Cost of Living Forum

ABQNative @abqnative
Joined: 8 months ago

Living Costs in Albuquerque – Advice Needed!

Hey everyone, I’m a long-time Albuquerque resident looking for some input on the current cost of living situation in our city. I’m helping my nephew (who’s thinking of moving here) get a realistic picture of what to expect expense-wise. It’s been a while since I’ve had to budget for things like rent, utilities, groceries, etc. as a single person.

I’d love to hear from fellow ‘Burquenos about what you’re paying for major expenses like housing, food, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment. What are some areas where costs seem higher or lower than average? Any tips for saving money or finding good deals? I know the overall cost of living is relatively affordable compared to other major cities, but I want to make sure my nephew has accurate, up-to-date info. Thanks in advance for your input!

Posts: 7

10 Replies

DukeCityLifer @dukecitylifer
Joined: 6 months ago

Housing is probably the biggest factor when it comes to living costs here. Rent has been climbing steadily over the last few years, especially in the trendier areas like Nob Hill and Downtown. For a decent 1-bedroom apartment in a central location, your nephew should expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 per month, and even more if he wants something newly renovated or in a luxury complex. Utilities for a 1-bed place (electricity, gas, water, etc.) will likely run him $150-$200 per month.

As for other major expenses, groceries are pretty reasonable if you stick to budget-friendly stores like Walmart or Albertsons. A single person can probably get by on $300-$400 per month for food. Gas is also relatively cheap here, so transportation won’t drain the budget too much unless he has a crazy commute. Entertainment is affordable with cheap options like $5 movie tickets and free outdoor concerts/events. Overall, I’d say your nephew can live comfortably in ABQ on a $40-50K salary if he’s smart with his money.

Posts: 6
SouthwestFoodie @southwestfoodie
Joined: 9 months ago

The food scene in Albuquerque is one of the highlights in my opinion! While you can definitely do groceries on a budget, your nephew shouldn’t miss out on all the delicious local cuisine. A meal at a casual Mexican or New Mexican restaurant will typically run $10-15 for a huge portion. And he has to try our famous green chile everything!

As for higher-end dining, expect to pay $15-25 for an entree at a trendy place in Nob Hill or Downtown. But it’s worth it for the flavor explosions. Nightlife is affordable too with $3-5 beers and cocktails around $8-12 in most places. Just don’t go too crazy or the tab can add up quickly. The key is balancing cheap eats with modest splurges to get the full ABQ food experience without breaking the bank.

Posts: 11
FitFamNM @fitfamnm
Joined: 2 years ago

I’d recommend your nephew factor in at least $100 per month for fitness/recreational costs if he wants to maintain an active lifestyle here. There are affordable options like city rec centers ($30-40/month) or budget gyms ($10-20/month), but the nicest clubs will run over $60/month. Outdoor activities are very cheap though – just pay minor fees to access hiking trails, parks, etc.

Healthcare is middle-of-the-road cost-wise from what I’ve seen. A single person might pay $300-500/month for decent health insurance. Prescriptions, doctor visits, etc. are on par with national averages. Just make sure to shop around for the right plan.

Overall, the sunny weather and laidback culture make it easy to live an enjoyable, healthy lifestyle in ABQ even on a tighter budget. As long as your nephew avoids too many pricey habits, he should be able to get by comfortably here.

Posts: 17
BarrioLife @barriolife
Joined: 5 months ago

I agree that rent is probably the biggest drain for most people’s budgets here. Some of the older neighborhoods near Downtown actually have pretty affordable housing though. I pay just over $800 for a cute little casita in the Barrio area. It’s an up-and-coming part of town so rent is still reasonable for now.

The tradeoff is that you’ll likely need a car to get around easily from these older ‘hoods. Public transit is pretty limited and most folks drive everywhere. But gas is cheap and a used car can be found for a good price. I put aside maybe $150/month for my car payment, insurance, gas, and basic maintenance. Of course, costs will be higher with a brand new ride.

As for utilities and other monthly bills, everything seems to be creeping up lately thanks to inflation. But you can still get by on a tighter budget if you’re smart about discretionary stuff like dining out, entertainment, etc. There are always affordable options if you look for them. ABQ may not be as dirt cheap as some places, but the cost of living is still very reasonable overall.

Posts: 9
BallonFiestaBabe @ballonfiestababe
Joined: 5 months ago

One thing to keep in mind is that the cost of living can fluctuate a bit depending on the time of year here in Albuquerque. During our biggest events and tourism seasons like Balloon Fiesta and the summer months, some costs may rise temporarily.

For example, hotel rates skyrocket and places tend to raise prices on food, entertainment, etc. when we have an influx of visitors. Same goes for utilities – electric and water bills are higher in the summer when everyone is blasting the AC and keeping those lawns green.

It’s not a huge issue for locals, but your nephew should be prepared for some seasonal spikes in certain categories. As long as he budgets conservatively year-round, it shouldn’t be too much of a shock. The extra liveliness during our seasonal events makes it worth it in my opinion!

Posts: 8
TechBroABQ @techbroabq
Joined: 2 years ago

As someone in the tech field, I’ve gotta weigh in on the cost of living for professionals and those with higher incomes. While ABQ is still very affordable compared to major tech hubs, the costs for certain luxuries and housing standards are not as low as you might think.

