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Coping With Cost of Living Differences

Moving from one city or town to another can be more than a simple change of address; it can mean paying a lot more money for things like rent, meals, entertainment and transportation. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies that can address these cost of living differences and make your life simpler in the process.

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Prepare Meals Ahead of Time

When moving to a new city, it can be tempting to eat out more often to explore all the new available dining options but that can be a major drain on funds. An easy way to avoid the high cost of regularly eating out is to prepare meals en masse. Pick one or two nights a week and take the time to make enough meals for a few days and then store the meals either in your freezer or fridge to simply heat up as needed.

Having plenty of plastic storage containers on hand makes meal prep even easier, allowing you to take food on the go. And, as an added benefit, planning out meals is perfect for dieters. If you already have a meal on hand, you’ll probably be less tempted to order that cheeseburger.

Downsize Your Living Space

Rent is often the most noticeable cost of living difference when moving to a new city, either decreasing or increasing depending on where you go. If you’re moving from a suburban area to a major city, you will likely need to put an increased percentage of your salary toward your monthly rent.

To recoup some of these costs, you may want to consider downsizing your living space, getting roommates or possibly choosing a less popular neighborhood. While many people will not want to live in a smaller space, doing so may be an opportunity to reduce expenses and potentially rid yourself of possessions that aren’t really providing that much value in the first place.

Utilize Shared Transportation

Whether it’s carpooling, or taking a train, bus or ferry, sharing transportation is a smart way to save money. If you’re moving from the suburbs to a city, you may find the public transportation options are much more robust than you’ve previously experienced. Exploring these options is a great way to go if you’re cost conscious and it might also save you time. The best way to avoid traffic, after all, is to ride underneath it in a subway car.

Ask for a Higher Salary

If you’re moving to a city for a new job, you may want to consider negotiating a higher salary to offset the cost of your move and the increase in cost-of-living. Salary increases based on cost-of-living differences are common but will rarely come into play unless you’re proactive in asking for an increase.

Before you approach your boss, be prepared to come equipped with the numbers. There are a number of online resources that share information tied to average cost of rent, food and general living based on location. Compare the data to your situation and present your case to your employer. If you find moving is going to add a few thousand dollars a year to your overall expenses, most employers will at least consider negotiating a salary increase.

Design a Budget

Budgeting is always a solid route to saving money, whether you’re dealing with cost of living differences or not. Start by listing all of your monthly expenses and ranking them based on necessity. Look for spending areas that you can cut back on or even eliminate altogether.

Perhaps you’ll find an old subscription you’ve been paying for, but haven’t used in months. Consider canceling it. Maybe you realize that you spent $75 on ordering lunch last week alone. You could start making your own lunch for a quarter of that.

Simply looking at your bank and credit card statements will often present obvious opportunities for cutting back. Doing so can make stomaching the increased costs of your new home a lot easier.

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Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.

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