Getting the Most “Bang for your Buck” Post-Grad

As seniors begin to receive job offers and make plans for their post-grad lives, cost of living is often overlooked. While many aspire to live out their twenties in New York City, they fail to take into account other, less expensive cities, where salaries stretch further. If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by factors to consider in making the best decision for your life after Penn State, never fear — VALLEY is here with resources and statistics to help you get the best “bang for your buck” in terms of cost of living. 

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Several tools exist online to help precisely calculate how far your salary will go based on the city you select. NerdWallet has a cost of living calculator that allows you to compare costs between two cities of your choice. It also allows you to input your salary to see what the equivalent salary would be in another city. For example, if you were interested in comparing expenses in Philadelphia and New York City, the calculator tells you that the cost of living is 120% higher in New York City. Further, the calculator breaks down costs related to housing, transportation, food, entertainment and healthcare. 

Business Insider also has a ranking of the best 25 cities to live in as recent graduates, based on affordable housing and availability of jobs. The rankings include statistics on the unemployment rate for college grads, median rent prices and the percent of the population between ages 20 and 29. Taking the top spot is Columbus, Ohio, with a low unemployment rate and a median rent price of $724/month. Pittsburgh, Pa., the hometown of many Penn Staters, is ranked #4, with a median rent of $750/month. Other cities range from Nashville, Tenn. to Austin, Texas — desirable places to call home that will be easier on your wallet. 

While cost of living is not the only factor to consider in deciding where to move after earning your degree, it certainly is an important one. Some of the most sought after cities to live in in the US — New York City and San Francisco – also come with the highest price tags, ranking #1 and #2 respectively in terms of cost of living. VALLEY suggests you do your homework before accepting your job offers and deciding to try out a new city. Plenty of resources exist online and could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.


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