Cost of living comparison: How does your city stack up?

As you think about moving to a new city, you might size up the job market or the social scene. But you may also want to think about the cost of living. If you’re after the bright lights of a major metropolis, check out this cost of living video. Otherwise, here’s a cost of living comparison by city in a few spots popular with young adults.

City Pin Image
Rent

Rent

Wherever you live, housing is likely your biggest expense. A general rule of thumb is to spend less than 30% of your income on rent, but each budget is different. The median rents below1 represent newer, two-bedroom apartments close to the city center.

1 C2ER Cost of Living Index, 3Q 2015.

Portland, OR

$2,131/month

Salt Lake City, UT

$910/month

Raleigh, NC

$701/month

Des Moines, IA

$648/month

Utilities

Utilities

The numbers below2 reflect total energy bills. Keep in mind you’ll likely have additional monthly expenses, such as water and trash collection. You may want to do some research or check with your landlord about mandatory expenses.

2 C2ER Cost of Living Index, 3Q 2015.

Portland, OR

$0/month

Salt Lake City, UT

$0/month

Raleigh, NC

$0/month

Des Moines, IA

$0/month

Car Insurance

Car Insurance

While these cities have public transportation, residents often choose to drive. Besides calculating car insurance costs,3 consider the price of gas, parking and tolls.

3 Average quotes from CarInsurance.com, based on zip codes 27601, 50314, 84128, and 97206.

Cars

Portland, OR

$107/month

Salt Lake City, UT

$88/month

Raleigh, NC

$66/month

Des Moines, IA

$87/month

Sales Tax

Sales Tax

Sales tax drives up the cost of just about everything you buy. Keep in mind that rates can vary by municipality, so cities and suburbs in the same metropolitan area may have different rates.

Portland, OR

0%

Salt Lake City, UT

6.85%

Raleigh, NC

6.75%

Des Moines, IA

6.0%

Remember, sales tax is likely not the only tax you’ll have to pay. You may also want to look up income and property tax rates in the areas you’re considering.

Dinner out

Dinner out

Millennials spend an average of 43% of their food budgets dining out, so restaurant prices can make a big difference. The prices below4 are based on the cost of an 11- to 12-inch pizza at a typical chain restaurant.

4 C2ER Cost of Living Index, 3Q 2015.

Portland, OR

$13.49

Salt Lake City, UT

$8.99

Raleigh, NC

$9.74

Des Moines, IA

$8.49

Remember

For a comprehensive city-by-city comparison, head to the C2ER Cost of Living Index. Plus, see how your spending habits stack up against others in their 20s and 30s.

Close Disclaimer
The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.

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