Cost of Living Forum

AshlandLocal88 @ashlandlocal88
Joined: 3 months ago

Cost of Living in Ashland – Input from Long-Term Residents?

I’ve lived in Ashland for over 15 years now, and I’ve seen the cost of living go up quite a bit during that time. I’m considering relocating for a job opportunity, but I’m not sure how Ashland’s expenses compare to other places. Could some fellow long-term Ashland residents share their perspectives on the typical costs for housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment?

I’m a single professional in my 40s, living alone in a 2-bedroom apartment near downtown. I own an older car and rely on it for my commute. I cook at home frequently but also enjoy dining out now and then. I have a pretty active lifestyle with a gym membership and the occasional concert or movie night.

What has your experience been with the overall affordability of living in Ashland? I’d appreciate any insights you can share to help me evaluate whether it might be worth it for me to make a move. Thanks in advance!

Posts: 18

10 Replies

SoOrNative @soornative
Joined: 23 days ago

Hey there, I’ve been an Ashland resident for about 20 years now, and I’d say the cost of living is moderate overall but housing is definitely on the pricier side.

If you’re looking to rent, expect to pay anywhere from $1200-$1800 for a decent 1-bedroom apartment downtown. Utilities for that size place might run you $150-$200 per month for electricity, gas, water, etc. Outside the city center, rents can be a bit lower but you’ll need a car for the commute.

Groceries are pretty average – you can get by on $300-$400 per month if you cook at home and aren’t too extravagant. Dining out adds up quickly with meal prices around $15 for a casual place and $70 for a mid-range restaurant with drinks.

The gym membership you mentioned will likely cost $50-$80 per month. Entertainment is reasonable – $13 for a movie, and you can find decent prices for concerts/events.

One major plus is no state income tax in Ashland which helps offset the housing costs a bit. Traffic isn’t too bad and you can get around easily enough with a car and $1-2 for gas. I’ve managed to live comfortably here on a $55k salary. Let me know if you need any other specifics!

Posts: 10
FamilyOfFourInAsh @familyoffourinash
Joined: 2 years ago

As someone raising a family of four here in Ashland, I can share my perspective on the costs. Housing is definitely the biggest challenge – we pay $2200 for a modest 3-bedroom rental house just outside downtown. Rent prices have just exploded in recent years.

Groceries are above average for our family size. We easily spend $800+ per month for food to feed our household with two kids. Utilities are pretty typical at $250-$300 per month for the whole house.

Affordability is tight on a single income around $70k per year even without extravagances. We drive one car which is basically a necessity here to get around unless you live/work downtown. Child care is another huge expense – our youngest is in daycare at $1500 per month.

Entertainment is one area we can cut back – $13 movies and the occasional nice meal really add up quickly when you have four tickets/plates. We stick to activites like hiking, parks, library events to keep costs down.

Overall I love living here and there are lots of great community amenities. But the housing market has just gotten crazy and makes budgeting really tricky for families. We make it work but there isn’t a ton of breathing room each month. Let me know if you need any other insights from a family perspective.

Posts: 1
AZNomadNurse @aznomadnurse
Joined: 2 years ago

I moved to Ashland about a year ago for a travel nursing contract and have really enjoyed living here as a single person. Coming from a lower cost of living area, I was bracing for much higher expenses but it hasn’t been as drastic as I feared.

I landed a nice modern 1-bed apartment a few miles outside the center for $1250 including most utilities. $50 for internet, $60 for my phone plan. Electricity runs $80-100 in summer when I’m blasting the AC.

Groceries at around $400 for just me, plus I probably spend $200ish per month going out – either grabbing lunch at the $10 fast food places, or doing a $60 dinner out every week or two.

My car expenses are on the higher side at $250/month for the payment, insurance, and gas as I drive a lot for my job. I spend $50/month for a gym membership.

Entertainment is reasonable – $13 for movies, and lots of free/low cost outdoor activities. I go to concerts/shows probably 2-3 times per month and just accept that a $30-40 ticket fee is the cost of partaking.

Overall as a single person here, I’ve been able to live comfortably on my $65k salary and still put some money into savings each month. There are definitely areas I could cut down on spending, but I have a decent quality of living without feeling too pinched. Let me know if any other insights would be helpful!

Posts: 18
RetiredInAshlandLiving @retiredinashlandliving
Joined: 2 years ago

My wife and I have been living in Ashland for the past 8 years after retiring here from out-of-state. We absolutely love it here, but you’re right that the cost of living requires some budgeting, especially on a fixed retirement income.

Our biggest expenses are housing (we own our condo) and healthcare. We paid around $350k a few years ago for a nice 2-bed, 2-bath condo downtown. Similar units now go for $400k+. Our mortgage/HOA fees run about $2500 per month which is the bulk of our monthly budget.

