Cost of Living Forum

AugustaNative @augustanative
Joined: 5 months ago

Cost of Living in Augusta – Input from Long-Term Residents?

Hey everyone, I’ve lived in Augusta for over 20 years and have seen the cost of living fluctuate a bit over time. I’m planning to potentially relocate in the next year or two and am curious to hear recent experiences and perspectives from others in Augusta. What are your typical monthly expenses for things like housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment?

For context, I’m a single homeowner with no kids, working a decent corporate job. My main expenses are my mortgage ($1200/month), groceries ($400-500/month), utilities ($250/month average), car payment/insurance/gas ($400/month), healthcare premiums/copays ($300/month), and I budget $200-300 for dining out and entertainment. But I know costs can vary a lot depending on family size, lifestyle, etc.

What has your experience been with the overall affordability of living in Augusta lately? I’d appreciate any insights to help me evaluate if staying put or moving makes more financial sense for my situation. Thanks in advance!

Posts: 14

10 Replies

FoodieFam @foodiefam
Joined: 2 months ago

As a family of 4 (2 kids in elementary school), our biggest expenses are definitely housing and groceries/dining out. We rent a 3-bedroom apartment outside the city center for $1,850/month which is pretty steep but the units are newer and the neighborhood is nice. Groceries for our family easily run $800-900 per month if we’re being realistic. The cost of produce, meat and kid-friendly snacks really adds up! We probably spend another $400 on dining out (takeout factor has been high during the pandemic).

Utilities for our place run around $250-300 in summer when AC is needed, maybe $150 in milder months. Our cable/internet bundle is $120. Healthcare is an absolute budget killer at over $800/month for a family plan with decent coverage. Entertainment is probably $200-300 for movies, activities with the kids, etc. Transportation is on the lower side at $300 for a single car payment, insurance and gas.

Overall I’d say Augusta isn’t a super affordable place to live for families, but also not extremely expensive compared to other major cities. There are deals to be found, but the decent neighborhoods and costs for kid activities add up quickly. We spend around $5k-$6k per month for a comfortable but not lavish lifestyle.

Posts: 20
YOLOTech @yolotech
Joined: 2 years ago

As a single tech bro, my experience with Augusta has been pretty positive from a cost standpoint. I live in a modern 1-bed downtown for $1400 which is steep but the amenities are on point. Biggest spending is definitely on dining/entertainment. There are so many dope restaurants, bars and events that I easily drop $800-1000 per monthkega-ing with my crew. Ubers are also a major chunk of that.

Other costs aren’t too crazy though. Utilities in my unit average maybe $120. Gym membership is $50. Groceries and meal preps maybe $300. Gas and parking $150 or so. Internet/streaming $80. Healthcare premiums $200 before any docs visits. All-in probably $3k per month to live that singleballin’ lifestyle in Augusta.

Definitely some sticker shock at times, but the job market and nightlife scene make it worth it imo. Plenty of restaurants and apartments for ballers on a budget too if you aren’t as extra as me. As long as you can clear $70k it’s pretty manageable.

Posts: 11
FIREmomma @firemomma
Joined: 12 months ago

We’re a bit of an outlier, as my husband and I are firmly in FI/RE mode and have paid off our modest 3-bed ranch outside the city ($200k purchase price back in the day). Even with no rent/mortgage, living in Augusta isn’t exactly cheap for our FIRE lifestyle due to some unavoidable costs:

Property taxes on our home are around $300/month. Utilities (electric, gas, internet) usually run $200-300 depending on the season. We have excellent healthcare through my husband’s old employer at $500/month for the two of us. Groceries are $500-600. Car insurance/registration for two paid off cars is $120.

We live very frugally otherwise – no cable, no dining out, no vacations, etc. But even with virtually no major expenses, our unavoidable costs are still around $2k per month. It’s allowed us to retire comfortably in our 50s, but FIRE would be much harder here with housing and healthcare expenses eating so much of your budget. Something to keep in mind if your goal is to retire early in Augusta.

Posts: 20
BrokeStudentAUG @brokestudentaug
Joined: 2 years ago

As a college student barely scraping by, the cost of living in Augusta feels brutally high to me. I share a rundown 2-bed apartment with 3 other people near campus, and even with that $300 rent split 4 ways it’s tough.

