Living anywhere in the Bay Area is hard as heck without a tech salary, an exit or considerable stock options. It’s just plain tough for anyone making less than $100k/year.
Making less than $75k/year in The Valley probably means that you are just surviving, not thriving. As you Bay Area denizens know, the single largest expense we have is rent/mortgage. The annual rent on a 2 bedroom apartment in a mediocre area in Silicon Valley is $2,400/month. That’s almost $29k a year. So a person making $60,000 probably won’t break even at the end of the month after they pay other expenses.
Why Be In Silicon Valley?
My first question to you is, Do you really need to be here? If you aren’t a venture capitalist, an angel investor, a coder or some IT guy then do you really need to be tied to this pricey land? Even if you are a techie, you would do yourself a big service if you worked remote from a much more sanely priced place.
Relocate To Another City
Rent is the biggest line item on our expense sheet. Cutting this down will help put more back into your savings so you can build your financial foundation. Chaper areas usually have lesser pay but you will still come out ahead.
Cities like Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Houston are economic powerhouses with cheaper rent. If you want to stay on the west coast then LA, Portland, San Diego, Seattle are cheaper than the bay but still pretty expensive.
Ok, so I can’t convince you to move on out of here…
Get Roommates To Split Rent
Save on the big ticket items first: Rent. It can single handedly wipe out more than 40% of your net paycheck. It’s a huge expense item here in the Bay Area.
Solution? Roommates. It’s much more economical to rent a large house and split it up by rooms. Check out this Craigslist page to get started on your roommate hunt. Don’t forget to filter by neighborhood! Also checkout roommates.com. People are taking on people to move into their spare bedrooms and living rooms to help cut costs. Many of these smart people are using AirBnB to rent out unused space.
Back To Your Parents Basement
If you have parents in the Bay, then why not live with your parents and pay them a marginal rent instead of paying silly money to live elsewhere? Spending triple the rent to not live with your parents never made any sense.
Move Further Out From The City And Valley
The further you get from the bay, the cheaper it is. If you work in SF, best bet is to move across the pond to Oakland/Berkeley for a sizeable reduction in rent. You can move farther still and pay a more discounted rent. Consider the farthest cities that BART directly travels to: Richmond, PIttsburg or Dublin. Be prepared for a seventy five minute commute time each way. You may qualify for Section 8 Housing as well. Living close to your work is a big part of having a quality life. But people in the bay are helping their bottom line by suffering longer commute times.
Verdict: If you don’t have to live here, don’t. But if you do, then find a roommate and move to a humbler pad to help your bottom line.