Cost of Living Forum

LongTimeLocal @longtimelocal
Joined: 2 years ago

What are the typical costs of living in Aliso Viejo?

I’ve been living in Aliso Viejo for over 15 years, but I’m starting to wonder if the cost of living here is getting out of hand. With housing prices skyrocketing and expenses like food and gas going up all the time, it feels harder to get by on my modest income.

I’m a single parent raising two kids, so budgeting is essential. I’d love to hear from others about their experiences with major costs like housing, groceries, healthcare, transportation, utilities, and entertainment around town. What kinds of numbers are you all seeing and how does it impact your lifestyle?

Looking forward to getting a realistic sense of typical expenses for families like mine in Aliso Viejo these days. Let me know if you think it’s still an affordable place to live or if maybe it’s time to start looking at moving somewhere cheaper.

Posts: 10

10 Replies

OCAVillager @ocavillager
Joined: 6 months ago

Hey LongTimeLocal, as a long-time Aliso Viejo resident myself, I hear you on the increasing costs. Housing is definitely a major expense – the prices for even a modest 2-bedroom apartment are through the roof at around $2,400-2,700 these days. And don’t get me started on mortgages for a 3-bedroom house easily topping $3,850 in the city center. It’s tough for families.

That said, some costs aren’t too crazy if you’re smart about it. Groceries are manageable if you shop sales – a family of 4 can probably get by on $600-800 per month for food. Utilities like electricity, water, etc. for an average apartment run $150-200. Gas is pricey at over $5 per gallon, but the city is pretty walkable/bikeable for running errands nearby.

Healthcare is where it really hurts the wallet. Even a decent insurance plan could run $500+ per month for a parent with two kids. Eating out frequently or hitting up too much entertainment like movies ($17 per ticket!) can also add up quickly. My advice would be to focus on housing/medical costs first when budgeting, and be diligent about comparing prices for other expenses. It’s still possible to survive here without going totally broke if you’re smart about saving.

Posts: 9
AVMomma @avmomma
Joined: 2 years ago

I think the cost of living in Aliso Viejo really depends on your lifestyle and housing situation. We bought our 3-bedroom townhouse years ago before prices went crazy, so our mortgage is very manageable at under $2,000 per month. Of course, I know buying a similar place now would be incredibly expensive at $700k+.

For our family of 4, the biggest costs other than housing are easily groceries and kids’ activities. We probably spend at least $1,000 per month on food, especially with how pricey fruits/veggies and meat are getting. And don’t get me started on how insane preschool/daycare costs are – our toddler’s preschool is almost $2,000 per month!!! Between that, kids’ sports/classes, and the basics like utilities and gas for driving them around, costs really do add up quickly.

Still, we do find ways to cut corners where we can. We drive older paid-off cars to avoid monthly payments, we meal prep to save on eating out, we get hand-me-down clothes and toys, and we primarily stick to free community events and parks for entertainment. I couldn’t imagine living here without a decent dual income though. Salaries would need to be pretty high to truly feel comfortable with Aliso Viejo’s costs.

Posts: 17
YoungAVProfessional @youngavprofessional
Joined: 23 days ago

Cost of living in AV is no joke – it’s one of the pricier areas in OC for sure. I’m a single guy in my late 20s without kids though, so my expenses may be a bit different than families. Even renting just a basic 1-bedroom apartment can easily run $2,400+ these days. Utilities, internet, streaming services, and a gym membership likely add at least another $300-400 per month to that base housing cost.

Groceries and gas aren’t that crazy compared to elsewhere if you’re smart about it – maybe $400 per month for food if you cook at home, and $150-200 for gas/transportation if you have a fuel-efficient car. Still, little costs like going out to restaurants, bars, concerts, etc. can really add up quickly. Just a casual date night with dinner and drinks can easily set you back $100+.

My biggest tip is just to avoid debt like the plague while living here – the cost of living can quickly turn unmanageable if you ever lose your job or face an emergency while juggling car payments, student loans, etc. Still, Aliso Viejo is tough but possible for a young professional without kids if you’re diligent about saving and budgeting. Just don’t fall into the trap of trying to live that OC influencer lifestyle beyond your means!

Posts: 1
OCSeniorRes @ocseniorres
Joined: 3 months ago

As a retiree on a fixed income, I’ll be honest – the cost of living in Aliso Viejo these days is getting harder to manage comfortably. My social security and pension help cover basic housing for my paid-off condo, but rising costs for utilities, healthcare, groceries, and other essentials are straining the budget.

