San Francisco is an expensive place to live. There are outlying areas that are a bit cheaper, but not too far from SF. I live in Sacramento, we have a very large and close GLBT community and the cost of living isn't bad. And you are only a two hour drive to SF! There are several gay friendly places to live in Southern CA as well. Just stay away from Orange County! lol The northern coast is also very gay friendly and eclectic - it can be expensive close to the ocean, but there are many inland areas (esp the Russian River area) close to the ocean where it's more affordable.
Good luck in your search and wherever you end up going!
"Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation."
Coretta Scott King