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Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Old May 26th 2012, 3:50 pm
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Question Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Hi all,
I see that there are various discussions over the cost of things - but so far haven't seen one relevant to my location and I am learning that the questions have very location specific answers...So my question...

My husband and I are moving to a 2 bedroom apartment in a large block in Santa Monica, California.

I am budgeting the following each MONTH (excluding rent) and just wanted to get some feedback from people living around there or who know the costs.

Some of my estimates are based on research so are more accurate than others - for example, car parking and insurance are two areas I have no idea of costs.

elec/gas $100

2 mobiles $100 (both iphone contracts/payg - each with data, around 500 mins, some texts - excluding the cost of the phone)

Landline exc calls/ High speed Broadband/ TV service like netflix $100

gym membership for 1 of us $80 (just want to do cardio in a/c and swim locally)

gas (I have no idea how far we will drive but mostly just locally - no commuting - how many miles would we get for this amount in a midsize car?) $30

car insurance for 2 people - the equivalent of full comp $150

renters insurance $20

parking (I will just be parking locally on errands, exploring the area) $90

On top of these, there is the rent, food, health insurance, health co-pays, medication, eating out, entertainment, hair/beauty, clothing.

Anything obvious I've missed? and any feedback on these figures?

Am I right in thinking there is no equivalent of council tax for renters? (Property owners pay taxes annually?)

Thanks for your help.
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Old May 26th 2012, 4:08 pm
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Originally Posted by newlifeinparadise View Post
gas (I have no idea how far we will drive but mostly just locally - no commuting - how many miles would we get for this amount in a midsize car?) $30
I think you'll find that "locally" will still rack up miles on the car, unless you have means to get grocery shopping and errands done by foot or by bus. I'm in Arizona, and I drive 20 miles round trip for work 5 days a week, which I know is different to what you have in mind. I have a Honda Accord and spend about $120 a month in gas. I think the price of gas in CA is higher than AZ, so if you do even half the driving I do per month, you're looking at about $60 a month for gas.

Rene
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Old May 26th 2012, 4:43 pm
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

We live in a 1-bedroom east of Santa Monica (by the 405).

Originally Posted by newlifeinparadise View Post
elec/gas $100
We just have electricity. I think we pay about $40/m.

Originally Posted by newlifeinparadise View Post
2 mobiles $100 (both iphone contracts/payg - each with data, around 500 mins, some texts - excluding the cost of the phone)
We pay $75/m ($45 + $30) for 2 Straight Talk phones: one a smartphone with unlimited data etc, the other a shitty flip-phone. I'd be impressed if you could get 2 iPhone deals for $100/month. Let me know if you do!

Originally Posted by newlifeinparadise View Post
Landline exc calls/ High speed Broadband/ TV service like netflix $100
We got a good deal with Time Warner at first - $90/m for landline, TV and internet. Unfortunately, once the special offer period ran out, it's been getting more and more expensive. I think it's $130 or $140/m now. The internet is excellent, the TV is pretty good, but I think we might drop the landline. We never pay for local calls, but can't dial internationally without a calling card. We receive incoming international calls but don't seem to get charged for them.

We also pay about $8/m for Netflix.

Originally Posted by newlifeinparadise View Post
gas (I have no idea how far we will drive but mostly just locally - no commuting - how many miles would we get for this amount in a midsize car?) $30
We don't use our car for commuting, either, and we walk to the supermarket. On months where we mostly use it for weekends at the beach, $30 is fine. Anything more ambitious and we pay more.

Originally Posted by newlifeinparadise View Post
car insurance for 2 people - the equivalent of full comp $150

renters insurance $20
Car insurance for one person, somewhere between 3rd party and fully comp, plus renter's insurance, costs me $70/m.

Originally Posted by newlifeinparadise View Post
On top of these, there is the rent, food, health insurance, health co-pays, medication, eating out, entertainment, hair/beauty, clothing.

Anything obvious I've missed? and any feedback on these figures?
I assume, since you asked about co-pays, you'll have health insurance.

We pay about $25/m for water and trash fees. Some apartment complexes include them.

