What Do You Give Up to Afford Housing in the Bay Area?

As part of our the first show in our "Priced Out: the Bay Area's High Cost of Housing" we asked listeners to share what they sacrifice in order to afford housing in the Bay Area. Here are some of the responses:

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  1. I pay half my monthly salary for a condo for my little family of 4. We haven't been on a family vacation for over 5 years. No new cars, hand-me-down furniture. I know we have plenty to be thankful for, it's just a struggle sometimes, and really scary knowing our savings won't last long in an emergency.
  2. I commute 4 hours round trip 3 days a week. This allows me 2 have an affordable mortgage.
  3. I pay $950 for a small 2 room apartment in the lower part of a house in Oakland foothills--I am on sickness benefits and food stamps so I just eat lower quality food when my cash and food stamp credit runs out each month.
  4. The "middle class" life in Marin, when you don't come from money: retirement, housing, savings, kids. Pick two if you're lucky.
  5. $2300/mo, Mountain View, we give up any sort of financial security or the possibility of ever owning. Day to Day we live frugally and get any & all extras from family as gifts. We are lucky.
  6. $800/month in SOMA for a $2400/month 3br. Moved in 3 years ago when the market was also hot, but we were disciplined about our search, which is how we landed this gem. Great neighbors and great landlord :)
  7. $907/mo for one-bedroom condo in Marin ($1180 with condo HOA dues). Marin is an affordable alternative to SF, y'all.
  8. We pay a little less than two grand and have no backyard, no privacy, not enough parking spots and no way to form lasting relationships with our neighbors because someone is always moving out or in.
  9. I got lucky and scored a room under rent control and now pay 775. I live with 6 other people though, 5 cats and a dog. And our walls are paper thin, so there's so much noise I've given up sleeping. I just found out that the master tenant is leaving in January so our rent will go up at least 2,000$ overall. After 8 years living in SF I've decided it's probably time to move on
  10. $2400/mo. rent for our 1100-sq ft unremodeled '50's ranch in Sunnyvale (in a 'bad' school district). We love our little house, but it isn't fancy. We expect rent to rise dramatically in a year when our lease ends (we were wise enough to get a 2-year lease a year ago). We've also watched house prices skyrocket in our 'affordable' neighborhood--from around $400k two years ago to $675k for the same floor plan now. We could have barely bought two years ago, and now I wish we had: we couldn't afford to buy now. The cost of rent on top of the additional high cost of living is making us, as many others, strongly consider moving to a different part of the country--which is a shame, as we would be happy to settle here long-term.
  11. Family of four, living in a 1 bedroom in Berkeley due to lack of affordable options in the Bay, we are considering the move, but jobs are scarce once we leave, plus give up community and place!
  12. Everything i work to pay my rent I have no social life because i can't afford to go out but thatz the price i pay to live in Moss Beach
  13. I pay $950 for a small 2 room apartment in the lower part of a house in Oakland foothills--I am on sickness benefits and food stamps so I just eat lower quality food when my cash and food stamp credit runs out each month.
  14. In 2009 we moved from our amazing two bedroom flat in the mission that was the top floor of a Victorian with a huge roof deck to a junior one-bedroom near Union Square on lower Nob Hill. The rent went from 1775 to 1350, and now we're up to 1400 per month plus a storage unit that's 100 per month. We also sold two cars and now use City Car share. We did this so I could rent an office in a historic building in North Beach. We love our location and my husband can walk to work at City Hall and I can walk to my North Beach office. But we have about a third of the space we had before. We can't really entertain, and we have to rent a car to take weekend trips. Also, our two dogs have to make due with small city parks during the week. Finally, we have put off having kids because there is just no room, and we don't have the income to spare anyway.
  15. I was paying $2300 a month to rent a place in Parkmerced. I could not afford it and I moved to Pittsburgh, PA earlier this year where I was able to buy a huge old house in a great neighborhood. It's so nice not to stress out every month over how much I'm spending on housing. BTW, I'm a native San Franciscan.
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