Cost of Living Forum

AB
TexanTraveler @texantraveler
Joined: 2 years ago

What are the typical living costs in Amarillo?

Hi all, I’m considering relocating to Amarillo for a new job opportunity and wanted to get a sense of the overall cost of living there. I’m a single guy in my late 20s, and I’d like to maintain a reasonably comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank. Could some of you Amarillo locals share your experiences and estimates for major expenses like housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment? I’m coming from a big city, so I’m curious how Amarillo compares in terms of affordability. Any insights would be greatly appreciated!

Posts: 10

Replies


AmaGal83 @amagal83
Joined: 8 months ago

Hey there! As a long-time Amarillo resident, I can give you a pretty good rundown of what to expect. Housing is definitely one of the more affordable aspects – a decent 1-bedroom apartment downtown will run you around $900-1000, while you can find 3-bedrooms in the suburbs for $2000 or less. Groceries are quite reasonable, especially if you stick to stores like Walmart and Aldi. Expect to pay $10-15 for a simple meal out, $60-70 for a fancier dinner for two.

Utilities are also relatively cheap, with my electric/water/trash bill for a 2-bed averaging $250 per month. Gas is very affordable at around $0.75/gallon currently. The downside is that public transportation is quite limited here, so you’ll likely need a car to get around easily. Healthcare costs are about average for the region, and the local hospitals/clinics are decent quality.

For entertainment, there are lots of affordable options like going to the movies ($11 a ticket), hitting up local bars/breweries, or checking out events downtown. The nightlife scene is fairly active for a smaller city. Overall, I’d say you can live quite comfortably here on a $50-60K salary if you’re smart with your money. Let me know if you need any other specifics!

Posts: 7
PanhandleDave @panhandledave
Joined: 2 years ago

I agree with AmaGal83 for the most part, but I think she’s underestimating some of the costs, especially for a single guy who likes to go out regularly. Here are my estimates based on my own experiences:

Housing: $1200+ for a decent 1-bed downtown, $1600+ for a 2-bed. The cheaper units tend to be in rougher areas.
Groceries: $400-500/month if you eat out a fair amount and like nice ingredients when cooking at home.
Utilities: $300 for electric/gas/water/internet
Transportation: $300+/month for car payment, gas, insurance
Dining Out: $20-30 for a casual meal, $70+ for a nice restaurant
Drinks: $4-5 for domestic beers, $6+ for imports/cocktails
Entertainment: $30+ for movies/activities on weekends

Healthcare is reasonable if you have decent insurance through an employer. I pay about $1500/year out-of-pocket.

The biggest shock for me coming from a bigger city was the lack of public transit and needing a car for almost everything. But salaries do go further here compared to pricier areas if you can keep some of the entertainment spending in check. It’s a pretty affordable place overall for a solidly middle-class lifestyle.

Posts: 24
NMTumbleweed @nmtumbleweed
Joined: 2 years ago

As someone who grew up in Amarillo but left for several years before returning, I think I can offer a balanced perspective. The cost of living is undeniably lower than in major metro areas, but there are some trade-offs in terms of amenities, selection, and entertainment options.

Housing is definitely the biggest advantage for Amarillo. My wife and I recently bought a renovated 3-bed, 2-bath house with a nice yard for $225K – something that would easily cost $500K+ in a bigger city. Rent-wise, I’d budget $1200-1400 for a modern 2-bed apartment in a decent area.

Groceries are reasonable if you stick to the basics, but prices can get higher for specialty/organic items. We spend around $600/month for a family of 3 on a pretty healthy mix of ingredients. Eating out is quite affordable, with solid local spots offering entrees in the $12-18 range.

Utilities are inexpensive, but transportation is where Amarillo gets pricey due to the lack of public transit. We pay $200+/month just in gas and upkeep for our two cars to get us everywhere we need to go.

Entertainment is probably the biggest downside, as there isn’t a huge variety of nightlife, cultural events, pro sports teams, etc. But if you enjoy the outdoors, there are nice parks and trails. Overall, we make it work by budgeting carefully and taking occasional road trips to NM or OKC for a bigger city experience.

Posts: 6
TexasTechAlum @texastechalum
Joined: 6 months ago

I think the others have covered most of the major costs quite well. As a former Texas Tech student who decided to stick around Amarillo after graduating, I’ll echo that it’s a very affordable place for young professionals/recent grads starting out.

My spouse and I share a nice 2-bed apartment downtown for $1250 all in. Groceries average $400-500 for the two of us buying a mix of store brands and name brands. Utilities are super cheap – we pay around $150/month for electricity, water, gas, internet.

