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Austin Cost of Living – Living Comfortably in the Texas Capital

If you’re planning to relocate to the capital of Texas, known as one of the sunniest cities in America with a fantastic culture and friendly locals, you should get familiar with the Austin cost of living and see how much does it cost to live a decent life there.

Before you make the final step in the process of moving to Austin and throw out a farewell party, take into consideration your monthly budget, daily requirements and expenses, as well as career goals. Then address questions such as: “Is it expensive to live in Austin Texas?” or “What salary do you need to live in the so-called Live Music Capital of the World?” Fortunately, you’re in the right place because we’ve got the answers you need.


What You Should Know About Austin Before Moving There

The capital of the Lone Star State has a little bit of everything for everyone – rich history, delicious Tex-Mex cuisine, excellent museums, famous clubs with live music, and beautiful parks. This is the place where one can always find something that appeals to his or her taste. But, to live comfortably in it, you should know that ATX is the least affordable place in TX, according to some nationwide analyses.

The good news, if you plan to relocate here, is that ATX’s area still ranks among the cheaper large metropolitan cities to live, work, and have fun in.

As the Nation’s Fastest Growing City, Austin, TX, Is Considered a Hot City to Settle Down

This state capital is packed with friendly people, arts, activities, and it also features a booming economy. If you’re planning to join the 150 people who move to this place every single day, you should know why ATX is such a desirable destination to put down roots:

  • It’s one of the nation’s top tech-startup scenes
  • It can boast an incredibly high quality of life
  • It’s an excellent place for young and old alike
  • There are so many fun things to do (best nightlife scenes, many festivals, food truck heaven, etc.)

Take Into Consideration the Cost of Living Index

Globally, ATX is a moderately expensive place but has comparably high salaries to offset the overall expenses. According to a recent study, it is the 12th most expensive US place to relocate to, with the cost of living (COL) index of 68.03.

And you might be wondering, what is the COL index?

This index allows you to directly compare the expenses of living and working in two or more different places or to see how future destination compares with the national average. You can use either this helpful figure or a calculator – each can lead to a more informed decision regarding the location of your new home.

Compared to other bigger cities, for example, NYC, which has a COL index of 100, Los Angeles with 76.88, or Boston with 84.26 COL index, ATX belongs to the group of places with a middle-ranged COL index.

ATX Is one of the most expensive places in Texas, but it's far more affordable than other prominent US cities

Accommodation Prices Are a Major Contributor to the Austin Cost of Living

Although ATX is a reasonably expensive place to live in when it comes to housing options, the median home value of about $350,000 is significantly higher than in TX and the entire US. In contrast, the median rent is relatively more affordable – $1,107, according to the data provided by Payscale.com.

And according to Numbeo.com, rent per month for a one-bedroom housing unit in the center is about $1,750 and $1,100 outside of downtown. On the other hand, if you would like to buy an apartment downtown, you need to put aside about $4,100 per square feet, or $2,200 farther from the city’s core areas.

Compare Median Home Cost With Other Cities and the US as a Whole

First of all, it’s important to know that the median home costs are somewhat balanced by high salaries – the median house value is about 4.8 times the median household salary of $71,100. Let’s take a closer look at how the expected monthly accommodation expenses in the capital of the Lone Star State compare to the national figure and other places throughout the country.

Monthly housing expenses in Austin and other US cities - comparison     
Median salaryMedian home costHome cost ratioMedian monthly rentRent ratio
Nashville, Tennessee$60,030$255,0004.2x$1,582$31.6%
New York City$71,897$582,0008.1x$2,358$39.4%




Groceries and Utility Expenses

Before relocating to ATX, you should get familiar with the basic everyday expenses, including utilities and groceries, so that you can work out a sound and realistic budget. So, let’s see what Numbeo.com statistics data says when it comes to these items:

  • Milk, 1 qt: $0.85
  • A loaf of fresh white bread: $2.59
  • Rice, 2lb: $3.13
  • Eggs, 12: $2.47
  • Local cheese, 2lb: $10.03
  • Chicken fillets, 2lb: $7.33
  • Beef round, 2lb: $12.01
  • Apples, 2lb: $4.38
  • Banana, 2lb: $1.15
  • Tomato, 2lb: $4.26
  • Potato. 2lb: $2,70
  • Water, 1.5l: $1,60
  • Bottle of wine, mid-range: $12.00
  • Domestic beer, 0.5l: $2.38
  • Imported beer, 0.33l: $3.10
  • Cigarettes 20 pack, Marlboro: $7.00

On the other hand, your monthly expenses for utilities, which include electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage, and the Internet, will be in the region of $200.


