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Which is cheapest? How do they compare? Monsey & Baltimore
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amother




OP
 

Post Mon, Apr 05 2021, 9:36 pm
We are expecting our fifth child and really need to move somewhere that's more affordable than where we are now. So far we heard that Monsey and Baltimore seem like they may be a good fit for us. We are yeshivish but open minded...

How do they compare with -
Housing - We would like to buy a 4 bedroom house. We are ok with somthing at the edge of the jewish neighborhood as long as there are neighbors for our kids to play with.

taxes

tuition (we have 3 girls and 1 boy so far) ,

food

salaries - dh is a manager for a small shipping company, and would like to do something similar but can be in any type of business. I have 5 yrs of office experience - I do administration work but am also open to working with kids as a teacher or my own playgroup as I have prev experience and a degree in that area . In which place would finding jobs in those fields be easier? Which would pay more?

Overall in which place would it be easier for us to make ends meet?

How else does Monsey and Baltimore compare?
We heard that Baltimore is more of a mix then Monsey in terms of schools . How else do they differ?
Which place is more friendly? Where would we feel more "part of " a community?
Are the houses in Baltimore closer together then Monsey? Are Monsey houses bigger then Baltimore houses?
Does either Monsey or Baltimore have transportation to school? If not, is carpooling/driving every day hard? Is there a lot of traffic?

Will add more questions when I think of them. Thanks in advance for any help.
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amother




Peach
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 9:53 am
I really don't know much about Monsey to help with comparison. But I live in Baltimore, so I can tell you what I know.

The Baltimore community (besides scotts hill and yeshiva lane) is spread out over 2 counties--Baltimore City and Baltimore County. You asked about taxes and cost of living. They are different. County taxes and water are lower than the city (by a lot). But the county houses often are more expensive. The size of house and property and pricing will also depend on the area and neighborhood.

For example the Upper Park Heights area is a mix of semi-detached homes and stand alone homes. The stand alone homes are nice size but older. This area is probably the cheaper area of town.

The Greenspring area has a lot of split level type houses.

Going into the Beazer area which is a development--we call the houses mini mansions. They are very big, but very expensive and not so much property.

Cost of living will depend on where you live and your life style.

There is not real busing to school. The public busing has a route up the main streets for some of the schools, but stopped because of covid. People either pay others to drive their kids or carpool. It's a pain, but we all make it work.

The kosher supermarkets aren't particularly cheap, but if you're willing to get some of your food at Aldi or Walmart or Target, you can reduce your food bill.

Tuition isn't cheap, but not crazy expensive either. The schools are very normal and understand finances. They will work with the families. However, they often have a minimum required--but it's reasonable.
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amother




Puce
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 10:03 am
[quote="amother [ Peach ]"

There is not real busing to school. The public busing has a route up the main streets for some of the schools, but stopped because of covid. People either pay others to drive their kids or carpool. It's a pain, but we all make it work.

[/quote]

Another Baltimore mother here. Just wanted to comment on the above that the MTA buses are now operational for TA and the Bais Yaakov Smith Avenue campus (Middle School and High School).

OP - I don't know anything about Monsey, but if you let us know how much you can afford to spend on a 4 bedroom house, we may be better able to advise whether it makes sense for Baltimore and what neighborhoods you should look into.
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amother




Salmon
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 10:08 am
Above poster gave a lot of great info about Baltimore.
I've been here for many years and am very happy. It's a very warm community. It's gotten bigger so you won't necessarily know people who live in another part of town, but wherever you end up buying, you will be surrounded by super nice people who are nonjudgemental and welcoming. It's also nice that there is no "modern" "yeshivish" or whatever section. All types of people live everywhere and we all get along and respect each other.

I will say that it has gotten expensive to live here. We bought our house a few years ago and paid just under $300,000 but nowadays, expect to pay $400,000+ for a very basic house. (unless you are buying a semi-detached or an older house in Upper Park Heights).

I can't tell you how much you or your husband will earn but I will say that on a combined income of $100,000 we were not making it. I increased my hours and my husband got a better paying job and we are closer to $130,000 and it's still very tight. We get significant scholarships, don't go on vacations, drive older cars, etc.
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potato kugal




 
 
 
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 10:19 am
I don't find groceries more expensive here. I was never by market maven yet, but seven mile market is very well priced. Nearly all groceries are online. Open a few tabs on a computer and make your order online. That will give you the most accurate difference in groceries. You can compare to Monsey as well using this method. I live in Baltimore.
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amother




Puce
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 10:28 am
potato kugal wrote:
I don't find groceries more expensive here. I was never by market maven yet, but seven mile market is very well priced. Nearly all groceries are online. Open a few tabs on a computer and make your order online. That will give you the most accurate difference in groceries. You can compare to Monsey as well using this method. I live in Baltimore.


