What Does it Cost to Live for a Month in the California Wine Country

If you are interested in seeing what it costs to live in more cities, or interested in doing a guest post yourself see: “What Does it Cost to Live in ?

This post is by Ashley and Alex of “In Pursuit of Adventure”. They are are passionate travelers, foodies and boozies who travel to get to know the different cultures of the world and then write about it.  Visit their in addition to their blog, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to follow their adventures around the world.

The two of us, spend roughly around $2,400 USD a month

Year round people head out to California’s wine country for vacation and spend quite a bit of money while they are out there. They want the full experience, the extravagant hotels, the limos to drive them around to the great wineries and finish the night with fine dining. People have a way of spending a lot of money when they come out to wine country here in California. I have a feeling when they look at their bank statements they wonder how people can afford living in such an expensive place. Ashley and I have been living in Healdsburg, California for almost a year which is the heart of Sonoma County wine country and we are living pretty well for two people up here. We go out to dinner and for drinks often and have plenty of wine for the both of us to enjoy. We are both in the industry; Ashley deals with events and wedding while I work in a tasting room. We are far from being wealthy but we get by comfortably. So what does it cost and how do we do it?

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Lets talk about a place to stay. Ash and I live in an upstairs two-bedroom apartment. It was originally a house but has been converted into three apartments. Our apartment is a great size; it has two bedrooms, one and half bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a small deck which is a perfect place for the two of us to enjoy a cocktail. Now the best part about this place is the location. We are about a ten-minute stroll from the main square in Healdsburg, which is quite lovely to have that convenience since it keeps our gas expenses low. For the two of us to live here we pay $1,400 USD a month for this wonderful apartment. If you were living in San Francisco about and hour and half away, $1,400 USD a month would barely get you a closet. There has to be a catch to get such a good deal here in wine country, right? Utilities must be outrageous. Actually they are not; we pay about $50 USD a month on all utilities. Remember I am writing for Ashley and I, for two people this is not a bad arrangement in such a beautiful place.

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Let’s talk about day-to-day cost.  Ashley and I, on average, spend about  $50 USD to $100 USD a week on groceries to keep the both of us fed. Now we use our local Safeway, a larger grocery chain, which is cheaper than the locally sourced grocery store Big John’s, which can cost an arm and a leg. Ash and I only go there if we are getting fresh fish, meat, and a good selection of cheese. Those items alone can cost us $50 USD and upwards. So we tend to stick to Safeway where we can get more bang for our buck and not much loss in quality or any at all. Now again this is for two people and two people who are not always the best shopping for deals but instead for great food.

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Ashley and I do like to go out for dinner and drinks. It is definitely one of the benefits of living in Healdsburg. We go out about 7-9 times a month for dinner or drinks, sometimes both. A night out for us can cost us as cheap as $50 dollars and that is when we are just going out for drinks. If we go out to dinner we tend to spend $100-$150 USD for the two of us. That includes drinks, appetizers, main courses, and dessert. This is on average. If we go out for a real fancy meal it can cost up to $200 USD but that is only on special occasions. If we wanted to we could have a couple of drinks and small meal for under $100 USD but after living in Italy for so many years we tend not to allow cost to get in the way of a good meal. If Ash and I decide to go out for drinks and a meal we will probably hit around $200 USD. So for the whole shebang around $200 dollars for two people is not too bad. I would have to say the most expensive thing in wine country is eating and drinking, as there are so many good restaurants around us.  It is tough not to say yes to a good meal.

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Life around wine is not as expensive as you might think. First since you are around wine all the time you tend not to go out and wine taste as often as you think. Ash and I really only go wine tasting when relatives or friends come into town. We have our favorite tasting room in the square, which actually has free tastings and most of the tastings run between $5 USD – $15 USD.  Now Ash and I do belong to two wine clubs which each cost us about $300 USD a year but you get wine at a discounted price and you get invited to fun events throughout the year. So our monthly wine really does not cost that much. We probably spend about $50USD on wine a month. We both work in the industry so we get a lot of free wine. It is definitely one of the benefits of working in this industry.

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There are also a lot of free things that Ash and I can do if we do not want to spend money. We can go out to the redwoods and go for a hike, head out to Bodega Bay and enjoy the ocean, we can go and float down the Russian River or head out to the lake all which is free or almost free. Now these activities take gas and going to work for us takes gas but Ash and I share a car and we use maybe a tank of gas a week. So we spend about $40 USD – $50 USD on gas a week. We can walk into town so we tend to try to stay away from driving as much as we can.

On average Ashley and I, for the two of us, spend roughly around $2,400 USD a month, which includes rent. There are so many benefits of living in Healdsburg. We also are only an hour and half away from San Francisco if you are missing city life. Since this is a tourist town things can get pricy. You learn little things that can keep cost down. Now Ashley and I are not always the best at doing that but $2,400 USD a month for two people we live quite comfortably in the heart of wine country. We are able to do this comfortably with our jobs. The lifestyle is great in Sonoma wine country and well worth the money.

 

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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