Cost of living in the US

Hi everybody

Let's start a topic about the cost of living in the different US states. We already began to speak about cost of life in others posts, I thought it would be interesting to gather everything in one unique post.

Don't forget to mention where you're living: state and city (is it a big/small city?)

Let's compare the:
> accommodation prices
> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)
> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)
> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)
> eduction prices (if you need to pay)
> energy prices (oil, electricity)
> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)
> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant
> prices of a beer and of a coffee in a regular pub

Did I forget something or is this list complete enough?

All the best,


I'm living in Salinas, (near Monterey, 2 hours south of San Francisco) California (150.000 inhabitants)

> accommodation prices > can vary a lot, depends of the location in the Monterey Peninsula. For example, $1600/mo. for 95m2 in Marina, $1500/mo. for 130m2 in Salinas or $1850/mo. for 150 m2 in Del Rey Oaks. I don't know the prices in Carmel or Pacific Grove, but it's expensive (a lot of stars own a house there, like Clint Eastwood or Jennifer Aniston).

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...) > Don't  know, we always drive our car ;)

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?) > About $800-1000/mo., but we are a family of five (2 girls, 11 and 8, and a young boy, 3 years old). We go shopping mostly in Costco ( and Smart & Final (
It's expensive in general (french people, beware of the Camembert : LeRustique > $8.00 ! :p).

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance) > Sorry, that's my wife who take care of that :o

> eduction prices (if you need to pay) > Don't really need to pay. For young kids, a standard day-care is about $25/day.

> energy prices (oil, electricity) > oil between $2.60 and $2.80 per gallon (3.9 l).
Electricity : don't know , sorry :o

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone) > Internet & telephone : $50,00 to $80,00/mo., TV between $20 and $50 (depends of the number of channels you receive).

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant > mostly around $50 for 2, wine included, for Carrow's, Wendy', etc...

> prices of a beer and of a coffee in a regular pub > You know what ? Since we bought a very good coffe maker (percolateur), we don't need to have a coffee anywhere else :)
In general, coffee you buy in gas station or in supermarkets is cheap and disgusting, something between very light tea and socks juice...
For a beer on tap or in a bottle, it's $5 in general.

Hello Everyone,

I pay $700 to share an apartment with two other people in San Francisco and it's considered that I am getting a pretty good deal. Bus is $1.50.

Hi from Minnesota (for the time being).

> accommodation prices
Here in the Cities, most one bedrooms will run about $650 to $800 at a medium range, normal apartment. More upscale ones exist. Only problem - how to find any apartment, because the amount of housing available is nil.

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)
Um, the bus is one of the only ways for public transport to work here. Everyone drives - EVERYONE. You can't get around without a car. The bus usually isn't going where you need to go - I've lived next to bus depots for six years, and never once was it accomodating. Bus fares are pretty decent - under $2 a ride, and less on the weekends. We also have a light rail connecting downtown Mpls to the airport and the Mall. Taxis are horrendous, and are famous for driving people around in circles. 4 miles from the airport can be about $25.

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)
Going out to eat is about the same as the rest of the country, but most produce is very fresh and decently priced - milk, dairy products, meats, veggies, and seasonal fruit.

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)
You will usually get health insurance from your employer. If no health insurance - well, just don't get sick or hurt.

> eduction prices (if you need to pay)
Tuition is going up every year at the U (up 20% since year 2000), and state colleges will be cheaper than private schools. For my two years at a private college, I walked out with $20k in debt. And I was half subsidized! I also did something kinda cool - I was a PSEO student, where high school students go to college for free, and get college and high school credit. Since there was a small college in the small town where I am from, I would just cross the river and finish my classes. You can find some deals, but consider cheaper institutions for undergrad, and then find a good place for grad studies. We have some really excellent schools here, especially for fine and liberal arts.

> energy prices (oil, electricity)
Energy prices, especially gasoline, is cheaper here than the national average. However, you can expect to pay more for your heating bills in the winter, and expect to have on the A/C in the summer for a couple of days! Electric is relatively cheap - all of these are dependant on your housing conditions and your usage. My electric bills in apartments were usually about $100 or less (I am a computer geek who loves aquariums... heh...), but heating and gas is usually included otherwise.

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone) Internet
High speed cable is $50 through Comcast, and about the same for Time Warner. Basic cable to Premium Cable varies, but you'll expect to pay free to about $50 for a good package. Check into TiVo - I recommend it. Telephone - dependant on how much usage you put into it, especially international. Look into Vonage or Skype - much cheaper, especially if you have high speed internet already. Mobile Phone - usually pretty cheap, and many people use their mobile phones as their only phone. I pay about $50/month for basic services on a 1500/min month plan from T-Mobile. Everyone is always offering a sale!

