Cost of Living: Is a Bigger Salary Enough Reason to Move?

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movingIt’s often tempting to just look at numbers when it comes to salary. If you are going to make more money, it seems like a no-brainer to move to a new city.

But is it really a good idea to move just for the salary? Cost of living varies from city to city, and making a big move for a bigger salary could end up putting you behind financially.

If you are looking for a way to gauge whether or not a move makes sense for you, consider the cost of living calculator offered by CNN Money.

How Much Higher is the Cost of Living Somewhere Else?

I plugged in my current income for my city in Utah and then looked to see what the difference would be if I moved to a mid-sized city in Minnesota (since that’s where my husband has applied for a job). In order to maintain the same lifestyle, we would need to make $3,606 more each year. That’s not a huge difference; my husband’s hypothetical new income could easily make up the difference.

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But what would happen if we moved somewhere like Manhattan, New York? The calculator indicates that we would need to make $139,125 more to live a comparable lifestyle. The CNN Money calculator indicates how much more we’d pay for groceries (61%), housing (a whopping 407%), utilities (39%), transportation (30%), and health care (45%).

Even if my husband got a job making $60,000 a year, the rise income still wouldn’t be enough to maintain our lifestyle.

Before you make a move just for higher pay, stop and consider the cost of living. We have more disposable income where we are at now than we would have in Manhattan — even if we were making more money. Cost of living matters more than you might think, and should be a major part of the decision process when it comes to accepting a job.

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Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger specializing in financial topics. Her work has appeared in numerous media, online and offline. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds.