Cost of Living Forum

ActonResident85 @actonresident85
Joined: 2 years ago

Cost of Living in Acton – Advice from Long-Term Residents?

Hi all, I’ve been living in Acton for the past 15 years and have seen the cost of living steadily increase over that time. I’m thinking of making a move but wanted to get perspectives from others on what typical living expenses look like these days in Acton for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, entertainment, etc. I’m a single professional in my 40s with no kids if that’s relevant context. Looking forward to hearing from my fellow Actoners!

Posts: 10

10 Replies

FamilyLife_Acton @familylife_acton
Joined: 2 years ago

As a family of four living in Acton, our biggest expense is definitely housing. We rent a 3-bedroom apartment outside of the city center for around $4,950 per month. Groceries can also get pricey, especially with the cost of meat and produce. A kilogram of chicken fillets is about $9.64 and apples are $6.36 per kg. Eating out is a luxury – a meal for two at a mid-range restaurant can easily set you back $100 or more.

That said, there are some reasonable costs too. Our utilities for a decent-sized apartment (electricity, heating, water) come out to around $158 per month. Transportation is manageable if you have a car – gasoline is only about $0.93 per liter. The public transit system is a bit lacking though.

Overall, Acton has a relatively high cost of living, especially for families. But the salaries are good (my spouse and I each make close to the $6,250 average) and there are lots of great amenities. Just be prepared for steep housing prices!

Posts: 11
BudgetBetty_Acton @budgetbetty_acton
Joined: 17 days ago

I’m a student living on a tight budget in Acton, so my perspective may be a bit different! Housing is definitely the biggest challenge – even a modest 1-bedroom apartment can run you $1,500+ per month if you want to live reasonably close to downtown. I got lucky and split a 2-bedroom place with a roommate for $900 each.

That said, Acton can be quite affordable for some basics if you’re frugal. Groceries are reasonable if you stick to basics like rice ($3/kg), eggs ($5.62 for a dozen), bananas ($1.36/kg), etc. I rarely eat out but an inexpensive restaurant meal is around $25. Public transit is…well, let’s just say I use my bike a lot!

For entertainment, I take advantage of lots of free stuff like parks and hiking trails. The movie theater is $14.50 for a ticket which isn’t too bad. My mobile plan with decent data is about $90 per month.

All in all, Acton is expensive if you want to live large. But for a student like me, it’s manageable with some scrimping and saving. The salaries are pretty good too if you can land a decent job after graduating!

Posts: 8
RetiredInActon @retiredinacton
Joined: 2 years ago

I’ve been retired and living in Acton for over 20 years now. In my experience, the cost of living really comes down to your housing situation. My spouse and I bought our modest 2-bedroom condo ages ago, so we only have maintenance fees ($400/month) and property taxes to worry about. That frees up a good chunk of our combined $4,000 monthly pension income for other expenses.

Groceries are quite pricey – I probably spend $500+ per month for the two of us, eating very simple meals at home. Fruit and vegetables seem to be getting more expensive every year. We don’t eat out much anymore besides an occasional diner breakfast ($25 for two).

Healthcare is one bigger recurring cost at this age. We’re fortunate to have good supplemental insurance, but dental work, medications, and other incidentals can add up quickly.

Utilities are pretty reasonable ($150/month for electricity, heat, etc.) and gas for the car is affordable at $0.93 per liter. We don’t take public transit or go out for entertainment too often these days.

All in all, I’d say Acton is quite livable for retirees, especially if you bought housing back when it was cheaper. The taxes are a bit high but the city services are good. Just be prepared for rising food and healthcare expenses!

Posts: 24
CarGal_Acton @cargal_acton
Joined: 12 months ago

As a total car enthusiast, I’ll admit a lot of my disposable income in Acton goes towards my automotive hobby! The good news is that gas prices are quite low at $0.93 per liter. The bad news is that cars themselves are very expensive – a decent new sedan like a Toyota Corolla is around $26k, and that’s on the lower end.