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant
McDs is pretty cheap, and okay if you're in a hurry ($1 for many items, really tasty salads for less than $5 that fill you up). Most basic chain restaurants are less than $20/person per evening, including drinks and dessert. If you go into more upscale places in Uptown, you can expect to put down more than $35/person. Drinks are pretty good if you can score them on happy hour - definetely check into that.

> prices of a beer and of a coffee in a regular pub - I don't know about beer (premium lagers about $4-5 a glass?), but a good screwdriver is about $5 at Bryant Lake Bowl, one of the coolest hangouts in town. Coffee is variant, depending if you'll go for Caribou/Starbucks ($2-5), or if you'll just pick one up at a cafe (less than $1 usually).

Good luck! MN is actually a wonderful place to live and see what true America is really like.

My report is for Florida - Gainesville and Orlando specifically, but the prices are probably quite comparable across the state except maybe in Miami or Tampa.  Most cities in Florida are pretty spread out, so real estate prices are still reasonable.

Nice 1 bedroom apartment - $600 to $800 monthly.

Public Transportation:
No such thing - living in Florida without a car is highly impractical, even in big cities.      A decent leased car will probably go for $200-400 a month, plus gas ($3 a gallon and climbing,) and insurance ($1500 a year? not so sure.)

Food prices:
Produce is reasonable but not cheap.  A loaf of bread is maybe $1.5 -2.  A drinkable bottle of wine can be had for $10.  A typical meal at a sandwich shop for lunch will run you $6-9.  Big chain restaurants have entrees from $12-20.  A delivered pizza or ethnic meal costs you $10-15 or so.  McD's (yuck) value meals are $4-5.  (Can you tell I don't cook much?)

Medical Insurance:
About $150-200 a month if you're healthy and under 40.  Add a deductible and prescriptions (very popular) on top.

Education prices:
Public high schools are tax funded.  Private high schools are expensive ($10k + /year.)
Public colleges are only cheap if you can become a resident, and that can be quite tricky.  If you're not a resident you can expect to pay $20k annually in out-of-state tuition at big universities, more at private ones.  Add cost of living and $35-40k a year for tuition and a student's existence is normal if you're not taking advantage of residency.

Utility bills spike in the hottest months because of air conditioning.  A 1 bedroom apartment without new appliances or insulation can easily top $100 a month in July/August.

Common Bills:
Beer in a restaurant/bar varies dramatically by venue.  Sometimes you can get cheap promoted piss for $1.  Otherwise expect to pay about $2-4 for domestic and a dollar more for imports.
Basic landline telephone service $20-30/mon
A basic cell phone bill with moderate minutes is about $50/mon
Internet is usually bundled with phone or cable, about $25-40 for broadband when bundled, more by itself.
Television - varies by competition - basic cable (30-40 channels) is probably $35-50 a month in most places.  A full lineup of cable channels can cost over $100 a month.
You can save a bit with satellite service, maybe 30% or so

Hurricanes pop up from roughly June to November.  You need to pay attention to the news/people and have a car to leave if it gets to that point.  Chances of your house or apartment getting totaled are very low (though insurance prices wouldn't indicate this.)  Chances of having to cut down trees, clean up yards, wait for power to return, endure the heat without air conditioning, or stand in line for gas at least once or twice a year are high across most of Florida.  You need to budget time and money for these emergencies, as it's necessary to buy supplies before they hit and it's possible to miss work for a couple weeks, pay increased gas prices, etc.

Westborough, Greater Boston Area, Massachussetts.

Accomodation: Depends on the standing of the town, and proximity from Downtown and commute. I am 20 minutes away from Boston, in a nice subburb, a one bedroom is around $1000 a month.

Public Tranportation: Boston Downtown has plenty of bus, T, etc. But outisde of it, prepare to get a car, it comes with the related expenses.

Food prices: I spend around $400 in food, includes caf meals at work for lunch. Seams pretty cheaps for me.

Health Prices: Depends on your situation, if you get good benefits from work like me, it is really affordable, (around $30/months for coverage, then $15 for doctor appointment), otherwise, your are going to ruin yourself in medical expenses.

Education Prices: no experiences

Energy: As everyone know, gas prices are rising, but looks still cheaps for me coming from france. I spend $40  a week in gas.

Common Bills: there is some good deals depending on what you like, count between 50 and 100 depending on which services you subscribe.

