Cost of Living Forum

AustinResident92 @austinresident92
Joined: 2 months ago

Cost of Living in Austin for a Young Professional

I’m a 28-year-old software engineer considering a job offer in Austin. I currently live in a relatively low cost of living area, so I’m trying to get a sense of what my expenses might look like if I move to Austin.

I’m single with no kids, and I’d be looking for a decent 1-bedroom apartment somewhere close to the city’s tech hub. I have a moderate lifestyle – I enjoy going out to restaurants/bars on weekends, an occasional concert or sporting event, and working out at a gym, but I’m not extravagant. I also drive a used Honda Civic that’s paid off.

Can any current Austin residents give me a realistic breakdown of what I can expect to pay for major costs like rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, healthcare, entertainment, etc.? I’m making around $90K with this new job opportunity, so let me know if that salary would allow me to live comfortably in Austin. Any insider tips on affordable neighborhoods or ways to save money would also be appreciated! Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences.

Posts: 24


TexasTransplant @texastransplant
Joined: 12 months ago

As someone who moved to Austin a few years ago, I can tell you the cost of living is definitely higher than many other parts of Texas, but it’s still quite reasonable compared to places like San Francisco or New York if you’re smart about your spending.

For a decent 1-bedroom apartment in a area close to the tech scene (think neighborhoods like East Riverside, Mueller, or North Burnet), you’re probably looking at $1,300 – $1,800 per month in rent. Utilities like electricity tend to be higher here due to the intense summer heat, so budget around $150-$200 per month for that.

Groceries are pretty average – you can do well with $300-$400 per month if you shop at places like HEB and avoid eating out too frequently. Gas is relatively cheap at around $3 per gallon. As for healthcare, I’d recommend putting aside $200-$300 per month if you have a decent employer plan.

The big expenses in Austin are really housing and entertainment/going out. Restaurants and bars can add up quickly if you’re big on the social scene. But there are also lots of free/cheap outdoor activities here. Overall, I think $90K would allow you a pretty comfortable lifestyle here as long as you don’t go overboard. The tech salaries here are great, and there’s no state income tax which helps. Just be smart about picking a reasonably-priced apartment and you’ll be in good shape!

Posts: 18
KeepAustinWeirder @keepaustinweirder
Joined: 2 months ago

Welcome to Austin, future neighbor! As others have said, $90K will go a long way here compared to places with much higher costs of living. But it really depends on your specific lifestyle.

If you want to live in the trendiest areas right in the heart of the city (East 6th, Rainey Street, South Congress, etc.), you’ll pay a premium for housing. Expect to spend at least $2,000+ for a decent 1-bed in those prime locations. The trade-off is being walking distance to a ton of nightlife, restaurants, and the city’s quirkier attractions.

If you’re cool living a bit further out, you can find some relative bargains. I pay $1,400 for a spacious 1-bed about 15 minutes from downtown in the North Loop area. It’s cheaper, but you’ll have to drive more or rely on public transit/rideshares.

As for other costs, my experience:
– Groceries: $400-500/month if you go to HEB and Trader Joe’s
– Utilities: $150 for electric, $50 for internet, water varies
– Gas: $120-150/month for driving averages
– Entertainment: $200-300+/month if you go out frequently
– Healthcare: $200/month for decent PPO coverage

So on $90K, you may have to be a bit careful, but you can definitely live comfortably, save some money, and still immerse yourself in all the fun Austin has to offer! The lack of state income tax is huge. Just avoid paying insane “live, work, play” luxury apartment prices if you want extra cash.

Posts: 11
FoodieFam512 @foodiefam512
Joined: 11 months ago

As a born-and-raised Austinite with a family of 4 (2 kids under 10), my perspective might be a bit different. $90K as a single person is definitely enough to live well, but costs can add up rapidly for families.

Housing will likely be your biggest expense – we pay $2,800 for a 3-bed townhouse in the suburbs about 30 mins from downtown to be in the decent school districts. Rent has gone up significantly in the last 5 years.

Groceries for our family run about $800-1,000 per month if we stick to basic stuff from HEB and Costco. Shopping at higher-end stores like Whole Foods would be way more. Eating out even once a week for a family of 4 is easily $50-80 at a casual restaurant.

Utilities around $300/month for electricity, water, gas, internet. Have to run strong A/C in the summers. Each car is maybe $150/month for gas and insurance. Healthcare through my employer is $600/month for family coverage.

The costs aren’t crazy compared to bigger cities, but they can really add up for families. We do take advantage of lots of free/cheap activities Austin offers – parks, hiking trails, public pools, and the revamped public libraries to help save money. And no state income tax!

