Cost of Living in Austin TX – the 2020 Guide

Does keeping Austin weird come at a high cost? Capital cities usually have a reputation for being the most expensive places in every state, yet the majority want to be there, and everyone else wouldn’t mind moving there as well. So what’s the catch with ATX? Is the cost of living in Austin TX bearable or are Austinites really good with money management? Let’s try to find that out.

Besides being weird, ATX is also known for being the Live Music Capital of the World, so it is not just the capital of TX. This double capital, with its metro area, is home to just a little bit over 2 million residents. If you’re looking to become an Austinite in 2020 or you’re just researching your options for relocation, take a look at our guide to the cost of living in Austin.

Where Does Austin Rank In the Cost of Living Index?

Every future Austinite wants to know one thing, what is the cost of living in Austin, Texas? But the truth is, it all depends on what you compare it to. If you are relocating here from California or NYC, you might think that the Austin cost of living is a bargain. But when looking at places across the state of Texas, the difference in the cost of living index among the biggest cities is not so significant. However, ATX is still at the top of this list, followed by Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, and San Antonio. At the same time, when looking at the bigger picture, life in the Live Music Capital of the World is slightly higher than the state and national average.

Grab a calculator and compare the numbers with your current expenses.

What Salary Do You Need to Live In Austin?

If you’re looking at how to get a job before you move, try to do your research on the expenses first, and see if the offered amount is enough. If you’re moving to a new city alone, you have to pay more attention to that, and perhaps try renting a place with a roommate in the beginning. According to Numbeo, a website that provides data on various expenses, the average net pay, after tax, is around $4,350. Whether that be enough for you depends largely on your lifestyle, preferences, and area where you’re staying. Let’s take a closer look at incomes in some of the major TX places and compare them.

Austin Texas Cost of Living, Alone Vs. Family

Moving alone is not the same as having a family, and there is also a significant difference in expenses. Those of you who are moving to Austin alone can expect that they’ll need around $800 per month, without the rent, while a family of four needs almost $3,000 per month to live comfortably. If two persons are working, things are much easier, of course, but a lot depends on the rent as well. Take a calculator, and then add up the price of housing and see how that compares to your earnings.

What Is a Good Salary in Austin, Texas in 2020?

2020 is a year we will certainly remember for many reasons. From the economic aspect, it is hard to tell what is a good salary for someone. You can check an online wage calculator for TX, to get a better idea of some numbers. For Austinites, the current minimum wage goes around $7.25 per hour, but the living wage is almost double, depending on the number of people sharing a household. It is essential to mention that the unemployment rate here is lower than the national and that the job market is growing. Is the average salary of $4,350 a good one? It might be if you know how to manage your finances.

Like everywhere else, you have to know how to manage your finances and make sure you have enough to cover all the expenses.

Housing Prices and Finding the Right Neighborhood

When moving, somehow, it seems that the toughest task is always to find the balance between that perfect neighborhood and your budget. If you’re moving from a small town to a big city, you might be shocked by some numbers, but the market here is big enough, and there is something for everyone’s pocket, especially if you go to Austin suburbs. Some of the best neighborhoods in Austin are located in the suburbs, and the rents are reasonable. Although there are some things you need to consider when moving to the suburbs, life there comes with a lot of perks and more affordable housing.

For example, the average price for a three-bedroom apartment is around $1,900, while for the same size in a central location, you would have to pay around $1,000 more. One-bedroom apartments are always in high demand. Therefore, their prices are always higher. For a one-bedroom apartment in the center, you’ll pay around $1,700, and in the suburbs $1,100.

What are the Most Affordable Neighborhoods in ATX

Those of you who are looking for how to move out of state on a budget are probably trying to reduce not just the cost of interstate moving and packing services, but also the initial expenses in the new place. We consulted the Niche to curate a brief list of budget-friendly neighborhoods for all future Austinites who are trying to cut the expenses:

  • Redwood
  • Martindale
  • Lockhart
  • Uhland
  • Taylor
  • Elgin
  • Serenada
Finding the right neighborhood is one of the essential things you'll have to do.

