Cost of Living Forum

AltonLocal82 @altonlocal82
Joined: 2 years ago

Cost of Living in Alton for a Long-Term Resident

I’ve lived in Alton for over 15 years now, and I’m curious to hear from others about how the cost of living here compares to their experiences. As a single professional in my 30s, my biggest expenses are rent for a one-bedroom apartment downtown ($700/month), groceries, dining out, transportation, and entertainment.

I’d love to get a sense of what others are paying for major costs like housing, utilities, food, transportation, healthcare, and leisure activities. What has been your experience with the overall affordability of living in Alton? I’m looking for a diverse range of perspectives, whether you’re a student, family, retiree, or anything in between. Please share any insights you have!

Posts: 1

10 Replies

FamilyOf4Alton @familyof4alton
Joined: 16 days ago

As a family of four (two young kids) living in Alton, our costs can really add up. Housing is probably our biggest expenditure – we pay $1,300 per month for a 3-bedroom apartment a few miles outside downtown. Utilities for our place (electricity, water, etc.) come to around $200 per month. Groceries are also a major factor, probably $800-$1000 per month to feed our family of four decent meals.

One area where Alton is relatively affordable is entertainment and activities for the kids. There are decent public parks, the movie theater is $12 for an adult ticket, and we get a family membership at the local rec center for $75/month that gives us access to pools, gyms, classes etc. Eating out isn’t cheap though – a casual restaurant meal for our family is $50-60 typically.

Overall, I’d say Alton is pretty middle-of-the-road cost of living. Not cheap, but not overly expensive either. Being a bit outside the city center helps keep housing costs manageable. We make a comfortable living, but costs do add up quickly for a family.

Posts: 12
BrokeStudentAlton @brokestudentalton
Joined: 2 years ago

As a student at the local university, the cost of living in Alton can be really tough! I pay $500 for a small studio apartment near campus, plus probably $50-60 per month for utilities. Groceries and meals are where I try to save – I buy bulk rice, beans, veggies etc. and cook almost all my meals. Even then, I spend around $250 on food per month.

Transportation is an issue since I don’t have a car. The public bus system is pretty limited, so I end up using rideshares like Uber a fair bit which isn’t cheap (maybe $100/month). Healthcare is covered by the university insurance fortunately.

My typical monthly budget of around $900 for rent, food, transportation and other essentials is really tight. I supplement it with a part-time job, but between tuition, books and living costs, being a student in Alton requires living really frugally. The relatively affordable housing is a plus, but overall it’s quite an expensive city for my situation. Can’t wait to make real money after graduating!

Posts: 21
RetiredCoupleAlton @retiredcouplealton
Joined: 11 months ago

We retired to Alton about 5 years ago and have found the city to be quite affordable, especially compared to where we previously lived. We own our condo outright downtown, so just pay around $300 per month for HOA fees which cover utilities. Groceries for the two of us probably run $400-500 per month.

Healthcare is one bigger expense – we pay around $800 per month for supplemental Medicare insurance and prescriptions. But other than that, we live a relatively low-cost lifestyle. We don’t eat out too frequently, cook at home, don’t have car payments, etc. We budget around $150 per month for entertainment like movies, museum visits, travel.

With our retirement income of around $5,000 per month, we are able to live quite comfortably in Alton. The affordable housing and low costs for utilities, transportation, entertainment etc. make it an attractive city for retirees in our opinion. We feel we get great value compared to the higher costs in other areas we looked at.

Posts: 6
YuppieAltonDowntown @yuppiealtondowntown
Joined: 2 years ago

I’m a young professional living the downtown Alton lifestyle, and honestly, the costs can get quite high here depending on your priorities. I pay $1,000 per month for a nice 1-bed apartment in a luxury building. Utilities are covered, but then I probably spend $400 per month on groceries from Whole Foods and dining out 2-3 times per week ($60-80 per meal with drinks at trendier places).

I also pay $150 per month for a gym membership, $60 for Hulu/Netflix/Spotify, and at least $200 on ride shares/transportation since I don’t have a car downtown. Healthcare through my employer is decent though at $100 per month.

All in all, my lifestyle runs me around $2,500-3,000 per month after taxes. It’s not cheap, but the convenience of living downtown, being close to all the best bars/restaurants/amenities, and not having to own a car makes it worth it for my DINK lifestyle right now. I could definitely lower my costs by moving outside the center though.

Posts: 13
BlueCollarAlton @bluecollaralton
Joined: 7 months ago

As a blue-collar worker (plumber) living in Alton, I’d say the costs here are pretty manageable on a decent skilled labor income. My wife and I own a modest 3-bed house outside the downtown area that we paid $280k for about 8 years ago. With our 15-year mortgage paid off, we just have basic utilities, cable/internet, and maintenance costs of maybe $500/month for the house.

Groceries are probably $600-700 per month for our family of 4. We drive older paid-off vehicles, so transportation is just gas and insurance at $300 or so. Don’t have any healthcare costs thanks to good union benefits.

We keep entertainment costs pretty low – maybe $100 per month going out to dinner or movies. I’d say our total monthly costs are around $2,500 on the higher end. Which is very manageable on my $65k salary plus my wife’s $45k income.

Alton has been great for us providing a solid middle-class lifestyle without breaking the bank. The suburbs have affordable housing costs while still being close enough to the city. No complaints from this blue-collar resident!