Good menu in a restaurant: You have to know the good places, but you can get very good meals, for $30 wine included.

Beer, coffee: American Beer (Sam Adams:)), Bud :(()) around $4,5, imported beers, around 6. Coffee are cheaper, around $3.


Hello, my name is Zee and I am from Brazil, married to lovely american guy...
Well, I've been to many cities in this State and I can tell a little bit about how is the life here...
Before I talk about costs, let me tell you that Arizona is very dry, almost no humidity at all...water is precious here. I think the best place to live is Flagstaff, even if is really cold in the winter, but they don't get as much snow as in the north of the country (around 12 f at most). Northern Arizona is where you would like to be. Other cities are hot, very hot in the summer (temperatures can reach 125 F !!!).

Accommodations prices: It depends of the city. Flagstaff is going too crazy and I heard the local hospital is having hard time to hire nurses and even doctors...housing is too expensive. I don't know about renting a house, but I think it's around 1000 dollars a month, a simple apartment. But if you wanna buy a house, they are selling town houses there for 300 k !! You might find something cheaper, a detached home for 350 k (1500 sqf) in the rural area (you must drive away). And you might find old houses, needing a lot of remodeling in downtown for 400 k. I moved out of there recently and no plans to go back. I think Arizona is expensive...the State is desert, dry and I don't understand very much why is so expensive. I used to live in Lake Havasu city and there is cheaper, but no jobs...the city is very small and they don't even have a mall.  So, prices in Phoenix are not better. I would like to find a nice place to live in Arizona, since my husband works here and he didn't find any good other job any place else...

Transportation in Arizona? Better get a car. In Tucson, Flagstaff and Phoenix area have buses, but I don't know how much cost. A city transit in Lake Havasu charges 3.50 dollars a ride and you must call them and they get you by the door.

Food: We are a family of 4. My kids are little and I spend around 800 dollars a month, maybe more, with basic groceries. Food is expensive in small cities like Havasu. I do my best to save money and get everybody well fed!

Healthy prices: Rip-off! We pay around 450 dollars to Humana One and they don't cover all the expenses. In Flagstaff I took a ride on an ambulance (I've got really sick) and stayed 12 hours at the emergency room. I never saw so much bills in my life before! During 6 months they did not stop sending us bills. We had to pay more than 3 thousand dollars extra to that emergency service. You don't wanna get sick in US. You don't wanna ride an ambulance!!! That ride was more than one thousand dollars!

Educational...I should ask my hubby, because I just know about preschools...prices once more, it depends of the city. My tot went to a preschool in Flagstaff every day, for 6 hours and we paid $458 a month. A good one, though.

Energy is expesive too: gas it's around 3 dollars or more around, in the summer, if you live in a 2000 sqf home, you will pay around 350 dollars or more a month. It depends how cold you want your house.

Other bills: Internet, telephone, gas,water..around $ 500 a month.

Restaurants: Good ones in Phoenix. At Biltmore Fashion Mall a couple can expect to pay $ 100. But if you go to Red Lobster or Olive Garden, for exemple, will be around % 50.

Beer: I drink sometimes, but I don't remember the price. And coffe...Starbucks: $ 2-3 dollars a single cup.

Hi I am Kirsty and I can give two very different comparisons of US states:

1)Cleveland, Ohio

Accom: a 1 bedroom can got from $500 - around 900 for something nice.

Pub. Trans: 99.9% of people use their cars. my husband used the bus and the train (RTA) - which is very slow and limited but those without cars use it - $1.50. We got some sad news when someone we knew in Cleveland died riding his bicycle where my husband used to - although there is an underground bike culture in Cleveland it is taking a long time for the drivers to catch up!!

Food: There is state tax but I think it is average. If you want cheap then shop at the cheap stores.

Health: Cleveland has two of the best hospitals in the US - University Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic. Insurance depends on your job etc.

Education: Expensive if you want your kids to be well educated - the state run schools are awful!! So peopple either move to the fancier suburbs like Solon or Orange or they send their kids to private schools

Energy: Cleveland winters are very cold and gas and electricity prices have gone up - not much fun around December. Also it does get hot in the summer too. Gas is just under $3

Other Bills: Ohio has some of the highest taxes on your income in the US - don't know why....

Restaurants: again depends where you go - you can go cheap or very pricey too. The neighbourhood we used to live in is an up and coming arty place with pricey but amazing restaurants - Tremont.

