Making the most of your finances is an important part of an emergency preparedness plan, although admitting this is easier than putting it into practice. If you're not careful, expenses can add up quickly and can leave you wondering where your paycheck went. But if you're diligent about cutting costs, you'll have more money left over to put towards training, gear, and other important resources.
For most of us, housing costs — either rent or mortgage payments — make up a large part of our monthly expenses. As a result, cutting even a small portion of these bills can have a big impact on our ability to save money each month.
You're probably aware that housing costs vary quite a bit throughout the United States, but you may be surprised to see exactly how much they vary. The following graphic from FascinatingMaps shows the salary you'd need to afford an average home in major U.S. metropolitan areas. Click here to download the full-size graphic.
These salaries were calculated based on median home values from Zillow, assuming a 30-year fixed mortgage with 10% down payment and normal 4-5% interest rates. Industry experts recommend spending no more than 30% of your income on housing costs, so this was also taken into consideration. You can read more about FascinatingMaps' methodology here.
Unsurprisingly, the West Coast cities top the charts, with San Jose, CA requiring a staggering $313,480 salary to afford an average home. In fact, California takes five of the top six spots on this list — the exception is Hawaii. The chart below shows the corresponding average home values in bar graph form:
Where does your hometown rank on this list? If it's near the top, it may be worth considering how moving to a less costly area could improve your ability to save for a rainy day.