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December 12, 2019 Posted in City Guides
Michael Vaughan

Moving through the Bay Area, Michael works as a freelance writer in the moving and transportation industry.

What Is The Cost of Living in San Diego

You must be wondering how this beachy community gained such popularity when the cost of living in San Diego is far beyond average? Well, people have different reasons to cross great lengths to come here. Some might be looking for a world-class beer scene that is popular here, while others enjoy the outdoor activities and the beautiful summer lifestyle that is just like in a movie.

A tipped-over jar with coins Figure out your budget before relocating to SD

The temperatures are mild, which means people are outdoors all the time – everyone seems to have some special kind of glow. You will notice that most people are in good shape – there is a healthy lifestyle going on in this metropolis. There are four major colleges in the area, resulting in a repeated influx of youth – the city is alive. So, if everything seems so perfect and there are so many reasons why you should move, is there anything to worry about before moving to San Diego? There might be.

Before you check the general safety of the neighborhoods and decide that this is one of the best cities to raise a family in the US, you should also check how good are San Diego schools and take into account whether you can afford to live here so you don’t get relocation depression. You might want to find a job before moving to another state and look at some tips to avoid common moving mistakes. Even though the place is known as America’s Finest City, that might not be the case when it comes to housing, especially if you choose one of the best neighborhoods in San Diego. Whether you are planning to buy a home or rent it, you have to set aside a considerable amount of money. However, if you have secured a well-paid job, there is no reason to stress out, the best time of the year to move here is whenever you’re ready. If you plan on making this wonderful place a new home, take a look at what the data has to say before you begin your San Diego relocation.

Life in a City Where Most People Spend Their Vacation

This big city is, after all, a major tourist destination. If you are looking for someone or something to blame for the soaring prices, blame the place itself. Myriads of tourists run to this urban center to escape the summer heat next to the beach. Located just 20 miles from the Mexican border, the city is a great hub for international travel, as well. The fact is that the metropolis is a wildly popular destination not only in the summer months but all year round. Both English and Spanish are widely spoken here, and the place attracts people from all over the world. Everyone who visits even once has a desire to come back again, and even move for good.

Since there is a huge demand for housing and a lack of availability, it is not so strange to see the housing prices go up all the time. For example, if you are into surfing and you want to rent a decent home in the Mission Beach neighborhood, you will most likely change your mind when you take a look at the rental costs. In that case, you should choose this as a summer holiday, not a place to move with kids.

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Paying Rent in California’s Finest City

If you have decided to give this metropolis a try and rent a lovely apartment to move in with your family, head back to check the average renting costs before you finalize the decision and go house-hunting. You will most likely have to pay around $1600 for a 900-square-foot accommodation in an area that is neither too fancy nor considered expensive. If you prefer to live somewhere closer to the center, get ready to set aside more than $2200 for a flat of the same size. If you’re moving alone to another state consider finding a roommate to cut the costs of moving. And if you want your children to attend excellent San Diego schools, you will have to find a nice neighborhood in some of the best places to live in San Diego – and it will cost you.

In case you come from a place where such amount can cover the entire month with food and utilities included, this number can seem outrageous and cause instant moving stress. Renting is still much cheaper than buying a house, even if you’re moving to the suburbs. The best you can do is rent an apartment for some time until you are sure that this is the place where you want to live permanently. Don’t enter any mortgage deals until you have everything figured out.

San Diego Renting is a better option than buying, at least in the beginning

Crucial Aspect of the Cost of Living in San Diego – Housing Prices

Paying rent seems fine for the first couple of months, but you don’t want to spend your entire life living in someone else’s apartment. Owning a home with a nice yard seems like a wonderful idea – the only concern is whether you will be able to afford it. If you check NeighborhoodScout and get information about the real estate market, you will see that it is soaring. The median home sales in this metropolis go up to $626,000, which is even more than you’d have to pay if you were moving to Los Angeles. There is a chance that the prices will go down at some point, but that is not something you should lean on.