Overall, Austin is a great place to live and $90K should allow you to experience most of what the city offers as a single person. Just be prepared for costs to rise rapidly if you eventually want to buy a house and start a family here.

Posts: 4
KeepItWeird513 @keepitweird513
Joined: 2 years ago

$90K is definitely a solid salary for a single person in Austin, but I’ll be honest – the cost of living has gotten pretty crazy here over the last decade with all the people moving in. It’s losing some of its charm and quirkiness.

Housing is where you’ll really feel the pinch. I got lucky renting an older 1-bed apartment near UT campus for $1,100, but similar places in that area now go for $1,500-$1,800 easy. And that’s not even considering amenities or living in the hot neighborhoods. Expect $2,000+ for something nice.

Groceries from HEB or the local chains like Fiesta are reasonable – I spend around $300/month for just me. $400-500 if you shop at higher-end places.

Utilities run me about $150-200 with electricity being the biggest factor when it’s 100+ degrees in summer.

Austin traffic can be a nightmare, so factoring in gasoline costs if you’re commuting. Maybe $120/month even for a fuel-efficient car with today’s prices. Not sure about healthcare, I’m still on my parents’ insurance.

Entertainment-wise, there are so many local restaurants, bars, breweries, concert venues – it’s easy to drop $200-300 per month if you go out regularly. There are lots of free outdoors stuff too which helps offset costs.

My advice? Live relatively frugally when it comes to housing/transportation, then you can really take advantage of Austin’s awesome food/music/culture scene with your remaining income. $90K won’t make you rich, but it’s enough to truly enjoy living here.

Posts: 22
BrokeCollegeKid @brokecollegekid
Joined: 7 months ago

As a student at UT Austin, my perspective on cost of living here is probably a bit different than others! I’m fortunate to have my tuition mostly covered by financial aid/scholarships, but still have to get by with very little income from a part-time job. It’s not easy being broke in this city.

Housing is by far the biggest challenge – I pay $800 per month for just a tiny bedroom in a 4-bedroom apartment out by Cameron Road. Not the nicest place, but it’s one of the only halfway affordable options near campus I could find. Figure $700-$1,000 for a student budget room.

I eat lots of cheap foods – bags of frozen veggies, eggs, pasta, PB&J sandwiches. Maybe $150/month on groceries from HEB and 99 Cents Only stores if I’m really watching costs. The university area does have lots of budget food truck/taco options which is great.

I don’t have a car, so I get around mostly by bus, walking or biking. A student bus pass is $65 per semester which isn’t too bad. Of course, Uber/Lyfts add up quickly when going out at night.

For entertainment, I take advantage of lots of the free/cheap events on campus and around town – comedy shows, outdoor movies, live music at bars, hiking trails. Still end up spending $50-100 per month though.

Utilities, health insurance, and other bills are relatively low as a single student. But rent is by far the biggest struggle on my minimum wage job income. Can’t wait to (hopefully) make $90K someday!

Posts: 2
TechBroHelsinki @techbrohelsinki
Joined: 12 months ago

I used to live in Austin for a few years after graduating from UT, working typical tech bro jobs, before recently moving to take a role in Helsinki, Finland. Thought I’d provide a perspective comparing costs.

In Austin on a $70K salary back in 2019, I was paying $1,400 for a decent modern 1-bed apartment in the Domain area. These days I’ve heard those places are pushing $1,800-2,000+. Still relatively affordable for a major tech hub compared to the Bay Area, Seattle, etc.

Groceries were maybe $400/month going to places like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and the local farmer’s markets. Local Tex-Mex and food truck eating added probably another $200 or so.

As for entertainment, Austin was great with all the bars, breweries, live music, hiking trails. I must have spent $300+ some months being very socially active. Healthcare through my employer was about $100/month.

In Helsinki now, my salary is around €80K but taxes are much higher – I take home maybe $6,500 per month equivalent. However, rent for my 2-bed apartment is only $1,300 in a trendy central neighborhood. Groceries seem to cost more, maybe $600/month eating very well. But healthcare is essentially free as a citizen.

Overall, the lack of income taxes in Austin were great and $90K could let you live very comfortably there if you aren’t spending lavishly on housing. The city has an amazing culture too. Just be wary of rising costs with all the new companies/people moving in.

Posts: 13
FreshGradBudget @freshgradbudget
Joined: 6 months ago

As someone who just graduated and started an entry-level job in Austin making $65K, I can provide a fresh perspective on budgeting for cost of living here right out of college.

Like many mentioned, housing is by far the biggest expense – I looked at probably 20+ apartment complexes and the decent ones all seem to start around $1,300 for a basic 1-bedroom, even in areas a bit further out from downtown. I settled on a place in the Tech Ridge area for $1,400 with basic amenities.

