Cost of Living Forum

AKNative99 @aknative99
Joined: 9 months ago

Cost of Living in Anchorage for a Long-Time Resident

Hi everyone, I’ve lived in Anchorage for over 20 years now and am curious to hear your thoughts on the current cost of living situation here. As someone who has seen this city evolve, I feel like prices for housing, groceries, and other essentials have really climbed in recent years. But I’d love to get a variety of perspectives from others in different life stages and income levels.

For some context, I’m a single professional in my late 40s, living in a modest 2-bedroom apartment downtown (which currently runs me around $1,400 a month). I own my car and drive everywhere since the public transportation isn’t very convenient where I live. Groceries, restaurants, entertainment – what kind of monthly budget would you recommend for a reasonably comfortable lifestyle in Anchorage these days? I’m curious to hear from families, singles, retirees, and anyone else willing to share their experiences.

Posts: 23

10 Replies

FrozenChuck @frozenchuck
Joined: 7 months ago
I hear you, the cost of living in Anchorage ain’t cheap! As a family of four (two young kids), our biggest expenses are definitely housing and groceries. We opted to buy a 3-bedroom house just outside the city center a few years back, and the mortgage payment is around $2,200 per month. Utilities like electricity, heating, and internet easily add another $500+ to the monthly bills.

For groceries, we probably spend at least $1,000 per month to feed our family of four. Eating out is a luxury we can’t afford too often with those restaurant prices – a casual meal for four can easily set you back $60-80 after tax and tip. We stick to cooking at home most nights.

One area where we do splurge is on outdoor activities and entertainment since there’s so much great stuff to do around Anchorage in the summers. Budget at least a few hundred per month if you want to go fishing, hiking, or check out the local events and festivals. Overall, I’d say a family needs to make at least $6,000 per month after taxes to live pretty comfortably without too many sacrifices.

Posts: 13
SkiAK @skiak
Joined: 11 months ago
As a single guy in my early 30s, I find Anchorage relatively affordable compared to some other cities I’ve lived in. My main expenses are a decent 1-bed apartment downtown for around $1,200 per month and a truck payment/insurance which runs about $600 per month. Groceries for one person probably average $400-500.

I don’t go too crazy with eating out or drinking since the bar/restaurant prices are pretty steep. Maybe a couple of dinners out and some beers per month for $200 or so. The biggest plus is taking advantage of the great outdoors around here – hiking, skiing, camping, etc. doesn’t cost too much besides some gear investment upfront.

I’d say you can get by just fine on a $55-60k salary in Anchorage if you’re single and have a decent budgeting sense. Having roommates can substantially lower your housing costs as well. The winters aren’t cheap with heating and winter recreational costs, but the summers make up for it if you take advantage of the season.

Posts: 11
AkrticGranny @akrticgranny
Joined: 2 years ago
Being a retiree in Anchorage is perfectly manageable if you don’t have too extravagant of tastes! My husband and I own our condo outright, but homeowners association fees are around $350 per month. Utilities like electricity, heating, cable/internet probably run another $250 or so.

The biggest chunk goes to healthcare costs since Medicare doesn’t cover everything – doctor visits, medications, etc. Probably $400-500 per month for the two of us. Groceries are around $600 if we buy lean proteins and fresh produce.

We don’t spend too much on transportation besides gas and insurance for one car ($150 per month). Our bigger indulgences are eating out a couple times per week ($300-400) and taking vacations to Hawaii/Mexico in the winter to escape the cold ($5,000+ per year).

All in all, a retired couple here can get by comfortably on around $4,000-5,000 per month in total expenses without going too crazy. The costs aren’t cheap, but Anchorage is a great place to spend your golden years if you can afford it!

Posts: 13
HomerBound @homerbound
Joined: 11 months ago
I moved to Anchorage from the lower 48 about 5 years ago and was definitely sticker-shocked by the prices at first! Housing is by far my biggest monthly expense – I rent a decent 2-bed apartment in Midtown for around $1,700. Utilities like heat and electricity run me at least $300 extra in the winter too.

