Undoubtedly, living in the D.C. metro area is expensive. Housing costs, for example, are totally outrageous. I moved to the D.C. area from a small, almost midwestern city where the cost of living was very reasonable, traffic was minimal, and my quality of life was high. While I love where I live now, sometimes I get a little fed up with the cost of everything.
Perfect example: in Virginia, we pay personal property tax every year on certain items we own. It’s a little confusing because what is taxed varies by city and county, as do taxation rates. In my city, only transportation vehicles (cars, buses, trucks, boats, etc.) are taxed. Other cities and counties tax a lot more items – some even tax furniture! You pay this personal property tax once a year, and it’s based on the value of the vehicle in the year that the tax is assessed. Real estate taxes are low, but they’re paid monthly in my city – I’m not sure if some cities and counties tax real estate yearly also since this doesn’t apply to me. I just got my personal property tax statement for my car: $33. It’s only $33 because my car has only been registered in Virginia since April. Next July I’m sure I’ll have to pay more, even though the car will have lost value, because it will have been registered in the state for a full year.
Personal property tax is a totally foreign concept to me. In my home state (Pennsylvania) we pay tax on our vehicles at the time of purchase, and property taxes monthly, but that’s it. This once-a-year thing is weird. Not that it’s a ton of money, but it’s still $33 I could have put into savings. Not to mention that I pay 5% sales tax in Virginia on everything, including food, clothes and shoes. Pennsylvania sales tax is 6%, but unprepared food, clothes, and shoes aren’t taxed.
I know other states and cities in the country have way higher tax rates than Virginia, so I shouldn’t complain, but again, coming from such a low-tax state can still be a culture shock sometimes.