Cost of Living Forum

ATLNative @atlnative
Joined: 2 years ago

Typical living costs in Atlanta for a long-time resident?

I’ve lived in Atlanta for over 15 years now, but my circumstances have changed and I’m trying to get a better sense of what a typical monthly budget looks like these days. Can some fellow Atlanta residents share their experiences with major expense categories like housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment? I’m a single professional in my 30s, living in a decent apartment in Midtown and driving to work, if that provides some context. I’m just looking for a reality check on what I should be budgeting for basic expenses here.

Posts: 21

10 Replies

PeachyKeener @peachykeener
Joined: 12 months ago

Housing is probably the biggest expense for most Atlantans. Even a decent 1-bedroom apartment in Midtown can easily run $1,800-$2,200 these days. Utilities like electric/gas, internet, and your mobile plan will likely add another $300-$400 per month. Groceries vary a lot based on your habits, but you can do basic stuff for $300-$400 if you stick to spots like Kroger/Publix and cook at home. Eating out even just 2-3 meals per week can easily add $200+ to your monthly costs with Atlanta prices. As for transportation, a monthly MARTA pass is around $95 if you use that, or budget $150+ for gas/parking if driving. Don’t forget renters insurance ($20-$30/month) and healthcare premiums which can be $200+ for a solid plan. Entertainment is the wildcard – $100 could cover some Taco Mac visits and a couple movies, but it can spiral way up if you’re going to clubs, concerts, sports events etc regularly. At leastwe don’t have state income tax!
Posts: 23
BeltLineBlue @beltlineblue
Joined: 2 years ago

I agree that housing is the biggest factor. My wife and I pay $2800 for a decent 2-bed apartment in Virginia Highland, which was a stretch but allowed us to be walkable to a lot of stuff. Groceries run us $600-$700 per month for two. We drive older paid off cars, so transportation is just $250ish per month for gas, insurance, maintenance. Utilities like internet/TV/electricity are about $300. We do eat out fairly often, probably $400-$500 per month grabbing lunch or dinner out. Don’t forget other costs that can add up like pet care if you have animals, gym memberships, insurance premiums, etc. Entertainment is really variable for us – $200 some months, $600 others if we do a show, concert, sports game, etc. Atlanta has a lot of great free stuff too at least!
Posts: 25
OTPOddity @otpoddity
Joined: 2 years ago

As someone living outside the Perimeter in the suburbs, my costs are definitely lower than most on this thread, but Atlanta prices have still gone up a lot. My 3-bed rental house is only $1700, but a similar place ITP would easily be $2500+. Most affordable groceries are Aldi, Lidl, or warehouse clubs. I spend around $500 per month for a family of 4. Gas and car expenses are the huge Trade-off – my weekly commute costs me $200+ in gas and car maintenance. But at least my utilities like internet/cable/electricity are about $250 combined. We mostly Only eat out for special occasions to keep costs down. Healthcare is a beast no matter what, with great family premiums being $500-600 per month. My advice is to live as close to work as possible to avoid that soul-crushing Atlanta traffic!
Posts: 21
ATLFoodie @atlfoodie
Joined: 2 years ago

As a major foodie, my spending definitely gets inflated by constantly trying new restaurants around town. Even doing affordable places a few times a week, I’m spending $500+ per month just on food! Groceries are a bit more reasonable around $300. My 1-bed apartment in Decatur was $1550 which felt like a decent value. Utilities around $150. I take MARTA to avoid parking downtown, so $95 for the monthly pass. Getting an annual OTP pass for extra events and attractions brings entertainment to $100+ per month at least. And healthier lifestyle with a gym membership, yoga studio fees, etc runs me about $150 per month as well. Atlanta has such an amazing food scene though, it’s worth it to me to splurge there while keeping other costs low!
Posts: 17
BuckBuddyATL @buckbuddyatl
Joined: 2 years ago

As a single guy living in Buckhead, I’ll admit my rent is pretty crazy at $2400 for a nice 1-bed high rise. But the amenities and location are worth it to me. Other big costs are my car payment ($550) for a decked out ride, plus probably $150 in gas/insurance/maintenance each month. Jonah utilities around $275. Groceries maybe $400 if I’m cooking at home, which is rare because I eat out for probably 2 meals per day when you factor in lunch, dinner and weekend brunches. That’s easily $1000+ per month on food/drinks out. Then add a $100 gym membership, $75 for golf club membership, and whatever I spend on dates or attending concerts/events and we’re talking $4000-5000 per month overall for my admittedly extravagant Buckhead lifestyle! No roommates though, so I can justify it for now while I’m single.
Posts: 14
ITPInvestor @itpinvestor
Joined: 2 years ago

