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How Costs Vary Across the US

How Costs Vary Across the US

We can use cost of living calculators to determine approximately how far our salaries will take us in another city, but it's more difficult to put a number on the nickels and dimes of daily living expenses. Forbes surveyed cities across the US and used its findings to name which cities pay the most and least for certain costs. Unsurprisingly, New York, NY appears as the priciest city for several expenses. Do any of these numbers surprise you?

Expense Cheapest Priciest
Monthly Rent (2 bdrm) Charlotte, NC: $666 New York, NY: $3,500
Monthly Home Mortgage Dallas, TX: $967 New York, NY: $5,831
Monthly Energy Bills Seattle, WA: $119 New York, NY: $362.28
Monthly Landline Bill Los Angeles, CA: $19 Boston, MA: $38.45

See the rest of the chart when you


Expense Cheapest Priciest
Half Gallon of Milk Cincinnati, OH: $1.67 Sacramento, CA: $2.97
Head of Lettuce San Antonio, TX: $0.93 New York, NY: $1.99
Loaf of Bread San Antonio, TX: $0.79 New York, NY: $2.68
11.5 oz. Can of Coffee San Antonio, TX: $3.08 San Francisco, CA: $5.91
Boys' Jeans Indianapolis, IN: $13.97 Boston, MA: $37.19
Men's Haircut Indianapolis, IN: $9.20 St. Paul, MN: $24.40


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pinkerbell03 pinkerbell03 7 years
ditto addictCLOTHES! An old 60's semi-fixer upper is just shy of 800k, so please, poll Santa Barbara, it's real estate prices are insane.
thoroughlymodern thoroughlymodern 7 years
Go San Antone! nearly 40 dollars for boys' jeans is ridiculous, Boston!
Spectra Spectra 7 years
Glad I don't live in NYC then...I'd have to deal with snobs like you people telling me that I'm an uncultured, boring Wisconsinite with no ambition. Wisconsin's only boring if you rely on shopping and clubbing for fun. SOME people actually like being around all the nature and having more than 2 square feet of space for themselves.
nutella2683 nutella2683 7 years
acf222 and Martini Rossi I couldn't agree more!! The energy of this city isn't replicated anywhere else. I've lived in Boston for college and found that to be a bit pricey as a student and now as working young adult making 55K it def takes more to live in this city. The diversity, culture, museums, neighborhoods, foods.. it's all what makes this city so amazing. I wouldn't trade it for anything. Yes, rents are high, food and eating out are expensive.. but it really comes down to budgeting too, regardless of income, to ensure that you're saving $ yet really living here. The only other cities I would consider living in is really San Francisco and most likely Boston (again)..
ooosoluvly ooosoluvly 7 years
yes New York is pricey but it's amazing. You just have to learn how to spend your money.
ink-on-paper ink-on-paper 7 years
DC is pretty pricey too, but I love the culture and atmosphere!
addictCLOTHES addictCLOTHES 7 years
Next time, do Santa Barbara, CA. It'll blow your mind. We scoff when people complain $300,000 for housing.
bellaressa bellaressa 7 years
This is a great tool. I like comparing prices to where I live here in Chicago.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 7 years
No offense but Im Wisconsin a few times a year (probably every other month) and I wouldnt live there is they paid me. The places I've been are BORING!!! NYC is expensive, yes, but theres never a dull moment. Its so lively and so much to do and lets not forget the diversity NYC has - its like no other, you'll never feel out of place. In Milwaukee bars/clubs are closed by 2 - 3am! By 11pm on the weekends the streets are empty. PLUS is so darn cold over there in the winter lol!
acf222 acf222 7 years
Spectra, you get what you pay for...but New York City is only for the people who are willing to work VERY hard to pay to live and play here! I live in New York and love it. Sure, you could pay very little for rent or a mortgage in other places, but there is really no place like New York City....the culture, the food, everything! I don't think you can pay me to live anywhere else (except maybe San Francisco, San Diego, or Boston)...I would be bored to death!!!!
divinelight divinelight 7 years
you're probably right afrochic!
MartiniLush MartiniLush 7 years
I live in Seattle and would LOVE to have a monthly energy bill that is only $119!!! How do I get that?? ;-)
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I'm not surprised at all. But you could not pay me to live in can't possibly be THAT great. I like living in Wisconsin and our mortgage is also really cheap: $700 a month. I do get how food prices in San Antonio are pretty cheap. They probably don't have to pay as much for transporting produce from across the border.
ayanaphil ayanaphil 7 years
I bet money that the part of Dallas with mortgages at $967 isn't a part I'd wanna live in.
michlny michlny 7 years
NYC is much more expensive...but it's WORTH IT!! We pay b/c the city is THE BEST place to live!!
aka-Daria aka-Daria 7 years
the fact that boston shows up twice as priciest doesnt change my mind about moving there one day =P
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
well the one thing that i have to argue about here is the electric bill...i'm in NY and mine is typically around $75 or $80 - not even close tothe $362 that's listed here. i wonder who they are polling? i think that there are always trade-offs with where you live and what things costs -and that's just a choice that you make.
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 7 years
Not surprised by NY one bit.
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