#7. St. Paul MN
Katrina Peterson, 35, school psychologist
How Long I Lived in NYC: 8 years
Where I Moved: St. Paul, Minnesota
Why I Left NYC: I was tired of living paycheck to paycheck and stressing about money constantly. I was by no means making a big salary working in education, so I wanted to go somewhere where my dollar would go much further and I would actually be able to save money. Also, my now-husband and I wanted to be able to invest in a home and we knew that we would not be able to afford the lifestyle we wanted if we stayed in NYC. We knew we eventually wanted to have kids and it just seemed too stressful to do that in NYC.
Rent/Mortgage and Square Footage in NYC: $3,000 a month for about 650 square feet (rent)
Rent/Mortgage and Square Footage in My New Place: $1,800 a month for 2,450 square feet (own)
Most Pleasant Surprise About Relocating: I was surprised by how much less stressful life became when each dollar I spent wasn’t always at the forefront of my mind. It was as if a weight was lifted and I could truly enjoy going out for dinner and drinks, or away for a weekend, confident that it wasn’t going to break the bank. I could not only buy things for myself without feeling guilty, but also had more mental energy to spend on other areas of my life.
Favorite Thing About St. Paul: I love living in a smaller city that offers many great food options and cultural experiences, but is also super accessible to nature. There are a multitude of bike paths throughout the city, many lakes within the Twin Cities, and opportunities for trips up north to stay in cabins. I appreciate the ease of being able to do things as well, especially with a family — traffic is not a nightmare, many things are affordable, and you can go places and have space without feeling like everything is overrun.
Thing I Miss Most About NYC: I miss the spontaneity that comes with living in NYC. Having such a well-connected public transit system and so much nightlife no matter what day of the week it was made it so easy to be socially connected. It definitely takes more effort and planning to hang out socially in the Twin Cities, and not just because we have a toddler now.
Advice I’d Give to Someone Else Thinking of Moving to St. Paul: Winter is no joke. The winter months do feel as cold and as long as what one might imagine. However, there is something special about the way Minnesotans just embrace the cold! It doesn’t stop people from going outside and enjoying the city. Most parks have ice rinks for skating and hockey. Ice fishing is a thing, and many organized events are held throughout the winter months that draw large crowds. Plus, unlike NYC, you don’t have to trudge through snow and ice to get everywhere. You just walk to your car and blast the heat!