I agree and Market Maven has excellent price on meat and chicken, comparable to Lakewood.
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amother




Denim
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 10:28 am
We also consider Baltimore but people scare us off because “it’s a dangerous place to live”. Is that true?
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amother




Scarlet
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 10:44 am
I live in Baltimore, in the county. Houses where I live (not Beazer) are going for over 500000. I heard from someone that if you’re looking for a house you can afford 50,000-100,000 more in the county because of city taxes and fees. The dangerous parts of Baltimore city aren’t in the frum area. And there is a lot of overlap - the zip codes 21208 and 21209 both have some parts in the city and some parts in the county. Beazer and Ranchleigh have city parts and county parts. Tuition prices can be found online an the school websites. TA is in the county and is a very nice neighborhood, people there are happy but it’s very very small and not walkable on Shabbos or YT to friends. People here aren’t judgmental and there isn’t any keeping up with the neighbors mentality. (I know that sounds weird when houses are expensive!) We also have three kosher weekly pickups for food for kids so food bills have gone down a lot lol. Hope this helps!
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amother




Scarlet
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 10:46 am
I should say that TA isn’t walkable to friends outside of TA. They have an eruv. And Baltimore has Shomrim and other organizations that work with police to help with crime. Crime does happen but it’s usually on the edge of the frum community.
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amother




Blush
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 10:54 am
Housing prices went up a lot recently. But that is true everywhere. It’s closer to 500k for a detached home these days. And they sell very quickly.

Clothing shopping is much more complicated.
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amother




Apricot
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 11:05 am
Am I the only one who thinks the two communities are so different than each other?
I have family in both and not sure I could imagine any of them in the other place. Or if they would move, it’s just a different vibe.
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amother




Scarlet
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 11:13 am
I don’t find clothing shopping so “complicated”. It’s just different. I order online and go to the frum stores here. Before corona I went to malls also. This year I shipped only in frum stores and I also ordered online and I don’t think I spent more. One of my kids wanted a certain pair of shoes and found the pair in a website in Lakewood - the frum shoe store here had them for cheaper.
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amother




Tan
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 11:15 am
I live in Baltimore and have family in Monsey so I can somewhat compare:

Although both places are diverse and almost any type will feel comfortable, Monsey has a more chasidish feel than Baltimore which is mostly litvish. Baltimore runs the gamut from Chasidish to MO but more MO than chasidish and then there's everything in between.

Schools- In Monsey, you can choose a school with like minded families. In Baltimore you can do that for the boys more so than for the girls. For boys there is a chasidish cheder but you need to be yiddish speaking 100% chasidish to send there (not just heimish), TI and Toras Simcha are mostly all yeshivish families, but it's a klei kodesh/ working mix, while TA is more of a community school with all spectrums of the community. Contrast that to the girls schools- there is only Bais Yaakov and Bnos Yisroel and they are both community schools so the student body is as varied as the community. Do not move to Baltimore unless you can handle the fact that your girls will go to school with every type. The flip side is that kids here have a real handle on their own family's hashkafos because there's no such thing as "the community does this and this". It's more "this is what OUR
family does" but I get that Monsey has a similar concept. There is also a MO school called Ohr Chadash where many MO families send their kids.

Housing- You can find housing in every price range here. The cheapest housing is between Park Heights and Reisterstown Road, although some streets like Menlo are becoming very attractive. You can still find a house there in the 200's and 300's but prices are steadily rising. The streets that have semi's are even lower. Between Park Heights and Cross Country it's generally very expensive and very desirable and you will pay a fortune for a piece of garbage that needs renovations. Most houses are between 300 and 500 k depending on size and how old and they mostly need a lot of work. Greenspring, Indian village and Ranchleigh runs the gamut paying anywhere from 400's for an older house to 700's for a brand new house but tend to be in better condition. Baezer is up to the 800's for a large home. More families are moving out to Summit Park, Stevenson and Midfield area where homes can run from 400 to over a million. Those homes also tend to have more property but some are older and need renovations. The rest of Baltimore area homes generally do not have as much land as homes in Monsey where there is more of a country feel. I am not as familiar with individual area's in Monsey but the family I have there has paid similar pricing. The upper range tends to run much higher with people paying close to 2 million for homes. There are homes in Monsey that are so much nicer than anything you will find in Baltimore where homes tend to be of more modest means even if you can afford a more lavish home. Younger families are moving into every area so wherever you would choose a home, there would be kids. Baltimore is growing more and more each year.

Taxes in the city are much higher and you don't get anything more for your money and some will argue that you get less than the county. The city tends to be more yeshivish which is the draw for some families but otherwise not worth the extra taxes. In Monsey, you can find an area that is more like minded and the shuls and shteiblach tend to serve one type or the other. In Baltimore shuls are as diverse as the neighborhoods. There are MO shuls and chasidish shuls, but the rest are a huge mix, although each area still has it's general "feel" even with it being diverse if that makes any sense. Taxes in Monsey tend to be lower overall than in Baltimore.