Groceries are probably $150/month for basic staples and ramen. $60 or so for utilities in my portion. Internet $25. Transport is basically $40/month for an unlimited bus pass since I can’t afford a car right now. Maybe $80/month for textbooks and basic entertainment like Netflix.

Healthcare is a nightmare – the classroom instructions were to put this amount since I’m uninsured and would likely have to pay full price for anything. Between tuition, rent, and trying to minimally survive, there’s $0 room in my budget at all for emergencies or surprise costs like car repairs or medical bills.

I know people always say the student struggle builds character or whatever, but being this cost-burdened while also drowning in student loans is honestly pretty demoralizing. Yeah Augusta has opportunities, but feeling this broke in your early 20s sucks ngl.

Posts: 10
EmptyNestAugusta @emptynestaugusta
Joined: 8 months ago

My husband and I are recent empty nesters here in Augusta after raising 3 kids. Now that it’s just the two of us, the cost of living feels much more manageable compared to when the whole family was around:

We own our 4-bed house outright (purchased in the 90s) so no mortgage, just $350/month or so in taxes/fees. Utilities like electric, gas, internet run maybe $250 on average. Grocery budget is around $500 for two. Healthcare is pricey at $800/month for a good plan through my husband’s employer. We have two paid off cars so insurance/maintenance is about $200 per month.

Without any tuition/child costs, we’re able to spend a good bit on travel and leisure too – probably $500-800 per month between flights, dining, entertainment, etc. All in all we seem to spend $3,000-3,500 per month to live very comfortably as empty nesters.

While costs have crept up over the decades we’ve been here, Augusta has been a relatively affordable place for us to raise a family and now enjoy our retirement years. Of course, your expenses may vary if housing costs have you paying a mortgage or rent still.

Posts: 2
AugustaChef @augustachef
Joined: 2 years ago

From the perspective of someone in the local restaurant scene, I’d say Augusta is a mixed bag in terms of affordability:

On the one hand, food costs for most households seem pretty reasonable compared to other major cities I’ve lived in. Even eating out regularly at local spots, a meal for two with drinks might only run you $50-60 after tip. Groceries don’t seem too outrageous either if you stick to Aldi/Publix etc.

But some unavoidable costs like housing and healthcare are just brutal here, especially for service workers. The rental market is insanely tight, with even modest 2-beds pushing $1400+/month. Yeesh. I’m stuck in a garage apartment at $950 that’s a dump.

Don’t even get me started on healthcare costs. I’m a single guy so no employer plan, and the individual market is a rip-off, talking $400+ monthly premiums for bare-bones coverage with crazy deductibles. Primary and specialists pile on too.

At the end of the day, even with food costs being relatively chill, housing and medical expenses eat up over 50% of my $45k salary. While the COL isn’t HCOL, it’s still a constant struggle for those of us hustling in the service game. Key is to live small and never get sick I guess?

Posts: 18
RicherAcrossTheBridge @richeracrossthebridge
Joined: 4 months ago

My family and I live just across the river in North Augusta, SC and I have to say, the cost difference from just being outside the Augusta city limits is massive. We get ALL the benefits of being right next to the city, but our mortgage, taxes, and some other costs are way lower.

Renting a nice 3-bed house here is only around $1300, owning closer to $1000 with a sub-$300k purchase price. Groceries and dining out is a near-wash. But the big savings come from $0 city wage tax, lower car registration/property taxes, and not having to pay those extra municipal fees that seem to nickel and dime you living in the city limits.

My family’s expenses look like: $1000 mortgage, $250 utilities, $600 groceries, $750 for two car payments/insurance, $500 for healthcare, $300 for entertainment. So we get by comfortably around $3400/month while being able to take advantage of all Augusta has to offer.

If you have flexibility with your job location, I’d seriously look into the suburbs/surrounding areas. While Augusta proper can be pricey for not amazing quality of living, the metro area is still very affordable with much better housing value. No regrets leaving the city for us.

