jawsome wrote:For those of you commuting from the East Bay: how much do you think you'll be saving? I'm just curious! :]
If you don't want to answer, don't. After going to UG at Berkeley, I can't imagine that living in the EB would save enough $ to make me feel like commuting to SF all the time would be worth it, but I could be wrong.
I own a house - so I am a) not interested in moving, and b) paying less on my mortgage than I would if I had purchased a comparable home in San Francisco. So it's a little different for me than apartment living.
I was having this discussion with someone else - when you factor in likely fare hikes, you could easily spend whatever you're saving on rent by taking public transportation - however, you can get more space for less money by living in the East Bay. So you might pay the same, but not have to have roommates (or as many roommates). Alternatively, if you can find a carpool into SF with a significant other or carpool buddy who has parking included with their job, you can save oodles and oodles of cash on transportation.
Also, unlike the TL or anywhere else in SF that a person could live using only their loans, Alameda doesn't smell like pee. I am uber-suburban; I'm not hip. I have absolutely no desire to live in the city - so environment is another factor. I'm lucky; I am in a two-income household. But if you're single and living on loan money w/ no help, it might be better to live in SF - also because cutting out commute time could enable you to take a job in 2L and 3L that might otherwise be impacted by your living far away.
On the other other hand people talk about the Easy Bay like it's the other end of the world. But a strategically-placed apartment right near a bart or bus stop could mean a commute that's just as easy as someone living in SF with multiple bus transfers. From my house, particularly if I leave before rush hour gets really bad, I can be at Civic Center in 20 minutes from my house.
So I think the advice here is that if you're not totally attached to either location, find apartments you like/can afford in both areas, and then do a dry run on the commute from all the places you're considering. Factor in cost, time, personal safety, and then just make an informed decision.
Edit: Also, jawesome, keep in mind that Berkeley is actually a really terrible place to be commuting from in the East Bay - it is really annoying and crowded to get to BART from there - but places in Oakland, Alameda, etc., make the commute a lot easier by reducing bus transfers.