Are you going to be using the Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica? You can get a monthly pass for $60, or just pay $1/trip.

Obviously, if health insurance is already covered, rent is going to be the biggest expense. We pay $1500/m for a furnished one-bedroom in an apartment complex. I think we're about 4 miles east of Santa Monica.

Hope this helps! Santa Monica is lovely.
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Old May 26th 2012, 4:48 pm
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
I think you'll find that "locally" will still rack up miles on the car, unless you have means to get grocery shopping and errands done by foot or by bus.
Rene
I think there are plenty of places to walk to in the area we will live, so I won't need to drive too much but yes, I'm sure miles rack up - compared to the UK where everything is local!
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Old May 26th 2012, 4:49 pm
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

$30 for gas sounds very low but I suppose if you only do local stuff maybe.

You might want to check if water and trash pickup are included in your rent.
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Old May 26th 2012, 4:53 pm
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

@Moshimoshi Thanks for the reply - really helpful.

"Car insurance for one person, somewhere between 3rd party and fully comp, plus renter's insurance, costs me $70/m."

Can you tell me a good website for getting car insurance quote comparisons?


"I assume, since you asked about co-pays, you'll have health insurance."

Yes we have good health insurance, the copays are minimal.
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Old May 26th 2012, 5:30 pm
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Originally Posted by newlifeinparadise View Post
gas (I have no idea how far we will drive but mostly just locally - no commuting - how many miles would we get for this amount in a midsize car?) $30
I'd say anyone would be happy if they were spending that a week, going no where.

Other factors to consider should be start up deposit costs, for pretty much everything. Can be anything from $50-600, which you might or might not get back. If you don't have one per utility call it a bonus but be prepared for it and not shocked if you have to stump for it.

If you're running iPhones, with data, expect to pay a lot more because you don't have credit history. Unless speed isn't a priority and you faff around with PAYG simcard.

Insurance sites are also meaningless. You can go to all of them and get rough quotes but they won't be what you pay, because you don't have credit history nor US driving history. Rates will depend exactly on the vin of the car and things that can affect the rate include off street parking, alarms, short commute etc. First year, for a new car with decent cover be prepared for $1K per 6 months and be happy if it is less. It'll be much less if you don't get higher levels of cover or get a second hand car and it'll go down once you've got a years worth of credit history as well as driving history.
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Old May 26th 2012, 6:13 pm
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
I'd say anyone would be happy if they were spending that a week, going no where.
I am pretty sure that I have burned $30 worth of gas in a week in LA just while sitting stuck in traffic on the 405 ...
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Old May 26th 2012, 6:16 pm
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
I am pretty sure that I have burned $30 worth of gas in a week in LA just while sitting stuck in traffic on the 405 ...
so quite literally going no where in that case

It is scary how much you end up driving in this country. The missus doesn't work that far from home and apart from that, the car mostly only for grocery shop, but we're still doing 1K a month at least.

I'm just glad I'm not FIL, as he does more than that a week, just to and from work
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Old May 26th 2012, 6:49 pm
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Originally Posted by newlifeinparadise View Post

Can you tell me a good website for getting car insurance quote comparisons?
I don't know any comparison sites, unfortunately. We already had renter's insurance with State Farm, so it was a good deal to bundle car insurance too. Also, there's a State Farm office by our supermarket, so I could go in and talk with them. Do get your driving record from the DVLA; if it's clean, you'll probably get a discount.

I got quotes from 4 other companies, too. Be prepared to give them absolutely masses of information, and for them to email and call you several times afterwards, still trying to sell.

Re: the driving question, I do think that Santa Monica is one of those rare LA neighbourhoods where you can do a lot of stuff on foot -- shopping, cinema, eating out. Getting elsewhere in LA is going to require a drive, but if you're initially happy to stay local then I don't think you'd necessarily rack up a lot of miles at first. You might get bored eventually! Also, if you have friends who live out of Santa Monica, your social life is car-dependent. Taxis here are generally expensive and rubbish.

We did manage 10 months without a car in LA, but I was very glad to get wheels in the end. I know the general rule of thumb is that you're going to drive a lot in America, especially in LA. That's totally true, but I just want to put it out there that lots of people manage to get by with less.

