Cost of Living Forum

IslandResident @islandresident
Joined: 2 years ago

Cost of Living on Bainbridge Island – Input from Long-time Residents?

I’ve been living on Bainbridge Island for the past 15 years and am always curious to hear perspectives from others on the cost of living here. As someone with a family of four (two kids in elementary school), I’d love to get input on what others are paying for major expenses like housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, and entertainment.

Our situation is that we own a 3-bedroom home just outside of the main town center, and both my spouse and I work professional jobs (earning a combined gross income around $180k). We’re comfortable but always looking for ways to save. What has been your experience with the overall cost of living on the island? Any insider tips or perspectives you can share?

Posts: 8

10 Replies

BainbridgeBudgeter @bainbridgebudgeter
Joined: 9 months ago

As a single professional renting a 1-bedroom apartment in Winslow, I find the housing costs to be quite high but manageable with my tech salary. I pay around $2,000 for rent, which is steep but the convenience to downtown can’t be beaten. Groceries from the island markets are pricey, so I try to do bigger shopping trips in Poulsbo or Silverdale to save. Utilities with cable/internet run me about $250 monthly. Having a car is almost essential here unless you live/work downtown, and gas/insurance/maintenance adds up. But the scenery and slower pace make it worth it for me right now. I set aside a decent entertainment budget to enjoy restaurants, parks, and the occasional kayak rental.
Posts: 9
FamilyOfFive @familyoffive
Joined: 12 months ago

As a family of five (three kids under 10), we definitely feel the pinch of Bainbridge’s high cost of living. We bought our 4-bedroom house a few years ago just north of Winslow and our mortgage/taxes are around $4,000 per month. Childcare for our youngest was a massive hit at over $1,500 per month. Now with the older two in public schools, that eased up but activity/sports fees seem never-ending. Groceries easily run us $1,000+ per month, mostly shopping at Town & Country. The biggest relief has been my husband’s job providing excellent health insurance. We try to stick to free/low-cost entertainment like parks and libraries. It’s not easy but we make sacrifices to live in this beautiful community.
Posts: 13
BainbridgeBaritone @bainbridgebaritone
Joined: 11 months ago

As an older household with just me and my wife, we find Bainbridge quite affordable on our retirement income. We own our modest 2-bed condo outright and have minimal housing costs beyond the $500 or so monthly HOA fee. Basic utilities like electric, water, internet, and our mobile plans are manageable at around $300 per month total. We do most grocery shopping at the cheaper options like Trader Joe’s and Costco off-island. Healthcare is a big one as we’re on Medicare but still pay hefty supplemental insurance premiums. We don’t go too crazy but enjoy grabbing breakfast at the restaurants downtown and an occasional show at the playhouse. The fees for classes, clubs, and entertainment are very reasonable for retirees.
Posts: 10
WinslowWanderer @winslowwanderer
Joined: 2 years ago

I’ve been renting a studio right in Winslow for the past few years, and it’s expensive for sure at around $1,500 per month. But I love being able to walk everywhere and just have the essentials of a car for longer trips. Groceries from the little markets are so convenient but really add up fast. I mostly eat simply and cook at home. Utilities and internet/streaming run me maybe $150 per month. I take advantage of the parks, beaches, and trails for free entertainment as much as possible. Healthcare is probably my biggest strain as an individual not getting any employer benefits. The coveted “Bainbridge lifestyle” comes at a high cost, but I’m making it work for now on my modest salary.
Posts: 25
BainsYuppie @bainsyuppie
Joined: 2 years ago

My wife and I are dink professionals in our 30s, and frankly, the cost of living on Bainbridge isn’t too burdensome for our household income. We paid around $800k for our 3-bed/2-bath home in one of the newer developments, so our mortgage is manageable at around $4k per month. We max out our 401ks so the high WA state income tax doesn’t sting too badly. Groceries from Town & Country or Metropolitan Market are quite expensive, probably $800-1000 per month for the two of us with our taste for organic/premium products. Utilities like power, internet, etc. are pretty standard $300 range. We take full advantage of island amenities like the clubs, wine bars, and recreation options which do add up. It’s pricey but the convenience and beauty make it worthwhile for our current DINK lifestyle.
Posts: 15
ThriftyThea @thriftythea
Joined: 8 months ago

As a single mom to two energetic boys (12 and 9), I really have to work hard to make our finances stretch on Bainbridge. I rent an older 3-bedroom house north of Winslow for about $2,500 per month, which already leaves me house poor on my salary. The rental market is just brutal. Groceries are so expensive, easily $800+ per month from places like Town & Country to keep up with how much these kids eat! I drive a 10-year-old Subaru, but gas, insurance, and maintenance are still major costs. Healthcare is a big worry with just a basic employer plan. We stick to super low-cost entertainment like the libraries, parks, and beaches. It’s challenging but I love raising them in this community. Lots of cost-cutting life hacks required!
Posts: 8
RetiredGent @retiredgent
Joined: 12 months ago

