• The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most expensive urban areas in the US. But it is still possible to live here on a modest income.
  • My wife and I got priced out of San Francisco and moved to the East Bay to find affordable accommodation.
  • When I quit a well-paying office job to freelance, I had to make additional lifestyle adjustments to fit into a smaller budget.
  • You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.

When I first moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1987, I was a college student with no money.

San Francisco was expensive in the 1980s, but it wasn’t crazy overpriced like it is now. Thanks to rent-controlled apartments, I was able to live in San Francisco for many years without a lot of money.

During my last 10 years in town, my wife and I lived in a 1,200 square foot two bedroom apartment that also had a 300 square foot garage where I ran my art business. Our rent was $ 900 a month.

In 2004 we felt ready to buy, even though we barely had any money. We couldn’t afford San Francisco, but we could buy a condo on the East Bay in the Triple Point neighborhood, where Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville meet. The apartment is much smaller than our old apartment. We got used to living in less than 800 square feet with just one bedroom. The fixed cost of our mortgage and the fact that our house is small helped us afford the Bay Area.

A few years ago I quit my job to work full-time as a freelance writer. That was associated with a sharp cut in wages, but we still manage to make it work.

That’s how I live in the Bay Area on $ 50,000 a year.