I really like the atmosphere in Santa Monica. Where we live, we only have a strip-mall and a dive bar nearby, and if you want to do anything fun you have to drive. I was back in Bristol the other month and realized how much I miss wandering around places like Clifton.

Last edited by MoshiMoshi; May 26th 2012 at 6:52 pm.
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Old May 26th 2012, 9:06 pm
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
I am pretty sure that I have burned $30 worth of gas in a week in LA just while sitting stuck in traffic on the 405 ...
I think $30 a week in LA is unrealistic. More like 50 - 60. Thats my use and I take public transport to work.
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Old May 26th 2012, 9:59 pm
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Originally Posted by newlifeinparadise View Post
Hi all,
I see that there are various discussions over the cost of things - but so far haven't seen one relevant to my location and I am learning that the questions have very location specific answers...So my question...

My husband and I are moving to a 2 bedroom apartment in a large block in Santa Monica, California.

I am budgeting the following each MONTH (excluding rent) and just wanted to get some feedback from people living around there or who know the costs.

Some of my estimates are based on research so are more accurate than others - for example, car parking and insurance are two areas I have no idea of costs.

elec/gas $100

2 mobiles $100 (both iphone contracts/payg - each with data, around 500 mins, some texts - excluding the cost of the phone)

Landline exc calls/ High speed Broadband/ TV service like netflix $100

gym membership for 1 of us $80 (just want to do cardio in a/c and swim locally)
:


Does your apartment complex have a small Gym area?
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Old May 27th 2012, 12:11 am
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Originally Posted by vikingsail View Post
I think $30 a week in LA is unrealistic. More like 50 - 60. Thats my use and I take public transport to work.
I think she actually means a month, for 2 cars.
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Old May 27th 2012, 8:44 pm
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Post Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Thanks all for your comments so far.

Clearly I've got to rethink our gas spending. Although in Santa Monica, it is not impossible to do everything on foot or on my bike.

We will have just 1 car - midsize.

In the UK, it currently costs me around 18 pence per mile in petrol to drive my car, which has a 1.4 litre engine.

How much does gas cost per mile in CA for a mid size car?
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Old May 27th 2012, 9:03 pm
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Default Re: Budget for 2 adults living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Santa Monica

Originally Posted by newlifeinparadise View Post
Hi all,
I see that there are various discussions over the cost of things - but so far haven't seen one relevant to my location and I am learning that the questions have very location specific answers...So my question...

My husband and I are moving to a 2 bedroom apartment in a large block in Santa Monica, California.

I am budgeting the following each MONTH (excluding rent) and just wanted to get some feedback from people living around there or who know the costs.

Some of my estimates are based on research so are more accurate than others - for example, car parking and insurance are two areas I have no idea of costs.

elec/gas $100

2 mobiles $100 (both iphone contracts/payg - each with data, around 500 mins, some texts - excluding the cost of the phone)

Landline exc calls/ High speed Broadband/ TV service like netflix $100

gym membership for 1 of us $80 (just want to do cardio in a/c and swim locally)

gas (I have no idea how far we will drive but mostly just locally - no commuting - how many miles would we get for this amount in a midsize car?) $30

car insurance for 2 people - the equivalent of full comp $150

renters insurance $20

parking (I will just be parking locally on errands, exploring the area) $90

On top of these, there is the rent, food, health insurance, health co-pays, medication, eating out, entertainment, hair/beauty, clothing.

Anything obvious I've missed? and any feedback on these figures?

Am I right in thinking there is no equivalent of council tax for renters? (Property owners pay taxes annually?)

Thanks for your help.
Can't see you getting 2 iphone contracts for $100 unless one of you is gettign a very good discount through work. We get discounts, and pay around $140 per month.

No way will $30 a month be enough for gas, even just running around locally, you will sit in traffic in SM and burn that off easily. Lots of places in SM do first 2 hours free parking, so for errands you shouldn't need $90 per month for parking.

The one thing I can see you are missing is 'living' presumably you want to explore your new environment, go to museums, eat out, cinema, see the sights... All costs money, and in particular gas.
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