Cost of Living Forum

AvoHillsLifer @avohillslifer
Joined: 4 months ago

Cost of Living in Atascadero – Input from Long-Time Residents?

Hey all, I’m a long-time Atascadero resident, and I’m curious to hear from others in the community about the current cost of living situation here. My partner and I are thinking about possibly relocating for work, but we’ve been so accustomed to the Atascadero lifestyle that it’s hard to compare.

As someone who’s lived here for over 15 years, I have a decent sense of things like housing costs, groceries, utilities, etc. But I’d love to get a more well-rounded perspective from others with different situations and lifestyles.

A few key areas I’m wondering about:
– How much are people typically spending on rent/mortgage for different types of housing (1br apt, 3br house, etc)?
– What do your monthly food, utility, and transportation costs look like?
– For those with kids, how expensive are things like childcare, schools, extracurriculars?
– What’s considered a decent salary range to live comfortably in Atascadero these days?

I know cost of living can be highly subjective, so I’m really interested in hearing about your personal experiences, both positive and negative. Let me know if you think Atascadero is affordable, overpriced, or just right for your situation! Any insights are appreciated.

Posts: 23

10 Replies

CentralCoastFoodie @centralcoastfoodie
Joined: 3 months ago

As someone who loves the restaurant scene around here, I’d say the food costs in Atascadero are pretty reasonable compared to bigger cities. You can definitely get good meals at inexpensive casual spots for $10-15 per person. Groceries for basic staples like produce, meat, dairy seem to be just slightly above average pricing.

My biggest tip would be to take advantage of the local farmers markets! You can get amazing fresh fruits and veggies for very affordable prices direct from the farms nearby. A big plus for the Atascadero food scene in my opinion.

In terms of going out, a casual meal for two with drinks at a mid-range place will typically run you $50-70 before tip. The brewery scene is also great – you can get a good local beer for $5-7. Definitely more affordable than fancier nights out in the bigger cities.

Posts: 14
DowntownApartmentDweller @downtownapartmentdweller
Joined: 3 months ago

I think housing is probably the biggest cost factor to consider in Atascadero. Rental prices have really shot up over the past few years, especially for apartments downtown or closer to the main shopping/dining areas. I’m paying $1400 for a modest 1-bedroom right in the city center currently.

If you’re looking to buy, home prices are pretty steep as well. Even the smaller condos and townhouses seem to start at $400-500k these days from what I’ve seen. Obviously single family homes are way more depending on the neighborhood.

Utilities are relatively average/inexpensive for the area from what I’ve experienced. Internet/cable is probably the biggest factor at $60-80/month typically. Cell phone plans, electricity/gas, etc. didn’t seem too outrageous.

My other big monthly expense is transportation. AvOaks is decent for local public transit ($45 for a monthly pass) but pretty limited if you need to travel outside of town frequently. Most people seem to need/prefer a car and gas/maintenance adds up over time.

Overall though, I do think Atascadero still provides a relatively affordable lifestyle compared to some of the pricier areas in California if you’re strategic about housing/transportation. There are definitely trade-offs, but the quality of life here is hard to beat if you can swing it financially.

Posts: 9
AvoGranola @avogranola
Joined: 4 months ago

Honestly, as someone who recently moved away from Atascadero after living there for over 20 years, I think the cost of living has gotten a bit out of hand relative to the salaries and type of community it is. Of course I’m probably a bit biased having just relocated to a lower cost of living area!

Housing in particular seems quite overpriced in my opinion. We just sold our 3-bedroom house near the fairgrounds for almost $700k which is crazy to me. Same house would cost half as much in lots of other decent smaller towns.

Rents have also skyrocketed beyond what I think is reasonable for the area. $2500-3000 for a decent 3-bedroom rental seems to be the new normal from what friends there tell me. That’s getting up there for dual income professional households, let alone single folks or families with one income.

Groceries weren’t too bad, and the farmers markets help, but I did find that things like childcare were really expensive. We paid $1400/month for a daycare/preschool program which was one of the more affordable options.

