Cost of Living Forum

AspenLocal @aspenlocal
Joined: 5 months ago

What are the typical living costs in Aspen?

I’ve been living in Aspen for over 15 years and have seen the cost of living steadily increase. I’m wondering what current residents think about the expenses here, especially for things like housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment. As an outdoorsy family of four with two school-aged kids, we have a pretty active lifestyle but also enjoy eating out occasionally.

What has your experience been in terms of affording the different costs of living in Aspen? I’m particularly interested in hearing different perspectives based on factors like household income, family size, housing situation, etc. Both pros and cons would be helpful to get a balanced understanding. Thanks in advance for sharing your insights!

Posts: 10

10 Replies

SkiTownResident @skitownresident
Joined: 7 months ago

Living in Aspen definitely doesn’t come cheap, but in my opinion, it’s worth it for the incredible outdoor recreation and beautiful mountain setting. Housing is by far the biggest expense – I pay around $3,000 for a decent 2-bedroom apartment, which is on the lower end for this area. Groceries are pricey too, probably $800-$1,000 per month for a small family.

However, we try to take full advantage of the skiing, hiking, biking, etc. which helps offset some entertainment costs. Eating out can be a major budget buster though, with entrees often $30+ at mid-range places. Overall, I’d estimate my household needs at least $100K annually to live a relatively comfortable lifestyle here as a young couple without kids. It’s expensive for sure, but the quality of life makes it worth it for us currently.

Posts: 6
BrokeButHappyHere @brokebuthappyhere
Joined: 2 years ago

I’ll be honest, the cost of living in Aspen can feel downright outrageous at times, especially on my modest salary working service jobs. Rent alone takes a huge chunk – I pay $1,200 for a very small studio downtown. Groceries and utilities probably run me $500 per month. Going out to restaurants or bars is basically a luxury only affordable occasionally.

However, I actually don’t mind the simplicity and find ways to take advantage of the awesome outdoor activities year-round for cheap entertainment. I bus or bike most places to avoid high transportation costs. It’s also a very healthy, active community which I value. Making it work in Aspen on a tighter budget definitely takes some sacrifice, but for an outdoor enthusiast like me, it’s worth it. The skiing alone makes me feel richer than anywhere else I could live.

Posts: 15
FamilyFirst @familyfirst
Joined: 2 years ago

Raising a family of 5 in Aspen is where the high cost of living really becomes apparent. We pay a brutal $4,500 per month for a modest 3-bedroom house about 10 minutes outside of downtown. Add on another $1,000+ per month for utilities, groceries, daycare for the youngest two kids, etc. Entertainment is basically the great outdoors for us or an occasional family movie night. Healthcare is a major burden – our insurance premiums eat up a huge portion of our combined $150K household income.

That said, my spouse and I both have good-paying corporate jobs which make this semi-affordable for us. The schools here are excellent too. Money is very tight though and a big sacrifice for giving our kids these amazing childhood experiences. I can’t imagine how families with lower incomes make it work. Aspen definitely skews towards the wealthy, or those like us willing to pay premium prices for the lifestyle and community.

Posts: 15
RetiredSkibum @retiredskibum
Joined: 5 months ago

As a retired couple, my wife and I find Aspen reasonably affordable now, though it was very pricey when raising kids here decades ago. Our housing costs are manageable at $1,800 for a 2-bed condo as we own it mortgage-free. Utilities are pretty typical for Colorado – maybe $250 per month. Groceries do add up to $600-700.

The big plus is taking advantage of discounted rates at recreation centers, ski passes, etc. Entertainment is mainly enjoying the outdoors hiking, skiing, going to free outdoor concerts. Healthcare is our biggest recurring cost, even with Medicare, as premiums and out-of-pockets can top $1,000 per month with increasing medical needs. But overall, on our fixed retirement income, Aspen is very doable for empty nesters who own their home and stick to a simple lifestyle focused on the natural beauty here.

Posts: 9
SingleGal @singlegal
Joined: 8 months ago

Dating and maintaining any semblance of a social life in Aspen can get outrageously expensive very quickly as a single person! Even just going to casual spots like the brewery for drinks adds up fast when a pint is $8+. Don’t even get me started on trying to date and pay for fancy dinners out at the nice restaurants where entrees are $50+.

Housing is also really tough on just my $65K salary – I pay $1,450 for a 1-bed apartment outside downtown. Utilities, groceries, gas, etc. probably eat up another $1,000 per month at least. I definitely can’t afford a lot of extras like ski passes or pricey fitness memberships on top of those fixed costs. Budgeting is crucial!

That said, Aspen has such an awesome vibe and stunning natural surroundings that make it feel worth the constant belt-tightening for me right now. Being outdoorsy and active is basically free entertainment. I just have to get creative with low-cost social activities and cook at home a lot. The dating struggles might eventually drive me out though!