My wife and I retired to Bainbridge about 5 years ago after selling our previous home, and the housing costs were still quite a shock. We bought our current 2-bedroom cottage downtown for just under $800k. Luckily, our mortgage is manageable at around $2,500/month. Day-to-day expenses like utilities, cable/internet, etc. run us maybe $400 per month. Groceries are the real killer – we easily spend $600-800 per month just getting basic stuff from Town & Country. The bigger issue is healthcare with premiums, copays, and medications eating up a huge chunk of our fixed retirement income. We don’t go too extravagant, with the occasional meal out or show, but miscellaneous costs really add up. The natural beauty is amazing, but Bainbridge runs on the expensive side for sure.
Posts: 14
BainbridgeBaller @bainbridgeballer
Joined: 27 days ago

I’m a single tech bro in my late 20s, and Bainbridge living is pricey but I make it work with my solid FAANG income. I rent a modern 1-bed apartment downtown for around $2,200 per month – ouch. But I don’t cook much so I spend a crazy amount eating out or getting delivery, probably $800-1000 per month on restaurants/takeout. Utilities, streaming, etc. are pretty standard $250 range. My Jeep Wrangler is paid off but gas, insurance, etc. add some costs. I invest aggressively but still treat myself to things like golfing at Meadowmeer, oysters at restaurants, or renting kayaks and bikes. It’s an indulgent existence, but Bainbridge gives me the upscale Pacific Northwest life I want for now.
Posts: 13
AuntieBahB @auntiebahb
Joined: 2 years ago

I moved to the island about 10 years ago to be closer to my kids/grandkids after retiring from my tech career. As an auntie on a fixed income now, things are definitely tighter! I was able to buy a cute but small 1-bed condo for around $350k at the time. My modest mortgage and HOA fees run about $1,800 per month. Utilities like electricity/internet are manageable at $150 or so. The real hit is healthcare costs between Medicare premium/supplemental insurance and med costs – probably $800+ for me monthly. I do try to get to my local YMCA a few times per week. But I rely heavily on free community events, parks, and libraries for entertainment. The grandkid spoiling is the one area I splurge – no amount is too much! Bainbridge is absolutely beautiful but can strain a retirement budget.
Posts: 11
SavvyMillennial @savvymillennial
Joined: 2 years ago

I recently moved to Bainbridge in my late 20s to take an engineering role at one of the maritime companies. As a single millennial, the costs looked daunting at first but I’m making it work okay on my $85k salary. I rent a modern studio apartment just outside of Winslow for $1,650 per month. Utilities like internet/electricity are about $150. Groceries from Town & Country run me $400 or so monthly. I just drive an used economy car (filled up for $35 last week!) and take public transit when I can. Healthcare premiums are still pretty hefty at $250 per month. I stick to free outdoors stuff as much as possible, with an occasional spendy night out. Overall pretty manageable compared to Seattle if you’re savvy!
Posts: 19

Detailed Price Insights of Abilene, TX

  • Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant – 19.00 $
  • Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course – 80.00 $
  • McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal) – 14.00 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) – 6.00 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 8.00 $
  • Cappuccino (regular) – 4.00 $
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle) – 2.44 $
  • Water (0.33 liter bottle) – 1.96 $
  • Milk (regular), (1 liter) – 1.10 $
  • Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 3.59 $
  • Rice (white), (1kg) – 4.53 $
  • Eggs (regular) (12) – 3.25 $
  • Local Cheese (1kg) – 9.52 $
  • Chicken Fillets (1kg) – 13.77 $
  • Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat) – 14.58 $
  • Apples (1kg) – 3.77 $
  • Banana (1kg) – 1.55 $
  • Oranges (1kg) – 3.82 $
  • Tomato (1kg) – 3.90 $
  • Potato (1kg) – 2.07 $
  • Onion (1kg) – 2.02 $
  • Lettuce (1 head) – 1.87 $
  • Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 2.25 $
  • Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 11.50 $
  • Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 1.73 $
  • Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 4.04 $
  • Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro) – 5.60 $
  • One-way Ticket (Local Transport) – 3.50 $
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price) – 53.25 $
  • Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – 4.20 $
  • Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) – 1.28 $
  • Gasoline (1 liter) – 1.10 $
  • Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) – 26,828.28 $
  • Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car) – 24,706.51 $
  • Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment – 140.33 $
  • Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ Data – 45.56 $
  • Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) – 67.50 $
  • Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat – 14.00 $
  • Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private, Monthly for 1 Child – 921.42 $
  • 1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar) – 40.80 $
  • 1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range) – 93.33 $
  • 1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes – 80.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – 2,400.00 $
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – 1,800.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – 2,500.00 $
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – 2,100.00 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre – 5,597.23 $
  • Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre – 4,197.93 $
  • Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate – 6.63
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