What it Costs to Live in North Carolina | Monthly Expenses

I’m what people nowadays call a wanderlust-er.  If I meet you for the first time my question to you will more than likely be, “Where are you from?”  I am such a curious person and the idea of living in different places dotted around the world appeals to me like no other.  But since I can’t, I love to look around the Internet and see other people sharing their journey as they trek and live around the globe.  One of the things I’m always curious about is how they afford to live where they do because to me, living in a country such as, Ireland, seems impossible because the cost of living– at least in my mind– is too expensive.

Since I find that learning what the average rent costs for someone living in Canada is, then I figured someone might be interested in learning what it costs to live in the Southeast of the United States. 

 Front Yard during the autumn season.  These trees surround the pond.
Front Yard during the autumn season.  These trees surround the pond.

In fact, the cost-of-living in North Carolina played a huge role in us even moving here.  When Bubba was looking at schools to attend, he had to look at the affordability of the area and if he could find work close by.  Obviously we live here so the Charlotte area met those requirements.  However, what you can afford around here will vary and our rent is not the typical price tag for house rentals.  Usually it costs more; God just laid this rental in our lap and luckily I fought for it and won!  Seriously, if I told you the story, you would say ‘yep…you definitely had someone on your side up there.’  No joke.  But without further adieu.

Our Monthly Expenses

Rent: $875 per/month 

What we get:  3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 story house, on 1 acre of land.  It has a tree lined driveway and a pond in the neighboring land.  (So we get a nice view)  Typical rentals are an average of $1200+

Obviously this is our biggest expense.  We chose to live Southeast of Charlotte to help lower our rental cost while still living in a good neighborhood with plenty of elbow room from neighbors.  However, the trade-off is a rundown school district which most of the state itself is trying to deal with.  This is why we have chosen to homeschool Nathan. 

Electricity: Average $160 (Winter) $240 (Summer) 

The entire house runs off of electricity.

Water: $20 average

Rental Insurance: $14

Internet: $40

Wireless phone: $45

Health Insurance: $170

Transportation: $240 (Gas) avg per gallon $3.35ish

Trash: $25

Groceries: $800

We rarely eat out because it is expensive when you are buying for 5 people each time so I cook the majority of our meals. Groceries are definitely more expensive in the east vs. the west.  Most food is shipped from states such as California so it will cost you a bit more living here.  The cost of a pound of ground hamburger meat is $4.19-$4.48ish at Wal-Mart.  Go to another store and it will cost somewhere over $5 per pound.  Those are just a couple of examples.

We are able to scrape by on one income by making adjustments to our lifestyle and sticking as closely as we can to a budget.  It’s not always easy but we manage!  And trust me, we are really looking forward to Bubba finishing school so we can have a little breathing room once and a while. ; )

If you’re interested to see the cost of living in NYC, then check out this post from Our Freaking Budget.  And if you’re interested in what it costs to live in Germany, then check out this post from Denglish.

Front Porch Haircut

Bringing back the chilly bowl, guys.  Just kidding!  Could you imagine if it did come back in style? 

Just wanted to take a minute and document Scout’s front porch hair cut.  One day he will want a professional to do it, but for now, he believes that he is the coolest kid because his daddy does it for him.  ((So sweet))  However, I don’t have a picture of the finished cut.  I know, I know, what was I thinking?  But the pictures on this post is pretty much what it looks like now.

Random Pianist at the Library

At the library, of all places, I heard very loud music playing once.  Piano; probably a Beethoven piece.  It was so loud that I almost asked the librarian while checking out my books, since when does the library play music?  Loud music at that.  But I was enjoying the sound really; It was beautiful to listen to.  Whenever I stepped out of the library doors and into the lobby, I realized the source of the music.  A gentlemen was properly sitting at the piano that the library has stuffed into a corner on the far back wall.  Barely noticeable unless someone is playing it. 

But there he sat, pressing vigorously against the keys, a very angry and intense piece.  Every note played perfectly; at least to my own untrained ears.  How lucky–I felt–to witness such a random thing.  I haven’t heard a musician play publicly since my visit to New York City. 

Ever since that day, I’ve wondered if I would ever see this man playing again, and today I received my answer.  I could already hear him playing before I even reached the doors this time.  After handling some business within the library, I decided I would record a snippet of him on my cell phone without disturbing him.  Watch it below if you would like.  Fair warning though: it’s a terrible video and very shaky.  My picture on the front has nothing to do with the video, btw, I just figured it was better than a picture of my feet that it was using, haha! 

I wish I would have stuck around and listened.  Usually you have to pay to listen to such things these days. : )

My Son Has 8 Food Allergies and 4 Non-Food Allergies

Like most children with food allergies, you won’t find out they are allergic until they eat it.  Likewise, it was with us. (You can read that story here

Oddly enough, I always had this weird, motherly instinct, if you will, when he was born that he would be allergic to peanut butter.  What I didn’t realize is that he would be allergic to much more than just PB.  So after his Emergency Room visit and his initial blood test revealed he was allergic to Eggs, Milk, Peanuts, and Dogs, the doctor seemed adamant that he would outgrow his egg allergy by age 1.  That has not been the case for our story; so we have treaded carefully until he could have a full panel administered. 

I say “carefully” because at his age, he can’t tell me that he has a metallic taste in his mouth or that his throat is swelling shut.  Because he already seemed to be allergic to nuts, we avoided any sort of nut products until he was able to receive this test.  This included packaging that says this product “uses the same machines as those with nuts.” 

It really narrowed down what he could and couldn’t eat.  His diet became extremely simple.

There is A LOT to know about one food allergy let alone multiple food allergens. What does one do in an emergency? how does their diet work? how do you eat at a public restaurant?

With that in mind, I’ll be posting a lot of information that the doctor gave to us.  I do so just in case there are other parents out there who have friends or family members who want to be sensitive and aware.  This is especially good for our “real life” friends & family members, too.


First things first!

What did they test for?

As you can see from the pictures above, the specialist numbered Scout’s back etc, and then pricked a needle with different substance into his skin.  How his skin reacted is how the doctor analyzed Scout’s allergies.

The doctor tested for these common allergies:

Seeds, Nuts, Trees, Grass, Weeds, Inhalants, Foods, Shell Fish

The doctor also did another blood draw to see if he continued being allergic to eggs and milk.

Here are the results:

Sesame Seeds – EXTREMELY allergic. This means no sesame anything: oil or seeds, no sesame hamburger buns!

Brazil Nut – HIGHLY allergic.  Stay away from it.

Hazelnut – SLIGHTLY allergic.  No hazelnut spread.

Pistachio – SLIGHTLY allergic.  Don’t eat it and he’ll be fine. 

Black Walnut – EXTREMELY allergic.  He may NEVER EVER EVER touch or eat this nut.  He tested very high on the reaction test.

Peanut – EXTREMELY allergic.  Same rules as the walnut.  No peanut oil either!

Oak Trees – HIGHLY/EXTREME allergic.  He should just stay away from them if possible.

Egg Whites – SLIGHTLY/HIGHLY allergic.  He can have some baked goods that include eggs, however, he cannot eat egg by itself.

Milk – SLIGHTLY allergic.  Affects his skin mostly.

Dog hair – EXTREMELY allergic.  It affects his respiratory, will break out in hives, and swell.

Cat hair – EXTREMELY ++ allergic.  Cat hair is worse for him than dog hair.  Have to keep the cat outside! 

Dust Mite P – SLIGHTLY allergic.

Linking this post up with Casey.