Utilities alone for a 2-bed place run me around $200 per month in the warmer months when AC is needed. Throw in $300+ for Medicare/supplement plans, $500-600 for groceries, $100 for gas, $50 for internet, and little splurges like an occasional meal out ($50+ for two these days!) and it can quickly eat through $1,500+ per month.

I’ve had to cut way back on discretionary spending like traveling, entertainment, etc. While the climate and amenities are nice, AV isn’t the most affordable place for seniors without significant retirement savings. I may eventually need to downsize to a cheaper rental or 55+ community as costs keep rising. It’s getting tough to make ends meet comfortably on just my retirement income alone here.

Posts: 19
BudgetConscious @budgetconscious
Joined: 2 years ago

For a frugal single person, it’s definitely possible to get by without breaking the bank in Aliso Viejo, but you really need to be diligent about living simply and avoiding major expenses where possible.

My rent for a cheap studio is $1,595, and I keep utility costs around $100-120 by being conservative with usage. Groceries run me $250-300 per month by shopping sales and developing simple eating habits. I drive an old used car to avoid payments, insurance, etc. so transportation is just $100 or so for gas and maintenance.

Entertainment is the big wildcard – I mainly stick to free stuff like hiking trails, parks, and libraries. An occasional movie is $10-17. I do spend around $50 per month for streaming services and internet. Healthcare is also critical – a decent individual plan runs $350+ per month with today’s costs.

All in all, as a single frugal person I can typically get by on around $2,500-3,000 per month in total living costs in Aliso Viejo. It requires discipline, simplicity, and patience to make it work long-term, but it’s very doable. Having multiple incomes or kids would make it far tougher without a high household income though.

Posts: 25
NewInTown @newintown
Joined: 12 months ago

My family and I just recently moved to Aliso Viejo from out of state, and I have to say – the cost of living here is really giving us sticker shock compared to our previous city! We knew SoCal would be pricey, but some of these costs are just wild.

We ended up renting a decent 3-bedroom townhouse for around $4,200 per month, which already eats up a huge portion of our combined incomes. Add in $800-1,000 for groceries for our family of 5, $450 for healthcare premiums, $200+ in utilities, $400 for gas/transportation… and we’re already looking at over $6,000 per month in essentials alone before any extras!

Going out to eat feels like a luxury these days with entree prices of $20-30+ per person. We’ll probably need to stick to cheap fast food ($40 for a family meal) or cooking at home most of the time. Entertainment costs like $17 movie tickets are making us think twice before indulging too. We’re on a tight budget to make Aliso Viejo work for now!

If you don’t have a very healthy household income, I can’t imagine how families here get by long-term. It may very well end up being unsustainably expensive for us within a couple years and require downsizing or moving again. We’re trying our best to cut discretionary costs wherever possible!

Posts: 5
AVEnthusiast @aventhusiast
Joined: 2 years ago

I know the cost of living in Aliso Viejo can seem daunting, but I actually think it’s still a very worthwhile investment, especially if you have a decent income to work with. The amenities, activities, and overall lifestyle here are just tough to beat in my opinion.

Yes, housing is very expensive whether renting or owning. But the homes are beautiful and the neighborhoods feel so safe and family-friendly. I gladly pay top dollar for a spacious 4-bedroom with a nice yard and community amenities like pools, parks, hiking trails, etc. right outside my door.

Groceries/utilities/gas are indeed pricey, but that’s just called the price of premium living in an affluent master-planned community these days. I probably spend $1,200+ per month on food/household costs to maintain the lifestyle my family wants. Entertainment is also fantastic with incredible restaurants ($100+ for upscale date nights), luxury movie theaters ($20 tickets), and events/festivals frequently happening nearby.

If you can swing a household income of $200k+, it’s absolutely worth enjoying everything Aliso Viejo has to offer without pinching too many pennies. The quality of life here is hard to put a price on. Just be prepared to pay up! For a comfortable life without too much budgeting stress, you really do get what you pay for in Aliso Viejo.

Posts: 6
SingleInTheCity @singleinthecity
Joined: 4 months ago

Being single without kids definitely makes budgeting for the Aliso Viejo cost of living a bit more manageable, but it’s still far from cheap if you want any kind of social/entertainment life beyond just basic living expenses.