Transportation Is Less Expensive Here Than in Other Texas Cities

Since the capital is a somewhat stretched out area, the vast majority of residents use cars to commute. If your job requires driving or carpooling, you should know that the average gasoline price index is lower than its US counterpart, and is still lower than the average price level in the Lone Star State. Based on Payscale.com, it will take you $2.49 for a gallon of gas.

Central Austin’s Interstate 35 is regarded as one of the most congested roadways in TX, second to Houston’s West Loop. Morning and evening peaks are the worst, with commutes taking more than 50 percent longer than in free-flow traffic. However, compared to some other places in the US, including Houston, transportation prices are significantly lower in ATX. For example, a one-way ticket is $1.25, while a monthly pass is $41.25, based on Numbeo.com data.


Gas and transportation prices are reasonable in Texas capital

How Much Does Public Schooling Costs in TX?

When it comes to education, you can opt for public or private schools. While public schooling is generally free, some fees include uniforms, books, and equipment purchasing.

Are you interested in the Lone Star State private schools? If so, take a peek at the average private school tuitions:

  • Tuition is approximately $9,557 per year
  • The elementary school average is $8,033 per year
  • The high school average is $10,950 per year

Besides Great School Options, Some Austin Universities Offer Excellent Education at Reasonable Costs

As one of the student-friendliest places in the US, you can rest assured that your kid will get excellent schooling here. And it doesn’t need to be too expensive. Simply put, you can choose good educational institutions with reasonable tuition fees, such as:

  • The University of Phoenix in ATX – tuition fee is $12,700 a year
  • National American University – tuition fee is from $5,000 to $20,000 a year
  • The University of Texas at ATX – tuition fee is from $5,600 to $41,400 a year
  • Huston-Tillotson University – tuition fee is from $10,000 to $22,000 a year
  • The Concordia University of TX – tuition fee is from $14,000 to $32,000 a year
Public schooling is generally free, while private has considerable tuition fees

What About Entertainment and Leisure Time?

You can just imagine what an extraordinary dining scene a vibrant city like ATX might have. One thing is for sure – you shouldn’t miss trying its best smoked brisket tacos or chicken fried beef ribs in some of the best restaurants in ATX. Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to take a glimpse into the restaurant prices:

  • A meal in an inexpensive restaurant: $15
  • A meal for two people, mid-range restaurant: $50
  • McMeal at McDonald’s: $7.67
  • Domestic Beer, 0.5l draught: $5
  • Imported Beer, 0.33l: $6
  • Cappuccino: $4.39
  • Coke/Pepsi, 0.33l: $2.08
  • Water, 0.33l: $1.48

After tasty bites, some physical activity is always welcome. So, if you can’t imagine your daily routine without a workout, your monthly gym membership will be about $40, while tennis fans will pay approximately $15 for a one-hour session during weekends. If you are a film buff, a cinema ticket is about $12.00, while two tickets to the theater (best available seats), cost about $280, according to Expatistan.com.


What Is Considered a Good Median Income When Living in Austin, TX?

Austinites say that if you’re not earning six figures, you should think twice about moving to the Texas capital, especially to some of the best neighborhoods in Austin. In any case, here’s how much you’ll have to earn to live comfortably in Silicon Hills, according to GoBankingRates website data:

  • Median income: $63,717
  • Income in case you’re a homeowner: $98,007
  • Income if you’re a renter: $94,455

So, if you’ve already packed your belongings and can’t wait for Austin movers with professional moving services to load the truck and head for Texas’ capital, you may rest assured this place will improve your quality of life. We hope that our compiled data will help you weigh the pros and cons of moving to ATX since you know what they say: “We must consult our means rather than our wishes.” Take into consideration Austin’s cost of living, start looking at the most suitable option for you, and hit the road.