Cost of Living Forum

IowaResident92 @iowaresident92
Joined: 2 years ago

What are the typical living costs in Ankeny, Iowa?

I’ve been living in Ankeny for over 15 years now, and I’m generally happy with the cost of living here compared to some bigger cities in Iowa. However, I’m curious to get perspectives from others on what they consider to be reasonable expenses for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment.

As some context, I’m a married professional in my early 40s with two school-aged kids. We own a 3-bedroom house in one of the newer neighborhoods and have a couple of relatively new cars. We try to live a pretty moderate lifestyle without too many luxuries. What has your experience been in terms of managing expenses in Ankeny? I’d be especially interested in hearing from others with similar family situations. Thanks in advance for sharing your insights!

Posts: 5

10 Replies

FrugalFoodieAnkeny @frugalfoodieankeny
Joined: 2 years ago

As someone who loves good food but also tries to be cost-conscious, I’ve found grocery expenses in Ankeny to be quite manageable. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant will typically run you $16 or less, and even a fancier three-course meal for two at a mid-range place is usually around $70. Buying ingredients and cooking at home saves a lot, with a dozen eggs for $3, a loaf of bread for $2.20, and prices for meats, fruits, and veggies all being pretty reasonable.

That said, I do think some other costs of living are on the higher side for the area. Rent/mortgage payments for a decent 3-bedroom place, whether in the city center or suburbs, will likely be $1,400-1,900 per month. Utilities for a typical apartment (electricity, heating, water, etc.) can add another $200-300 to your monthly expenses. Just a couple of areas where being smart with your money really helps!

Posts: 8
AnkenyParentingLife @ankenyparentinglife
Joined: 2 years ago

For families with kids, some of the biggest expenses you’ll face in Ankeny are childcare and education costs. Full-time private preschool/kindergarten can easily run over $1,300 per month for one child. Annual tuition at an international primary school is also quite pricey, around $12K. Thankfully, the public schools are good if you can go that route.

Other family costs to consider – kids’ extracurriculars, family entertainment like movies ($14.50 per ticket), etc. Can really add up quickly. Housing is also a major factor, as the previous poster mentioned. We personally found a nice 3-bed rental house just outside the city center for $1,375 per month, which fits our budget better than renting downtown. Just depends on your priorities! Overall, Ankeny has been an affordable place for our family so far.

Posts: 25
CycleCityCommuter @cyclecitycommuter
Joined: 12 months ago

One of the biggest money-savers I’ve found in Ankeny is going car-free or car-lite and using bikes/public transportation as much as possible. Not having to pay for gas, insurance, maintenance, and car payments is huge. I spend maybe $50/month on transit passes to supplement my cycling.

Downsides are that public transit could be more comprehensive, and some areas are not quite as bike-friendly as I’d like. But plenty of trails, bike lanes, and skip options make it very doable, at least in the core area where I live. Grabbing an occasional $2 taxi when needed really isn’t too bad.

I admit not having to drive kids all over also makes it easier. But for childless folks or empty nesters, it’s a terrific way to cut out one of the biggest costs Americans face. My car-free lifestyle makes Ankeny quite affordable for me.

Posts: 24
AnkenyActiveFitness @ankenyactivefitness
Joined: 2 years ago

For an active, healthy lifestyle, there are some solid affordable options in Ankeny as well as some costly ones. I belong to a great fitness club that’s only $60/month. And there are tons of parks and trails to get outside for free. Playing tennis will run you $10-20/hour to rent a court.

However,inga healthcare is where costs can really add up. I pay around $400/month for a good health insurance plan through my employer, but even basic preventative care like doctor visits have lots of little copays and fees. Keeping on top of your wellness is important but pricey.

Overall I think Ankeny self strikes a decent balance in terms of offering amenities for an active lifestyle without everything being overly expensive relative to the salaries in the area. But healthcare costs are hard to avoid.

Posts: 4
FrannTheBarrista @frannthebarrista
Joined: 7 months ago

As someone working in the service industry, I can share the more modest/affordable side of living in Ankeny. My rent for a simple 1-bed apartment is $925, which is do-able on a barista’s income along with budgeting carefully for other expenses.

You can definitely enjoy some inexpensive luxuries too – a coffee for $5.69, beer for $5 at the pub, $9.50 for a combo meal from a chain like McDonald’s from time to time. And most utilities like electricity, mobile data plan, internet, etc. tend to run $50-60 each for basic single person’s needs.

It’s not extremely cheap, but Ankeny does provide plenty of affordable food/entertainment if you’re smart about it. Rent is probably the biggest factor determining whether this area is in-budget or not. But I’m making it work here while saving toward bigger goals!

Posts: 18
DINKlifeAnkeny @dinklifeankeny
Joined: 2 years ago

My partner and I are dink (dual income, no kids) professionals, and we find Ankeny to be a very affordable place for our lifestyle. Our combined incomes are well above the area’s average salary of $5,500/month, which allows us to rent a nice 2-bed city center apartment for $1,400 without it being a total budget-buster.