Beer: Have "Great Lakes" its fantastic!!! and reasonable $8.99 for a six pack

South Beach, Miami

Accomodation: We are paying double what we were in Cleveland for half the space!! You are very luck to find anything under $1200 for a 1 bedroom (and watch - there are some real dumps too!!). If you have loads of cash then I would recommend getting a two bedroom apartment for rent at $6000 a month in a very swanky beach front highrise!!!

Transport: there are both buses and trains in Miami - we haven't had the time to check them out yet but the bus that goes around South Beach is a mere 25cents!!

Food: Again depends where you shop - there are many more fancy restaurants than in the mid west and in general they seem to be pricier by some ways.

Education: don't know

Energy: haven't had our first bill yet - but we're using the AC!!

Beer: haven't found a good florida microbrew yet. Great bar/pub on Lincoln Road - Zekes - $3 for any beer or cider(my preference)

We live close to St. Louis, Missouri so I suppose we are in a fairly typical Midwestern region.

> accommodation prices<

We pay around $700 a month mortgage, plus taxes and insurance, for a 3-bedroom ranch-style (aka large, furnished garden shed) house.  Acquaintances in a St. Louis suburb pay $750 for a 1-bedroom flat next to a freeway.

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)<

We don't have any public transport where we are.

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)<

Around $300 a month for eating at home.  Basic meal out around $12.

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)<

Paid for by a combination of hubbie's workplace and the US military, so we only have a $ per prescription co-pay, but friends who are self-employed say they are paying $1,000 a month for the two of them.

> energy prices (oil, electricity)<

We use electricity for heating, cooling and cooking.  Spring and Autumn is roughly $90 per month.  Summer and Winter around $150

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)<

Cable internet $49.  TV $49.  Cell phones $60 for a two-phone family deal.

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant<

Around $30 pp

> prices of a beer and of a coffee in a regular pub<

Can't find a beer worth drinking.  Come to think of it, we don't have any pubs, either.

Washington DC metro area

> accommodation prices
expensive $1500 to $3000 for an apartment. maybe $800 with a roommate.

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)
couple of bucks point to point depending on where your going. if you fly into DCA you can take the metro into the city. check map and fares at
outside of the city you need a car.

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)
probably $200/month at Trader Joes.

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)
insurance is $100/month - single / no kids.

> education prices (if you need to pay)
all the colleges in the area are private and expensive. UDC is the exception and quite cheap.

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)
about $200 for all that stuff.

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant
from $5-$30 a plate depending on your taste and there’s always Papaya King.

> prices of a beer and of a coffee in a regular pub
$5 or $6/beer.

These are my experiences with costs in Texas, including in the cities. The housing market is remarkably affordable and there are plenty of jobs available.

> accommodation prices: Apartments $550 to $1500

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...): Metro bus line you can get a long term pass

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?): $200 to $550

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance): not sure

> eduction prices (if you need to pay): free public schools

> energy prices (oil, electricity): $50 to $200+

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone) DSL: $27 Sat TV: $45 Phone: $35 Mobile: $40

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant: $7 to $15 for a more than adequate entree

> prices of a beer and of a coffee in a regular pub: beer is usually $3 to $6 espresso style coffee goes around $4

We've just had a work assignment be turned down due to cost of living expense, sadly.

We were hoping to return to California for 1-2 years but the COL appears to be 35% more than it is here in the Netherlands and approx 30% more than UK.

However, we believe that is mainly due to cost of housing and medical insurance, we didn't notice any great difference in every day living costs when we there for 3 months recently.

Here is my experience in the Pittsburgh area (Pennsylvania, Allegheny county)

> accommodation prices (rentals)
Not very expensive for such a big city. From $300 for a 1 bedroom appt in a "not so nice borough" to $3,000 for a 5 bedroom house in a very nice borough. For a short stay, you may prefer a furnished appartement in a nice condo (a nice residence with pool, fitness room, TV,...) from about $800 to $1,600.
A good website to search for all kind of accomodation: he Pittsburgh Craig List

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)
Forget it and buy a car.

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)
Very expensive the first month for french people who try to buy only "european-like" food and french brands. Especially for Christmas if you absolutely NEED your Foie gras, champagne and fine cheese.
Once you start appreciating regular american food (and some of it is surpisingly good!), the shopping cart becomes much more affordable. We send about $800 to $1000/month... and we are not going to Wallmart (the cheapest) but to Giant Eagle (kind of "Monoprix" in France)

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)
Depends on your employer (ask for the so called "benefits" when looking for a job here). Employers usually pay for a large part of the health coverage, but a contribution to the plan and a "co-payment" for some health services is usually required. Total health coverage may range from $100 to $1,000 per month for a family depending on your employer's insurance plan and the options you choose (premiums).

