Cost of Living Forum

TexasNative @texasnative
Joined: 4 months ago

Cost of Living in Austin – Detailed Insights Needed

Hi everyone, I’m a long-time Austinite, and I’m curious to get your thoughts on the current cost of living situation in our city. As housing prices continue to rise and the city grows, I’m wondering how affordable Austin still is for different lifestyles and income levels.

I’m a single professional in my 30s, living in a 1-bedroom apartment downtown and commuting by public transit or walking. I make a decent salary, but still feel the pinch of high rent and other expenses like dining out frequently.

I’d love to hear from those in different circumstances – families, retirees, students, renters vs homeowners, etc. What are your major monthly expenses like? How much do you budget for things like housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, entertainment, and so on? Do you find Austin affordable or a strain on your finances?

Any insights into both the upsides and downsides of the cost of living here would be appreciated. I’m hoping to get a well-rounded perspective to decide if Austin is still a sustainable long-term option for me or if I should start looking elsewhere. Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences!

Posts: 9

10 Replies

AustiniteMom @austinitemom
Joined: 2 years ago

As a mom of two young kids in Austin, I can say the cost of living here is definitely on the high side, especially for families. Housing is easily our biggest expense – we opted for a 3-bedroom apartment in the suburbs to keep costs down, but we’re still paying around $2,200 per month in rent. Childcare is another major hit, over $2,000 per month for two kids in daycare.

Groceries, utilities, healthcare premiums through my employer, it all adds up quickly. We probably spend $800-$1,000 per month on groceries and household items alone. Entertainment-wise, we mostly stick to free activities like parks and library events to save money.

That said, my husband has a decent job in tech, and we’re able to make it work, although not with a ton of extra disposable income leftover. The quality of life, climate, and amenities in Austin make the costs bearable for us for now. But I could definitely see us moving somewhere more affordable once the kids are school-aged if housing costs keep climbing.

Posts: 20
TxTechBro @txtechbro
Joined: 2 years ago

I actually find Austin pretty affordable compared to other major tech hubs, at least for a single guy like me. I live in a modern 1-bed apartment downtown, walking distance to most of the nightlife and restaurants I frequent. Rent is high at around $1,800, but the convenience is worth it to me.

Outside of rent, my other major costs are going out – I probably drop $400+ per month on eating out, bars, Uber rides, etc. But hey, you only live once, and Austin has an amazing food/drink scene. Groceries, utilities, gym membership, it all adds up to maybe $800 per month for me.

With a tech salary of around $120K, I can manage all that pretty comfortably while still saving a decent amount each month. Austin’s cost of living feels very reasonable to me compared to rent prices in NYC or the Bay Area. As long as the tech industry keeps growing here, I plan on sticking around for the foreseeable future.

Posts: 1
AustinHomeowner @austinhomeowner
Joined: 12 months ago

We bought our 3-bed, 2-bath house in East Austin back in 2015 for $325K, and let me tell you, best decision ever! Even with our $1,800 monthly mortgage payment, we’re still paying way less than renting that size place would cost now.

The mortgage is definitely our biggest monthly expense, but property taxes of $600+ per month are also a major strain. We probably spend another $800-$1,000 on utilities, groceries, gas, etc. for our family of four. Entertainment is relatively cheap – we mostly do affordable stuff like movies, bowling, swimming at apartment pools.

My wife and I are lucky to have decent corporate jobs, so we can manage the costs. But I worry about friends who are just getting priced out of the housing market entirely. Austin’s cost of living is getting increasingly out of control for regular folks. We’re essentially locked into staying put unless we want to take a major loss selling our home.

Posts: 19
KeepAustinWeirder @keepaustinweirder
Joined: 9 months ago

I’ve lived in Austin for over 20 years, back when it was still relatively affordable even for artists and service workers. These days, not so much. The cost of living has skyrocketed to where it’s getting really difficult for anyone but highly-paid tech workers and the like.

My rent for a tiny one-bedroom apartment east of I-35 is $1,100 per month, and that’s a good deal compared to most places now. Groceries, utilities, gas, insurance, it all adds up to where I’m spending nearly every penny of my modest $40K salary just on basic expenses.

Any luxury expenditures like dining out, concerts, or leisure activities are basically off the table. The live music scene that used to make Austin so vibrant and unique is suffering as venues shutter and musicians move away chasing affordability.

I love this city, but I’m worried about its soul being eroded by unchecked growth catering only to a wealthier demographic. If the cost of living keeps climbing at this rate, Austin risks losing the very culture and diversity that made it such a attractive place to live in the first place.

Posts: 19
AustinUniversityKid @austinuniversitykid
Joined: 10 days ago

As a student at UT Austin, the cost of living is manageable but still a struggle. I have a decent chunk of financial aid covering tuition and some living expenses, but housing near campus is insanely expensive. My rent for a shared 2-bedroom apartment is $850 per month.

On top of that, groceries, textbooks, utilities, and all the other incidentals really add up quickly. I probably spend around $500-600 per month just on food, even cooking most meals myself. Having a meal plan on campus would be over $1,000 per semester.

I work a part-time job to cover costs, but between classes, studying, and work, my budget is pretty tight. Socializing and going out ends up being a luxury I can rarely afford. Graduating with a ton of student loans isn’t ideal either.

The university experience is still amazing, and Austin has such an energetic vibe. But the cost of being a student here is kind of crazy. A lot of my peers take out massive loans or have their parents foot the entire bill to afford it.