Healthcare is another major factor – we pay around $600 per month for supplemental Medicare coverage after premiums. Prescription drugs add another $100 or so to that cost.

Utilities like electricity, cable/internet, etc. for the condo are probably $250 per month all-in. We only have one car now so transportation is more affordable with just gas and insurance at $200 per month.

Groceries seem very reasonable and we likely spend $450 per month to feed the two of us with our condo’s small kitchen. We also enjoy dining out a couple times per week which could easily be $300 more.

Entertainment is relatively low cost – $13 movies, concerts in the $30-60 range typically. We’re both active so the gym memberships are $60 each monthly.

Overall, we’re able to live comfortably in Ashland within our budget on about $5000 per month in income from retirement accounts/social security. The housing costs are the biggest factor to plan for, in our experience. We absolutely love it here despite the high cost of living. Let me know if any other questions!

Posts: 21
RealEstateRenterOfAsh @realestaterenterofash
Joined: 11 months ago

As a long-time real estate professional focused on the Ashland rental market, I can provide some perspective on what to expect for housing costs in particular.

For apartments, a decent 1-bedroom inside the downtown area typically runs $1400-$1800 these days. A 3-bedroom apartment would be $2000-$2800 for something updated and in a nice neighborhood.

If you’re open to renting a single-family home, prices skew a bit higher. A 2-bed, 1-bath house just outside downtown is more like $1600-$2200 depending on the neighborhood and condition. For a 3-bedroom house, you’re looking at $2200-$3000 typically.

Rental prices have just escalated like crazy over the past 5-7 years with a lot of new construction and rising mortgage rates. It’s making home ownership extremely difficult for first-time buyers as well – expect $300k as the bare minimum to find anything halfway decent in Ashland itself, or around $200 per square foot.

One bright spot is that rents do level off a bit once you get into the surrounding suburbs and towns 10-15 miles outside Ashland proper. But then you’re dealing with commuting costs.

In terms of utilities, $150-$300 is a reasonable range to budget depending on the type/size of rental and how much heating/cooling is needed. But overall costs for food, entertainment etc. seem pretty standard to me compared to similar cities.

Let me know if any other specific housing/real estate questions come up! Having a high enough income is really key to keeping things affordable in Ashland nowadays.

Posts: 13
CheapThrillsInAsh @cheapthrillsinash
Joined: 2 years ago

I’m a youngish single dude living in Ashland, and I definitely take a more budget-minded approach to keep costs down! A few tricks I’ve found:

Housing is by far the biggest expense, but I split a cheap 2-bed apartment on the outskirts for only $600 + utilities each month. Definitely an older building but it works for my needs. You can find deals if you put in the effort to look.

Getting around town, I just take the bus whenever possible. $60 for an unlimited monthly pass beats owning a car, insurance, gas etc. Admittedly not always the most convenient but works for me.

Groceries I keep super simple – lots of eggs, bread, rice, beans and whatever cheap produce is on sale. Maybe $150 to feed myself per month by buying bulk items and not get fancy. Dining out is a rare treat.

As far as entertainment goes, I take full advantage of all the free community events and outdoor activities around town. Concerts in the park during summer, plenty of hiking trails, things like that. $13 for a movie is my bigger splurge cost.

Don’t really have a need for a gym membership – I get my workouts by running the local trails or swimming laps at the community pool when it’s affordable.

Overall, you can definitely get by way under $2k per month in total living costs as a single person if you really cut out the big ticket items. It’s just about deciding what’s worth prioritizing in your budget. Let me know if any other penny pinching tips would be useful!

Posts: 23
WorkFromHomeMomOfAsh @workfromhomemomofash
Joined: 10 months ago

I’ve lived in Ashland for 5 years now as a work-from-home mom, so my expenses are a little different:

We rent a 3-bed, 2-bath house just outside the main town for $1900 per month. Not cheap, but it’s been a great setup for our family with two young kids. Added costs like $250/month for utilities, $80 for internet.

Not having a commute saves a ton, but we do budget around $400 per month for gas/insurance to have a car for running errands, appointments, etc. No fancy vehicles needed here.

Our biggest outlay is child care at over $2000 per month for two kids in full-time day care/preschool programs. The costs in Ashland are pretty standard compared to back home, but it’s still a huge part of our budget.

Grocery bills are high too – I easily spend $800+ stocking up for the whole family. And we probably spend $400 more per month on random kids’ stuff – clothes, activities, toys, etc.

We keep some costs low by not having cable/streaming services, limiting dining out to once a week or so, and doing lots of free local activities for family fun.

Overall we definitely don’t live an extravagant lifestyle by any means, but costs do add up quickly for a family. We make it work on a combined $120k household income, but there’s not a ton of extra breathing room either. Let me know if any other insights would be helpful from the family/kid perspective!

