Cost of Living Forum

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CapeCodLifer @capecodlifer
Joined: 10 months ago

Living Costs in Barnstable – Input from Long-Time Residents?


Hi everyone, I’ve been living in Barnstable for over 15 years now, but I’m looking to get a fresher perspective on the current costs of living here. As someone with a family of four (two kids in elementary school), I’m particularly interested in hearing about expenses related to housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment/activities.

What has your experience been? I’d love to hear from others who have lived here for a while to get a realistic picture of what it costs to make ends meet and maintain a decent quality of life in Barnstable these days. Both pros and cons would be appreciated! Let me know your thoughts.

Posts: 10

10 Replies


CapeCoddah @capecoddah
Joined: 2 years ago

Housing is probably the biggest expense in Barnstable, especially if you want to live close to the downtown area or near the beaches. A decent 3-bedroom apartment or house can easily run $2,500-$3,000+ per month for rent, or $500,000+ to buy. Utilities like electricity and heat aren’t too bad though, maybe $150-$200 per month for a family.

Groceries add up quickly, but it’s kind of a trade-off for the freshness and quality you get from local farms and seafood markets. I’d budget at least $800-$1000 per month for a family of four. Eating out is also pricey, with most mid-range restaurant meals costing $20+ per person.

Transportation can be expensive too if you have multiple vehicles and commute very far. But the local public transit is decent. Healthcare is about average for the area, but some services require a bit of a drive.

The beaches, parks, and community events/festivals are awesome though and make living here worth it for our family. You pay a premium, but it’s a great place to raise kids with a good school system. Just be prepared for the sticker shock on housing!

Posts: 17
FishingFan @fishingfan
Joined: 2 months ago

I’m a single guy, so my expenses are probably lower than a family’s. But here’s my take – rent for a basic one-bedroom runs around $1,400 in the main town areas. Groceries for one person buying mostly basics is $300-$400 per month. Utilities with internet/cable is another $200 or so.

The real costs that get you are things like entertainment and leisure activities. A beer at the bar is like $5-6. Movies are $14 per ticket. And if you want to do anything on the water like fishing charters, boat rentals, etc. it adds up FAST. But that’s part of the appeal of living here.

My advice is to get a place that’s inland a bit from the main tourist areas if you can. It’ll save you a ton on rent and you can still easily get to all the beaches and fun stuff. The traffic and parking costs are bonkers in the summer though. Overall I think Barnstable is a great place to live if you can afford it!

Posts: 25
MomEconomy @momeconomy
Joined: 2 years ago

As a mom of three kids (all in school), here are some of the major costs we deal with in Barnstable:

Housing is indeed very expensive, we pay $3,200 for a 3-bed apartment not downtown. But the schools here are great.

Groceries for our family run at least $1,200 per month if we want to buy good quality stuff.

Childcare and kid activities are hugely expensive – about $1,500 for after-school care, plus sports/camp fees etc.

Healthcare is also very pricey even with insurance, probably $500+ per month with co-pays and prescriptions.

Utilities around $300 per month.

We do try to take advantage of free community events and spend time at the beaches. But entertainment stuff like mini golf, ice cream, etc. adds up fast as well.

It’s a lot to handle on one average income, but the quality of life and environment makes it worth it for us. Though I do sometimes dream of moving somewhere cheaper!

Posts: 11
RentingRich @rentingrich
Joined: 2 years ago

I rent out properties in Barnstable and the numbers I see are pretty eye-opening:

A decent renovated 2-bed apartment downtown goes for $2,500-$3,000 per month.
3-bed single family homes rent for $3,500-$4,500 in nice areas.

Tenants pay their own utilities on top of that – figure $200-300 for a family.

The prices just keep climbing year after year too. It’s getting harder and harder for regular working families to afford to live here unless they have very high incomes.

My advice is to look into the surrounding Cape towns if you want cheaper housing. Or be prepared to have roommates/relatives to split costs. The premium for actually living in Barnstable itself is quite high due to the central location and amenities.

But it’s still a beautiful place that commands top dollar from those willing to pay it. Management fees and other rental costs are high too. Not an easy market for tenants or landlords!

Posts: 18
CapeCodCoupon @capecodcoupon
Joined: 11 months ago

I’ve lived in Barnstable for over 20 years and while it’s expensive, there are definitely ways to save and make it work on a budget:

Housing is by far the biggest monthly cost, but try looking at the outer areas like Hyannis for cheaper rents. You can find decent 2-beds for $1,800-2,200.

Grocery shop the sales and stock up – places like Trader Joe’s and Aldi can cut your bill in half if you plan ahead. $500 for two people’ grocery is doable.

Utilities do add up to around $300 for a small place. But public transit is $2 per ride or get a monthly pass to save.

Entertainment is where I cut costs the most – so many free beaches, parks, outdoor concerts, etc. Put together a picnic instead of eating out. Redbox instead of movies.

Local community colleges offer cheap gym access. Thrift stores for clothing. Taking advantage of all the deal-stacking opportunities is key!

It takes some work and sacrifice, but you can live relatively comfortably here without going full bougie if you’re smart about it. The natural beauty makes up for some of the costs in my opinion.

Posts: 23
ArtistBudget @artistbudget
Joined: 5 months ago

As someone on a tight budget doing creative work, here’s my perspective on Barnstable’s cost of living:

Housing is by far my biggest monthly expense, I pay $1,300 for a small studio downtown to be close to galleries/inspiration. Definitely a stretch.

