By Lynn Demos

When I was visiting friends in Charleston one spring, I decided on a whim to stop by an apartment complex to see a sample unit. The complex had all the amenities my building in Washington, DC, had…in fact, they were built by the same company! It was bright, new, had a nice pool and gym, everything you’d want…for $1000 less a month for almost the exact same layout I was living in. I asked how much parking cost; parking was free. I asked about the monthly fee for having a cat; there was no fee. In DC, I was paying $250 a month for parking and pet rent! I started looking into my monthly expenses like car insurance and utilities and realized I’d be saving money in a lot of unexpected places each month, making my cost of living much lower in Charleston.

I was also shocked to find out how much cheaper fun is here. My favorite weekend activity, going to the beach, is free! Checking out a local brewery, going on a dinner date downtown, or seeing live music are all things I would have done in DC but can do here for a fraction of the price, so I’m having just as much for less!