Food is definitely higher priced in Baltimore than in Monsey but stilll lower than other OOT communities like Chicago or Miami and you can get anything in Baltimore. We stock up when visiting relatives in Monsey, Brooklyn or Lakewood because the prices are much cheaper. Sale prices in Baltimore are every day prices in town. Clothing prices are about the same but Baltimore only has about 4 or 5 frum clothing stores for women and about 4 for kids. Monsey has much more and a larger variety. Monsey also has more gown rentals and higher end frum clothing stores. Most Baltimore families will either drive in to Lakewood on Sundays to shop for the more sophisticated clothing or buy when they are visiting in town. But if those options are not available, you can definitely make do with what's for sale in Baltimore if you're okay with a less sophisticated look.

Full tuition in Baltimore is generally higher than in monsey but the schools here work with you and treat you in a mentchlach way. Monsey schools, especially the chasidish ones have much lower tuition rates. Most people do not pay full tuition and Baltimore is known to be honest on the tuition forms so the committee's for the most part trust the parent body and will question in a dignified manner when they feel the need to. There is a non negotiable minimum though but that is similar to Lakewood's regular rates. Full tuition in Baltimore depending on the grade tends to run from $8,000 to $13,000 with very few paying full tuition while Monsey tends to run from $6,000-$10,000 but it can be harder and more intensive to get a break you can afford- this is what I've heard about my relatives schools.

People don't choose Baltimore for it's pricing or cost of living. We like it here because of the fact that so many different types can live together in harmony, although that didn't really play out during the pandemic when everyone had a different "shita" but those days are almost over thankfully. We love that there's not a lot of emphasis on the externals and most people choose it for that reason. There's definitely way more of an OOT mentality here in terms of the importance of over the top gashmius. I think Monsey may have more of a pressure in that area but it's still better than other in town areas and is a great combo of OOT and in town. For OOT Baltimore is more "in towny" than other OOT cities but let no one kid you, it is OOT all the way and it will take a real in towner a lot of time to adjust!

Hatzlacha with your decision!
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amother




Chocolate
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 11:18 am
I don't know much but I bet that Monsey taxes are higher than Baltimore. For our 4 bedroom modest bilevel home, we pay 13k / year.
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amother




Denim
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 11:28 am
Thanks so much Tan, it was very helpful.
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amother




Tan
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 11:32 am
amother [ Denim ] wrote:
We also consider Baltimore but people scare us off because “it’s a dangerous place to live”. Is that true?


Frum Baltimore is safer than Brooklyn or Williamsburg. Baltimore gets it bad rep from the inner city which is one of the most dangerous places in America. But we don't ever go near there and have no need to. Going "into the city" or downtown for medical appointments or chol hamoed outings is safe. Aside from a few incidence every year around the non jewish holidays, frum Baltimore is quite safe.
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amother




Denim
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 11:34 am
Ok great! This was our only setback so I’m very glad to hear that
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amother




Khaki
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 11:45 am
I agree with everything Tan said. I have lived in baltimore for over ten years - from NY originally, and while it took me a while to get used to the totally different pace, it’s a really great place to bring up kids.
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amother




Tan
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 11:52 am
I sent my kids to school by bus (which you have to pay for in Baltimore) until the pandemic started and all busing stopped. So I paid people to drive my kids to school and carpool for one school, which equals one morning and afternoon drive per week. It's not a big deal. I figure the money I save on taxes here compared to Lakewood and Brooklyn, pays for the busing and rides. It's either higher taxes, busing included, or lower taxes and pay for your busing (or carpool). In Monsey I do believe though is one of the few places where it's win win- taxes are lower for the same priced housing and it includes busing.
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amother




Seafoam
 

Post Fri, Apr 23 2021, 12:09 pm
amother [ Salmon ] wrote:
Above poster gave a lot of great info about Baltimore.
I've been here for many years and am very happy. It's a very warm community. It's gotten bigger so you won't necessarily know people who live in another part of town, but wherever you end up buying, you will be surrounded by super nice people who are nonjudgemental and welcoming. It's also nice that there is no "modern" "yeshivish" or whatever section. All types of people live everywhere and we all get along and respect each other.

I will say that it has gotten expensive to live here. We bought our house a few years ago and paid just under $300,000 but nowadays, expect to pay $400,000+ for a very basic house. (unless you are buying a semi-detached or an older house in Upper Park Heights).

I can't tell you how much you or your husband will earn but I will say that on a combined income of $100,000 we were not making it. I increased my hours and my husband got a better paying job and we are closer to $130,000 and it's still very tight. We get significant scholarships, don't go on vacations, drive older cars, etc.



Salmon, I'm trying to get a vague sense of how much we will need to make as our children get older (I am not the OP). How many children do you have and what ages (don't need specific ages, just curious if they are younger, high-school, college...).
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