Groceries I can usually keep around $250 per month by buying basics and cooking at home.

Utilities like electric/internet run me $150 or so.

Transportation is low since I just use my bike and the occasional Uber.

Healthcare is rough, I pay around $450 per month for a high-deductible plan. The costs terrify me.

Entertainment/art supplies make up a good chunk too, maybe $200 per month going to shows, buying materials, etc. But that’s part of my life’s work.

It’s not easy by any means as a single person, and I definitely have to scrimp and get creative with side gigs and budgeting. But I love the vibrant arts community and natural inspiration here. For now I make the sacrifices to pursue my passion in a place like Barnstable, we’ll see how long I can sustain it though!

Posts: 8
RetiredTraveler @retiredtraveler
Joined: 2 years ago

My wife and I are retired and living off our savings/investments in Barnstable, so our expenses may look a bit different:

We bought our 2-bed condo outright a few years ago for around $450k, no mortgage payment which is a big relief.

Property taxes run about $5,000 per year which is pretty typical for the area.

Most of our recurring costs are utilities ($300/month), groceries ($600/month), healthcare ($700/month with Medicare + supplements), and entertainment/travel.

We don’t have any kid-related costs anymore, which is a big savings. And we drive fairly fuel-efficient cars to keep gas spending lower.

Overall, I’d say you need around $5,000 per month in income or retirement savings to live a relatively comfortable life here as a retired couple. More if you want to eat out frequently or travel a lot.

It’s not a cheap area by any means, but the New England charm and coastal vibe make it worth it for us at this stage of life. Though heating costs are a bear in the winter!

Posts: 9
MillennialSaver @millennialsaver
Joined: 4 months ago

As a young professional, I’ve managed to make living in Barnstable work through some careful planning and sacrifice:

I have a decent tech job that pays about $75k, which goes a reasonably long way as a single person with no kids.

My biggest cost is rent at $1,600 for a modest 1-bed apartment not right downtown. Still less than buying though.

Groceries are around $400 per month, trying to cook at home often.

Car payment of $300 plus gas/insurance of $200. Parking can be annoying too.

Utilities like electric, internet, etc. around $250 per month.

Entertainment is probably my biggest pain point – eating out, going to bars, concerts, etc. can easily run $500+ per month in this town if I’m not careful.

No crazy health issues so healthcare is manageable at $150 per month.

By maxing out retirement contributions and being pretty frugal otherwise, I can still save a decent chunk each month. But the cost of living here is definitely high, especially for buying property down the line. The beaches and summer vibe make it worth it for now in my 20s at least!

Posts: 14
FitFamCaptain @fitfamcaptain
Joined: 11 months ago

We’re a pretty active family of 5 (3 kids), so our costs in Barnstable kind of revolve around keeping everyone fed and entertained:

Housing is the big one – we pay $3,700 for a 4-bedroom house in a decent neighborhood near schools. Could have gone smaller, but wanted enough space.

Groceries are insane for feeding 5 people, we budget about $1,500 per month to buy fresh healthy stuff.

Kids’ sports/activities run another $500 per month or so between camps, equipment, fees, etc.

Utilities (electric, heat, internet, etc) around $400.

We drive a lot to get the kids around, so gas is probably $400 per month across two cars.

Entertainment is pricey too – eating out once a week is $300, plus movies, bowling, etc. to keep the family activities going.

On the plus side, we take advantage of the awesome parks and beaches without too much added cost. And the public schools are great.

It’s definitely an investment living here as an active family. But we make it work by budgeting tightly since we love the environment and healthy lifestyle this town allows.

Posts: 7
ChefsSpecial @chefsspecial
Joined: 2 years ago

From the perspective of someone working in the food/hospitality industry in Barnstable, here are some of the major costs:

Housing is a killer, even for a humble 1-bedroom you’re looking at $1,500+ unless you get very lucky. Most service workers I know have multiple roommates or long commutes.

Food isn’t too bad if you take advantage of employee discounts and know where to shop. Maybe $400 per month for a single person cooking at home.

Utilities like electric/gas/internet might be $200 per month.

Transportation is rough – $200+ per month for gas and insurance if you have a car. Or $60 for a bus pass.

Health insurance is a must but plans can be $300+ per month even with employer assistance.

The real costs come from having any kind of social life – drinks, restaurants, etc. A single bar night can easily run $40-50 after food, tips, and rides.

It’s a fun town for foodies and going out, but very expensive for service workers like myself unless you have a rent-controlled place or roommates. Tons of people commute an hour+ to make it work financially. Not easy, but the tips can be great in summer!

Posts: 24

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 22.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 75.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 10.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 5.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 6.50 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 4.08 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.10 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 1.69 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 1.19 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 2.97 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 3.08 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 4.25 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 6.59 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 8.80 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 8.80 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 4.17 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.76 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 4.39 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 3.51 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 2.18 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 2.18 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 1.99 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 2.49 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 12.50 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 2.12 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.62 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 11.00 $
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) – 2.00 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 4.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 0.87 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 36,036.53 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 24,000.00 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 100.00 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 60.00 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 61.00 $
  • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult – 50.00 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 14.00 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 1,500.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 52.50 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 40.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 73.75 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 83.33 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 1,400.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 1,650.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – 2,950.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 3,250.00 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.67
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