Aside from cars, I find Acton pretty affordable for a single person, at least by big city standards. I rent a nice 1-bedroom apartment downtown for $1,800 per month, which is pricey but allows me to be close to all the action. Groceries, going out, utilities, internet, etc. don’t cost too much if you’re reasonable about it.

I probably spend $400 per month on groceries stocking up on meats, veggies, microbrews, etc. Dinner out at a casual place is $25-30 with a drink. Mobile plan with plenty of data is under $90. Movies and other entertainment is pretty cheap if you pick the right things.

The biggest shock for me was the cost of parking and insurance for keeping a premium vehicle in the city. But overall, Acton is quite livable finance-wise if you budget correctly!

Posts: 19
FitFoodieActon @fitfoodieacton
Joined: 2 years ago

From my perspective as a fitness enthusiast with a focus on healthy eating, Acton has its pros and cons cost-wise. The pros are that produce tends to be quite affordable – mushrooms, greens, tomatoes, etc. don’t break the bank. And meat quality is very good if you’re willing to pay $10-20 per kg.

The cons are that eating out at most restaurants is very pricey if you want nutritious meals. Even a basic salad can cost $15+. And many of the higher-end health food stores have outrageous markups. I stick to more affordable grocery chains.

Other healthy living costs are reasonable – a monthly gym membership is around $60-80. Yoga studios are more like $100+ though. Running outdoors is free!

My overall tip would be to meal prep as much as possible, and focus your budget on high-quality meat, seafood, olive oil, etc. Filling up on inexpensive starches and produce. Decide which treats are worth the splurge (eg. I spend $5 on the occasional latte). It’s totally possible to live a healthy lifestyle in Acton without going broke!

Posts: 11
ParentInPinch @parentinpinch
Joined: 4 months ago

Acton is a tough place to make ends meet, especially with kids! My spouse and I are really feeling the financial squeeze with two youngsters in preschool/daycare ($1,500 per month per child). The costs just for childcare alone are insane.

We’re renting a decent 3-bedroom apartment outside downtown for $3,200 per month, which already eats up a huge chunk of our combined $8,000 monthly take-home pay. Groceries are through the roof too – $800-1000 per month is normal with two ravenous kids. The convenience of ready-made kids meals, snacks, etc. reallyy adds up.

Thankfully some kid activities are free/cheap – parks, community centers, libraries. But extra-curriculars like sports are so expensive, easily $100+ per month per child.

Utilities around $250 per month. We need a bigger mobile data plan at $130 per month for the whole family. And we pay around $300 per month for a compact car and insurance. It’s just constant out of pocket costs!

My advice would be to have a very healthy income and big savings before having kids in Acton. Even with decent salaries, it’s a constant juggling act. But the quality of life, schools, etc. are great assuming you can afford it!

Posts: 3
ActonArtsGal @actonartsgal
Joined: 2 years ago

As someone deeply involved in Acton’s arts and culture scene, I have a bit of a different take on the costs here. Housing is definitely pricey, but I’ve made it work by having roommates to split a trendy 2-bedroom apartment downtown ($850 each per month).

Where a lot of my income goes is experience-based costs – going to theater/dance performances ($30-60 per show), concerts/music events ($50ish per ticket), art gallery openings ($20 cover), etc. Supporting local artists, attending creatives events, buying artwork, etc. can reallyyyy add up.

Thankfully, Acton has lots of free/cheap creative outlets too – art walks, outdoor concerts, community art spaces, etc. I probably spend $150-300 per month on cultural events and expenses.

Other costs are pretty normal – $400ish per month for groceries, $100 for utilities, $80 for a gym membership. Public transit is a hassle, but I get by with rideshares and cycling.

While the housing costs are high, I honestly feel the quality of life and vibrant arts scene in Acton is worth the slightly elevated cost of living, at least for now while I’m young and soaking it all in! The key is just being diligent about separating “needs” from “wants” in your budget.

Posts: 13
StartupStriver_Acton @startupstriver_acton
Joined: 2 years ago

As someone trying to get a new tech startup off the ground, I have a bit of a unique perspective on Acton’s costs. For a city with such a high cost of living (especially for housing), I was really surprised at just how EXPENSIVE it is to rent office space, hire employees, access resources, etc. here.