The big money-saver is cheaper entertainment compared to bigger cities. A night out at the movies, bowling, sports bars, etc rarely tops $50 for the both of us. Lots of fun free/cheap events happening throughout the year too.

My only major expense is my truck payment ($450) because I couldn’t live without having solid 4×4 transportation for road trips and outdoorsy stuff around here. Public transit is not ideal for that.

Healthcare has been reasonable through my employer plan. Check-ups and routine care are very affordable, though I had to pay $3000 out-of-pocket when my wife needed her appendix removed last year.

Overall, Amarillo gives you a great bang for your buck on the essentials if you’re smart with discretionary spending. With our combined $90K household income, we live quite comfortably while still saving a decent amount each month. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Posts: 3
BPJameson @bpjameson
Joined: 6 months ago

I’m a bit of an outlier here as someone who moved to Amarillo later in life after a career in Dallas, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how affordable it is – especially when it comes to housing and day-to-day costs.

My husband and I were able to buy a really nice 4 bedroom, 3 bath house in a quiet neighborhood for just $325K. Something comparable would easily be $1 million+ in Dallas. We also save a ton on property taxes compared to the big city.

Groceries are very reasonable if you take advantage of the discount stores like Aldi and Walmart Neighborhood Market. We probably spend $500-600/month to feed our family of four. Restaurants are an amazing value – you can get high-quality steak dinners for $25-30/person that would cost $60+ in Dallas.

Utilities are super cheap with our monthly bills only totaling around $250 for everything. Healthcare has also been very affordable through my Medicare Advantage plan – I pay $75/month for excellent coverage and low copays/deductibles.

The biggest downside is lack of public transit, so we do have two car payments ($600/month total) plus insurance ($150/month for two vehicles). But with cheap gas around $3/gallon, it’s very manageable.

Entertainment is limited compared to the big city, but we make do with frequent rounds of golf ($25 for twilight rates), going to Amarillo minor-league baseball games, checking out local community events, etc. We take a couple big vacations each year to make up for it.

All in all, our retirement income of around $80K goes a very long way in Amarillo while maintaining a very comfortable upper middle-class lifestyle that would require $150K+ in Dallas. We have minimal financial stress at this stage of life.

Posts: 21
MomOfTwoBoys @momoftwoboys
Joined: 11 months ago

I’ll focus my response on the costs specifically related to raising a family here as that’s my main perspective. While Amarillo isn’t the most exciting place, I do feel it provides a very affordable environment for middle-class families with kids.

On the housing front, we were able to buy a nice 4 bedroom, 3 bath house in a great school district for around $275K a couple years ago. There are also a good number of rental options in the $1500-2000 range for 3+ bedroom properties.

Childcare is one of the biggest expenses – we pay $1100/month for our two boys (4 and 2) to attend a well-regarded private preschool/daycare. Not sure what public pre-k costs. The local elementary and middle schools have good ratings and don’t require private school tuition.

As for day-to-day costs, I’d say we spend $800-900/month on groceries to feed our family of 4 with fairly healthy meals at home. Eating out at casual sit-down restaurants is very affordable at $40-50 for our family. Getting takeout is cheap too – $30 or so for all of us.

Utilities are very manageable – our monthly average is $300 for electric, gas, water, cable/internet. Gas is readily available around $3/gallon currently as well. We drive a bit more than we’d like due to the suburban lifestyle, so our two car payments ($500 total) and insurance ($150) do add up.

Entertainment-wise, we take advantage of lots of free/cheap activities like park days, museums, zoos, etc. Movie tickets are about $10 for matinees. Birthday parties are much cheaper than what they’d cost in bigger cities. That said, we do an annual family vacation to get our “big city” fix.

Overall, Amarillo is a very affordable place for middle-class families that want a nice home and decent amenities without breaking the bank. Our combined $120K household income goes a long way, allowing us to save and invest substantially. Let me know if any other specific family costs would be helpful!

Posts: 21
WestTexasTim @westtexastim
Joined: 2 years ago

I moved to Amarillo a few years back for a job opportunity after living in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for years. The cost of living here took some adjusting, but ultimately it’s allowed me to get ahead financially in a way that wasn’t really possible in the big city. Here’s a quick rundown of my expenses:

Housing: I rent a decent 1 bedroom apartment close to downtown for $900 all bills paid. It’s an older unit but has been recently renovated. Brand new luxury 1 bedrooms seem to run $1200+.

Groceries: I probably spend $300 a month on average for groceries. I try to cook at home frequently to save money. It’s easy to eat out for $10-15 a meal at local diners and fast casual places.

Utilities/Services: $50 electric, $70 internet, $40 phone plan. Pretty manageable.