Sure, you can rent a basic apartment for $1,000-1,500. But if your nephew wants something swanky in the trendiest neighborhoods like Nob Hill or the west side suburbs, he could easily pay $2,000+ for premium units or houses. Same goes for high-end dining, entertainment, nightlife, etc. You pay a premium for the nicest things.

But on the flip side, purchasing a home is still very reasonable even in great areas. We bought a beautiful 3-bed, 2-bath house in a safe neighborhood for under $400k last year – something that would easily cost $1 million+ in Austin, Denver, or Seattle. So for relatively high earners, Albuquerque offers a great bang for your buck on housing while providing most modern amenities you’d expect. Just don’t expect San Francisco-level luxury for Midwest prices and it’s a great deal.

Posts: 22
GreenJeans505 @greenjeans505
Joined: 7 months ago

For any eco-conscious folks moving to Albuquerque, I wanted to mention that embracing a “green” lifestyle is quite affordable and accessible here. We have great programs for recycling, composting, solar power incentives, etc. And the mild climate makes it easy to be outdoorsy and active year-round without racking up huge utility bills.

In terms of grocery expenses, buying local and organic produce doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. The plentiful farmer’s markets offer very reasonable prices. And vegetarian/vegan diets are quite cheap to maintain with all the delicious New Mexican veggie cuisine.

Public transit is fairly limited, but biking is becoming more popular as bike lanes and trails expand. An affordable ebike could be a great car replacement option for environmentally-minded folks. Overall, Albuquerque makes it relatively easy to reduce your carbon footprint without going broke. Your nephew shouldn’t have too hard of a time living “green” on a budget.

Posts: 13
ArtistOnABudget @artistonabudget
Joined: 8 months ago

As someone trying to make it work on an artist/creative’s inconsistent income, I can speak to squeezing a lot out of a tight budget in Albuquerque. It’s definitely possible to live here reasonably even without a conventional 9-to-5 job.

Housing is manageable if your nephew looks for rentals in the UNM/Nob Hill areas or opts for a roommate situation. $600-800 can get you a decent room or small studio in those neighborhoods. ABQ also has a good selection of inexpensive ethnic foods and casual local cuisine that make dining out a little more affordable.

And there are tons of free/cheap entertainment options like gallery openings, poetry slams, concerts in the park, etc. Your nephew can stay plugged into the vibrant arts and culture scene without spending a fortune. It does take some sacrifice and budgeting, but the low cost of living here gives creative types a fighting chance.

Posts: 17
RetiredInABQ @retiredinabq
Joined: 2 years ago

For those on a fixed retirement income, Albuquerque is a fairly affordable place to call home. My biggest expenses are housing and healthcare, but both are quite manageable here compared to pricier cities.

I bought my 2-bedroom condo just outside the city center a few years ago for under $200k. Similar units in the heart of downtown go for $250k-$300k max. Not bad at all considering what you’d pay in bigger retirement hot spots.

Healthcare is reasonably priced as well. I pay around $300 per month for a comprehensive Medicare Advantage plan that covers all my needs. Prescription costs are lower than the national average too from what I’ve seen. Utility bills are modest thanks to the mild climate, usually $100-150 per month for my condo.

Your nephew is young, but Albuquerque is also a great place for retirees to make their savings and nest eggs last without drastically cutting back on daily living expenses. We may not have all the glitz and amenities of Florida or Arizona retirement havens, but the low cost of living more than makes up for it.

Posts: 16
BrokeStudentABQ @brokestudentabq
Joined: 2 years ago

For college students and those on extremely tight budgets, Albuquerque can be a challenging place in some ways but also has its advantages from a cost perspective.

Housing is definitely the biggest hurdle – dorms and apartments near UNM are not cheap at all, usually $600+ even for a crappy student rental. And the university area has gotten increasingly expensive and gentrified. Your nephew may need to live further out or get roommates to make rent affordable.

However, UNM itself is relatively inexpensive for a 4-year university at around $7k/year for in-state tuition and fees. Cost of living expenses like groceries, transport, and utilities are also quite cheap compared to pricier college towns. And there’s always an abundance of student discounts and freebies available.

It’s not easy living like a broke student anywhere, but Albuquerque does give you a fighting chance with its lower overall costs. Budgeting will be essential, but your nephew shouldn’t have to go into massive debt just to get by here.

Posts: 7

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 15.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 94.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 9.50 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 6.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 5.50 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 4.62 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.59 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 1.62 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 1.01 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 2.84 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 3.22 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 3.20 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 13.49 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 9.90 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 18.31 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 4.51 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.51 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 5.16 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 3.47 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 2.41 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 2.62 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 2.12 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 1.95 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 11.50 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 1.77 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.00 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 9.50 $
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) – 0.00 $
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price) – 0.00 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 3.00 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.83 $
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) – 29.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 0.90 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 32,778.08 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 26,088.59 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 204.52 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 44.44 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 71.50 $
  • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult – 38.67 $
  • Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) – 0.00 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 12.75 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 1,350.00 $
  • International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child – 6,000.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 53.33 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 60.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 94.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 117.57 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 1,494.89 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 1,166.75 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – 2,549.29 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 2,205.83 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre – 2,514.41 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre – 2,225.90 $
  • Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) – 4,166.11 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.44
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