I got paid $10,000 to move to Tulsa. My mortgage for a whole house is about what I used to pay to rent one room. (2024)

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Jasmine Ball, a 32-year-old financial planner who got paid to move from Los Angeles to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2020 with the Tulsa Remote program. The conversation was edited for length and clarity.

I had never heard of Tulsa in my life — of course, I'd heard of Oklahoma, but never Tulsa.

A YouTube video from a pastor out of Tulsa was how I heard about Tulsa itself. It piqued my interest.

I saw that it had a low cost of living, and then I found out about Tulsa Remote.

Advertisem*nt

I was looking for places with a lower cost of living. I was comparing the cost of living in different states, and Tulsa popped up. I was researching a little bit more, and Tulsa Remote popped up.

I was like, "This looks good enough." And then decided to move.

I had already decided I was going to move there, and then I was looking at house prices and I told my dad I was going to buy a house. He's like, "You've not even been there."

I hadn't been there until I went there to look at houses. During that week-long stay in Tulsa, I found a house and put in an offer.

Advertisem*nt

What really made Tulsa more interesting to me was the history of Black Wall Street.

I got paid $10,000 to move to Tulsa. My mortgage for a whole house is about what I used to pay to rent one room. (1)

Courtesy of Jasmine Ball

I thought, "How cool would that be — to be a financial company going to Black Wall Street, too?"

Obviously, it was super cool to have that program and the incentive, but it was only part of the decision to move there.

I knew I couldn't stay in California forever

I'm from Orland, California — it's the middle of nowhere. I went to college in Minnesota, came back to Northern California briefly, and then moved to LA.

I don't know if I would've started my own business staying in California — definitely not as quickly.

I started my own company in December of 2021, so I had been in Tulsa for about a year. I stayed with my other company remotely for a year before that.

If I had stayed, I think I would have just kept working for someone else. But once I went to Tulsa and created that distance, I was like, "Well, I might as well just do this myself." So I did.

Finances were a big factor. But what really prompted my thinking that living in Los Angeles was not long-term was that I would get up and leave the house at 4:30 a.m., and I wouldn't get home until 10:30 p.m., and do that every single day.

Advertisem*nt

Half that time I was in my car driving, stuck in traffic. I thought, "I can't live my life like this."

I literally did the calculation; I would spend years of my life in my car. I didn't want to live like that. I can't imagine being here 60 years old, having spent 20 years driving, when I could be living life instead.

That was what prompted it.

The finances were obviously a big part of it, too. In California, finances were so tight that you had to grind all the time.

Advertisem*nt

I decided that I didn't want to compromise. I wanted to have the finances that I wanted to have, but I also didn't want to have to grind to that extent.

Related stories

Finding a place that could create a balance was really life-changing.

I have a house for nearly what I was paying for a room in LA

In LA in 2020, I was living with three other roommates — one was my sister, and the other two were friends.

There were four of us in this five-bedroom townhome, and the rent was $3,800 a month — which was actually pretty good.

Advertisem*nt

My portion of that rent was $1,100 because I had the master bedroom.

I bought the house in Tulsa in November 2020, and it just sat vacant until I moved there in December.

It's a three-bedroom, two-bath house with a two-car garage, and my mortgage is $1,185.

I got paid $10,000 to move to Tulsa. My mortgage for a whole house is about what I used to pay to rent one room. (2)

It was an opportune time to move because interest rates were about 2.25%, which is insane. So it was a no-brainer.

Advertisem*nt

Utilities are significantly lower. I joke that I still have PTSD from the utility bills we used to get, especially growing up. I remember one summer we had a $600 electricity bill — that's ridiculous. In Tulsa, you can run your A/C all day and it's only $100 or $200.

Water, gas — everything is less expensive.

Gas in California is almost $5 a gallon, and in Tulsa, it's about $3. At the time I moved, it was, like, $1.70 and I was like, "What the hell?" I've never seen gas so cheap in my life.

It's not just the cost of gas, it's also time.

Advertisem*nt

My time is able to be stretched much further in Tulsa than it was in LA. I can actually increase my income because I can increase my productivity because I'm not spending as much time doing unproductive things.

Tulsa has something as simple as parking. You can find free parking everywhere. It's always free after 5 p.m., and it's free on the weekends. Parking in LA is atrocious. You're lucky if you find a parking lot that's $10.

I don't think I'll ever leave Tulsa

There are free events all the time in Tulsa, like concerts in the park. If you want to do something, there's absolutely something to do — and it's likely free.

There are so many different suburbs of Tulsa that you can go to that have parades. I don't remember really ever coming across as much to do in LA.

Advertisem*nt

I spend most of my free time in Tulsa doing one of two things: playing volleyball or volunteering.

California has the beach, but I never really played sand volleyball, mostly because it took too long to get to the beach. To get to Santa Monica on a bad day was an hour and a half. On a good day, maybe 45 minutes. And it just wasn't worth it after driving all week.

Tulsa has a couple of different volleyball leagues.

I got paid $10,000 to move to Tulsa. My mortgage for a whole house is about what I used to pay to rent one room. (3)

Courtesy of Jasmine Ball

In Los Angeles, it was hard to find places to volunteer. Sometimes there was a full application— a 10-step process — and you're like, "I just wanted to do something this one time to check it out."

Advertisem*nt

But in Tulsa, it's super accessible.

I volunteer a lot at the Tulsa Dream Center. They handed out free groceries every Saturday over the pandemic — rain, snow, shine. So I just showed up every Saturday, and you didn't have to do any training. At least in Tulsa, they make it so easy— instead of finding barriers and reasons you can't participate.

I didn't necessarily move there thinking that I was going to leave, but I always told myself, "You can always go back." If this doesn't work out, I don't like it, I can always go back to California.

But the surprising thing is that I really love it.

Advertisem*nt

I don't see myself moving anywhere else ever.

I love to travel, and I might buy more properties in other places. I was initially thinking Tulsa was more of an experiment for a home base. And then it turned out to be something that I really enjoyed.

I got paid $10,000 to move to Tulsa. My mortgage for a whole house is about what I used to pay to rent one room. (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Laurine Ryan

Last Updated:

Views: 5746

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Laurine Ryan

Birthday: 1994-12-23

Address: Suite 751 871 Lissette Throughway, West Kittie, NH 41603

Phone: +2366831109631

Job: Sales Producer

Hobby: Creative writing, Motor sports, Do it yourself, Skateboarding, Coffee roasting, Calligraphy, Stand-up comedy

Introduction: My name is Laurine Ryan, I am a adorable, fair, graceful, spotless, gorgeous, homely, cooperative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.