In my current situation, my minimum comfort level could be achieved on about $19-20K per year -- in fact, right now I'm living on only a little bit more than that.Of course, that's assuming that I keep my current apartment, which some would consider expensive. I pay $1050 a month for a highrise apartment in one of Chicago's prime lakefront areas. However, my rent includes both heat and A/C, so my utility bills are low, plus I'm able to partially offset my housing costs by not owning a car, which wouldn't work well in most of the U.S., but works fine for me here. I rely on public transportation (buses, trains) to get around... in fact, when weather permits I usually don't bother with that and just walk instead. I usually walk at least two to three, and sometimes up to eight, miles per day.If I move a few miles north, I could take a more basic, less luxurious, apartment and lower my rent -- and thus my living expenses -- by about $300 per month. In fact, I'm toying with the idea of doing just that, but haven't made a decision yet.If I were to move back to my hometown (Cleveland, Ohio) I could probably manage on as little as $12K per year. It's possible to find decent apartments in good areas there for as little as $500 a month (including heat), or even buy a small condo for as little as $20K. I'd be able to take advantage of both big-city amenities and a low cost of living, which to me is the perfect combination. However, going carless would probably be a hardship there, and the winters are a little too snowy for me.Of course, doing research would doubtless reveal other places to live where the cost of living would be low, especially if you're open to living in other countries (Mexico, etc.) ...
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