Anyone live and work in Southern California? I have questions for you!

  1. Hey, you guys! Okay, here's the deal. Dear Hubs is originally from Anaheim. He's been miserable ever since he left California, and is dying to move back there. I have always "considered" it (read: entertained it in discussion but never thought we'd actually get there!) but never "CONSIDERED" it, know what I mean? We have two very short years (possibly one; depends on the financial stuff) left where we live now (pretty large Southern city) and have been seriously debating where we're going to move after that. My family mostly lives in central Florida, and it was sort of assumed (by them) that we were moving there. However, as it turns out, neither of us want to move there. At ALL. So, DH has turned on the push for moving to California (specifically San Diego area, and if not there then definitely within the southern part of the state).

    Now. Forgive this southern girl for being naive and wimpy, but I am SCARED TO DEATH to move to California. I love the pictures I've seen, love what I've heard about the environment, the progressiveness of the state and the people who live there, etc. I also love the staffing protection (ie, unions, mandatory staffing laws, etc.), none of which we have here now. However, having never lived anywhere else, and despite my adventurous mentality, the thought of moving there makes my heart leap to my throat! All I've ever heard is the housing is SO high, impossible to buy a house for less than 300K, apartments are SO expensive (I've been looking online) for tiny square footage, etc. Add that to the fact that I've never been there and we're talking serious fear! But! I want to go. I really do. It's a huge leap for me, because I've always expected to live in the South in some way (LA/AL/MS/FL/GA/'s all the same to me).

    Okay, did I mention I'm terrified? LOL

    So, I have questions. So many I don't even know where to begin. Anyone interested in helping me? Pleeeeeeeeeease? I know, I know, people post this stuff on here all the time, and I did a search but if any of you have used the search function on this site, you know it's not perfect and can be difficult to find answers. I'd be happy to conduct this via PM or email if anyone feels funny divulging in public where they live, but I'm desperate!

    If you're willing (and I'm praying for you to be willing!), feel free to PM me or email me at

    I guess the first things I'm wondering are how in the heck do people afford to live there???? Where I live, I make anywhere from $21-27/hr including diffs and night shift. Base pay here starts between $17-19/hr no diffs for new grads. Housing is very affordable- we pay $455 for a 750 sq.ft. apt with lots of closet space in a semi-good area. You can get a very nice new home for around $110K in a relatively safe area here. CAN YOU SEE WHY I'M NERVOUS? I looked on and the MOBILE HOMES in So. Cal. start in that price range!!! (Can you hear me fainting as i type this? I'm growing weak...) :imbar :stone (That's me going into a coma...)

    Help! How do unions work? How much do they cost per month (there are fees, right?)? How do you afford health insurance? How do you afford a roof over your head?

    Also, Do I need a BSN to work there? Do I need a BSN to work NICU? Have any of you moved there from a different part of the US? What were your experiences? Would you have done anything differently?

    And lastly, 37K for a DOWNPAYMENT on a townhome? OMG, I can't feel my toes.

    Kristi, who is certifiably going mad and typing like a crack-fiend.
  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   USA987
    Okay, breathe!!! I'm in San Diego right now. Of course, I am just renting because DH is in the Navy and we are getting ready to move on. I am of the school of thought that the housing market here can't go much further. There are still some affordable homes in North County and East County....Santee, Spring Valley, El Cajon, Lakeside, Temecula, Chula Vista, etc.

    Out of the 3 major hospitals here in SD: Scripps, Sharp, and Kaiser...only Kaiser is Union, and from what I hear they do take a nice chunk of change. I'm going to be a new grad with an ADN program and all my classmates are pretty much going to the Scripps & Sharp systems because of the fact that Kaiser is union & they all start new grads out at $23.50/hr + differentials. You can go into the NICU without a BSN...a friend of mine is going into it at Children's Hospital as a new grad.

    I lived in NJ prior to moving here. When we came to SD, my car insurance went down by 50%, and my electric bill went down. I never have turned on my heat or air conditioning. The temps are just right. I have children and they have no enrollment fees for school and I don't even have to provide school supplies for them. I go to community college and pay ONLY $11 per credit hour. Even the State schools are inexpensive.