> eduction prices (if you need to pay)
Public education is free (yes it is!). Private schools can be very expensive (up to $12,000/year at the very selective  Sewickey Academy). The Quaker Valley School District offers very good public education... but the prices for home/appt rentals are higher than average. You can't have it all!

> energy prices (oil, electricity)
House power:
Columbia Gas of Pensylvania: about $70/month in winter. Nothing in summer.
Duquesnes Light (electricity): about $200/month (using A/C 2months/year)
Gas: $3,05/gallon (3,78 liters) - in august 2007

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)
TV: depending on your provider and package. From $12 (basic package) to $80/month (movie channels, sports channels, etc...)
Internet+Phone: $100/mo (high speed internet + international calls)
See the websites of:
and Comcast for the best current offers.

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant
Hardly above $50 per person including the wine (californian, chilean, argentinean) in an "expensive" restaurant.
You may enjoy a very good meal in a good steak house for less than $20.
Tip not included (add 10 to 20% depending on your satisfaction!)

> prices of a beer and of a coffee in a regular pub
Coffee: buy an expresso machine and do it yourself
Beer: $3 to $6

Here are a few more data I gathered from different sources:

San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City remain the most expensive cities in the US.

Compared to major cities around the globe, the cost of living in New York is about the same than in Paris or Rome, 10% to 15% higher than in Madrid, Barcelona, Athens or Berlin, but 20% lower than in London or Tokyo (see more international comparison on

Based on the US average cost of living (base=100, including housing), major U.S. cities rate as follow:

San Francisco: 171
Los Angeles: 151
New York: 146
Washington DC: 133
Boston: 126
Seattle: 122
Miami: 124
Chicago: 113
Baltimore: 110
Portland/Vancouver: 108
Minneapolis: 107
Philadelphia: 104
Phoenix: 104
Salt Lake City: 103
Denver: 102
Orlando: 98
Richmond: 95
Millwaukee: 92
Charlotte: 90
Des Moines: 86
Detroit: 86
Cleveland: 86
New Orleans: 91
Dallas: 85
Cincinnati: 84
Pittsburgh: 83
Houston: 83
Charleston: 76

>>> see more details and cities on

I live in Houston, Texas, and this is one of the cheapest biggest metropolis in the USA.

> accommodation prices: you get what you pay for, but looking for a good place you can get good apartments for less than $1000/month
> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...): Out of the central areas, you are going to need you own car to move. Last time I checked, bus was 1.50.

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?) It depends on your tastes, you have from the cheapest to the most expensive, but with less than 200 you can get by. If you use coupons, even better.

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance) This is the bad part, the price of private insurance, around 200/300 monthly.

> education prices (if you need to pay) free public schools, college can be cheap in a Community College or very expensive in a State or a Private University.

> energy prices (oil, electricity), gas goes high and low, it has lowered to almos $2/gallon in less than one month. Electric bills expensive in the summer, because or air conditioning.

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone). It depends on your company.

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant
15-30 plus tip

> prices of a beer and of a coffee in a regular pub: not sure

I live in L A and it has become more expensive here over the past decade.
Housing is expensive especially to buy (even though market has somewhat deflated),transportation apart from car is limited even though they are trying to expand the gold line which runs through Pasadena to downtown LA.The main costs are insurance($800 per year for 95 Toyota) and repairs. The road surfaces are awful 25 years behind on road repairs.
Sales Tax (VAT) has increased and this makes a marked difference when eating out,especially with a tip on top (calculated after tax!)
Over all the cost of living here far exceeds the value and quality of life.

I have lived in Chicago (suburbs) for almost 10 years, have lived in few neighbourhoods.

Currently in Schaumburg. Nice neighbourhood, I think about 80,000 people or so. Has a big shopping mall (Woodfield) and all of the chain stores you can imagine, from food to clothes to construction to car dealerships.

A lot of information applies to all states, not just Illinois (Chicago).

Apartments: cheaper to rent from an owner than go to big apartment complex. I pay $1200/mo for 2-bedroom (about 1300 sq.ft) townhouse with a 1-car garage, rented from a person. I used to rent 1-bedroom, 850 sq.ft. apartment from "The Lakes of Schaumburg" at $1,100/mo.
Search for apartments via Apartments or via Craigslist

Deposits: usually 1 month, but with big apartment complexes it may be way less, sometimes $200-300.

