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The East Coast is considered to have a high cost of living, especially in major cities, like New York and Philadelphia. However, many cities that rank high in terms of cost of living also have higher average pay rates. As such, moving to a city with a higher cost of living AND higher salaries may actually balance things out. Sites like http://www.forbes.com provide information about cost of living rankings for cities throughout the United States.
There are many areas on the East Coast that aren't as pricey. For example, the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina is experiencing an economic revival, yet still offers rents that are favorable. Such areas can be even more affordable with a roommate to help foot the bill.