Posts: 17
BallersOnly @ballersonly
Joined: 10 months ago

Honestly, if you’re not rolling in serious dough, Aspen is just not a viable place to live long-term in my opinion. My household makes over $500K per year combined, and we still feel some financial strain to maintain the luxury lifestyle we want here.

Our $10,000 per month mortgage on a 5-bed ski chalet is just the start – there’s also $1,000+ monthly utilities, $2,000 for a full-time nanny, $3,000 in groceries and dining out, $1,500 for ski expenses, camps for the kids, etc. Cars, clothes, entertainment, travel – you get the picture, the costs just never stop in this rarefied world.

But that’s why we chose to live in Aspen and not some boring suburb – to be surrounded by natural beauty while enjoying an ultra-premium quality of life. We can afford it for now, but I could see us eventually cashing out and retiring somewhere more affordable when the kids are gone. Aspen is a blast, but you can’t put a price tag on it!

Posts: 17
SkiBumDreamer @skibumdreamer
Joined: 8 months ago

For the ultimate ski bum lifestyle I crave, Aspen is heaven even if the costs can be tough. I scrimp and save working multiple jobs to cover my $900 rent for a room in a shared house. Maybe $400 per month goes to groceries, bus passes, etc. Ski passes are my biggest annual splurge at around $1,500 for the season.

But being able to ski powder stashes a few times per week and hike amazing trails every summer makes it so worth it! I actually find Aspen relatively affordable compared to places like Vail if you’re willing to live a simple, no-frills existence. Healthcare is really my only major periodic expense to worry about without great insurance.

The key is minimizing fixed costs so you can actually enjoy the amazing outdoor activities that make living here special. For a diehard skier with no kids or fancy tastes, it’s very doable to get by in Aspen on $40K per year if you stick to priorities. Life doesn’t get much better!

Posts: 3
PartTimer @parttimer
Joined: 28 days ago

My partner and I are able to make living in Aspen work by only being residents about half the year. We keep our primary residence and jobs in Denver, but rent a nice 2-bed condo in Aspen for around $3,500 per month during the winter to ski and enjoy the scene from January through April.

That allows us to splurge a bit more on the Aspen lifestyle for those 4 months without it completely breaking the bank. We can dine out frequently, get ski passes, take advantage of the nightlife, etc. It’s a pricey but fun vacation period before returning to our more affordable living in Denver.

During the summer months from May to August, we typically rent out the Aspen place to help offset those costs. We come up for weekends and weeks at a time to hike and mountain bike. It’s a good balance of getting our Aspen fix without the full-time expense.

Posts: 20
WorkFromHomeLife @workfromhomelife
Joined: 2 years ago

Thanks to remote work, my family is able to enjoy living in Aspen despite it being quite pricey compared to our previous city. We pay $3,200 for a lovely 3-bed house outside of downtown with plenty of space and a yard for the kids.

Groceries and household expenses for the 4 of us run about $1,500 per month. We do eat out a fair amount too, probably another $500 on restaurants. Utilities around $450. Internet and work subscriptions about $200. Entertainment is mostly skiing/hiking so those are manageable costs.

The biggest factor though is our dual $200K+ household income not being tied to local Aspen jobs. That’s what makes it viable. We easily have a very comfortable life here while working from home, despite the expensive housing and goods/services. Being outdoors year-round is also a core part of our family lifestyle that makes the premium so worthwhile.

Posts: 2
Nativekeeper @nativekeeper
Joined: 3 months ago

As someone born and raised in Aspen, I’ve watched the cost of living skyrocket to levels that sadly price out many longtime locals and families. It’s bittersweet – my wife and I are able to still reside here thanks to a mortgage-free family home, but most can’t afford that path anymore.

Groceries, utilities, services – everything is just plain expensive due to Aspen being an exclusive resort town. Healthcare in particular is a major burden with soaring premiums and high out-of-pocket costs. Eating out is a luxury only for special occasions these days.

At the same time, you cannot put a price on the natural beauty, community vibes, and abundance of outdoor activities that make Aspen such a special place to live. It may become untenable for the middle class eventually, but as an outdoor enthusiast, I’ll do whatever I can to keep residing here as long as possible. This place courses through my veins.

Posts: 12

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 22.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 90.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 10.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 7.50 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 8.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 5.39 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.08 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.50 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 1.19 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 5.51 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 6.61 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 3.66 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 11.76 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 19.40 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 14.64 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 4.59 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.62 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 5.88 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 5.88 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 4.96 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 3.67 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 3.00 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 3.00 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 17.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 1.73 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.00 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 12.00 $
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) – 3.50 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.24 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 0.87 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 36,029.12 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 25,911.25 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 145.00 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 55.20 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 75.00 $
  • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult – 135.00 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 18.00 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 1,433.33 $
  • International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child – 30,700.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 65.00 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 45.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 88.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 212.50 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 2,550.00 $
  • Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) – 3,000.00 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.47
Please Login or Register to reply to this topic.
Join Us!