Contracts: usually a year, somebody agree to do 6 months or go month-to-month.
Ending contract: have to let them know at least a month ahead, sometimes 2 months if you want to get your deposit back in full. Check your contract.


Electricity: depending on the apartment/house size, could be anywhere from $40/mo during mild temperature and could be as high as $160/mo for bigger house (not too big) for hot summer months. More if your heating is electric (usually it's natural gas), or your stove is electric and you cook alot.

Gas: minimum is $10/mo, usually it's about $20 during summer (to heat water and cook food), goes up to $150 during cold winters. I've seen as high as $400 on my friend's house during last (very cold) winter.

Water: usually bundled with trash (waste), about $30/mo for us 2.

Internet: depends what type (DSL, cable), could be as low as $20/mo if you get DSL (phone line is extra), minimum with everything is about $32. Cable goes from about $30 (Comcast, if getting with TV plan) to $60 (if nothing else is ordered, just internet).
DSL speeds vary from 1.5Mbps down / 384Kbps up to about 6Mbps down / 768Kbps up.
Get DSL at AT&T
Cable goes from about 1Mbps down / 256Kbps up if you opt for "value package" when getting TV (I think it's about $25, not sure), and goes up to 25Mbps down / 6Mbps up for the max speed, this runs (i think) about $90/mo.
Get cable at Comcast
No WiMax here yet.
Other alternatives are Satellite internet, if you are in a remote location (very high upfront costs).

4 options:
Satellite (DirecTV and Dish Network. Prices are as low as $30/mo for about 100 channels, to about $200/mo for "everything on it". Take your pick
Cable (Comcast). a bit higher prices than satellite, but a lot of apartment complexes do not allow satellite dishes to be installed, so this might be your only option.
Fiber (AT&T Uverse). This is fairly new, started hitting Chicago about 1.5 year ago. Better service, a bit lower price than Cable, I ended up getting U200 package, with HD channels for about $70/mo after taxes.
Antenna (Antenna Web). Free to receive, just have to have antenna and a TV which has a digital tuner. If no digital tuner, need a digital converter box.

Landline (AT&T). As low as $13/mo, to about $50/mo, depending on the features you want.
Cellular (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon,
This is a bit different from EU plans, as I'm having fun time figuring out plans in Barcelona.
The monthly plans usually have some prepaid amount of minutes, goes from 300 to unlimited. Obviously, more minutes you get, more money you pay per month, but relatively cheaper minutes you get.
Overages are a bitch, so everybody gets more than they need to be on a safe side.
Various saving option plans, such as T-mobile's "My Faves", allow you to select specific numbers to have unlimited calls to them. Note the catch is calls FROM them are still going against your minutes :)
Note: in US you pay for both outgoing AND incoming calls. There are no call connection fees, but there are no partial-minute billing either - even if you'd be on a call for 2 seconds, still counts as a full minute.
Calls within same network (mobile-to-mobile) are usually unlimited, and most of the plans have unlimited "Nights and Weekends" options for just few $'s/mo. Catch here that they keep pushing when "Night" begins and ends, currently I think it's at 9pm, and you can get "extra" plan to start at 7pm.
Fairly new addition to cell plans is "Unlimited" plan. At AT&T it's $99/mo, plus taxes (about 20% or so). This includes all calls within the country, but not SMSes or internet. That is extra.
For network coverages, Verizon is the best, but it's network is not GSM, it's CDMA. Phones are pretty bad and you can't swap SIMs if you need to. Next I'd say either Sprint or AT&T, then T-Mobile (worst).
I have AT&T because of the iPhone.
SMS - either 15ct BOTH outgoing AND incoming (more if international), or get 100, 200, 1500, unlimited packs. I have 200 for $3/mo.
Internet - depends on a provider, T-mobile is $20 for Edge, not sure for 3G (it's very new to T-mobile). AT&T is $20 for Edge, $30 for 3G.

(I'll continue everything else in my next post. Kind of late already.)


i would like to ask you an advice. i have an open visa for the usa. i visited before NYC and i want to discover LA/ CALIFORNIA and san fRANCISCO.
What is the less expensive way to visit there, where to stay, where to make shopping. By the way, when i was in NYC, i liked so much some stores like Conway, Marshall. Can i find such stores in LA and what is the best season to go there?

Ps: won't be so dull to go there alone?

thanks in advance.


Hi Sana, could you please start a new thread for your questions?



I live in Delaware/USa - and wehave cities but lots of farm land and the Chesapeake Bay :-)

> accommodation prices
Very expensive for the amount of money people make here - count between 700 and 1500 dollars a month for rent - almost cheaper to won a house.

