Cost of Living by State

cost of living by stateI have written many articles on Frugal Zeitgeist dealing with the costs of living and the cheapest places to live and they have always come with a lot of questions. I think it’s impossible to actually work out which State, City or Town has the absolute lowest cost of living but it’s good to have some solid guidelines.

So I decided that a project was in order. Over the next few months I will be compiling spreadsheets and articles with basic cost of living data on a state by state basis. This central post will link to all those posts and as always your help and input would be highly appreciated.

Cost of Living in USA Averages

This Google docs spreadsheet shows the basic format I will be using for each state plus some averages that I have gathered so you can get an idea of the costs of living in the USA in general.

From the data I have gathered the average cost of a home is currently around $160k, the average costs for a owner occupied housing unit with a mortgage are around $1170 but renters only pay $650 on average. Weekly food costs for a nutritious low cost food plan are around $105 and I am yet to collect pricing for any individual staple items.

I would love to now what staples you think need to be added and if you have any actual local state data for me or any idea of a reliable place to find it.

Also what do you think of this idea? It may take a really long time to complete and it will always be a work in progress!

Cost of Living By State Posts (Links will become active as posts are published).

cost of living in alabama
cost of living in alaska
cost of living in American Samoa
cost of living in Arizona
cost of living in Arkansas

Cost of living in California

Cost of living in Southern California

cost of living in Colorado
cost of living in Connecticut
cost of living in Delaware
cost of living in District of Columbia
cost of living in Florida
cost of living in Georgia
cost of living in Guam
cost of living in Hawaii
cost of living in Idaho
cost of living in Illinois
cost of living in Indiana
cost of living in Iowa
cost of living in Kansas
cost of living in Kentucky
cost of living in Louisiana
cost of living in Maine
cost of living in Maryland
cost of living in Massachusetts
cost of living in Michigan
cost of living in Minnesota
cost of living in Mississippi
cost of living in Missouri
cost of living in Montana
cost of living in Nebraska
cost of living in Nevada
cost of living in New Hampshire
cost of living in New Jersey
cost of living in New Mexico
cost of living in New York
cost of living in North Carolina
cost of living in North Dakota
cost of living in Northern Marianas Islands
cost of living in Ohio
cost of living in Oklahoma
cost of living in Oregon
cost of living in Pennsylvania
cost of living in Puerto Rico
cost of living in Rhode Island
cost of living in South Carolina
cost of living in South Dakota
cost of living in Tennessee
cost of living in Texas
cost of living in Utah
cost of living in Vermont
cost of living in Virginia
cost of living in Virgin Islands
cost of living in Washington
cost of living in West Virginia
cost of living in Wisconsin
cost of living in Wyoming

20 thoughts on “Cost of Living by State”

      1. Hey Khaleef and Nicole,

        Will put NJ near the top of the list. I have a pal who just moved there so may have to tap his brain, any tips you have could help too :).

  1. Cool idea. I suspect that costs will vary a lot within the individual states too though (there’s probably a big difference between living in San Francisco and living in Indio, for example) but it will give a nice overview.

    Some of the items I would consider staples are a gallon of gas, a dozen eggs, a pound of sugar, and a gallon of orange juice.
    Jackie recently posted..Make Room for Your DreamsMy Profile

    1. Absolutely Jackie, If the series proves successful then it will be onto individual cities, probably starting with the main ones and then down to reader requests.

    1. Hey Laura, I think Alaska will be expensive but…. I know residents get money from the share of oil sold so it may not be as crazy it is first seems. This will be a hard project with a lot of tweaking over time!

  2. My girl friend lives in Alaska and the cost of living is actually pretty high up there. The price of gas is almost $0.40 higher per gallon than here in Washington. Their food is more expensive and depending on the type of fruit, it also cost more because of ‘transportation’ cost.

    One of the biggest benefits of living in Alaska is the profit share from the states oil fields. My girlfriend is supposed to get around $1200 just for living in Alaska.
    BankVibe recently posted..Nationwide Bank Mortgage Rates and ReviewMy Profile

  3. I live in Washington state and the cost of living where I am is pretty high! Sales tax alone is just over 9% and not to mention we have some of the highest gas taxes in the country. Home values have finally fallen to ‘normal’ levels but still, it cost a lot to live around the Seattle area.

    1. Thanks for the info BankAim, sadly if I did move to the States Seattle would be an area that interests me, shame it is so expensive!

  4. I spent ten days in Florida over Christmas 2011. I had the use of a condo by the beach. It was on the ground floor of a high building, with a private egress to the ground. High tide was about 100 feet from the back step. As you can imagine, this place is much more expensive than one just across the road, even. Thus, a big factor in the cost of housing is location.

  5. Continuing . . . Food was no more expensive than the people across the road had to pay, or what those ten miles inland would have to fork over. Electricity and water would have been the same price as well.

    Thus there are many Floridas according to where you find housing.

  6. As it happens I live in Minnesota. After years here, I know where the bargains are and what will always be expensive. Marine fish, for example, are expensive. Partly this is because of low demand, and partly because it has to be shipped a thousand miles inland.

    It’s hard for a settled person to compare states because you don’t know what you would have to pay for or get free elsewhere.

    — Schools: I think they are good here and well run, but we pay for that in property taxes.

    — Highway rest areas: Very nice. Better than I have seen in some of the lower cost states. I don’t use these every day, but they are an index of how the state is run.

    — State Parks: Very nice, but you must buy a sticker to get in, and pay per night for camping.

    — Roads: Minnesota has a weather challenge. The roads break up because of the winters, and the state works at it, but bad roads are part of the picture. I found the roads in Florida to be uniformly better.

    — Housing: I have only bought three houses in my life, and only one of those was in Minnesota. My impression is that we get good value for the money, but one needs good quality to stand up to the winters. In a warmer climate a lesser investment might be sufficient.

    — Automobiles: They rust here, so you see fewer old cars on the road. This is an expense because you can’t keep them as long. Fuel consumption is higher in cold weather. On top of that, you will tend to warm the car up before going out in the morning, during which time you are getting zero miles per gallon.

    — Clothing: You need to handle hot, cold, warm, and cool.

    — Public transportation: Like elsewhere it is available in big cities but not in small towns. Although some people do it, I think bicycling is not practical in winter. In fact, I think it’s dangerous.

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