Posts: 7
AZNativeTXTransplant @aznativetxtransplant
Joined: 4 months ago

I moved to Ashland from Texas about 3 years ago, and the cost of living was definitely a step up from what I was used to! Here are my key observations:

Housing is hugely expensive, but the trade-off is no state income tax which I didn’t have in TX either. I rent a modern 2-bed, 2-bath apartment downtown for $2100 per month which is just insane to me. But it’s a killer location and nice unit at least.

Utilities are around $250 per month for electric, water, etc. in the apartment. My commuting costs are extremely low at only about $100 per month since I can walk to most places. $50 for gym, $60 for internet/streaming.

Grocery costs are middle of the road – I spend $400 per month or so shopping at affordable places like Aldi. But restaurant costs are quite high – $15 for counter service, $70 for a mid-range dinner with drinks is very common.

Overall, I’ve been able to maintain a similar lifestyle to Texas despite the cost bumps by keeping things like transportation/entertainment costs down. Making $85k helps offset housing, but there’s definitely less expendable income than I had back home.

The summer is brutal in Ashland though, and the AC electric bills during peak months make me miss Texas! $200+ electricity bills some months are rough.

Let me know if any other insights would be useful from the out-of-state transplant perspective! Ashland is amazing but you really do pay a premium.

Posts: 19
RichKidInAshland @richkidinashland
Joined: 2 years ago

As someone from a pretty affluent family living in Ashland, I can share the high-end cost of living perspective:

We own a massive 5-bedroom, 4,000 sq ft custom home in one of the nicest neighborhoods just outside downtown. All-in with mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, etc. we’re probably in for $7,500 per month just for housing costs.

For transportation, we have 3 luxury SUVs that run $1,500 per month in payment/insurance across all three. Gas is maybe $400 more. Definitely an unnecessary extravagance, but a luxury we allow ourselves.

Our family of 4 easily spends $2,000+ per month on groceries from places like Whole Foods, frequent dining out, etc. And we pay top dollar for things like housekeeping, landscaping, etc.

School was over $50k per year for private elementary/middle school annually per kid. We factored in another $60k per year for family summer vacations, country club memberships, etc.

Ashland is very affluent despite its modest size, so the top 1% lifestyle is definitely achievable if you have the means. We pay a premium, but we’re living an extremely luxurious life in a beautiful area.

Healthcare is our biggest non-housing cost at over $2,500 per month for platinum family coverage. But overall our household income is in the $500-600k range, so we’re able to afford it all.

Not going to say the costs are reasonable by any means. It’s an extravagant way of living only afforded to the highest earners in Ashland. But the quality of life is incredible if you have the income to truly splurge here.

Posts: 1
CollegeKidInAsh @collegekidinash
Joined: 2 years ago

Ashland is a pretty awesome college town, although the costs definitely take some getting used to for students! I’m a junior at the local university, so I’ll share my perspective:

On-campus housing (dorms) was around $800 per month for just a basic dorm room and the unlimited meal plan. Off-campus, you’re looking at $600+ for just a bedroom in a shared house/apartment if you want to be somewhat close to campus.

Having a car is pretty much essential if you live off-campus, which adds $300+ per month for payments/insurance/gas/parking. The bus system works for some but isn’t super convenient unless you live/go to class downtown.

Overall, even with working part-time jobs, student loans are a must for most kids to afford Ashland. $800 per month for housing, a $400 meal plan, $100 for utilities, $100 for books/supplies, and $100 for gas/insurance alone is over $1,500 per month before even looking at tuition.

Tuition for out-of-state students is over $30k per year at the university. In-state is still $13k annually which is no joke.

Of course, costs can be lower for students willing to make sacrifices and live cheaper – skipping cars, getting roommates, buying generic snacks instead of meals out, etc. But the standard student life is quite expensive in Ashland compared to some other college towns.

The plus side is there are a lot of entertainment options being in a lively downtown area. $13 movies, concerts, nightlife etc. to balance out the costs. But overall, Ashland takes some adjusting for students used to living on a tight budget! Let me know if any other insights would be helpful.

Posts: 22

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 15.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 70.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 10.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 6.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 7.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 5.00 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.00 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.33 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 0.87 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 3.85 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 3.86 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 1.75 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 12.13 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 13.60 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 14.33 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 4.73 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.66 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 3.31 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 4.53 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 2.20 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 1.65 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 2.00 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 1.52 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 9.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 1.73 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.40 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 10.00 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 3.00 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.24 $
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) – 30.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 1.11 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 33,680.68 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 31,549.41 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 166.28 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 46.67 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 63.92 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 13.00 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 1,500.00 $
  • International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child – 12,250.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 56.62 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 43.33 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 103.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 96.25 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.53
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