NYC & NJ area cost of living question/help

This isn’t really a GQ, but I’m looking for as much factual info as possible, and certainly don’t expect debate. I may end up working in the NYC area, about 8 miles from Manhattan, but still in NJ. I had to reject the company’s first offer, and now they are asking for my input.

Being that the economy, well… sucks, I’m not trying to improve my lot. I would just like to come close to maintaining my present standard of living. I own a home in Western NY (about 1800 square feet) but only pay $600/m mortgage despite being in a pretty comfortable suburban environment.

My question in simplest terms, is what do I multiply my current income by to live in the same fashion? I’ve tried calculators on the net*, and they seem to average about 1.25, but vary quite a bit and don’t offer much explanation, which would be much appreciated.

On a related note, any suggestions on slightly less urban settings (that I can afford) just across the Hudson from Manhattan? A commute of 30, or even 60 minutes wouldn’t bother me.

*[sub]Usually comparing Rochester (the closest urban center to me) and the cities of Newark, Paramus, and Jersey City (all of which seem close to the area in question)[/sub]

Well, this area is way more expensive than Rochester, that’s for sure. I’ve lived both places, so I know.

Rockland County, bording New Jersey, is only about 30 minutes or so from the George Washington Bridge (albeit not during rush hour). Commuting to New Jersey wouldn’t be that bad.

Orange County is less expensive (I’m sorry I can’t give you actual numbers, but this is off the top of my head), and a lot of people live there and commute to the City. From the Chester area to where I live is about 45 minutes.

Houses in nice areas of Rockland average about $300,000. Our house didn’t cost that much, but it’s on less than a quarter acre, so the small plot reduced the price considerably. An ordinary high ranch on a good sized plot in Rochester would cost, I imagine, around $100k, if that. In Nanuet or Pearl River, triple, maybe even quadruple.

I don’t know anything about New Jersey, but I imagine it’s similar. Not to scare you away, since this area of the country has much to offer, but you might want to seriously investigate Orange County. The commute to Jersey wouldn’t be bad from there, actually.

You don’t mention whether you have a family or not, which makes a difference. A family of four, in Rockland County, could live reasonably comfortably on $75,000 a year. Of course, depending on the family situation and the area of Rockland, YMMV. It would be less in Orange, but I can’t honestly say how much less, or which areas cost more.

I live about 10 minutes away from the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey… I don’t know much about buying homes and whatnot since I’m only an undergrad. However, I did a little search for homes that are on sale in my town. It took a while for that page to load… but anyway, it ranges from about $215,000 to $275,000 for a 2 or 3 bedroom house. I’m not sure how much this helped.

It would help if you would tell us what town the job is in. “Just across the river from Manhattan” covers a whole lot of diverse territory.

You might want to look into Sussex County, N.J. We used to live there, it’s about an hour away from NYC. It was a lot less expensive then Bergen County, but we still couldn’t afford it.

I don’t know if I can help you much, but I live in South Orange, NJ, which is a 30-45 min commute into Manhattan by train. Not being in real estate or owning a home, all’s I can tell you is that there are some really nice houses, nice houses, and “first home”-type houses. It’s a nice little community that–although it borders Newark–has a surburban feel to it. But not too suburban, if you get my drift.

Lots of NYC commuters live where I live, and also in the nearby towns of Maplewood, Summit, and Milburn. Essex County sucks in that we pay the most for car insurance in the whole freaking country, but I’ve been here for three years and I love it.

How are you planning on getting into the city? Driving? Or train? Your options are wider, of course, if you drive but then driving into Manhattan is a hassle onto itself. NJ-to-NY traffic sucks. I’m a train person myself and NJ Transit Midtown Direct is terrific.

Note that Newark ain’t exactly the most expensive place in the world for a reason. It’s mostly pretty slummy. I don’t know nearly as much about Paramus. I think Jersey City has been getting much, much more expensive in the last couple of years, so if the calculators that you’re using use data more than about 3 years old, they’re probably underestimating.
Of course, I’m a Spoiled Parasitic College Student, so I don’t specifics on mortgages, even in my (parents’) neighborhood.

Here’s a link that might help you:

http://homeadvisor.msn.com

Go to “cost of living” under “Manage your Home.” It lets you compare the cost of living between specific cities.

I live in NJ and am also currently househunting. I’ll second the Sussex County possibility. Just about anywhere in Bergen County is very expensive. But in between Bergen and Sussex is Passaic, and that’s another good possibility, especially northern Passaic County. Greenwood Lake is pretty inexpensive – that’s partially in NY and NJ.