    So I guess there are pros/cons to living in "America's Finest City"!!! Please let me know if I can help you with any specific information.
  4. by   Rustyhammer
    I have visited California and it is a GREAT place to visit.
    However I would be just as nervous as you if I were to move there.
    I have heard that taxes are high and the cost of living is high and the traffic is bad and the smog is worse.
    California is scary!
  5. by   Rustyhammer
    I heard you have to even lock your doors when you leave the house! Is that how one wants to live?
  6. by   jnette
    Originally posted by Rustyhammer
    I heard you have to even lock your doors when you leave the house! Is that how one wants to live?
    I hear you, Rusty ! Don't lock our doors here at ALL ! Not car doors, house doors.. nuthin' ! Love it that way, too !

    I've been to So. Cal. several times when my sis lived there on Manhatten Beach outside of LA. As Rusty says, beautiful to visit, but would NEVER consider living there! Oh yes, there are GREAT places to eat, all kinds of really neat stuff to do, the weather is grand and keeps your mood sunny as well.. much good to say about the area, but even with all the great stuff.... nope.

    Too transient for me.. VERY difficult to establish new and firm friendships.. people just move around too much, and nobody seems to stay put. Then there's the gang issues... San Diego has plenty of them, and even if you're in a "nice" area, just not sth. I would feel comfortable with... and the prices are pretty steep !

    BUT... this is only MY opinion, and I'm sure there are those who live there that wouldn't live anywhere else and will be glad to tell you why, so get the FULL story !

    And Kristi, being from the "south", I'm afraid you just won't ever find the kind of "folk" you've grown up around, and whose "friendly hospitality" you've become accustomed to. I moved down here from "up north" 20 years ago, and there's no comparison...
    again, just my $.02 I wish you the best ! Don't freak out... take your time and gather your facts and info... SLEEEEEEEEEP on it... for as long as you need !

  7. by   Rustyhammer
    But really a wife should follow where her husband leads her.
  8. by   jnette
    Originally posted by Rustyhammer
    But really a wife should follow where her husband leads her.
  9. by   jemb
    Kristi, don't panic. There are (believe it or not) some affordable places to live left here. I am living in the second house that I have purchased (single and self-supporting).

    Locking doors? Yeah, I usually do because I got used to it where I lived before. But Where I live now, I'm comfortable leaving the doors unlocked. All depends on the community, I think.

    Car insurance and property taxes are more expensive than you are probably used to, but that too varies from area to area. It's most expensive in the highest populated counties and cities. Most of SoCal has very poor public transportation.

    More hospitals are becoming union, too. Where I work, union dues are $60+/mo. taken out of your paycheck. New grads base pay is $25/ hr, and NICU base pay with 1 yr experience is $31/hr.

    I won't go into a lot of specifics here, but pm me if you want help with anything in particular. (I moved here alone from a southern state years ago, so I've got a clue what's you'll see that's different.)
  10. by   NICU_Nurse
    Thank you, all! I've hurt the ***************frickenfrack out of my lower back today scrubbing the bathroom walls, so I won't be able to type for long- the excruciating pain is making me cry. However, when I am able to sit up (or convince DH to type for me), I will have more questions for you. Jemb and USA, I'm going to PM you in a few days or whenever I log back on. Thanks again, guys! Now I get to lie in bed and think about all of this stuff! If NICU base pay with 1yr exp. is $31/hr, I'm sooooo moving. LOL Thanks again. Hafta go..back screaming, can't see, blacking out now.

    Kristi, who is seriously considering paying for a maid service instead of doing it herself.
  11. by   prmenrs
    I moved to San Diego 35 years ago, but I had family here, and had gone to high school here. It's a fun place to live. Why don't you come, play tourist for a week, and check out hospitals, etc? We can do lunch, like they say in LA.

    Hope your back feels better!
  12. by   SandyB
    Native San Diegan here....moved to Riverside County cuz it is more affordable....