Posts: 15
SingleMomAlton @singlemomalton
Joined: 2 months ago

Being a single mom in Alton is no joke – the costs can really strain my budget at times. I pay $800 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment rental outside the city center, which is do-able but still quite a bit given I only make $45k per year at my job.

On top of rent, I’m paying around $150 per month for utilities, $500-600 for groceries feeding myself and my son, $300 for healthcare/medications not fully covered, $200 in car/transportation costs, and at least $150 for kids’ activities and entertainment. So my essential living costs are already over $2,000 per month.

It doesn’t leave a whole lot of wiggle room for extras or savings each month. I try to be very frugal shopping for deals, cooking home meals, limiting clothes/extras for myself, etc. But the costs do add up quickly as a single mom. Alton is not a cheap place to get by when you’re the sole provider. I wish the pay could be a bit higher to make things more affordable.

Posts: 23
StartupBroAlton @startupbroalton
Joined: 9 months ago

As an entrepreneur running a lean startup in Alton, I have to be pretty mindful of costs. I live in a basic $600/month studio downtown to keep housing low, get by with an older used car ($150/month) rather than taking cabs/rideshares, don’t pay for any subscriptions beyond internet/Netflix, and try to cook for myself as much as possible ($300/month on groceries).

My biggest expenditures are for my business expenses/office space ($800/month) and healthcare. Since I don’t have employer benefits, I’m stuck paying around $400 per month for a decent individual health plan – definitely one of the costlier aspects of living here.

In total, my personal living costs are around $2,300 per month. It’s manageable for now while bootstrapping the business, but doesn’t leave a ton of room for extra spending. I think Alton provides a decent balance of having urban amenities while keeping costs somewhat reasonable for a single person. Definitely an affordable choice compared to living in a major tech hub right now.

Posts: 24
AltonTechBro @altontechbro
Joined: 2 years ago

As a software developer working at one of Alton’s major tech companies, I live a pretty comfortable lifestyle – but it comes at a decent cost. I split a 2-bed apartment downtown with my buddy at $1200 each per month. Add $100 for utilities, $400 for groceries, $300 for going out/bar scene, $200 for gym/hobbies, $300 for transportation (car payment, insurance, gas), and $150 for renters/health insurance through my employer.

All in, I’m probably spending $2,500-2,700 per month to live the young professional city lifestyle here. Which is definitely do-able on a $90k salary in a modest-cost city like Alton. But it’s by no means cheap – there’s just so many little costs that add up even without a family.

At the same time, you’re getting good value compared to living in the Bay Area or NYC where a similar lifestyle could easily be twice as expensive. So for an affordable mid-sized city, I think Alton lets you live quite well if you’re making decent tech money.

Posts: 2
FrugalFIREFamilyAlton @frugalfirefamilyalton
Joined: 13 months ago

Our family of 5 lives extremely frugally in Alton as we pursue a FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early) lifestyle. We own a modest 3-bed house outside the city center that we purchased for $190k a few years ago. With our 30-year mortgage, we pay about $1,200 per month for the home, which covers escrow for taxes/insurance too.

We keep utilities very low – around $100 per month by being hyper energy efficient. Groceries are also minimal at $500-600 per month buying mostly bulk dry goods, produce, etc. We have 2 older paid off vehicles for transportation with cheap insurance, so those costs are negligible.

For healthcare, we have a low-cost private plan that is $450 for the whole family. We spend very little on entertainment – maybe $50 per month for budget activities. Overall our total housing costs are in the $2,300 range.

My wife and I only make around $75k combined, but by keeping living costs so low in Alton and avoiding major expenditures, we’re able to bank over 50% of our incomes towards retirement investments. It would be tough to have this frugal lifestyle in a more expensive area!

Posts: 5
WealthyAltonResident @wealthyaltonresident
Joined: 2 years ago

I’ll provide a perspective from the other end of the spectrum – as a wealthy resident, Alton offers a very affluent lifestyle at a relatively reasonable cost compared to bigger cities. My wife and I own a $1.2M home in the nicest suburbs. Our mortgage/taxes/insurance comes out to around $6,000 per month for the large 5-bed property.

We spend liberally on personal services/amenities – probably $1,000 per month on a housekeeper, lawn care, etc. Groceries from high-end markets run us $1,200. We each have luxury vehicles with payments totally $1,500 per month. Dining out frequently at nice restaurants is another $1,000 expense. Then you have club memberships, vacations, entertainment, and other indulgences.

All-in, our household probably spends around $15,000 per month to maintain our luxurious lifestyle and all the associated costs that come with it. While that’s certainly high, it’s a very achievable lifestyle in a city like Alton for a dual-income household making $500k+ per year from successful careers/businesses. We get amazing value and quality of life compared to what it would cost for similar living standards in places like LA, Miami, NYC etc.

Posts: 10

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 20.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 60.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 10.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 6.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 6.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 4.59 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.31 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 1.84 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 0.89 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 2.52 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 4.71 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 2.52 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 7.89 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 10.77 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 15.72 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 5.87 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.41 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 4.54 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 4.97 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 3.05 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 2.94 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 1.91 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 1.97 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 15.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 2.13 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.99 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 7.00 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 3.50 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.55 $
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) – 40.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 0.85 $
  • 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) – 24,763.66 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 190.25 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 42.22 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 24.58 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 12.00 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 1,166.67 $
  • International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child – 23,800.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 52.73 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 46.67 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 79.18 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 111.12 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 700.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 800.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – 1,100.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 1,300.00 $
  • Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) – 5,750.00 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.48
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