Posts: 13
AustinCityLifer @austincitylifer
Joined: 6 months ago

I’ve lived in Austin my whole life, and while I love this city dearly, the affordability situation is really disturbing me lately. Housing costs have gotten out of control, and it’s not just apartments – even modest single family homes are selling for $500K+ these days in decent areas.

My husband and I were lucky to buy our home back in the early 2000s. Our mortgage is manageable, but the rising costs of everything else – property taxes, groceries, utilities, healthcare premiums, kid activities – have made things really tight on our middle-class salaries around $80K combined.

We’re having to cut back a lot, passing on little luxuries, delaying big purchases and home repairs. I worry about friends and family who are renting having to move further out into suburbs just to find anything remotely affordable.

Austin used to be such an affordable, livable city. Now it feels like only the wealthy elite can truly thrive here comfortably. Unless some meaningful effort is made to increase housing supply and rein in costs, this city is going to lose a big part of what made it special – its diversity, culture, and accessibility for regular working folks.

Posts: 9
AustinArtistLife @austinartistlife
Joined: 4 months ago

As a freelance artist and musician in Austin, I’ll be honest – the cost of living here has become really tough to manage over the past decade or so. Back in the early 2000s, you could get by pretty easily on modest gig earnings. These days, not so much.

My rent for a studio apartment near East 6th is $1,150 per month, which already eats up a huge chunk of my irregular income. Then you’ve got utilities, groceries, transportation, healthcare with no employer plan, supplies for my artwork and music. It all adds up quickly even living a pretty minimal lifestyle.

I supplement with side gigs and jobs, but it’s hard to make ends meet. Austin’s astronomical housing costs and living expenses have already pushed out so many talented creatives who were core parts of the local arts community.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore this city and its spirit. But prioritizing luxury development and catering to an influx of wealthier folks has made it extremely challenging for musicians, artists, and bohemian types to survive here anymore. The culture is shifting in a way that’s really disheartening.

Posts: 22
TXRetireeCoupleAus @txretireecoupleaus
Joined: 2 years ago

My wife and I are retired and living on a fixed income in Austin, and we definitely feel the financial constraints these days. We own our home and our mortgage is paid off, but the other costs keep rising rapidly every year.

Property taxes, insurance, utilities, groceries, healthcare expenses – those basic staples eat up the majority of our combined Social Security checks and modest retirement savings payouts each month. We’ve had to cut back significantly on leisure spending and travel over the past 5 years or so.

That said, we still find Austin to be relatively affordable compared to other major metro areas, at least for homeowners. Walk-ability and public transit help minimize transportation costs. There are still deals to be found if you look hard enough – affordable eats, community events, senior discounts.

But you’re right, the city is becoming increasingly unaffordable for people on limited incomes like retirees and working class residents. With housing exploding and costs outpacing fixed payment sources, it’s only getting harder for folks in our situation to make it work long-term.

Posts: 16
AustinYuppieCouple @austinyuppiecouple
Joined: 2 years ago

My husband and I are in our early 30s, both working good corporate jobs and currently renting a modern two-bedroom apartment downtown. Even with our combined $200K+ household income, Austin feels pretty expensive at times!

Our biggest cost is rent at $3,100 per month, which is ludicrous but we can swing it for now. Groceries easily run us $800+ monthly. Then you’ve got $200 each for gym memberships, $400 for utilities and other bills, $500-600 for entertainment and dining out, $75 each for CBD/internet, plus transportation costs. We’re talking $6K+ in fixed monthly expenses easily.

We save and invest aggressively too, but it’s getting tougher to afford actually buying property in Austin on just our income level. A decent 2-3 bedroom home in our preferred areas is going for $700K minimum these days.

Don’t get me wrong, we’re very fortunate to be in our financial position. But the cost of living in Austin just keeps climbing rapidly, making even a solid upper-middle class income feel stretched pretty thin if you want to live comfortably in the city core. We’ll probably have to leave the rental lifestyle behind soon.

Posts: 1
AustinDatingSingle @austindatingsingle
Joined: 10 months ago

As a single guy in my late 20s, the dating and social scene in Austin is incredible, but also pricy! I feel like I’m constantly shelling out cash for overpriced drinks, dinners, cover charges, etc. just as the baseline to maintain an active dating life.

My rent for a decent one-bedroom apartment isn’t too crazy at around $1,400. But I probably spend $400+ each month on going out – bars, restaurants, movie dates, activities around town. Tank of gas is $50 most weeks between driving for dates and to job sites around Austin for my marketing gig.

Thankfully I make around $65K per year, so I can generally afford those expenditures while saving a bit. But it does feel like being a young professional who’s social and dating in Austin requires a pretty healthy budget between housing, transportation, and just having a active social life.

That’s just kind of the price you pay to take advantage of everything this city has to offer though! As long as incomes keep rising to match the cost of living, it’s worth it to me to live here and enjoy Austin’s amazing dating scene, culture, food, and entertainment options.

Posts: 6

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 16.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 80.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 12.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 4.75 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 5.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 5.00 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.31 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.00 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 0.85 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 2.02 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 1.94 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 2.60 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 13.56 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 6.61 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 14.98 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 5.45 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.21 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 3.51 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 1.72 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 1.64 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 2.82 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 1.50 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 2.00 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 3.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 1.73 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 5.00 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 9.00 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 2.00 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.24 $
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) – 20.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 0.81 $
  • 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 – 150.60 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 56.17 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 75.83 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 15.00 $
  • 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) – 63.50 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 50.00 $
  • 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 – 1,600.00 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.61
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