Groceries are pretty outrageous if you want anything remotely healthy. I probably spend $600+ per month just to feed myself since even basic staples like milk, eggs, fruits, and veggies are so marked up. Eating out isn’t much cheaper – I try to limit restaurant dinners to 1-2 times per week to keep costs down.

Transportation is another big one – owning a car is basically essential in this city unless you live/work downtown. My truck payment, gas, and insurance run close to $1,000 per month all in. It’s ludicrous!

The main reason I stick it out in Anchorage is for the unbeatable summer activities and nature access. If you love the outdoors, it’s worth putting up with the high costs to an extent. But you definitely need a healthy income of at least $5,000+ per month after taxes to not feel constantly strained financially.

Posts: 7
AKBudgetMom @akbudgetmom
Joined: 2 years ago
Anchorage definitely ain’t cheap for raising a family, but it’s very doable with some smart budgeting! We’re a single-income household with 3 kids, and housing is by far our biggest monthly expense at around $2,000 for a 3-bed rental house in the suburbs. Could be worse though – owning would cost way more in mortgage payments.

Feeding everyone is the next huge chunk of our monthly budget at around $1,200. We shop sales religiously, buy in bulk, and cook almost every meal at home to keep food costs down. The kids’ activities like sports/clubs adds around $300 per month too.

Costs that often get overlooked are childcare ($1,000+ per month when our youngest was in daycare) and healthcare (our insurance plan runs $500+ per month just for the premiums).

Entertainment is basically just hiking, parks, and free community events these days between all the other expenses. Could we save a ton by living somewhere cheaper? For sure. But we absolutely love the amazing quality of life Anchorage provides despite the price tag. As long as our household income stays around $7,000 per month, we make it work!

Posts: 16
BrokeStudentAK @brokestudentak
Joined: 10 months ago
Anchorage is definitely an expensive place to be a student! Even with working part-time, it’s tough to make ends meet sometimes between rent, groceries, and textbook costs.

My biggest monthly expense by far is my tiny one-bedroom apartment near campus at $1,100. Add in utilities/internet and we’re talking $1,300 or so just for housing. Ridiculous for a 400 sq ft place!

I do my best to keep grocery spending under $300 by buying inexpensive staples and taking advantage of food pantries sometimes. Eating out is pretty much off limits besides an occasional Taco Bell run.

TransportationI usually just walk/bike or take the bus when needed to save money. But it’s still probably $50-100 per month for transit passes and ride shares on occasion.

At the end of the day, even with a nearly full-time job on campus, I’m barely scraping by with a budget of around $2,500 per month after tuition is paid. The natural beauty and summer fun help make up for being pretty broke most of the year. But I can’t wait to move somewhere cheaper after graduating!

Posts: 9
ANCRealtor @ancrealtor
Joined: 2 years ago
As a residential realtor here, I can confirm that housing costs in Anchorage are pretty darn high – especially if you want to buy. The median home price in the city is now around $375,000 for a relatively modest 3-bed, 2-bath house. Even a condo or townhome will run you at least $250-300k in a decent area.

Renting is more affordable in the short-term but prices have risen sharply too. You’re looking at $1,600+ for a decent 2-bedroom apartment in any central neighborhood now. Utilities on top of that easily make the total housing costs $2,000 per month for renters.

My advice for new buyers is to be prepared for a huge downpayment (20% or more) since lenders are pretty strict with mortgage qualifying in this market. Plan for around $1,800-2,500 per month in total mortgage, taxes, HOA, etc for a typical single-family home purchase.

The one bright side is that property values have remained pretty steady in Anchorage and actually appreciated well over the past 5 years or so. But the high upfront costs definitely make this an expensive place to settle down and start building home equity.