The Price of Basic Utilities

Always ask your landlord or previous tenants how high the costs for basic utilities are. Also, you should ask around what cable, gas, and internet providers are available at your apartment complex because not all of them are available in every area. Basic utilities that cover things such as heating, cooling, garbage, water, and electricity can be around $135 per month for a 900-square-foot place. Your internet bill depends mainly on the plan you pick. If you’re lucky, you can find promo deals and spend less on the internet.

Pay attention to the providers available in every area because not all of them cover the entire city.

Price of Public Transportation

Public transportation is one thing that Austinites don’t have to worry a lot about, because it runs smoothly and at a reasonable fee. Bus routes are particularly well organized around Downtown, but you can easily reach other parts of the town as well. Kids and military staff can ride for free. A single ride is $1.25, and there are several options for daily passes, while the monthly pass is only $41.25.

Driving a Car or a Bike Around ATX

If your relocating budget allows it, feel free to add auto transport expenses to it. Having a car is always handy, especially if you are moving to the suburbs or your job is not so close to your new home. Before you prepare your car for shipping, send quotes to a few companies to get an idea of how much car shipping costs, but don’t forget that the cheapest way to ship a car is not always the best one.

If you prefer riding a bike, which is a much cheaper and greener means of transport, you’re in the right place because this is one of the cities that are the most bike-friendly in the entire US. There are more and more bike lanes, and the climate suitable for driving a bike year-round.

There are so many different ways to go around and explore ATX.

Eating Out or Cooking at Home?

If you’re looking for fresh ingredients, seasonal products, and everything else for preparing food at home, you’ll easily find everything on one of many farmers’ markets across the town. Prices of groceries are typical, and you can save a lot by preparing your own meals.

If you decide to go out, an average meal in an inexpensive restaurant can be around $15. But if you decide to explore some of the best restaurants in Austin, you should expect to pay a lot more. Additionally, a lot of restaurants offer free desserts or meals for those who join their club or sign up for their newsletter, and that could be a great way to explore the local culinary scene pretty much for free.

The food scene is diverse, from typical TX to Mexican, so there's something for everyone's taste.

Is Education Expensive?

With more than 90 public elementary, middle, and high schools and more than 100 private schools, it seems like future Austinites who plan to raise a family here will have a lot of options. Private kindergartens charge around $890 per month for full-day service. Also, if you’re looking at international primary schools, the yearly fee goes around $16,500 for those who are willing to invest more in education. There are also six universities, so enough options for a child to grow and continue its education in ATX.

Should I Move Closer to a Good School?

Depending on your priorities and budget, moving closer to a good school might be a decision that could pay off in the long run. Take a look at all the pros and cons, consider time, transport, housing, and then make the final decision. The majority of Austinites agree that the best school district is the Eanes Independent School District, which is, at the same time, one of the best school districts in the entire state. It consists of six different elementary schools, one high school, and two middle ones. And don’t worry, besides studying, there are lots of other things to do in Austin with kids.

Based on the data on students' performance on tests, ATX has some great schools.

Prices Compared to Other Cities in TX

Is living in Austin Texas more expensive than in any other place in the state? Where are the highest salaries and the lowest rents? We are sure you’re eager to find out all these and many other pieces of information, so grab a calculator and count everything in.

Let’s Compare the Costs Across TX

 DallasAustinHouston
Average monthly salary$4,650$4,350
$4,150
Rent for 1 bedroom apt, central location
$1,550
$1,700
$1,450
Rent for 1 bedroom apt, in the suburbs
$1,100
$1,100
$1,000
Basic utilities
$150
$135
$150
Private kindergarten
$990
$890
$950
A monthly pass for public transportation
$96
$41.25
$50

Is It Expensive to Live In Austin Texas?

Based on the numbers you’ve seen, could you say that prices here are sky-high? We don’t think so. Some places are cheaper, of course, but there are also places that are much more expensive. But if you’ve decided to settle in TX, its capital is a great choice. And don’t worry, you’ll probably realize that it is not so weird being an Austinite. Find reliable Austin movers to help you handle all the moving services so you can have a stress free moving experience.

Written By: Jane Davis