San Diego is a breathtaking city in all respects. It boasts incredible scenery, great beaches, and golden sunsets. But all that doesn’t come cheap. So, how do you afford living in San Diego?
The cost of living in San Diego is high due to its housing market. The living wage here is far above minimum wage, but there are ways to afford the city. These include using public transportation, living in less expensive areas, coliving, eating home-cooked meals, and avoiding expensive habits.
However, living like this isn’t sustainable. It’s best as a short-term thing until you can find your feet in the city. Here, we discuss how you can afford living in San Diego despite its high cost.
Cost of living in San Diego?
San Diego is an expensive city, even if it’s not as expensive as Los Angeles or San Francisco. The cost of living here is 60.1% above the national average. Like in other parts of California, housing is the major contributor to the high cost of living. The cost of housing here is 179.1% above the national average.
But other things are also costly. The cost of groceries is 9.7% higher than the national average. Other expenses such as utilities and transportation also cost more than the national or California average. The only thing cheaper here is the healthcare, which costs below the state and national average.
How Expensive are San Diego Homes?
The average cost of homes in San Diego is $992,818. Rents aren’t any better. According to RentCafe, the average monthly rent in the city is $2,756 for an apartment of an average of 876 sq. ft. While you might be able to find cheaper places, 84% of homes in the city cost more than $2,000 to rent. 12% costs between $1501 and $2,000. Only 1% of the homes in the city don’t surpass $1000 for rent, and it’s near impossible to find anything below $700.
How Much Do You Need To Live Comfortably In San Diego?
The estimate differs from one place to another. But the one thing they all seem to agree on is that it costs a lot of money to live in the city. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, a single person in the city must earn $22.74 per hour to make a living wage. So, if the person works 40 hours a week, their annual income will be $47,299.2 before taxes.
As for a family of 4, each of the parents needs to be earning $30.95 per hour, which will equate to $128,752 household income annually. Of course, it’s possible to earn that amount in the city. But the minimum wage is far below that at $15 per hour.
Numbeo has a different estimate. A single person in the city will need $1,071 per month to live without rent, while a family of 4 will need $3,834. That means $12,852 for other expenses for a single person apart from housing. Considering the average apartment is above $2000 even outside the city center, the person may be spending between $24,000 and $30,000 on housing. Thus, any single person living there will need to earn close to $50,000 annually, and a family of 4 will need close to $130,000 to afford the city.
Ways To Afford Living In San Diego
While some people earn above the living wage, several others don’t. The median household income in the city is $82,426, and the median per capita income is $39,737. The poverty rate in the city is 9.5% which is quite high. Not only that, many people aren’t below the poverty line, but they’re not earning as much as the living wage.
If you’re in this category and living in San Diego, there are still ways to afford to live in the city. They include:
1. Use Public Transportation
Housing is the cost most people focus on when thinking of moving to San Francisco. But transportation is also worth considering. Most residents spend the highest proportion of their income on both. You’ll be surprised how quickly the costs can spiral out of control. One of the ways to minimize transportation costs is using public transportation.
The city has a trolley system, one of the best ways to get around. For $2.50, you can get around the city on the trolley system. You can also use the electric scooters to get around for a few bucks. If you’re going to the beaches or outer neighborhoods from downtown, the best way is to use cab-hailing services such as Uber.
2. Live in Less Expensive Areas
When finding homes, avoid the costly parts of the city. Some affordable areas in San Diego include Hillcrest, Chula Vista, and Linda vista. This is why research is important. As you’re trying to choose an affordable neighborhood, you should also consider the area’s safety. With the right research and patience, you’ll find cheaper areas that are still great and accessible.
3. Try Coliving
If you’re single, then you should try coliving. This is likely the best way to find something affordable in the city. Coliving comes in various forms. It could be in the form of having a remote. Not many people like this. But there are better options. You can find hostels and apartments where each person has their room but share a common space such as a kitchen and other facilities. This also helps you make friends and acquaintances if you’re new to the city. Some families have extra bedrooms they rent out to single people.
4. Cook At Home or Eat Local Restaurants
Depending on your income and how much money you need to save, you might have to cook most of your meals at home. But this doesn’t always apply. Most people don’t spend much on food. One way to maintain your low spending on food is by eating from local restaurants. These places will offer you the San Diego food experience you want, and the prices will be much cheaper. Make sure you’re not eating all daily meals out.
5. Avoid Expensive Habits
It’s also important that you avoid spending money on expensive hobbies. In San Diego, there’s usually a cheaper way to do the same thing or have fun. So, research for cheaper options. Instead of drinking in the bar, you can get a whole bottle for less at the store.
Living in San Diego isn’t for everyone. The high cost of living here has led many people to leave for cheaper areas. If you’re planning to stay and don’t earn up to the living wage, you’ll have to make some sacrifices.