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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico is getting expensive

Photo credit: Dongyoung Won
Photo credit: Dongyoung Won

Rent: $600; authentic Mexican food: $9; cover charge at a bar: $3. How is a college student supposed to afford it all?

It feels like Chico is getting more and more expensive every day.

The numbers are very small, but it seems that many places are slightly raising their prices.

All these tiny incremental price raises are beginning to add up, and my wallet is starting to notice.

I think housing, food and general prices in Chico are on the rise and will continue to do so.

The first time I truly noticed a dramatic rise in price was when I heard that the Creekside Manor apartment complex was raising its prices. I lived in Creekside my sophomore year and rent was $500 a month per room. Currently, the rent amounts to $640 per room according to its listing on Zillow.

A recent five-bedroom home in downtown Chico four blocks closer to campus is pending at an approximate $418,000 sale price. Therefore, I will say an individual four-bedroom Creekside apartment is valued at $200,000, which is an extremely generous estimate.

Using the return on investment formula and my estimated value, each Creekside apartment makes a 12.8 percent ROI every month. Very seldom can landlords charge this high. According to SFGATE, ROI is usually between four and 10 percent.

Price increases of this caliber are happening all over the Chico housing market and prove it is getting more expensive.

According to the Chico Enterprise-Record, the reason for the rise in rent is because the economic recession has delayed many people from purchasing homes. Therefore there is an excessive amount of people in the rental market. This caused a nationwide surge in rent prices that is exceeding the inflation rate.

Chico is known for having an affordable housing market, and I believe that the rising prices will make it more difficult for students to live close to campus.

One of the main things that inspired me to write this article and has been rampant around town and the country as a whole, is the rise in food prices.

I, like many college students, do not posses the desire or skill to cook a decent meal. Therefore, eating out is always an appealing option. I try to abstain to save money, but the convenience and taste of eating out is too much to resist.

Bulldog Taqueria downtown has raised its prices across the board $1. I know from being a frequent customer, but there is also tape over the first number of everything on the menu complete with sharpie writing that makes it obvious.

Papa Murphy’s location on Mangrove has also raised its prices $1 on all pizzas, according to an employee.

I have noticed that Taco Bell’s prices have risen sharply recently. It has been quite the phenomenon for me having to wonder whether Taco Bell is worth the money, when I never thought twice about it.

The reason for the rise in food prices is multiple droughts in the United States. The drought in California has raised prices on fruits, vegetables and nuts, and the drought in Texas and Oklahoma has caused the rise in meat prices.

Five Guy’s CEO blames Obamacare’s regulations for increasing prices by requiring employers to pay more employee benefits.

I am also positive general prices in the town will rise everywhere due to the recent increase in California’s minimum wage, which will be $15 per hour by 2021.

With housing cost and food already on the rise and general goods yet to come, how can students afford to live?

When it comes to housing, centrally located and amenity-filled apartments like Creekside charge so much rent because they are in high demand. But there are still good deals on houses and apartments that aren’t so central or nice.

When regards to food, eating out less is a simple fix. In addition, WinCo has already been paying almost all its employees over $10 an hour and still offers incredibly low prices. This means that it will likely be less affected by rising labor cost.

One could argue that the rising minimum wage will help to diminish the rising costs, but I believe that the costs will rise just as much and the new minimum wage will serve no purpose.

The low cost of living is one of the many things I love about Chico, and it is unfortunate that this seems to be changing.

It’s very clear that prices in Chico are on this rise. How high will they go? Only time will tell.

Alex Horne can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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  • C

    ChewableGerm // Jan 10, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    Think it’s bad here as a college student that only has to worry about themselves? Try raising a family here and see how the raising costs affect you. No student discounts. No government grants. I Just started looking at the house prices…. Thinking about leaving this state. I love California, but you can’t get ahead here.

  • M

    michael // Apr 29, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    This article makes some good points but in the end it ends up on the losing side. Life’s about learning responsibility, and taking responsibility for your actions. Can’t afford life? Get a job. Still can’t afford it? Do what the rest of us did…eat top ramen every meal and get a second job.

  • A

    Anna // Apr 29, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I love the type of people who seem to think that their struggle 30 years ago must be the exact same as ours now. Was tuition 8,000 dollars a year when you were here? Oh, wait. It wasn’t. I’m also sure you went out with your friends and experienced college as well. There is no reason to act like you were model college students who didn’t struggle with money. Cooking would be great if groceries weren’t crazy expensive too. Bottom line, Chico is more expensive and it’s hard. I’m very happy that all you righteous commenters made it out alive. I personally love to cook. I love to go out with my friends and I also make smart choices.

  • K

    Krystal // Apr 29, 2016 at 11:28 am

    If you can’t afford to go out, do what responsible adults do and stay home. Also, learn to cook for Pete’s sake. That is just sad. How are people supposed to pity laziness?

    • A

      Alex Horne // Apr 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      I do stay in plenty of the time and only go out once a week in order to keep costs low. This article is simply stating that the one time a week is getting more expensive. And since when does not being a naturally gifted cook and enjoying going out equal laziness?

    • J

      Jeff // Apr 29, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      This article isnt about fast food being too expensive. Its not even necessarily saying that its getting too expensive. Its about how the cost of living is going up, which is supported with specific examples throughout the article.

  • C

    Cory // Apr 29, 2016 at 9:45 am

    I lived in Creekside 30 years ago when it was Menlo Park and rent was 325.00. It hasn’t gone up that much. Did you take into consideration that Apartment Complex’s pay for Property Management, high insurance premiums and when a tenant moves out leaving extreme damages the cost of that trickles down into the rent of existing tenants and new. When doing your research did you take into consideration the amount of money a landlord looses from squatters not paying their rent for months and months until they get to court. Did you also take into consideration the cost to run a business the cost of insurance for that company workers comp. ins. Utility cost going through the roof. All you see is what is happening at the counter you have no idea what is happening in the office while bills and bills and more bills are coming in to run these businesses. Save your money go buy some pots and pans get a cookbook from a thrift store and learn to cook. And be like the rest of us who went to College on a shoe string budget and made it.

    • A

      Alex Horne // Apr 29, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      I did not take any of those things into consideration when writing this article because people don’t care about whats going on “behind the counter.” Consumers only care about the price, and the bottom line is Creekside is overpriced. Other apartment complexes in Chico have much lower rents and manage to stay afloat, so I would imagine that all the things you mention have nothing to do with Creekside’s rise in rent. The rent is increasing because they can raise the price, due to high demand. In addition, nowhere in this article do I claim to live some lavish lifestyle. I am on a “shoe string” budget and I am making it.

    • H

      Helen Medina // May 1, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      Another resource for college kids like you guys can look for recipes is going online. There are a bunch of easy recipes available, and some of them even offer coupons for groceries. My kids’ godmother and I (we are both Chico State grads) have been training my kids to research these recipes and have them cook with these so they can be ready to be the next generation of Chico State students.

  • B

    Bryan // Apr 29, 2016 at 6:53 am

    Prices are raising because of the taxes being imposed across California along with the minimum wage going up soon…

    That being said …learn to cook… You are a college student read some.good cook books life is practically living in poverty … Life isn’t a bowl of cherries its supposed to be tough

  • M

    Michael // Apr 28, 2016 at 10:03 pm

    Taco bell, and the resulting intestinal distress, are never worth it.