I was just playing around with his cost of living calculator.
This is the move we made, in 2001 anyway. Moving from San Jose to Sacramento to cut our cost of living. I would say we cut it significantly more than the % this shows. We sold our little condo for $300k and bought a very nice house (twice as big) for around $290k. The savings in housing was much more at the time then it is today (not sure what year this calculator pulls from).
It's not very apples to apples. I actually kept the same pay here (a slight increase in benefits) so it made this an AWESOME move. Because we so significantly cut our cost of living. But dh never found a job and we had kids. So things have been tighter in the long run.
We went from $100k to $50k, but it is a pretty comparable living. I'd say we cut our costs 50%, easy. (Housing was only really our ONLY cost back home. Felt like it. If we rented or owned, it was almost an entire income to housing). Hell if we bought a condo here we could have lived the same lifestyle on $35k-$40k perhaps.
Likewise, we couldn't imagine living 1/2 this lifestyle back home, on just one income.
Likewise, I put in today's wage and what it would equate to back home. Could I find a $95k job there? Easily enough. Would I move back there? Um, no. $95k would not cut it in any way shape or form. To keep our current lifestyle I really imagine we would need a good $200k. I mean for one, it would be impossible to find a house on this par for under $1 million. So what if we settled for a tiny 3-bedroom for $700k? I am quite sure $95k income wouldn't quite cut it. That would be another $400k to our mortgage. Even to rent a smaller place would double our cost of housing.
So this calculator doesn't really paint the picture how expensive it truly is. I wouldn't consider moving back home pretty much short of winning the lottery or inheriting property there (more likely). Of course we have become so accustomed to the simpler lifestyle, I don't think we would move back for anything!
The last one I threw in a comparison to Kansas, our current wage to the equivalent in Wichita Kansas. I have a lot of relatives there. I imagine I would probably be making not more than that at my current job if I moved to Kansas. But we could pay cash for a house. So it's all relative. I think we could frankly live somewhere like Kansas with a much lower income. I am not even talking about taking any equity out of our house. We have put so much cash into it as is, we can equate that to an entire house purchase. Throw in the equity, and we would semi-retire.
But we have talked about this at length and often. PArticularly the 2-3 years we had a good $300k - $400k paper equity.
We're happy where we are. We don't want to move. Sometimes there is more to life than money I guess. We are pretty attached to California. (Plus we already cut our cost of living substantially, so we are happy with that).
Likewise I haven't been in the mood to complain about the cost of living of late. I have been focusing more on all the upsides of living here. There is a reason people pay so much to live here.
Just reminds me too when we moved here our perspective was the houses might as well be pennies. My coworkers knew we had bought a new house and they were so funny. From their perspective housing was so expensive. I remember I donated $50 to some guy for some charity or something (for hid kid's school). He's like, "I Can't take this from you. Didn't you just buy a house?" I said, "um, well, yeah but it was a lot cheaper than our old one." LOL. We had trimmed our $1800 mortgage to $1500, and here this guy wouldn't take $50 from me.
Since that day the perspectives always boggle my mind. We got in the bottom phase of this development and the model homes were still open 1-2 years after we moved in, as they were still selling the later phases. I remember our friends going down and looking at the models assuming that was what we paid for our house. IT's like, we locked in our price in June 2001, and bought in Dec. 2001. Then people would come by in 2003 and think we paid $450k for our house because that's what the models were going for. They would always make comments that we were too rich for their blood. People are just funny! It's like, you did know not only did we move in over a year ago but we locked in our price 6 months before that. Of course the entire time prices were rising like crazy. I am not sure why people wouldn't factor that. But it is just funny. (Like hell we would pay over $300k for as house, for one. LOL).
Also I was lucky my boss gave me an interview. He said us Bay Area folk we were too unrealistic with our salary expectations. As for me, I was open to a 10% pay cut. He kept my same wage and gave me an awesome profit sharing compensation plan, in the end. I figured I must have been really underpaid back home. I mean I went from an international firm to a small pop and pop in a city 1/2 as expensive. Reduced my cost of living by like 1/2, and got to keep my wage. It was insane. (Leaves me wondering what people were asking for!). I remember he told me that in my interview. He thought we were all crazy and he didn't want me to waste his time. LOL. Glad he gave me a chance.