I have a theory that a full 95% of people who live in large cities don’t bother to take advantage of the amenities that city has to offer. Take, for example, the handsome devil writing this post. HEY THAT’S ME! (fist pumps)

I enjoy having access to all the stores I could ever want and a whole bunch of different food choices, even if those choices will eventually cripple me and I just go to the same pizza place I went to last week.

They have breadsticks.

It’s Little Caesars.

I regret nothing.

But really, I don’t take advantage of all that Calgary has to offer. I’ve watched a bunch of sports, went to the zoo, and pretty much just hung out. In about six months. My life is a failure. I would be just as content in a smaller city. I wanted to experience life in the big city, and now that I have, I’m pretty meh about the experience. It’s pretty much like my old life, just surrounded by new things and different people.

I think it was important for me to experience life outside of my comfort zone for a little while, but I fail to see the excitement in living in a place like Calgary. The city doesn’t really have a personalty. There are opportunities, yes, but the city is very much divided among two groups – those with high paying jobs and those with nothing. For every oil company middle manager, there’s some struggling girl working at a store who has to live with a friend or else they’ll both starve.

I was talking to a co-worker about this a few weeks back, and I explained it like this. I understand staying in Calgary if you have a job that is so specialized that it only exists in the largest centers. But if you’re making the exact same amount you would living in a smaller city with 25 or 33% less expensive house prices or rents, you’re nuts to pay that much for the “privilege” of living in Calgary. Go to a smaller city and live a better life at a lesser cost.

I once wrote about a girl who spent an hour and a half each way commuting, which I think we can all agree is insane. She was the very epitome of this problem, choosing to drive from the city to a small town every day just so she could go hang out at some generic pub on 17th Ave and get drunk next to pencil pushers working at Suncor’s head office on the weekends. This phenomenon continues to amaze me.

Here’s what $325,000 gets you in Calgary:

  • An okay neighborhood
  • 890 square foot house
  • 3 bedrooms/2 baths
  • No garage
  • Built in 1978
  • 33 ft. x 100 ft. lot
  • Judging from the pictures, a house in acceptable shape

Here’s the link if you want to go check it out for yourself. Although the way Calgary’s real estate market looks, it might not be there for long. It’s actually one of the few ones in the country that isn’t seeing a huge spike in listings going into spring.

Let’s compare that to what $325,000 gets you in Medicine Hat, a city of 70,000 about three hours away

  • Good neighborhood (although, to be fair, there aren’t usually bad neighborhoods in cities with 70,000 people)
  • A 1225 square foot house
  • 4 bedrooms/3 baths
  • Built in 2008
  • Single car garage
  • Many extras, like central air, fireplace, covered patio, etc.
  • The pictures make it look pretty spiffy

You are literally getting 50% more house for your money. Oh, and the Medicine Hat house has been listed since the summer, if the pictures are any indication.

I don’t get why, if the job in both cities would be comparable, anyone would live in the more expensive city. I understand moving for a job. I understand moving for climate, because Canada’s winters are terrible. Hell, I even understand moving to a big city to experience life in a big city. What I don’t understand is people moving from one generic big city to the next. It’s nobody’s “dream” to live in a generic Canadian city. It’s all just lies to get you to pay more for the same standard of living.

Once you realize this and stop it, your net worth can’t help but to go up. You’ll save money on housing, sure, but you’ll also save money not trying to impress the ladies by being the 13,930th guy with a button down shirt and dark jeans. Again, and I can’t stress this enough, you’ll never get ahead if you view the world the same way as everyone else. Ditch the expected life, and go do something different.

Tell everyone, yo!