My rent for a decent 1-bed apartment is around $2,500. Utilities, internet, streaming services, etc. run another $200 or so. Groceries for just me cost $400-500 per month if I’m cooking most meals. Gas for my sedan is maybe $150. Healthcare is a killer though at $450+ per month for a solid individual plan.

So even with just baselineessentials like housing, food, transportation, and healthcare, I’m already looking at over $3,500-3,800 per month in unavoidable recurring costs. That doesn’t leave a huge amount of disposable income for discretionary stuff given my $90k salary.

If I want to go out to restaurants/bars regularly, 2-3 drinks alone can easily cost $30+. Movies are $17 per ticket, concerts are $50-100+ per person, etc. All those fun single person activities add up shockingly fast and strain the budget. An expensive gym membership is another $80-100.

While doable if you’re diligent about saving, Aliso Viejo’s costs do put a damper on being able to afford a very active social life as a single person. It’s very easy to blow through too much money too quickly if you’re not careful! Healthcare and limited nightlife options are the biggest pain points for me personally.

Posts: 14
LocalBusinessOwner @localbusinessowner
Joined: 6 months ago

Owning a small business in Aliso Viejo, I can really see the rising costs impacting both my operations and my employees’ wallets. From a business perspective, rent/utilities/maintenance for our office space and warehouse take a huge bite out of revenues – probably around $8,000+ per month for a modest commercial footprint.

Employee costs are also through the roof. We have to pay competitive wages of $60,000-80,000+ for skilled/experienced workers just to afford living in the area. Benefits and healthcare premiums for their families add thousands more per employee annually to our overhead.

I always recommend employees consider renting rather than buying due to the insane home prices here. Even apartments for a family of 4 can easily top $3,000 per month. Groceries, gas, and utilities easily add $1,000+ on top of housing costs based on what my staffers share. Daycare/preschool for employees with young kids is shockingly expensive too at $1,500-2,000+ per month.

On the plus side, Aliso Viejo does offer a fairly affluent customer base willing to pay premium prices for quality services and products. So there are business advantages to the higher costs of operating here. But overall, the cost of living puts intense pressure on keeping up with competitive compensation for workers while maintaining profit margins. Smart budgeting is critical for both businesses and residents.

Posts: 16
MillennialStarter @millennialstarter
Joined: 2 years ago

As a recent college grad just starting out, affording the cost of living in Aliso Viejo is honestly pretty brutal and not something I expected moving here from another part of California. Even with a decent $65k starting salary, I’m strapped pretty tightly just covering basic expenses.

Since I can’t afford to buy yet, I pay $2,100 per month to rent a small 1-bedroom apartment. Tack on another $400+ for utilities, $300 for groceries, $180 for gas, plus $200 for other essentials like cellphone, internet, streaming, and healthcare premiums. I’m already looking at over $3,000 per month in fixed costs!

Going out is when the budgeting problems really start. A casual restaurant dinner with drinks could be $50+. Don’t even get me started on bar tabs or the $17 movie tickets! I try to take advantage of any free outdoor activities and events wherever possible.

With student loans to pay back on top of the crazy Aliso Viejo living costs, there’s close to zero money left over at the end of each month to put into any kind of significant savings. I’m basically living paycheck-to-paycheck after all mandatory expenses.

Unless your entry level job pays $80k at minimum, budgeting is extremely tight in Aliso Viejo for young residents just starting out. The cost of living makes building any emergency fund or saving for large purchases like a home downpayment extremely difficult without a dual income. I’m not sure how sustainable it is for me long-term on an average millennial’s salary.

Posts: 11

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 24.03 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 100.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 10.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 8.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 9.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 5.50 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.88 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.17 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 1.21 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 4.98 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 5.81 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 4.91 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 13.52 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 10.13 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 14.05 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 5.59 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.71 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 3.38 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 4.84 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 3.18 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 2.42 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 2.10 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 2.10 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 14.99 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 2.24 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.88 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 10.50 $
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) – 3.00 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 4.00 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.68 $
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) – 29.19 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 1.31 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 28,500.00 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 26,886.65 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 190.64 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 50.00 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 72.00 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 17.00 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 1,871.43 $
  • International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child – 28,750.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 57.50 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 44.06 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 100.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 145.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 2,700.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 2,400.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – 3,850.00 $
  • Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) – 8,958.33 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.66
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