Cost of Living Forum

ArlingtonResident92 @arlingtonresident92
Joined: 11 months ago

What are the typical living costs in Arlington?

Hi everyone, I’ve been living in Arlington for over 15 years now and have seen the cost of living change quite a bit during that time. I’m planning to potentially relocate in the next couple of years and am trying to get a better sense of how Arlington’s expenses compare to other areas. As a long-time resident, I have a decent idea, but would love to hear from others about what they’re paying for major costs like housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, etc.

I’m a single professional in my 30s, living in a 1-bedroom apartment just outside the city center. I make around $70K per year, which is a bit above the average salary in Arlington from what I understand. I’d consider myself to have a relatively typical middle-class lifestyle – I eat out a few times per week, enjoy going to movies/concerts, work out at a local gym, but also cook at home frequently and try to be sensible with my spending overall.

What has your experience been with the cost of living in Arlington? I’m hoping to get a good cross-section of perspectives from people in different life stages and income levels. Let me know the details of your situation and estimated monthly/yearly spending across different categories. I’m really interested to see how my expenses compare! Thanks in advance for sharing your insights.

Posts: 16

10 Replies

FamilyMan_ARL @familyman_arl
Joined: 2 years ago

As someone raising a family of 4 in Arlington, I can say the costs really add up, especially for things like housing, childcare, and education. We rent a 3-bedroom apartment just outside the city center for around $2,200/month, which already eats up a huge chunk of our combined $120K household income. Groceries for a family this size run us $800-1000 per month if we stick to basics and don’t eat out often.

Childcare is just ridiculous – we pay $1,500/month for our youngest to be in a full-time daycare/preschool program. The costs for my older kids’ after-school activities, summer camps, etc. also really start to pile up over the year. We’re looking at easily $30K per year in education costs once they’re old enough for private schools. Utilities, healthcare premiums through my employer, car payments – it all adds up very quickly. Arlington is a relatively expensive place to have kids for sure.

Posts: 13
DinkIncome_Emma @dinkincome_emma
Joined: 2 years ago

My husband and I are dinks (dual income, no kids) and do pretty well for ourselves in Arlington on a combined $160K salary. We live pretty centrally in a modern 1-bedroom apartment that runs $1,400/month, but the convenience is worth it to us. Since it’s just the two of us, we can keep our grocery/restaurant budget under $1,000 per month without too much trouble.

What really costs a fortune here are things like parking ($200/month for my spouse’s work garage!), healthcare through my employer’s plan, and just general entertainment/leisure. We spend way too much money eating/drinking out, attending concerts, gym memberships, etc. But we’re okay with that for our current DINK lifestyle. I could definitely see the costs being prohibitive for families, but Arlington does seem very livable for young professionals without kids.

Posts: 19
Retired_Lou @retired_lou
Joined: 10 days ago

As a retiree in Arlington, I’ve found the costs quite manageable overall, especially without a mortgage/rent payment. My biggest expenses are healthcare costs (Medicare plus supplemental insurance runs about $500/month for my wife and me), utilities ($275/month for our 2-bed condo), and groceries ($600-700/month). We don’t go too crazy with spending on entertainment, eating out, etc. perhaps $200-300/month in that category.

The property taxes took a bit of an adjustment when we bought our condo here, but the home prices seemed very reasonable compared to other cities we looked at. All in all, $3,000-3,500 per month covers our core living expenses pretty comfortably on our fixed retirement income. It’s certainly not a cheap area, but I don’t find Arlington terribly unaffordable for retirees.

Posts: 9
TechBroARL @techbroarl
Joined: 2 years ago

As a single tech bro, my biggest costs in Arlington are definitely housing and going out/entertainment. I rent a modern 1-bed in a luxury building right in the city center for $1,800/month. Sure, it’s pricey, but I can afford it easily on a $120K salary and don’t have to worry about costs like kids, spouse, etc.

Food/groceries are probably $500/month if I’m being reasonable, but Ubereats/Postmates and regularly eating out at all the trendy spots really inflates that number. I easily spend $300-400/month on boozy brunches, fancy cocktail bars, clubs, etc. Plus a $75/month gym membership, streaming subscriptions, regular Uber/Lyft rides, and other random “treat myself” type expenses. All that fits in my current single dude budget but I’d definitely feel the squeeze if I had a family.

Posts: 11
BudgetGrindBecky @budgetgrindbecky
Joined: 2 years ago

I’m a recent grad just starting out in Arlington, and let me tell you, it is not easy sticking to a budget here, even with a decent $55K salary! For housing, I’ve had to opt for a room in a shared house outside the city ($700/month + utilities) since apartments were just too expensive.

Groceries for just me run $250-300/month if I’m being very frugal. I try to avoid eating out too much ($100/month max) but still end up spending a couple hundred per month on transportation between gas, repairs for my used car, and the occasional Uber/Lyft. Phone bill, internet, streaming services, and other utilities make a dent too.