Don’t get me wrong, the city has an amazing pool of talented workers and I earn a decent salary myself ($7k per month after taxes). But even a basic small office space for a team of 5 people can easily run you $3,000 per month!

Funding expenditures, legal/accounting fees, software licenses, company benefits…it honestly feels like every business service or membership here is marked up by 50% compared to other cities I’ve worked in.

That said, Acton does seem to have a thriving startup environment and scene that could make those costs worthwhile longterm if you can get traction. The networking events, potential investor connections, lifestyle amenities for employees, etc. are all top-notch.

My advice would be to thoroughly map out your projected burn rate and revenue models beforehand. Don’t underestimate just how expensive it is to build a company here! But if you can make it work, Acton could be an amazing home base.

Posts: 9
RichKid_Acton @richkid_acton
Joined: 2 years ago

I’ll be honest, I’m extremely privileged to be from a wealthy family in Acton, so my perspective on costs here is probably severely distorted. But I’ll do my best to provide a reality check!

From what I can tell, the biggest expenditures in Acton are housing and transportation for most people. We own a massive $3 million home downtown, so that part is covered. But even getting domestic help (nannies, cleaners, gardeners) in Acton can be astonishingly pricey.

Things like high-end gyms ($250/month), personal trainers ($100+/session), luxury cars ($80k for a nice sedan), and parking ($500/month downtown) are budget-busters if you want to live that premium lifestyle.

That said, I do think there’s an affordable underbelly in Acton if you’re smart and responsible with your money. Groceries don’t have to break the bank if you shop wisely. Public transit is very reasonable if you use it regularly. And there are SO many fun free/cheap community events, attractions, and outdoor activities. It’s just about prioritizing what’s important.

My advice: If you can stomach the crazy housing costs, Acton is very livable…as long as you’re not trying to keep up with the Joneses (or the Kardashians) on every single expenditure. Live within reason and it’s quite affordable! Just watch out for inflated prices gouging the ultra-wealthy crowd.

Posts: 4
NativeNester @nativenester
Joined: 2 years ago

As someone born and raised in Acton, I’ve had a front-row seat to watch the cost of living rise dramatically over the past few decades. It’s gotten to the point where I honestly don’t know how anyone can afford to start out or settle down here anymore unless they’re making $100k+ household income.

The single biggest expense is, without a doubt, housing. Homes have gotten absurdly expensive, with even modest single-family houses going for $800k+. Rentals are very limited and also through the roof – $2,000 for a one-bedroom apartment is considered a “deal” now.

Childcare, education, healthcare…basically any major life expense in Acton will stretch your budget to the limit nowadays. $1,500 per month for daycare/preschool, $30,000-50,000 per year for a decent private school from K-12, huge deductibles for family health insurance plans, etc. Unless you’re upper-middle class or higher, it’s just not viable for the average family.

The one upside is that there’s still reasonable entertainment and day-to-day costs if you’re shrewd – taking public transit, packing lunches, limiting car usage, enjoying free community events, etc. But the big-ticket items like housing and education are just obscene now.

My honest advice: Unless you have an amazing job prospect or existing family wealth, steer clear of Acton right now, especially if you’re trying to start a family on a normal salary. It’s getting to be unaffordable for the middle class. At least save up a huge nest egg before you make the move!

Posts: 3

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 25.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 100.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 12.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 8.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 8.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 5.00 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.30 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.12 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 1.32 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 3.62 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 3.08 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 5.62 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 10.74 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 9.64 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 21.30 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 6.36 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.36 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 4.77 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 5.87 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 2.54 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 3.31 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 1.92 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 2.25 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 13.35 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 1.73 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.62 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 11.00 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 4.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 0.93 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 35,783.94 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 26,187.44 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 158.55 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 88.91 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 61.00 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 14.50 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 1,500.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 60.00 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 40.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 80.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 83.33 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 4,950.00 $
  • Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) – 6,250.00 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.56
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