My partner and I are recent transplants to Austin, Texas. We moved here from San Francisco and consider ourselves part of the growing millennial population that realized life in the city was way too expensive for any future-building budget.
Our combined income at the time exceeded 200k.
Our last apartment was in an area of the city known as Nob Hill, right up the hill from the Tenderloin, an area that is the center of San Francisco’s growing homelessness epidemic.
The unit we occupied was at most 500 square feet, with a dishwasher-less kitchen, tiny living room, bathroom, and bedroom. We should’ve known we weren’t going to stick around for too long. We never even finished unpacking all of our moving boxes there.
It was home for six months before we decided we couldn’t tolerate the city’s living conditions anymore. Not for what we were paying: over $3200/month with utilities. The apartment’s laundry room was in a dingy basement which could be accessed by a narrow staircase with protruding nails. There was a musty couch loitering in the building’s front entrance for some reason, and our unit was slanted, something that chewed on my nerves.
Overall, our financial health has improved dramatically, and we don’t feel like we’re stuck in a box.
Despite the city’s egregious rents, there is a magical quality to living in San Francisco. There’s lots to do, and I have a plethora of wonderful, fun memories from my time working and living there.
San Francisco gave me many things: fantastic views, my career, lots of late-night stories, the opportunity to dance for an amazing dance company and perform on stage, and of course, it’s where I met my best friend with all the benefits.
When we both contemplated our future, we decided that we wanted to build equity, so we took the plunge. We packed up the belongings that weren’t already in boxes, grabbed our cat, and road-tripped to Texas, keen on finding more space at a reasonable cost.
After searching for the right realtor and researching the Austin real estate landscape, we settled on a house a few minutes away from Apple’s upcoming development project, which will bring thousands of jobs to the area.
To provide an idea of our living expenses now, we live in a beautiful house that is 4 times the size of our last San Francisco apartment, and our total monthly housing cost after taxes is about $2300. This cost is paying off the house that we will eventually own, which is much preferable to paying rent. Each of us has a private home office. This has made working from home infinitely easier.
Overall, our financial health has improved dramatically, and we don’t feel like we’re stuck in a box. While this doesn’t mean that we don’t miss San Francisco, the lower cost of living has helped us plan for the future, something we wouldn’t have been able to do at this point in our careers if we had stayed in the city.
Our cat is a lot happier too, with all the extra space to create havoc.