As a school psychologist, I would be paid more in California than I am here in Maryland. I’d be paid much less than this in Arizona and Utah (two areas where I previously worked). In fact, most school districts in California paid school psychologists two to three times what they were paying in Arizona. It has been many years since I lived in Arizona, but rent was much cheaper back then as well.

Plus, there are areas of California that are less expensive. I have 6 siblings and they all live in various parts of California. My sister and her husband bought a house in an area where it is much cheaper to live. Some of my siblings live with my parents. It’s a wide variety.

Car buying

A used car doesn’t necessarily equal buying junk.
Consider buying a leased car which has been turned back. They are usually:

1. Half the price or better, than new

2. About 36-45,000 miles

3. In excellent condition

4. Still carry manufacturer warranty

5. Has been refurbished mechanically to “same as new” standards.

Getting in to a leased/return depending on brand, could mean getting into a sweet $8-10k deal which might be low enough to pay cash.