Posts: 2
FitAKGal @fitakgal
Joined: 4 months ago
I definitely budget a decent chunk for an active lifestyle here in Anchorage! As a fitness enthusiast without kids, here’s a rough breakdown of my monthly expenses:

Rent: $1,200 for a basic 1-bed apartment
Utilities/Internet: $150
Groceries: $400 (lots of protein!)
Transportation: $300 (car payment, gas, insurance)
Restaurants/Bar: $300
Gym Membership: $80

Then the fun recreational stuff adds up too…
Ski Pass: $800 or so per season
Hockey League: $100 per month
Summer Weekday Hikes/Runs: $50 or so
Weekend Outdoor Adventures: $200

I’d say I spend close to $3,000 per month to live comfortably and take full advantage of the awesome hiking, skiing, hockey and general fitness scene here. It’s an indulgence, but worth it to me at this stage of life without kids or a mortgage weighing me down.

The costs could be way lower though by skipping the fancy gym, ski pass, and scaling back on entertainment spending. $2,000 or so for the basics is very doable if you’re smart about it!

Posts: 15
AKLifter @aklifter
Joined: 2 years ago
Being serious about weightlifting and bodybuilding in Anchorage does get pretty expensive with all the grocery costs and supplements! Here’s a rough monthly breakdown for me:

Rent: $1,500 (2-bed so I can have a home gym setup)
Utilities: $250
Groceries: $800 (lots of meats, veggies, protein, etc)
Gym Membership: $60
Supplements/Vitamins: $200

Transportation is lower for me at $150 or so since I just have a used truck that’s paid off. And I skip eating out 99% of the time to control my diet better.

The summers here are actually pretty affordable for my lifestyle – hiking/camping/outdoor activities don’t cost much. Winters are where it really adds up with higher heating costs, potentially joining an indoor gym for $50-100/month depending on deals, etc.

All in all, I probably spend around $3,000 per month to live in Anchorage and fully pursue bodybuilding as a lifestyle. The access to fresh/healthy foods does help balance out some costs. But it’s definitely an expensive hobby that requires good budgeting!

Posts: 6
HappyTraveler @happytraveler
Joined: 3 months ago
My family has lived in Anchorage for several generations, and while it’s gotten more expensive over time, we still absolutely love it here! We’re a middle-class family of 5 living in a 4-bed house in the suburbs, which runs us around $2,700 per month in mortgage/taxes/insurance. Not cheap, but we got a good deal a few years ago before prices really took off.

Our next biggest expenses are groceries at $1,200-1,500 and then basic utilities like heat, electricity, cable/internet for another $500+. We drive fuel-efficient used vehicles to keep transportation costs under $500 per month.

What really adds up for us is summer activities! We probably spend $300+ per month in the warm months on lots of hiking, camping, fishing, kayaking, etc. The yearly expenses for gear, licenses, parking passes, camper fees and such isn’t trivial either.

In the winters, we cut costs by staying in more and taking advantage of free outdoor pursuits like cross-country skiing, sledding, ice skating, etc. Could we save a bunch by moving somewhere warmer and cheaper? For sure. But you can’t put a price on the incredible quality of life and endless summer adventures that make Anchorage so special for us.

Posts: 21

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 20.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 80.50 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 11.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 7.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 7.50 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 5.12 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.55 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.67 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 1.17 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 4.24 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 4.65 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 3.27 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 11.23 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 19.77 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 20.65 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 6.72 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 2.04 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 6.83 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 7.39 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 1.61 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 3.07 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 2.83 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 2.79 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 15.99 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 1.73 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.85 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 10.90 $
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) – 2.00 $
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price) – 60.00 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 2.75 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.71 $
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) – 38.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 1.11 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 34,339.50 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 27,106.00 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 348.11 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 51.17 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 126.73 $
  • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult – 92.50 $
  • Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) – 40.00 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 15.00 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 962.50 $
  • International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child – 10,350.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 52.25 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 45.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 92.30 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 76.67 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 1,335.25 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 1,142.90 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – 2,183.56 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 1,983.33 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre – 2,681.84 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre – 2,506.25 $
  • Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) – 4,517.50 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.56
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