We aren’t really settled into our new budget in Indianapolis yet, but I have noticed some cost differences so far.
– Our gas usage. Gas prices are up everywhere and I’m sure they ‘re high in Pittsburgh, too. But our own gas usage is way up. We’ve put 1,000 miles on our car just in the time we’ve been here, which is about 2.5 weeks. Previously, it could have taken a couple of months to hit that with our driving habits. We’ve taken two trips to Lafayette and two to Bloomington and that’s like 450 miles right there, and then there have been house-hunting miles and whatnot.
I imagine our mileage will settle down once we find our second vehicle and find our house, but we will be putting miles on two cars then and we will probably need to keep an eye on our fuel spending.
On the plus side, I’m getting at least 8-10 mpg better in Indiana than I did in Pittsburgh. Here it’s flat and there’s lots of interstate driving, whereas Pittsburgh’s hills had hills and there was a bit more stop-and-go.
– A second car in general. We haven’t bought another car yet, but we are actively looking for an Odyssey or Sienna and I hope we can find something soon. Living with one car was easy back in the ‘Burgh because Shane took the train downtown to work, and he could walk to the train stop. That isn’t going to work here, so our bank account will take a hit when we do buy a van and then of course the extra expense to insure it (the quote I got with Geico was $31 more/month, not bad), registration fees, gas, maintenance, etc.
– Groceries. Absolutely cheaper here. Milk is cheaper by at least $1.50/gallon. I’ve seen some non-perishables that I usually get (things like crackers, etc.) are cheaper by $1 or so. Some items are the same or closer in price, but I don’t think I’ve encountered a grocery item that costs more here than it did there.
– Health insurance. I think we were spoiled with our previous health insurance. Actually, I know we were. It was relatively cheap per month and covered a lot. Our health insurance went up by something like $120/month and it will be much more expensive if we have anything beyond a well-baby visit. Pfft.
– Housing. Our apartment here is $780, and if we stayed in Pgh, our July rent would be $780. But, our apartment here is on a month-to-month lease and we’re paying an extra $100/month for that flexibility, so really housing here is cheaper. We can absolutely buy more house for our buck here, with house prices and property taxes taken into consideration. Hope we can find something soon.
– Pay. Shane took a 5-6% pay cut in accepting his job here. He tried hard to negotiate at least the same salary, especially taking our higher health costs into consideration but they just wouldn’t budge. We figured we could make it work anyway, but it’s still less money coming in. The HR department justified it by saying the cost of living is cheaper here, and in their mind it’s an equivalent salary. That has yet to be seen, but maybe?
When I look at online calculators, I’m seeing their data match with what I’m seeing here, for the most part. They agree that food, housing and overall expenses are cheaper in Indy, and that health care is cheaper in Pittsburgh.
I think it’s going to take a few pay periods to get used to our new budget. Previously Shane got paid once per month, and now we’re on a bi-weekly schedule and it feels kinda weird.