The thing that makes it palatable is that Atascadero does still provide a great community/outdoors lifestyle if you can swing it financially. Just doesn’t seem as affordable as it once was for a lot of people. We ended up leaving for a lower cost of living area to be able to save more and haven’t looked back from that perspective. But I did love living in Avo and miss it in lots of ways!

Posts: 21
AvoCentral @avocentral
Joined: 2 years ago

I lucked out by buying a condo in downtown Atascadero about 10 years ago before prices really took off. I pay just under $1000 a month for the mortgage on my 2 bed/2 bath place which is an absolute steal based on today’s rates.

What’s killing me cost-wise though is just the general daily spending. It seems like all the little expenditures for things like gas, groceries, going out, etc. have dramatically increased over the past few years.

A tank of gas is like $60 now. I easily spend $500-600 a month just on grocery basics for me and my wife. Even doing cheap date nights like grabbing a pizza or casual Mexican food and drinks is $50+ with tip.

We don’t have kids, so I can’t speak to those costs. But the overall living costs do seem to be outpacing salary increases for a lot of people I know who have lived here a long time like myself.

I’d say if you’re a young family or individual moving here with a decent job/income it’s still very doable. But for long-term residents, the inflationary costs make it harder to maintain the same standard of living over time despite being settled in with lower housing payments.

Posts: 16
BackyardChickensRock @backyardchickensrock
Joined: 3 months ago

My husband and I are on the older side and have paid off our mortgage, which is the main reason we can still afford to live comfortably in Atascadero on relatively modest retirement incomes. I don’t know how we’d swing it if we had to pay today’s rental/housing prices out of our monthly budgets.

Even still, costs do add up for daily living expenses. We probably spend $400-500 per month on groceries, which isn’t too bad since we grow some of our own fruits/veggies and raise chickens for eggs. Utilities seem to run $200-300 per month with PG&E electricity being the biggest factor.

Healthcare is another major expense as we’ve aged. We pay around $500 per month for supplemental insurance beyond Medicare. Copays, prescriptions, etc. add several hundred more. Just a reality of growing older I suppose.

I’d say the overall costs are still very manageable for our situation. But I can definitely see how it would be a real struggle, especially for younger families or those without equity built up in their homes. The rents/mortgages for new residents are getting pretty extreme.

Posts: 25
SLOLifer119 @slolifer119
Joined: 15 days ago

As someone from the San Luis Obispo area who has spent a lot of time in Atascadero over the years, I’d say the cost of living feels slightly more affordable but is getting closer and closer to being on par with SLO.

Housing is probably the biggest factor driving that convergence. Prices for rentals and purchases have gone way up as more people get priced out of SLO. You’re still looking at $600k-800k for a modest 3-bedroom house in most neighborhoods from what I’ve seen.

That said, I do think Atascadero provides more overall bang for your buck in terms of home sizes, neighborhood feel, etc. The vibe is a bit more suburban/sleepy town rather than the tiny city hustle of SLO.

Food, entertainment, etc. seems to be 5-10% cheaper in general than SLO. Not a huge difference but it adds up, especially for things like kid activities if you have a family.

My two cents would be that if you can afford to buy, it’s probably still a better overall value than most of SLO county. Though that gap is closing each year. If you’re renting long-term, you’ll likely pay 70-80% of SLO prices for a comparable living situation. But that still means dropping $2500+ for a decent 2-3 bedroom rental.

Posts: 25
AvoMilitaryFam @avomilitaryfam
Joined: 5 months ago

We’re a military family and just got stationed at Camp Roberts a few months ago, so I can share the perspective of someone brand new to living in Atascadero.

Coming from a much lower cost of living area previously, pretty much everything here has been a sticker shock for us so far – housing, groceries, services, etc. We knew California would be pricey but didn’t fully realize how much more expensive the smaller towns would be compared to more rural areas.

We ended up renting a 3-bedroom house for $2800 per month since we didn’t want to buy while just being temporary residents. That price point was sadly about the best we could find that wasn’t too outdated/run down. From what I’ve seen, I think we got a decent deal considering similar homes in good areas seem to rent for $3200-3500+.

Groceries, gas, utilities, etc. have also been quite a bit more than we’re used to paying. I’d estimate we’re spending at least $1000 more per month than our typical living costs in other duty station locations.

