Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Breaking Even

Having had one article published in my seminary's newsletter just over a week ago, I was asked to write another one, this one on housing and homelessness, for the newsletter the very next week. I'm pleased to say that the article was published this past weekend, and I'll post a slightly expanded version tomorrow. But in the meantime, it's enough to say that issues of this kind are heavy on my mind at the moment.

Living in Southern California, rent is not cheap. In fact, this is one of the most expensive areas in the United States one can live. (This page shows the cost of living in cities around the world. Los Angeles is #44, the second most expensive city in the US after New York City.) Although I have a reasonably stable job here at the seminary, it does not pay particularly well. And while my wife is working on finishing her MDiv and preparing to begin a PhD, she has had to step back from the full-time job she used to have. This has necessitated trying to find ways of cutting our expenses, so as to avoid digging ourselves deep into debt. This past month alone, I switched internet providers in an effort to shave about $40-50 a month off of our expenses, and have also changed our long-distance coverage to reduce costs by another $20-30.

I have recently been informed that, effective next month, my rent will be going up by another $45 a month.

It is very frustrating to work so hard to cut costs down, only to have other costs go up to offset any benefits gained by the reduction. The cuts were intended to compensate, if only in small part, for the reduced income. Now I find that they're just barely breaking even with a new increase in existing expenses. It's just not fair! But there's nothing for it but to keep looking for other ways to bring our expenses down. Not to mention the frustration at being told that the ability to pay $7000 on rare toys is "more a person's motivation rather than financial status," as if to say that most of us could do it too, if we really wanted to bad enough. Why do some people seem to have trouble admitting that "rich" is a word that just might apply to them, and that perhaps when some of us say there are people out there who truly can't afford things, we just might know what we're talking about?

Ahhh, well. I did take that thread on the Allspark off-topic. At least I can continue to write about it in my own blog. I set the rules here! ;)


  1. I used to live in Northern California (Contra Costa County.) Things aren't much better up there. I wanted to live in San Fran as a teenager, but couldn't swing the rent.

    Most of my family still lives out there, however, and I'm always floored when they tell me how expensive things have gotten over the past decade.

    As tempting as CA is sometimes, I don't think I could in good conscience move us out there. Sure, I'd probably make more, but our cost of living would literally triple.

  2. I actually though the San Francisco area was more expensive than LA until I found that survey. (I haven't ever had to pay for rent in that area, but did live there when I was quite young. If you click on the "my story" link to the right, you'll see an entry on when I lived in Walnut Creek, which is in Contra Costa County.)

    I hope to be able to move to less expensive regions in not-too-distant future, but that's a year away at the very least, and depends on a number of factors. There's just as good a chance that I may be moving to the greater San Francisco area next year, if that's where my wife gets accepted to do her PhD....



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