I’m basically just grinding and cutting costs wherever I can because Arlington is sooo pricey, even for just modest living as a single person starting out. Not sure how people making similar money to me raise families here! I might move somewhere cheaper in a few years if the paychecks don’t increase substantially.

Posts: 1
MedStudentVera @medstudentvera
Joined: 9 months ago

As a medical student in Arlington, the insanely high cost of living here is a constant struggle. Yes, I have decent loans to cover tuition and fees, but living costs are just outrageous. I pay $1,100/month to share a 2-bedroom apartment with another student. Groceries for just me are around $350/month even buying very basic items.

The biggest monthly costs aside from rent are healthcare ($200/month for the student health insurance plan!) and transportation. I don’t have a car, so I spend close to $150/month on public transit passes, occasional Uber/Lyfts, etc. Eating out is basically impossible to afford unless it’s grabbing a $10 lunch once in a while. Budgeting every dollar is just a necessity in this city as a student for sure.

Posts: 8
OutdoorsyFam @outdoorsyfam
Joined: 2 years ago

Our family of 5 lives a relatively active, outdoorsy lifestyle in Arlington and I’d say the costs are pretty substantial for that. We own a modest 3-bedroom house outside the city center (mortgage is $2,200/month) which was a stretch but allowed us to be in the better school districts. Groceries for our bigger family run $1,200-1,400/month even with myself and my spouse meal prepping a ton.

What really adds up though are all the costs for our kids’ sports/activities – travel team fees, equipment, gym memberships, etc. Plus gas for driving all over the area, occasional outdoor day trips, camping gear, you name it. While Arlington has some good public parks and trails, much of the “better” outdoor rec costs money. We probably spend $500-600/month just on those types of family activities and transportation to get to them. It’s a lot but worth it for our lifestyle priorities!

Posts: 2
EmptyNesterBob @emptynesterbob
Joined: 2 years ago

Now that it’s just my wife and I after the kids grew up and moved out, we’ve cut our expenses down quite a bit in Arlington compared to our child-rearing days. We own our 3-bedroom house outright (though property taxes run $600/month), so no rent/mortgage costs.

Utilities for just the two of us are about $300/month. Groceries maybe $500/month since we buy a lot of fresh, healthy ingredients but don’t have to feed teenage boys anymore! Entertainment is probably our biggest splurge area – $200-300/month for date nights, golf, theater, travel, etc. We also spend $400+/month on healthcare with Medicare plus supplemental insurance.

All in all, we can live pretty comfortably on around $3,000/month in total expenses as empty nesters. Arlington has been a great place to live and age in place, despite the high costs when our kids were still at home.

Posts: 21
StartUpHustler @startuphustler
Joined: 2 years ago

Trying to get my business off the ground in Arlington has been extremely difficult from a cost perspective. Most of my income goes straight to covering insanely high office/workspace rental rates (my 400 sq ft office is $2,000/month!).

On top of that, my personal housing costs for a 1-bed apartment run $1,400/month. Granted, I live pretty centrally, but those two biggest expenses (housing and office space) eat up most of my profits. I’m spending at least $1,000/month on groceries, transportation, healthcare, etc. for just myself as well.

Arlington is pretty brutal for entrepreneurs and small businesses with all the overhead costs involved. I’ve looked into relocating somewhere cheaper, but the tradeoff is leaving behind such an incredible talent/client pool here. For now I’m just grinding it out, living pretty leanly, and hoping for a big payoff down the road!

Posts: 1
SingleMomJen @singlemomjen
Joined: 2 years ago

Being a single mom to two kids in Arlington is just pure expense after expense, no way around it. My 2-bedroom apartment runs $1,800/month, which already puts a massive dent in my $65K salary. Then add at least $800/month for groceries, $150/week for childcare, $200/month for afterschool activities, $150/month in transportation costs, and basically every other recurring cost gets multiplied when you have little ones.

Healthcare is another huge factor – I pay around $600/month for a family insurance plan through my employer, plus copays and other random medical costs that always seem to pop up with kids. We rarely spend on “extras” like dining out, entertainment, etc. Pretty much every dollar gets budgeted out for the necessity costs of housing, food, childcare, and transportation in this expensive city. I’m not sure how sustainable it is long-term on a single income to be honest.

Posts: 7

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 18.00 $
  • 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) – 6.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 7.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 5.18 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.31 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 1.69 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 0.99 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 3.52 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 4.56 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 2.53 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 13.58 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 11.67 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 16.15 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 5.46 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.48 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 4.54 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 3.62 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 2.24 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 2.51 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 1.94 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 2.17 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 13.50 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 2.07 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.50 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 8.00 $
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) – 4.50 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 3.25 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.71 $
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) – 24.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 0.80 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 32,000.00 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 26,102.62 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 200.00 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 61.15 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 66.20 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 14.50 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 1,476.11 $
  • International Primary School, Yearly for 1 Child – 21,625.00 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 58.04 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 30.98 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 81.67 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 130.38 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 1,200.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 970.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 2,252.00 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre – 2,196.00 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre – 2,196.00 $
  • Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) – 4,639.05 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.62
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