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)
Only in the north, in Wilmington - public transportation is pretty much non-exisitent and insufficient in most of the State.

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)
Easily 500 to 700 a month for a family of three.

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)
not sure - but many jobs are without benefits and even those with benefits ahve high costs - I used to pay almsot 600 a month just for my part of the Employer sponsored insurance.

> eduction prices (if you need to pay)
At the community college about 1300 per semester, about 3K per semester elsewhere (not including room and board) so it's not as expensive as other states.

> energy prices (oil, electricity)
Count on between 150 and 250 a month to heat a small house or apartment.  Depends on the age of the place.

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)
Some areas only have satellite Internet - which runs about 70 a month, cable internet around 50 or 60 - but again, not available in the rural areas.  home phone around 50 a month, same for cellphone.  TV can run anwwhere from 50 to 150 a month, depending on the service/channels.

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant
between 10 and 18 dollars a meal per person plus drinks.  Less expensive in the center of the State, much higher along the Coast.

> prices of a beer and of a coffee in a regular pub
not sure, I never go there.


> Julien
NICE NAME - That's my son's name.

Hi everyone,

There r two places I have been live in the U.S. One is Hawaii and the other one is San Francisco. They r both expensive city to live. In Hawaii, if you want to live in downtown, somewhere near Waikiki beach. I paid about $1,500 a month for one bedroom. U could find some studio around $1,000 as well. The bus ride is $2 each way. And to have drink in the bar or club will cost u around 6-9 depends on which place u r going. Food is expensive if you r eating at restaurant near the beach since there r so many tourists around there.

About San Francisco, I paid around $1,200 for a studio in nob hill where is few blocks to union square. In my opinion, the rent in SF is higher than Hawaii and the place is a little smaller. The bus ride was $1.5 last year but this year it became $2 each way. The food could be cheaper than Hawaii if you went to trader joe's. U could find some good quality food and wine in cheap price.


I'm in New York City.  Rent can be super expensive if you are living in Manhattan.  A 1 bedroom can be upwards of $2000 easy.  Cheapest studios are around $1500.  Most people have roomates to cut down on rent.  Another option is to live in nearby boroughs (neighborhoods outside of Manhattan - Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island).  For example, you could get a 2 bedroom in Brooklyn for $1500, in a nice area.

I think that a lot of people think NYC is expensive.  Well, it is, to an extent.  Besides the rent, if you know where to go for food, shopping, entertainment, it really isn't that bad.  There are plenty of small, ethnic restaurants where you can find dinner for $5-10.  As for shopping, there are also smaller stores with reasonable just have to know where to look.

To me, the thing that makes NYC so expensive is that there is so much to offer...and if you want to take advantage of everything then yes, it's really expensive.  If you search hard you will be able to find many free events.  For example, in the summer there are several places that offer free movie viewings outside on a roof or lawn.  My favorite is under the Brooklyn Bridge.  There is even free kayaking in the summer.

Living in NYC, residents also have to pay a city tax, in addition to a state tax.  Thisis not usually that much, but it adds up.

A ride on the subway has just gone up to $2.25 per ride.  A monthy card is now $89.  Buses are the same price in general.

Movies are $12 and up.

Drinks are average $5-6 for a beer & around $12 for a cocktail.  Of course there are cheaper (and more expensive places).

i am from arcata CA and it costs bout 1200 for a 3-4 bedroom house with large (maybe 3/4 acre) backyard. Bout 700,000 to buy a house like this. Bout 200 dollar water bill a month . Health insurance who knows? Not to much medical help round here u got to drive to san fran. Every thing is more expensive. soap is like 5.00 a bar, shampoo like 10.00 for 10 OZ. Everything is organic. But there is a good selection of what you can get.

it is not that much expensive to live in US


bestcoach :

it is not that much expensive to live in US


What you live in a tent on the beach??  I have been in Cali (San Diego)going on 2 years moving here in 2008.

Rents (even with economy) 2 bedroom 1200+ dependent on area.

Even with conversions taking into account Cali is expensive. I am employed in the same career i was in in Aussie (tradesman). Cost of living rent/electricity/water (if you call it that). I am on about 16,000PA short of my Aussie pay check for the SAME TRADE!!

Thanks guys! I didn't have any idea about that, I was same question i my mind when I'm going on, thanks you very much!


[Moderated: Content seems to have commercial aim]


Does anyone has more information about the cost of living in San Diego?

