsize our square footage. Yes, there is only 1 bathroom but guess what, I only have to clean one bathroom! We have never had any issues sharing a bathroom with 4 people (or more when we have house guests).

    Love our house in town (:

  49. Ash October 18, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    Would love to hear thoughts on moving as a non Mormon to Salt Lake City. Thanks!

  50. Greg November 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

    After a layoff from the 2008 housing crash, I up and moved to Australia then soon to Singapore. Singapore gets a bad rep sometimes but that’s fine cause that’ll keep people out when it’s great here actually. You can make a very high salary and if you choose to live like a local you can easily hit 60-70% savings targets quickly. Always warm with no crime and last year I had a total tax rate of around 4%.

  51. Cadence January 8, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    Hey MMM,

    My husband and I had a talk a few weeks back about how we really need to get serious about paying off debt, being more frugal, etc. and so I started to look online for inspiration and came across your blog!
    At any rate, this particular post struck me. We live just outside of Boston which is where we are both from. My husband has 5 siblings in the area plus their families and nearly my entire extended family is here including my 96yo grandmother 1 mile up the street. These things have mostly kept us here over the 13 years we’ve been together.
    As you stated, it is much easier to pick up and move when you’re young and not “tied down” to anything yet. Of course, we are renters (housing market is out of control here – 2BR 1BA ranch can go for $500,000 in my town) and have no kids so really nothing is tying us down and thats the way we like it! 12 years ago we packed our car with clothes, camping gear, and our dog and went on a road trip to find our new home…for many reasons (primarily sun and cost of living) we ended up in Scottsdale, AZ. We stayed for about 2 years but then moved back. We both hated our jobs, I wanted to go to grad school and knew more about doing so in MA, we were getting married back in Boston, and we were totally broke (making about $10/hr each) and sick of spending all of our $$ and vacation time going home to visit. We moved back to our hometown with the intention of staying for a few years so I could go to grad school and then he wanted to move to CO, which I had agreed to do. Then I graduated and got a job and it seemed to make more sense to stay in MA and work for 2 years so I could get licensed (I’m a Marriage and Family Therapist). When those years were up, I said, “Okay, lets do it!” and my husband changed his mind and decided he wanted to stay by his family. FF 2.5 more years and we’re both bored, still broke, and still dreaming of the west.
    This long winded story is all to say that now that we’re serious about moving to CO again (and we ARE doing it this time), I’m finding that it is going to cost us a LOT of money to get there. Here are my specific questions if you have time (or any other reader wants to chime in) to address them:
    To rent a Uhaul or some such would cost approx $2400 for the trip. Even if we sell just about everything, I still think it will be more than we can fit in our pick up truck (gas guzzler, I know) to bring the things I deem to be essential (clothes, camping gear, photo albums, a couple of my best pots/pans, my files (one small file cabinet), and a few other things I’m probably forgetting. I think sending them will cost more than replacing them, but most aren’t replaceable things.
    Secondly, we want to buy a house out there but I’m thinking we should get a cheap apt first for 6 mos-1 year to check the place out and decide for sure where we want to live (leaning toward Evergreen – would love info on this). That requires another couple thousand dollars for 1st, last, security.
    The gas alone to get there will be over $600.
    And of course we both need to find jobs BEFORE we move, which will almost certainly require flying out at least once (I hope only once) to interview. One way we’ve thought to incorporate this is to take our 10th anniversary vacation there this summer (camping) and try to set up interviews over the course of a few days.
    I really want this to happen and I think it will, but all of this cost stresses me out.
    I didn’t go into our debts at all but we are definitely in a HAIR IS ON FIRE!!!! situation there and I’m working on that.
    Thanks MMM and anyone else willing to give some feedback here!
    Cadence :)

    • PeachFuzzStacher January 8, 2014 at 7:32 am #

      Cadence,
      Unless you have a good paying job lined up and a lot of cash for emergencies, I would advise against purchasing a home when you move to a new region. If you can reduce your belongings, barebones it in an apartment for 6 months – year until you can get your feet on the ground, especially if you have debt.

      Maybe you can let a family member back in Mass hold on to some of the sentimental possessions until you find your more permanent place? By then, you might have enough saved up to ship some things one at a time, or try out a container shipping service like PackRat or PODS, which will drop off a container you fill to the specified destination.

      Good luck with the move and tackling the debt.

      -PeachFuzzStacher

      P.S. – I’m in NJ/NYC area and am in a similar market to what you experienced near Boston. I compromised and moved out 45 minutes from family where it’s a bit cheaper and there’s still jobs. It doesn’t seem fair sometimes.

      • Cadence January 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

        PeachFuzzStacher (haha I like that!)

