It was recently stated in the Seattle PI that “Spokane County’s cost of living is 14 percent below the Seattle area’s and 5 percent below the national average, he said. Although Spokane County’s median home prices have risen to $235,000, they remain a deal compared to other West Coast metro areas.”
You’re wondering how that’s good for web development? Well, like any career we’re all hoping to find some balance between work and play and with a cost of living 14% less than a city 4 hours away, it’s a great deal. That means you can work 14% less, or have 14% more. This is only monetary value, I’ll get to some of the other benefits.
Do you live in a major city? Before I moved to Spokane, about 20 years ago now I lived in Seattle. Even then there was a solid two-hour time span where you literally sat in traffic, no matter how far you were going, you could count on it taking at least 2 hours. 2 blocks, 2 hours, 2 miles, 2 hours, downtown, 2 hours. It has only got worse.
While in Spokane, I’ve lived in lots of different areas. The Spokane Valley, the South Hill, Downtown, Green Acres… Just about everywhere, and it seems no matter where I worked (except when I worked from home) my commute has always been no more than 20 minutes, no matter the time of day. That adds an hour and forty minutes of productive time in my life. I use to go to the gym.
If you’re hoping to move out here and get to take days off when it snows, like in Seattle. You’d better guess again… It snows, people still go to work. Bummer, I know. I was also disappointed by this fact. Growing up in the Seattle area, if it snowed you could count on having the day off, since the whole city basically closed down. Not here, you’d definitely get looked at sideways if you tried to call out because of the snow. People use snow tires and the ruts in the road are a testament to that. That being said, at least it doesn’t rain every day! We actually get four whole seasons and the summers are hot and dry and the winters are usually cold and dry and a few good snow storms to keep it exciting.
For me, the best part about living and working here is the close proximity to tranquility. I’m mostly annoyed by humans, so I love to get away and immerse myself in nature. Whether it’s snowboarding (there’s 3 mountains within about an hour), Mountain Biking (trails all over), Hiking, Camping, enjoying the lakes (there’s hundreds of them). That’s my favorite part, it’s quick and easy to get away and there isn’t huge lines everywhere, as if nature has become a theme park. (Like some of the North Cascade trails).
Believe it or not, we’re a modern city?!?! We’re got powered lights and everything! (read sarcasm). Most people don’t know that Spokane is actually a internet-backbone hub and there are 3 major backbones that connect here. So while your home internet choice is the normal (and awful) Comcast/XFi%*#* or CenturyLink, but if you’re looking to host a server or need co-location services you can still get them here pretty cheap compared to other cities or cloud providers. So if part of your gig is hosting service or provider, Spokane definitely deserves a 2nd look.
It’s not for everyone
I’m not going to lie and say I fell in love with Spokane the moment I moved here. I didn’t. Actually, when I moved here my car was on a car trailer (being pulled by a u-haul) and it was broken into and the stereo system was stolen out of it. ON THE FIRST NIGHT IN TOWN! In the last 20 years I’ve had that happen a couple times. The property crimes around here does suck. You do have to lock everything down if you want to keep it. Also, most people are pretty conservative and I don’t often to get into random conversations with strangers like I used to in Seattle, but that may just be me. There isn’t a ton of culture, unless you consider white, blue collar conservative a culture, although that is slowly changing, it’s nothing like Seattle or Portland in that regard and you’ll still run into “white nationalism” and a shit-ton of Trump supporters (I won’t get political).
I’ll probably regret talking it up, so forget everything I said and enjoy the city you’re in. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter where you’re at, it’s what you make of it…. Right?!?
eCommerce Usability Optimization Expert
PNW Native, Outdoor Enthusiast and Overlander.