Posts: 21
HRRecruiter_Aug @hrrecruiter_aug
Joined: 2 years ago

As someone who helps hire for several major Augusta employers, I always advise potential job candidates to really crunch the numbers before accepting offers here. The cost of living can make or break the affordability of taking certain roles:

For entry-level professionals and early career workers, Augusta salaries in the $40k-$60k range don’t go as far as you might think. Sure, you can rent a basic 1-bed downtown for $1200 and get by. But factor in high health insurance premiums of $300+/month, rising rent renewals, utilities, car costs, student loans…and that paycheck doesn’t stretch too far if you want any semblance of disposable income.

For experienced managers/directors earning $80k-$120k though, Augusta starts to feel like a bargain. Mortgages for nice 3-4 bed homes in the suburbs run $1500-$2000 with more space and better schools. Healthcare is steep but more manageable as a percentage of income. Definitely easier to save and have a life outside work.

Of course there are always outliers – doctors, lawyers, executives can live large here on $200k+ household incomes. But for most, Augusta pay ranges lean toward the “get by” rather than “live it up” category unless you’re established in your career.

Posts: 1
PeachRetireePDG @peachretireepdg
Joined: 6 months ago

My wife and I retired to the Augusta area about 5 years ago after selling our home up in Peach County, GA. From the perspective of retirees on a fixed income, Augusta has been a mostly affordable place to settle so far:

Our biggest expense is the mortgage on our ranch-style 3/2 home in a 55+ community out towards Grovetown. We snagged it new for $275k back in 2018, so our monthly payment is around $1200 with taxes/insurance included. Basic utilities like power, water, internet bundle in around $250.

Healthcare is much cheaper using Medicare plus supplemental gap coverage – overall our portion is $300 per month for excellent benefits compared to private insurance gouging. Groceries for two run $500 or so. Gotta budget for entertainment, eating out, leisure travel too…probably $400-500 between monthly memberships, gas, meals, etc.

All in all we seem to spend $3000-3500 per month to live comfortably without being too extravagant. Our incomes from retirement accounts/Social Security cover it pretty well aside from dipping into savings occasionally for big one-off expenses.

While the area has gotten pricier over the half-decade we’ve been here, I’d still rate Augusta as quite affordable for retirees, especially if you have a paid off Medicare supplement to cut those ruinous pre-Medicare healthcare costs.

Posts: 20
LocalGunsBBQSportsFan @localgunsbbqsportsfan
Joined: 12 months ago

Howdy! As a proud local guy who loves his guns, barbecue and college sports, I find Augusta to be a pretty solid, affordable place to live that good ol’ lifestyle if you’re smart about it.

My biggest advice is to avoid the overpriced lease traps and buy housing – even a decent starter home around here can be had for $180k-220k range if ya put in some sweat equity for fixing it up nice. My $900 mortgage PITI on our little 3/2 can’t be beat compared to renting similar quality.

Other costs I budget for: $300 groceryhaul each month, $200 utilities average, $100 gas/car insurance, $100 internet/streaming, $150 healthcare (gotta save that dough for the deductibles!). That’s the just-gettting-by basics.

But then I get to splurge on the good stuff: $100 monthly landscaping/home maintenance, $150 sports tickets/pay-per-views, $100 for guns/ammo/hunting gear, $150 for golf/bowling/sports bets, and $250 for steaks and brewskis at the best BBQ joints! Yee-haw!

Maybe not the healthiest spending breakdown, but hey, I make enough at my $65k manufacturing gig to get by living large on all my hobbies. No complaining from me about the cost of living here if it lets me enjoy life in Augusta!

Posts: 25

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 12.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 59.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 8.97 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 4.25 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 6.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 4.67 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.53 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 1.88 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 0.80 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 1.91 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 5.20 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 2.66 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 8.34 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 9.24 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 13.77 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 4.39 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.74 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 4.06 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 2.92 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 2.25 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 2.59 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 1.93 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 1.63 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 8.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 1.73 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.50 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 8.00 $
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) – 1.50 $
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price) – 40.00 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 2.00 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.20 $
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) – 24.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 0.83 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 27,225.00 $
  • 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 – 43.00 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 63.47 $
  • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult – 30.00 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 13.50 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 922.50 $
  • International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child – 29,142.25 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 34.40 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 38.33 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 72.50 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 83.33 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 1,250.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 1,300.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – 1,625.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 1,866.67 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre – 1,658.00 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre – 1,658.00 $
  • Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) – 3,272.74 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.60
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