        Yes, I think you’re right. We definitely wouldn’t move without both having jobs lined up, which means we may have to move separately. I have a close friend out there I could crash with for a short time if necessary.
        I also think even aside from $$ it will make sense to rent first so that we can really check out all the areas and decide where we want to call home.
        I think having family hold onto stuff and send it later is a great idea – we did that when we moved to AZ but unfortuantely we didn’t pack it very well and a lot was ruined – this time we’ll know better!
        We were actually looking at buying land in NH and eventually building up there so we could stay near family, but ultimately we both decided the West is calling to us and we really won’t be satisfied staying in the northeast. I say all the time I wish I was born somewhere with a better climate and lower cost of living but then maybe I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of all the time I’ve spent in NH, VT, ME, RI, and MA on wonderful weekend/weeklong getaways! Always a up and a downside.
        Thanks so much for your feedback!
        Cadence

    • HaiYen January 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

      Hi Cadence,

      I wanted to chime in since your situation is very similar to mine including the places you’ve been and wanting to go. I’ve lived in MA, CO, LA, and KY and have been giving some serious thoughts to AZ but have not done much research yet. With all the moves we made, we did them ourselves with all the household STUFF, cars, and such with Penske & trailer since it was the cheaper option. I’m pretty sure truck rental has gone up in price since our last long moves.

      As for housing, we never bought since we weren’t ready for the long-term commitment which I don’t regret since we have moved so much. We did make some of the moves with temporary housing lined up with relatives which did save us the hassle of finding something right away as well as saving some money. We have also moved without housing lined up and found apartments/townhouses within the budget. Jobs were the same way, we actually braved some of the moves without jobs. Looking back I do regret using up some of our savings in those areas but they have given us experience. For the next move, I would definitely do online research and make a trip to visit the area. As for jobs, I’m still planning that. It will depend how financially set we will be before the move.

      I know exactly what you mean about the long list of things to figure out in order to make a move happen because we also have that list. We are currently in MA with decent jobs so the move won’t be for another 5-7 years so I think we have more time than you.

      Coincidentally, we lived in the Longmont area for a few years as well as other areas in CO. I totally agree with MMM’s writing regarding the Longmont area, but my plan is to go somewhere even warmer.

      Hope you like hearing another story, maybe we can do the planning together!

  52. Frugalina February 1, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

    Just wanted to share how we ended up in San Diego. My husband and I lived in ID & visited SD on a last minute vacation to get away from the cold (we both hated winters but somehow lived in the NW for too many years). After a day of being in SD we both said we can see ourselves living here…except the obvious high cost of living was intimidating. After we returned home, I started looking for jobs and housing costs & researching how much things cost there vs where we were living and seemed it was possible to enjoy the year-round sunshine on a frugal lifestyle. We moved 3 months after our 1st trip to SD (after securing a job & finding renters for our home). And yes, even with moving into a home that was half the sq. foot of our NW home with double the mortgage, I’d say it was definitely worth it. I’m talking about going from a 1650 sq home to 880 sq & living a simplified/debt-free life and it is possible. All the best to everyone on the quest for a better life…whatever our personal reasons may be…

  53. Crystal February 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    If MMM was to move to San Diego, what neighborhood would you move to?

    Specifically, what neighborhoods are the most bike-able (bike to the beach!) with the best schools and lowest cost of living?

    Thanks in advance for your feedback!

    • Mr. Money Mustache February 15, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

      I think we’ll have to let our SD readers answer that one. I always stay near Balboa Park when I visit there, and I was able to bike everywhere (including to beaches, downtown, the airport, etc.) from there. But there are many more choices to be sure.

      It’s Southern California, which means the car culture is still awful, but bikes are so versatile that you can really prosper with them anywhere.

    • Frugalina February 16, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

      The problem with this area is that the most bike-able areas that are close to many things are also the areas with the higher cost of living …especially if you want the best schools. Lower cost of living areas are about a 15-20 minutes (or even further) drive away which is the option we chose as we couldn’t justify a ridiculously high mortgage (or rent).

  54. nellibelli February 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

    I am a new reader, am working my way through the posts from the beginning. Very inspiring! I live in San Diego, and do not think it is the best place for frugal living, nor for biking. The weather might be great most of the time, but the drivers, and they are legion, are in general not considerate to bikers and the city is not set up for pedestrian/bike traffic very well. I do think it’s getting better, but it has a long way to go. And as Frugalina said, expensive housing. Especially in nice neighborhoods biking distance to the beach with great schools. ;) But anyway, I am feeling very inspired to crack down on our situation and begin our mustache. My husband already has an impressive mustache, but unfortunately it is not of the money variety. :)

  55. james March 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

    I’d love to move out of Los Angeles if my industry, aerospace, was not so concentrated here and the whole market was not undergoing a contraction. I honestly don’t enjoy the work that much but can’t see a way out. I don’t think I could handle taking a retail/service job to make ends meet at my age, but I also can’t see any professional position that isn’t engineering available to me. If I could apply my aerospace engineering skills to designing outdoor gear (rock climbing equipment use a lot of similar analysis, bicycles too) that’d be ideal, but those jobs seem to be in very short supply.

    • Mr. Money Mustache March 18, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

      Go for it! Save most of what you earn and decrease your lifestyle costs to reduce dependence on the job. Fire out resumes to companies that might take a chance on you – even with a lower salary because you won’t need as much money after the switch. Find a gig (or start your own via consulting) that allows you to work from anywhere.

      As a fellow engineer, I can tell you that it is engineers (i.e. people who can solve problems and then communicate clearly about them) who are in short supply, not the jobs. But it may take some outrageous optimism to bust through the barriers you currently face.

Leave a Reply

To keep things non-promotional, please use a real name or nickname (not Blogger @ My Blog Name)

The most useful comments are those written with the goal of learning from or helping out other readers - after reading the whole article and all the earlier comments. Complaints and insults generally won't make the cut here, but by all means write them on your own blog!