Cost of living in San Francisco

How bad is it? I’ve researched a little bit online and it seems like it’s awfully expensive. I have 2 young kids so would prefer a family orientated neighborhood with good schools. Read that Outer Sunset is nice but a decent 3 bedroom there is $3000-$4000/month. The company I would be working for is in the downtown area and I plan on using public transit.

I’m in the Midwest now and a couple of different living cost calculators say I need to make twice my current income to live in San Fran. Does that sound right?

That’s probably right. It’s ungodly expensive. A one bedroom in an okay neighborhood is probably at least $2,000 a month – I’ve never looked at 3 bedroom apartments, but that price range does not surprise me.

If that doesn’t fit your budget, you might want to consider housing outside of the city in East Bay, North Bay or South Bay, which will likely be significantly less expensive depending on where you live. Some of those locations allow fairly easy transport into the city on BART. North Bay in particular has great public schools, however, it does not have BART and I’m not sure if taking the bus into the city is viable.

I would recommend carefully considering public transportation options because traffic is really bad depending on what time of the day you are commuting.

If you’re coming from the Midwest, you will have some sticker shock. $3000-$4000 sounds about right for 3 bedrooms… you can check Craigslist or something to get an idea.

However - if you want good schools, I strongly suggest living outside of the city. Most family people move to some outlying suburb. There are some nice areas in the East or North bay which are within reasonable commuting distance. Schools are better and real estate is cheaper. San Francisco has some good public schools, but they are assigned based on lottery (?). Most finance people I know who live in the city send their kids to private school.

The Peninsula (south of San Francisco, like Burlingame) is the other option. However, home prices here are higher than North or East bays. Probably because it’s between San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

Are you buried in snow Spun?

I think… East Bay is most convenient for public transportation, since BART is there, as mentioned above. North Bay is arguably nicer. However, you should research bus or ferry options first, unless you plan to drive. Peninsula (South of the city) is close to more things - airport, population centers, companies, jobs - but again, you have to pay a premium to live there.

I agree with ohai, East Bay is probably the best overall option. You might want to look at the Berkeley area since that’s a pretty nice place with a relatively easy commute, relatively affordable and good schools. Avoid Oakland.

North Bay is nicer but it’s cut off from the rest of the Bay unless you have a car. The rush hour commute is really bad and the parking situation is horrible in SF.

Wow. Lots of SF Bay Area people on this board. I grew up out there, and sometimes think of moving back.

Thanks folks. East Bay seems like it’s the only viable option if I want to use public transit and get to the office by 5:30am. There’s a ton of choices (Dublin, Pleasanton, Walnut Creek, “Lamorinda” but it’s still relatively expensive. My real intention is trying to figure out a salary range. I wish I had read numi’s compensation thread before my first interview. I showed my hand and I think I’m screwed now.

And yes, it’s been snowing like crazy. Sick of having 8ft snow drifts on each side of my driveway and would love to get out of here.

Keep in mind some of those places are pretty far out of the city. I’m not sure how long the commute to Walnut Creek is but I’m guessing at least 30 minutes on BART. That’s pretty brutal if you have to be at work by 5:30.

W.C. is nice though if you’re willing to make that trade off.

There are some nice East Bay places that are closer than Lamorinda. Notably, Rockridge area in Oakland (some parts of Oakland are nice), or Piedmont (which has houses from $800k to $5 million+). Either of these places are very desireable.

I take BART from Berkeley to work at about 5:30. It’s not bad actually - there is a full train coming from the Lamorinda area, so evidently, a lot of people do this.

You folks should show Spun a good time out in the bay. Take a stroll down the worlds longest beach and check out the Cali girls. Tie it off with a stroll through Compton to check out some '64s.

That sounds like a good idea. I do well in Compton.

That’s a long stroll.

I met a guy at a conference in San Fran last year, and I remember him saying that the girls there are so/so on average - 6s and 7s. True? Berkley is where the real talent lives according to this guy.

Do you like bespectacled Asian girls? If so, then you will like Berkeley…

I work in SF and live outside of SF.

Some things to consider:

  1. Generally speaking the schools out here are terrible. The fact that you have kids changes the game.

  2. The farther you live from SF, it does not become cheaper.

  3. Because you need to be at work at 5:30, this is a problem.

East Bay sucks and why people are recommending it is comical. I would suggest Sunnyvale, Mountain View, or Willow Glen section of San Jose. You can rent a house for under 3k and put your kids for this area in better schools. Driving in that early will be easy. Coming home will be a bit of a chore. Understand that there is no easy way to do this and you are limited because of schooling, your job start time, and the fact you don’t have serious coin to buy. Man up and deal with it. If you didn’t have kids, I’d say live in SF and have a blast.

Yeah, because the 75 minute one-way (IF there is no traffic) commute to San Jose is so easy. Sounds like a winner.

Might as well get a car and live in Mill Valley instead. Schools in North Bay are very good.

Due to demogaphics (PhDs, Stanford alumni, immigrant engineers, Asians, high income people), Schools in Mountain View/South Bay are ultra competitive. Palo Alto High sends like 30 kids to Stanford every year. Schools might even be too good there - some people move kids out of certain schools because they “cannot compete” with the super kids. At some point, I don’t know if it’s for everyone… I think you probably know at this point if you will be a Tiger parent. North Bay is good too because of all the rich people. I don’t think there is the same level of pressure as in South Bay affluent places though.

But yeah, commute from San Jose to area to San Francisco is a bit much… Some people do it, but they usually describe it as the worse thing in their life. Maybe it’s ok if you are 22 years old single and want to do extra work on the Google Bus. But if you have a family, you probably want to do other things with the 1.5 hours you save every day.

Why are people surprised by a 5:30am start time? It seems like it would be typical for a job that follows market hours. Anyway, thanks again folks. The hiring manager is only looking at two or three candidates so I have a pretty good chance at this job.

@ Blake – Yes, I plan to “Man up and deal with it” when the time comes. My goal behind all this was to get an idea of living costs to set an appropriate salary range. Doubling my current income is likely to price me out of the position so I’m trying to figure out what would be reasonable. Again, wish I had read numi’s compensation thread.

I would be okay with these bespectacled Asian girls.


I’d rub my schlong on the back of her neck. (chick no.2)

LMAO OK dude. 45 miles max from SJ and right up the 101. No one on the road at that time.

An express Caltrain is less than one hour from San Jose to San francisco and that makes multiple stops.