I'm trying to define a monthly budget for car/house/food.



i've been in 3 states so far, in the last 2 years, north carolina, maryland and now in virginia
northern virginia is a nice place to live in, but price-wise !! everything is expensive
exp : in NC  you can rent a 2-bedroom appartment around $700, same in north-eastern maryland. but in Norther VA there is no way to get a one bedroom or even a studio at that price.
public transportation = waste of time, you better get your driver's license and find a cheap car to start, plus most of the people live in suburbs(price security...) so in order to commute to work youll need to have a car. the only positive thing that i can mention about northern VA is : diversity and job market.
you're more likely to get hired after 3 to 4 weeks thing that is impossible in NC or even MD

I think its interesting that on many posts, people don't actually know what the cost of living is! I know that when I lived in the States (I now live in the Dominican Republic) I didn't pay much attention to what things cost either. Now though, I know the cost of everything right down to the last peso!

Any ideas as to why this might be true?

Hi, I'll just fire away here and give the rundown in So Cal/LA and a bit of comparison to Portland, Oregon. I have lived in LA for 40 yrs and Portland for 2 years.

L.A. This is a major car culture! Fuel is currently 3.75 per gallon (4 quarts per US gal) Metrolink is a fine system and pricing is unknown to me. There are certain hours you can take a bicycle onto the Red and Blue Line, any violation could cost $200+ last time I checked.
If you drive ANYWHERE in So Cal BEWARE!..drivers here feel very comfortable driving at 80 + mph., take high risks, and are generally not concerned for your safety. LA metro and suburbs are worst and the conditions of the roads are horrible at best.
Get your drivers license at DMV then go to AAA and buy a membership and handle other DMV services with AAA and save LOTS OF TIME AND MONEY...FREE MAPS, ROADSIDE SERVICE, TRIP PLANNING, INSURANCE. About $100 per year for membership includes 3 road services and about 100 miles towing.
If you drive freeways anywhere in Calif you can travel at 5 miles per hour over speed limit without trouble from police. On general roads you MUST stay at limit or risk a citation. Fine is generally $15 each mile per hour over speed limit.

Dining out can be pricey depending on your style. I find that the absolute, most economical option with the healthiest food among fast-food places is CHIPOT** Their food is mostly free range meat and organic ingredients and they are everywhere in So Cal!
$6.95 for a huge burrito or salad, $5.95 for 3 select ingredients you want. Beer, tea and soda.
Hard to define a "pub" these days but IN MY OPINION the best value with above average beer selection, great service and authentic pub food is Lucky Bald***s in Pasadena. Beer $4-9 , fish & chips are around $10 with Specials daily.
Pub beer prices vary because  "gastro pubs" are becoming popular. Beer prices in gp's range $6-$11
Drive through burger places like the popular IN-N-*** will run around $4-$6 for burger, fries and drink.
Seafood at a dine-in place near LA is pricey no matter where you go. Expect to pay $14-$18/20 at a casual dining place that will accomodate children.

Standard "tip" (gratuity) in US is %15. A fair tip is %20, good tip is %25-30 and a noble show of appreciation is %50.

Movie tix for 2 around $18-$20, matinees (mid day) $10-$12.

Basic babysitter fee in so cal is around $12-$14 per hour. If you want to ensure against mistreatment of your child (dinner, bath, bedtime story, no misconduct) then you decide. I think $100-$200 is fair for a worry-free night out.

I only buy healthy food at a natural market...mostly but not all is organic fair trade, local when possible, good products. Myself, wife, 3 yr old, 3 basic meals per day, snacks: $200 per week. We dine out less these days but we spend an extra $50-$100 easily per month.
Farmers Market produce costs the same or more than natural markets, but they usually grow foods the natural markets or supermarkets dont  provide.

I will follow up with more on Portland Oregon in another post...a VERY great, economical place to live!!

bestcoach :

it is not that much expensive to live in US


This comment is misleading. The "US" has 50 friggin states dude! Example: Portland, Oregon home: 2 story, 1800 sq. ft house, fireplace, blueberry garden, cherry tree, big yard, gazebo, patio, shed, 2-car garage, 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, laundry room, covered RV parking...$1300 per month! This would cost double or triple the amount anywhere in Calif.
$1300 in Manhattan would not even hit the radar!
Generally, all over the USA EVERYTHING is inflating.
Remember, cost is one thing, VALUE is another.
By the way, Ive lived in the US all my life, 43 yrs. A person coming into the States with little money and perhaps a family in tow, realy needs to think it through and consider the MANY social/ cultural differences there are from state to state.
Unemployment in the US is said to be around 12%...DOUBLE THAT, my friends.

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