Other expenses so far:
– Groceries: Around $250/month buying mostly from HEB and Aldi
– Utilities: $150 average for electricity, water, internet
– Gas: $100/month to commute
– Car insurance: $120/month
– Healthcare: $75/month through employer

Austin certainly isn’t cheap overall, but it could be worse. I make enough to pay my necessary bills, save a little, and still have $300-400 leftover for fun after rent. The lack of state income taxes is huge for keeping more of my paycheck.

Nightlife, eating out, concerts/events definitely add up quickly if I’m not careful. My friends and I take advantage of a lot of the great free/cheap outdoor activities to save money. We love hitting up Barton Creek Greenbelt for hiking and swimming holes on weekends.

Overall, I think $65K is workable for a recent grad, but any less would make things very tight. At $90K, you’ll be able to truly enjoy Austin’s amenities and lifestyle comfortably as a single person!

Posts: 11
BudgetYuppie @budgetyuppie
Joined: 2 years ago

As a budget-conscious yuppie professional in my 30s, I can share some insights on living an affordable yet comfortable lifestyle in Austin on a decent income like $90K.

Housing will likely be your biggest expense – I pay $1,600 for a nice modern 1-bed apartment in the Arboretum area. It’s quieter than downtown, but still convenient to shops/restaurants and only a 10-15 min drive to most tech offices. I could have found cheaper further out, but prioritized a newly renovated place with good amenities.

I meal prep most of my lunches, which keeps grocery costs down to $250-300/month shopping mostly at HEB and Costco. If I go out for dinner and drinks on weekends, I’ll probably spend another $200 eating/drinking out.

My car is paid off, so transportation is just $100 for gas, $100 for insurance. I have a $75/month gym membership. Healthcare through my employer is $190/month for a good PPO plan.

Other utilities like electricity ($110/month), internet ($60), etc. add another $200 or so in recurring monthly expenses.

After rent, transportation, food, entertainment, and other bills, I can usually bank about $1,500 per month from my $90K salary for savings/investing goals. It requires some discipline, but allows me to live nicely without going overboard in Austin.

My advice would be to find a good apartment deal, buy groceries smartly, take advantage of Austin’s outdoor activities, and avoid racking up debt. With no state income tax, $90K can go pretty far here compared to other big cities!

Posts: 25
RetiredAustinite @retiredaustinite
Joined: 3 months ago

Greetings from a long-time resident who’s now retired in Austin! I’ve certainly seen costs rise over the decades as the city has boomed, but it’s still relatively affordable compared to other major metro areas in my experience.

Back in my working years, I could comfortably rent a modern 2-bed apartment in Westlake Hills for around $1,700 in the early 2000s. These days, I’ve heard those places go for $2,500-3,000+. The suburbs northwest of town used to be more budget-friendly, but they’ve gotten pricey too.

Groceries always felt very reasonable from HEB or discount grocery chains. My wife and I spent maybe $400/month at most to feed the two of us. Now, Whole Foods and fancy stores have proliferated which drives up costs.

Healthcare is where I’ve seen some of the biggest increases, even with insurance covered through my retirement. A good PPO plan could easily run you $300-500/month as a younger individual these days from what I’ve heard from my kids.

Austin’s energy/utility costs were never too outrageous in my experience. The mild winters helped. $150-200/month for water, electricity, internet seems typical.

When my kids were first starting out, I’d recommend living frugally for a few years if possible – get a roommate, drive a used car, pack lunches, limit eating out to treat yourself. Austin has SO many free outdoor activities which helps. But $90K seems to be enough to live comfortably nowadays as long as you aren’t trying to live in the absolute fanciest parts of town right away.

Posts: 22

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 18.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 82.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 10.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 6.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 8.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 5.33 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.70 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.19 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 1.04 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 3.55 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 3.09 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 3.41 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 13.61 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 11.67 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 14.75 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 5.72 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.56 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 4.50 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 3.68 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 2.78 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 2.74 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 1.94 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 2.00 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 15.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 2.07 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 3.68 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 8.00 $
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) – 1.75 $
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price) – 45.00 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 3.25 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.71 $
  • Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) – 35.00 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 0.81 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 35,639.19 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 26,102.62 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 173.25 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 61.15 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 66.20 $
  • Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult – 57.67 $
  • Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) – 17.50 $
  • 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) – 61.92 $
  • 1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …) – 55.85 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 98.04 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 132.87 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 2,262.92 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 1,530.36 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – 4,632.72 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 2,665.22 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre – 3,962.94 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre – 2,682.91 $
  • Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) – 5,708.55 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.69
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