I haven’t yet decided if I should wear flowers in my hair.
Over the past three and a half year, I have lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. I have mixed feelings about leaving and mixed feelings about the area in general and am excited to see what a new area has to offer.
First, the pros of Dallas: the food and the low cost of living (no state income tax!). There are very few parts of the country where you can enjoy great barbecue, Tex-Mex, Cajun and steak offerings like Dallas can provide (Houston may have a point of contention with that last statement). No state income tax and a low cost of living has also allowed me to sock away money and keep my savings rate extremely high over the past few years. And, the cons: mostly the weather and lack of public transportation. I grew up in New England so I can handle my winters. But moving to a place where 60 degree weather meant neighbors bringing out their hoodies and sweaters was quite a culture shock to me. My first summer there (2011) had a record-breaking seventy days over one-hundred degrees. August 2011 became the hottest recorded month in Dallas history. All of this to welcome somebody who prefers the cold weather to the hot.
After I purchased my house in June 2013, my air conditioning almost immediately went out for a few days. One night I lost nine pounds sleeping in the heat while waiting to have air conditioning repairmen scope out how much it cost (too much) to replace my air conditioning. After coming out looking like Christian Bale in The Machinist, I cared less about the cost and more about securing my icy cold central air for the near future. Also, you need a car to get anywhere. Even the most frugal bloggers out there on the internet would be hard-pressed to bike everywhere in this area, with both the heat as well as the general space and distance between everything.
“It’s just down the road. Probably about 30 miles!”
San Francisco is a city that feels a lot like an east coast city. It is a place where people build up rather than out and has a well-established public transportation infrastructure. Within driving distance is the ocean and skiing (again, I’m a cold weather person…).
There are six major sports franchises within the Bay Area. I think it’s time I adopt a western conference team for the NHL so it looks like the San Jose Sharks might just fit that bill. I’m also considering an MBA and the options in the area are much better than what Dallas had to offer.
But… the cost of living!
I cannot fathom how people can afford to live in this area or raise a family on one income alone. I received a 35% pay increase to move here and I think at the end of the day I may be putting away less money. Rent can easily run to >$3k/month and in the more affordable parts of the city a studio will set you back $1,400/month. It really is a different experience than Texas (understatement of the century).
The last thing that I will point out about San Francisco (since I am still very new to the City) is that every amenity seems to be captured by some app. UberPool is a new feature which allows you to share Uber rides for less than a regular UberX ride. Washio picks up and delivers dry cleaning to your door. Amazon Fresh delivers fresh produce to your door. It really is simple to live carless in the city and that is what I plan on doing.