Transportation: My biggest expense is my truck payment at $400 along with $120 for insurance and gas (I drive a decent amount for work/weekend activities). Public transit is lacking here.

Healthcare: I pay $200 per month towards my employer’s health insurance plan, which isn’t too bad. I pay very minimal out-of-pocket costs other than copays.

Entertainment: I’m pretty basic here – $30 per month for a gym membership, $50-100 per month going to movies ($10 a ticket) or hanging out at local bars/breweries. Live music shows are usually $10-15 for decent acts passing through. Lots of parks/outdoor rec too.

All in all, my cost of living comes out to around $2500 per month for a pretty comfortable lifestyle as a single guy. While the nightlife/amenities may not match a bigger city, my $65K salary goes a long way here, allowing me to save/invest a decent chunk of money each month compared to when I lived in DFW. It’s a trade-off I’m willing to make at this stage of life.

Posts: 16
SustainabilitySam @sustainabilitysam
Joined: 10 months ago

As someone who tries to live an eco-conscious, sustainable lifestyle, I’ve found Amarillo to be a relatively affordable place to do so – with a few caveats. Here’s a quick breakdown from my perspective:

Housing: My husband and I own a modest but energy-efficient 3-bed, 2-bath home that we bought for around $180K a few years ago. Utility bills are quite low, averaging $150/month for our all-electric home.

Transportation is likely my biggest ongoing cost at around $400/month covering: a used hybrid car payment, insurance, gas (try to limit driving), and occasional rideshares when going out. Biking is an option for some local trips.

Food is fairly affordable if you shop smart – we spend $500/month by hitting up local produce stands, buying bulk dry goods, limiting meat, etc. Eating out at local farm-to-table places is around $40 for two.

Other household costs like internet ($60), cellphones ($80 for two plans), renters insurance ($25) are very reasonable. I don’t do traditional cable/streaming.

My biggest indulgence is a $75/month membership at a great yoga/wellness studio. We also do budget for 1-2 modest out-of-town trips per year.

Healthcare is one area that does get pricey. My husband is on a high-deductible plan through his employer ($400/month for both of us) and we pay $200+/month out-of-pocket for my health needs and supplements.

Overall, we’re able to live pretty well on a combined $90K household income while still maxing out retirement contributions. It’s not a huge city but Amarillo has a decent variety of vegan/vegetarian options, community gardens, and outdoor activities that align with our values without the premium costs elsewhere.

Posts: 23
BGFinanceBro @bgfinancebro
Joined: 2 years ago

I moved out to Amarillo recently after getting a finance job straight out of college, and I’ve been really impressed with how far my money goes compared to my buddies in bigger cities. Of course, salaries are a bit lower here, but the difference in costs more than makes up for it in my opinion. Here’s a quick look at my finances:

Housing: I landed a nice newer 1-bed apartment close to my office for $1050 a month. All utilities included.

Transportation: I drive a used Honda Civic that I pay $250/month for. Insurance is like $80/month and gas is super cheap – maybe $100/month right now.

Groceries: I spend around $300/month on food, mostly shopping at H-E-B and Walmart. $10 lunches during the work week and cooking at home for dinners.

Nightlife: This is probably my biggest splurge category. $100 Thurs-Sat going out to bars, breweries, and grabbing takeout with friends. Uber/drinks can add up quickly even in Amarillo.

Healthcare: I pay $75/month for really good coverage through my job’s insurance plan. Haven’t had major medical costs yet.

Phone/Internet/Subscriptions: $150 covers my phone plan, internet, Netflix, etc.

With a $60K salary out of school, I’m able to max out my 401K contributions, build up my savings at a decent rate, and still live pretty comfortably by big-city standards. Nightlife is more limited, but there are still plenty of chill spots to hang out.

My long-term plan is to move back towards Dallas/Austin in a few years, but experiencing this affordable cost of living in Amarillo first is really helping me get started on the right foot financially. It’s not a party city, but it beats entry-level job salaries getting drained by insane rent in places like NYC or Chicago.

Posts: 1

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 15.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 67.50 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 11.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 3.50 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 5.50 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 4.25 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 1.99 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 1.28 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 2.46 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 1.89 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 13.23 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 12.39 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 13.58 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 3.46 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.44 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 4.17 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 3.57 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 2.30 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 2.34 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 1.54 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 1.73 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 11.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 1.73 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 4.00 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 9.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 0.75 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 258.00 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 43.00 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 72.11 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 11.50 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 45.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 68.33 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 70.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 905.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 1,000.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 2,000.00 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre – 1,690.00 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre – 1,690.00 $
  • Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) – 4,214.00 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.53
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