We definitely treat ourselves to regular dates nights at mid-range restaurants ($70 for two with drinks), movies ($30 for two tickets), etc. And we don’t have ANY major expenses for kids, which must be a huge relief compared to families with children.

All that said, the rental market does seem quite pricey if you want a larger place or are looking to buy. We probably couldn’t comfortably afford a $1,900 3-bed rental or $300K+ mortgage yet. But Ankeny is checking most boxes for our current DINK lifestyle!

Posts: 13
SoloSeniorSaver @soloseniorsaver
Joined: 7 months ago

As a single senior living in Ankeny, I’ve found my costs for most basic necessities like food, utilities, entertainment etc. to be pretty manageable. I buy a lot of simple staples like rice, bread, and shop deals for my meat and produce. Maybe $200/month for fresh groceries.

Bigger expenses are my Medicare supplement ($250/month) and rent for my 1-bed apartment ($925). Luckily I have a decent retirement income, but I can see how making ends meet could get tough for lower fixed-income seniors.

I don’t go too many fancy places, but there are affordable activities like morning movies ($6 before noon) and the apartment complex has some free social events. All in all, Ankeny hasn’t been too burdensome on my limited budget so far. But I can understand the higher costs being tough for many retirees.

Posts: 14
AnkenyOutdoorsFamily @ankenyoutdoorsfamily
Joined: 3 months ago

We’re an active family of 4 that loves taking advantage of Ankeny’s parks, trails, and outdoor amenities. And luckily, a lot of those types of activities are very inexpensive or free! Hiking, biking, picnics, etc. don’t cost much.

Our bigger expenses are more for things like gas for our SUV ($3.36 to fill up given today’s prices), kid sports leagues ($100-200 per season), and family entertainment like going to the movies ($60 for 4 tickets). We also paid about $25K for a reasonably new minivan a couple years ago to fit all our outdoor gear.

But we Actually save quite a bit by doing more affordable outdoor activities and meal-prepping at home. Housing is likely our single biggest monthly cost at around $1,900 for a 4-bedroom rental house just outside downtown. Overall though, Ankeny has been a great place for our active, outdoorsy family!

Posts: 12
PlasticPoetAnkeny @plasticpoetankeny
Joined: 2 years ago

As somewhat of a starving artist type, I’ve definitely had to make some sacrifices to afford living in Ankeny over the last few years. Don’t have a car (costs too much) and live in a quirky but very reasonably priced studio apartment only paying $725/month in rent.

I stick to mostly inexpensive eats – cooking simple meals at home, grabbing a $9 fast food combo or $16 diner meal when I go out. Very frugal with utilities, entertainment (ebooks from library), etc. My vices are probably my $60/month internet to work remotely and the occasional $15 bottle of wine to unwind.

It’s not a luxurious lifestyle by any means, and I may need to re-evaluate at some point. But Ankeny has been a decent temporary landing spot for me to pursue my artistic passions without completely breaking the bank while I’m just starting out. The relatively low costs help a ton.

Posts: 10
AnkenyBurgFamily @ankenyburgfamily
Joined: 2 years ago

We’re a fairly typical family of 5 living in the Ankeny suburbs, and I’d say our overall costs are moderately high – but pretty worth it for the quality of life here. Our gest set monthly expenses:

– Mortgage on 4-bed house: $2,100 (could rent similarhouse for $1,800)
– Utilities (electric, gas, etc): $350
– Groceries: $800
– Gas for 2 cars: $400
– Car insurance: $200
– Mobile/internet: $160
– Healthcare: $800 (great family insurance)
– Kids activities: $300

That’s over $5,000 per month in essential recurring costs. Before any dining out, entertainment, vacations, etc. We’re fortunate to have a solid dual income, but it’s still a stretch some months with 3 kids.

Housing/healthcare are easily the biggest line items. But we consciously choose to pay up a bit more for great local schools, safe neighborhoods with parks/amenities nearby, and accessibility to everything Ankeny has to offer as a family. The suburbs have been well worth it for our current season of life!

Posts: 25

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 16.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 70.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 9.50 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 5.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 7.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 5.69 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.31 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.06 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 1.10 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 2.20 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 3.30 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 3.00 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 13.56 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 10.35 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 12.74 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 4.73 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.70 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 4.73 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 6.00 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 2.64 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 3.08 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 0.99 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 0.69 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 15.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 1.73 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.19 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 8.14 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 2.00 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.24 $
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) – 20.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 0.84 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 26,000.00 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 24,437.64 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 227.76 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 50.00 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 60.00 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 14.50 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 1,369.17 $
  • International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child – 11,812.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 47.44 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 39.99 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 90.50 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 143.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 925.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 925.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – 1,875.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 1,375.00 $
  • Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) – 5,522.67 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.61
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