In this metropolis, the home prices are 136% higher than the national average. Unlike San Francisco, Sandi also has high utility prices, 15% higher than the national average. Do the math, and you will see that even if you move into a smaller home, get a stable job and a good paycheck, you cannot live as comfortably as you would in almost any other place in the States. However, this place certainly makes up with an excellent standard of living, a pleasant climate and a healthy environment for raising children. If you are not scared by higher prices and want to check mortgage options, feel free to do so by visiting SmartAsset.

A couple carrying boxes Check out your costs before renting

Other Notable Expenses

When you decide this is where you should move, what is left to look into besides the housing and the renting expenses? Well, there is a lot. Once you know that you need a considerable amount of money to cover the basic living expenses, such as rent, what can you expect from other aspects of life there? The prices will be higher for anything else you want to do in this part of California. It’s the way that market works. Have a look at some other numbers which will hopefully help you make the right decision.

What Will Cost You More – Public Transport or Owning A Car?

How do you plan to get around the metropolis? Are you planning to transport your vehicle across the country and learn how car shipping works, or do you think you will be just fine with the public transportation system? There is a good intercity connection, and the amount of money you need to set aside is around $72 for a general monthly ticket. If you want to have access to express services, you need a bit more – $100. There are some student and retiree discounts, as well.

Driving around is more comfortable for sure. Even though there are huge traffic jams and sometimes the streets are crowded, the convenience is worth it. After going through all that trouble of auto shipping, you will definitely want to use your vehicle. A gallon of gas here is estimated to be $4.09. That should not come as a surprise – this is California, after all. Take into account that the national average is $2.28.

Taxes – Are They the Same as in Other California Cities?

What about the tax system? Is the situation any better? Let us remind you that we are talking about California – this state is known for high taxes. After all, one of the reasons why people tend to move out is the high rate of tax they have to pay.  As for Sandi, the sales tax rate is 7.75%. The good news is that property taxes are low – 0.76%. If you are still not sure how much, in the end, you will have to set aside for taxes, refer to the free tax calculator.

Living Under an Expensive Health Care System

Even if you never get sick and your immune system has never betrayed you, there will come a time when you will have to visit a doctor. Yes, vitamin D is available everywhere in this metropolis, but that won’t be enough to protect you. Healthcare prices in this part of California are 64% higher than the national average. Are you ready to pay for one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the country? This is an important aspect of your everyday life and a good indicator of whether you can actually afford to settle down here.

The Costs of Food and Groceries in San Diego, CA

How about dining and going out? Even if you enjoy cooking, some special occasions deserve a treat at some of the best restaurants in San Diego. When you are done unpacking after the move, treat yourself with a nice night out and check out Fiddler’s Green Restaurant, Addison, or Pachamama, where you will pay a minimum of $50 per person for a one-course meal. However, the service is at such a high level that you might even forget about the high prices. These are great spots when you want to celebrate things like birthdays, moving in together with your partner, or getting a promotion at work.

The situation is a bit better for less fancy restaurants where you can eat out for $15 and get a standard meal. If you are wondering how much money you need for groceries, the situation is not that bad at all. reports that you will spend about $313 monthly just for groceries. This is good news, as the amount is lower than the US average, which is $324.

groceries Groceries are affordable here

Revise Your Budget and Check Other Cities Before You Relocate to America’s Finest City

Are there some other expenses that you think would be worth checking? As we already mentioned, this is an attractive metropolis, popular for surfing, beach volleyball, and some of the best tourist attractions – it is a center of diversity. The popularity is not likely to drop any time soon, and even if it does, nothing guarantees that the costs will change.

But keep in mind that there are many exciting things to do in San Diego that might make a cross-country relocation worth it in the long run. If you know how to save money while relocating and plan your moving budget, then hiring recommended and reputable moving services might not be that hard on your wallet, after all. If not, the best moving tip would be to donate unwanted items and learn some packing tips and tricks especially when it comes to boxing up clothes and furniture and go with the cheapest way to move out of state and reduce relocation expenses that way. You can also easily find some free boxes and other packing materials for moving. You will have to find a well-paying job before you relocate and give yourself a few months to settle down and optimize your expenses.

No matter if you are moving for a relationship or some other reason, there certainly are other cities across California and the US with a significantly lower cost of living, and the data is definitely on their side. But there is only one America’s Finest City – it’s up to you to see why.


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