I own my townhome in Midtown, so my housing “costs” are just the $2200 mortgage payment, around $400-500 in HOA/utilities, and periodic maintenance/repair bills. My situation is a bit different as a real estate investor too – my income fluctuates a lot based on deals, but I also get nice tax deductions. On a typical month though, I probably spend $800 on groceries stocking up at Costco, $500 eating out, $300 on car expenses for the Tesla, $150 for gym/entertainment subscriptions, etc. Healthcare is the big wild card at $700+ per month for a high deductible PPO plan. All in all, I can get by modestly around $5000 or so when factoring in the mortgage, but easily spend $8000+ if I’m actively going out and entertaining clients or just splurging a bit more.
Posts: 13
EAVEclecticATL @eaveclecticatl
Joined: 9 months ago

East Atlanta Village keeps me pretty grounded cost-wise! My cozy 2-bed bungalow rent is only $1450. Groceries around $400 for two people shopping deals at Aldi and Your DeKalb Farmer’s Market. Utilities like internet/streaming TV/electricity around $250 total. We drove old paid-off cars for a long time so transportation was just $150/month for gas, insurance and keeping them maintained. Now we’ve gone even more minimal with just MARTA passes for $95/each. Self-employed though, so healthcare is an absolute beast at $1000+/month for the two of us. Entertainment is very affordable between frequent local music/art events, taco Tuesdays at the Porter, and just kickin’ it with neighbors on the back patio! All in all we keep our very chill EAV lifestyle around $4000/month all included.
Posts: 18
TechBroATL @techbroatl
Joined: 6 months ago

As a tech bro making solid money, my expenses reflect the willingness to splurge in Atlanta’s pricier scene. My 2-bed rental at one of the fancy Midtown high-rises is $3600/month, which is insane but the rooftop pool/lounge areas are amazing. Add around $450 for utilities, $500 for my Tesla monthly payment/expenses, $800 on fine dining/cocktail outings, $300 on meal delivery services, $150 for a boutique gym. Healthcare is steep at $550/month for premium family coverage. Random subscription/streaming/etc fees are maybe $300. And I easily drop $1000/month on “entertainment” whether it’s sporting events, bottle service, concert tickets or weekend getaways. So all in, even as a single dude, you’re talking $7000-8000 per month if you don’t hold back around this city!
Posts: 13
ATLSaverGal @atlsavergal
Joined: 2 years ago

To provide a lower-cost perspective – I’m a modestly-paid nonprofit worker, so being cost-conscious is essential. My studio apartment in Decatur is $1100/month, not glamorous but gets the job done. Groceries $250/month doing ALDI runs. $125 for electric/gas, $50 internet, and $80 mobile plan. I bus to work to avoid car costs, so $95/month for a MARTA pass. Healthcare is still $350/month for a decent individual plan. Entertainment is very modest – maybe $50/month for an occasional yoga class, Netflix, and cheap outings. Cook at home, take advantage of free events, thrift shop for clothes, etc. It’s far from luxurious, but a no-frills lifestyle allows me to get by around $2,000 per month here while still putting some into savings each month.
Posts: 23
KeepingUpWithKerias @keepingupwithkerias
Joined: 2 years ago

This thread is a great example of how wildly different budgets can be in Atlanta depending on your income and lifestyle priorities! For my family of 4, our costs wind up somewhere in the middle. Our 3-bed rental home is in Brookhaven and runs $2900. Add $400 for utilities, $800 for groceries, $350 for 2 cars (payments/gas/insurance), $450 for healthcare premiums, $100 or so for kid activities and memberships, plus we still spend $500+ dining out frequently. Between all that plus the endless kid-related expenditures for activities, field trips, toys, etc we’re probably at around $6000-$7000 per month to maintain our standard of living. Not cheap by any means, but also not totally over-the-top for Atlanta these days. It’s just a pricey city, period.
Posts: 5

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 22.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 95.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 12.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 6.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 8.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 5.15 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.53 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.20 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 1.06 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 3.39 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 5.70 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 3.78 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 14.57 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 15.49 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 16.91 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 6.16 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.74 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 5.93 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 5.01 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 3.99 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 3.55 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 2.25 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 2.44 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 12.50 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 3.28 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 4.90 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 8.00 $
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) – 2.50 $
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price) – 95.00 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 4.25 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.20 $
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) – 24.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 0.91 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 35,000.00 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 25,058.62 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 195.39 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 49.51 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 63.47 $
  • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult – 63.50 $
  • Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) – 9.60 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 16.50 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 1,406.25 $
  • International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child – 29,142.25 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 52.46 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 42.20 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 93.71 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 118.78 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 1,903.64 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 1,489.10 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – 3,325.62 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 2,452.11 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre – 3,672.24 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre – 2,531.97 $
  • Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) – 5,751.91 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.64
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