One of the things that’s really helped me to save money is moving from a high cost of living area (Los Angeles) to a lower cost of living area (Denver). Not that Denver is the lowest, but when you compare home prices in any decent area in LA with the home prices here, everything looks cheap.
Single family homes (3 bed, 2 bath) can be had for under 500k. Condos and charming row homes are 200-400k. At this rate, why isn’t everyone from LA moving into middle America? I used to pay $1650/month for a 1 bed, 1 bath apartment in Santa Monica. There was a garage unit and a nice little balcony off the kitchen. Location was on 9th, between Wilshire and Montana – so the good part of Santa Monica. The rent was actually very reasonable for this location and anyone would have jumped at the chance to live there. But now i’ve moved to Denver, and my half of the mortgage comes to $850. That’s half what i used to pay, and for an entire house. Granted, i do have to share it (that happens in marriage), but it’s also not rent, as we (he) own the house.
Otherwise, all other costs remain about equal. Food is the same price-wise. Mani/pedis are actually more in Denver (approx. $50 for both) than in LA ($17 for both). Vons is Safeway, Ralph’s is King Soopers, and we have 2 Trader Joes. No In-n-Out. On dining out and the restaurant scene, this isn’t LA. There is some decent food and a fun scene, but if you’re coming from an LA mindset, you’ve gotta minus 1 star on all Yelp reviews of any restaurant. Seriously.
Lastly, i don’t see many Asians in Denver. There’s a growing population though, and I will always notice them in a restaurant. I wonder if they notice me too?