The main silver lining is that my military salary doesn’t fluctuate, so while the costs are high, we can still make it work for the time being. Not sure how sustainable it would be for us long-term as civilians though. The overall costs would make it very difficult to build up savings at least at our income levels.

Posts: 16
KeepAvoWierd @keepavowierd
Joined: 6 months ago

I’m a born-and-raised Atascadero local, and I have to say the cost of living situation bums me out these days. This town used to be a fun, quirky little haven of affordability for creative types, outdoorsy folks, artists, etc. Now it’s getting priced out of that range for a lot of long-time residents.

My buddies who are tradesmen, service workers, etc. are really struggling to get by and afford basic housing unless they’re doubling or tripling up roommates into their 30s and beyond. I have a decent tech job myself, but even a starter home of any kind would put me in the $500k+ range at this point.

It comes down to the fact that real estate has just gone bonkers. New developments, vacation homes, etc. have turned it into more of a standard overpriced CA town in that regard. Which is pushing up all the other associated costs of living over time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked Atascadero is thriving and desirable. It deserves the success. I just hope it can retain some of its eclectic, funky personalities and creative communities that really gave it its charm beyond just becoming another soulless surburbia. Those are the type of people getting forced out by the costs, which is a bummer.

Posts: 22
AvoOutdoorFam @avooutdoorfam
Joined: 5 months ago

For an active family that loves taking advantage of all the great outdoors opportunities around Atascadero, I’d say the cost of living is well worth it if you can swing it.

We pay about $2400 for a nice 3-bedroom rental house in a family neighborhood. Sounds pricey, but it gives us a yard for the kids to play in, garage to store our hiking/camping gear, and easy access to all the parks, lakes, trails, etc. Extremely family-friendly lifestyle.

On top of the rent, we probably spend $800-1000 per month on groceries, utilities, gas, etc. The cost of eating out, entertainment, etc. is very reasonable though. The local zoos, museums, minor league sports are all pretty affordable for families.

Childcare is likely our biggest strain at around $1500 per month for preschool/after-school care for our two kids. But we’ve found amazing programs that are worth every penny.

We could certainly save a lot more money if we lived in a cheaper area. But we just love the community, active vibe, and outdoor paradise element of Atascadero. The family experiences and overall quality of life make it a worthy investment for us.

Posts: 7
TechieBuyer @techiebuyer
Joined: 2 years ago

As someone looking to potentially move to Atascadero and buy a home to commute to one of the nearby tech hubs, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the real estate prices. It’s definitely not cheap, but seems relatively affordable as far as California goes if you’re bringing in a decent salary.

From my research, you’re likely looking at $600k-700k for a newer 3-bed/2-bath single family home in a good neighborhood. Which is pricey of course, but pretty reasonable considering similar homes would cost $1 million+ in somewhere like Santa Barbara.

The condo/townhouse market seems to be in the $400k-500k range for a 2-bed which could be a nice option for a couple as well.

Where it gets really steep is the high-end homes and estate properties. If you want brand new construction or something on a big lot with land/views, prepared for $1 million to $2 million+.

I crunched the numbers and even with today’s mortgage rates, the monthly payments for a $650k house should be manageable for a tech salary around $150k-200k (with putting 20% down). Just my two cents as an outside perspective! Let me know if I’m off base with those estimates based on the actual market.

Posts: 2

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 20.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 35.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 11.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 6.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 5.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 5.00 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.00 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.00 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 1.61 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 5.44 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 6.36 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 3.87 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 19.11 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 9.68 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 15.56 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 5.70 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 2.85 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 3.20 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 5.89 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 3.57 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 4.00 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 2.00 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 2.00 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 10.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 1.81 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.50 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 12.00 $
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) – 2.00 $
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price) – 45.00 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.86 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 1.25 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 40,876.95 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 27,931.51 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 299.40 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 42.50 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 67.00 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 12.50 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 2,158.33 $
  • International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child – 32,215.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 70.00 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 47.50 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 95.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 145.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 1,200.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 1,000.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – 2,750.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 2,200.00 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.61
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