The 2020 Guide to the True Cost of Living in Dallas Texas

As a future Dallasite, you’re probably eager to find out two things: where is the best BBQ in town, and is the cost of living in Dallas too much of a bite for your budget? For the first issue, consult our best restaurants in Dallas guide, and stay here for all the details on expenses.

Grab a calculator, and let's see how much you'll have to spend.

Don’t let the city’s popular nickname trick you into thinking that literally everything here is bigger, including expenses. The official nickname, Big D, actually comes from Bing Crosby’s song about this Texas city, so put that on your playlist, and let’s dive into the numbers.

Sure, some things are probably less affordable, but life here is far from expensive when you compare it with some other US cities of similar size and prominence. On the other hand, your priorities and lifestyle will have a major impact on the amount of money you’ll be spending. So grab your calculator and let’s take a look at some common everyday expenses.

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Texas?

The second-largest state in the country is home to almost 30 million people, and we’re sure that the word comfortable has a different meaning for each of them. That is why it’s rather hard to come up with a specific, universal amount.

Those of you looking at how to move out of state on a budget will be glad to know the typical costs are slightly lower than the national average, with an index rate of around 94 (with 100 being reserved for the national index). Many people rely on the infamous 50/20/30 rule when trying to determine what can be called comfortable. But, according to Business Insider, the living wage in TX is around $63,500.

How much you'll have to spend each month to live in Big D depends on your preferences.

How Much Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Dallas, TX?

Big D is the third-largest city in the state, and it is home to more than 7 million people in its metro area, which is one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the US. All of you who are moving to Dallas or relocating for a job are probably eager to find out just how much you’ll need to earn to live comfortably. The median household income in Dallas is around $52,000 and growing, but according to several sources, for a comfortable life, you’ll need a few thousands more, somewhere in the region of $57,000.

Costs based on the provided data show that comfortable daily life is achievable in Big D.

What Is the Average Income in Dallas Texas

When looking at the numbers provided by Numbeo, a webpage that analyzes and compares costs in cities across the world, the average monthly salary, after-tax, is around $4,650. Some of the primary industries based in Big D are financial services, technology, and defense, while in the neighborhood of Fort Worth, the majority works in the oil and gas industry. If you’re looking at how to get a job before you move, it is also good to research what companies based in Big D are the leading employers in the DFW area.

If your new job in Big D comes with a normal salary, you should not worry too much about expenses.

What Is the Average Cost of Living in Dallas Texas

If we look at the numbers provided by Numbeo, a single adult needs around $870 per month, not including rent. For a family of four, the estimated monthly amount is around $3,100, also excluding rent. We’ll get to the prices of rents shortly, so you can have an idea of how much you’ll have to spend on it depending on the area. Of course, some of the best neighborhoods in Dallas are bound to be more expensive, but you can always find a roommate or try to find a better-paid job.

Apart from the location and the size of the property, expenses mainly depend on your lifestyle, whether you want to visit the best restaurants in Dallas on a daily level or prepare food at home. Grocery prices are quite affordable for a place of this size, and you can find anything, including fresh seasonal food on farmers’ markets around town.

If you have kids, keep in mind that there are a lot of things to do in Dallas with kids, but that is not going to be something that is going to break the bank.

Pay attention to the price of utilities, food, housing, and transportation because the majority of your salary will be spent on them.

Dallas Cost of Living: Is It Really Affordable?

To summarize all the data, we’ll focus on a few main categories that amount to mandatory costs, such as housing, transportation, schools, taxes, and other expenses we can hardly avoid. You can do the math without using the calculator; keep in mind that these data can change over time and that they depend on a lot of factors.

Housing Prices Are Reasonable

When it comes to costs, housing is always the biggest item on the list and the one we struggle with the most. For those who are younger and new in town, the best option is to find a roommate and cut the costs in half, especially if the location is the priority, and you want to stay close to the center. Over the past few years, rents have been going up, but they are still somewhat reasonable and lower than comparable cities across Texas and the US.

For example, a three-bedroom apartment in the city center can be found anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000, and if you go for the more remote, quiet areas suitable for families, you can expect to save at least $500. On the other hand, singles and young professionals can expect to pay around $750 for a studio apartment, or around $900 for a one-bedroom. Of course, the price rises the closer you get to the center, where the monthly rent for a similar place can reach $1,500.

If you are looking to invest and purchase a property, this is a good place to do so. However, not many residents can afford to own a home, which is why more than half of them are renting. Median home prices vary from one neighborhood to another, but the general median price goes around $250,000 for a single-family home.

Going Around Big D – How Expensive Is Transportation?

If you’re not up to transporting a car from state to state, it is good to know that you won’t have a hard time going around Big D. Dallas Rapid Area Transit (DART) is a public transportation system with a well-developed network of buses and trains that serve many parts of the city. There are more than 130 bus routes and four rail lines that will get you anywhere around the town, and the prices are quite reasonable:

  • Single ride: $2.5
  • Day pass: local $6 / regional $12
  • Midday pass: $2
  • Monthly pass: local $96 / regional $192

Education Costs and Finding a Good School

Those of you who have kids or plan to raise a family are probably curious to find out where all the good schools are and how expensive they are. There are more than 200 public schools operated by the Dallas Independent School District, the second-largest in Texas.

There are also private and international schools, where a year can cost around $20,000. Kindergartens are more affordable, with a yearly price of approximately $950 per child.

Does Dallas Have High Taxes?

The good news is that there are no local or state income taxes here, but there is a sales tax rate of 8.25%, which is a combination of the state’s sales tax rate and local county rate. Also, Big D has one of the highest effective property tax rates in the state, 2.06%, but for all up-to-date data, we suggest you use an online tax calculator.

Is Healthcare Expensive?

The county is the second in state by the number of hospitals, followed by Fort Worth. On average, healthcare costs around $500 per month across the state, but it all depends on the plan and program you opt for.

There are numerous healthcare providers, so the best way to find the right one is to send a few online quotes and then compare their offers and prices. The majority of healthcare plans provide ten essential health benefits according to the Obama healthcare program, but there are, of course, plans that cover much more.

According to PayScale, a doctor’s visit in the Big D will set you back around $112, while a dentist appointment will cost nearly $100. In general, typical healthcare expenditures are almost in line with the average national figure.

The Cost of Relocating to Dallas, TX

When looking for reliable Dallas movers that offer moving services, you should know a few tricks about how to recognize fake moving reviews and avoid being scammed. There are so many questions to ask movers that could help you determine whether or not you want to use their packing service or storage services. And if you want to avoid using public transportation, you can always transport your auto; just don’t forget to count on all these costs when calculating your relocation budget. The best way to plan your budget is to request a relocation quote weeks or months in advance.

Cost of Living in Dallas Texas Compared to Prices in Other TX Cities

We mentioned that Big D is the third largest place in the state, and certainly, its three biggest competitors are Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. So we decided to compare some monthly expenses in these three cities so that you can get a better picture of the costs across the state. In the chart below, you can tell that Houston has a slightly higher cost of living index than Big D, while Austin’s index is somewhat the same when we consider other aspects.

 DallasAustinHoustonSan Antonio
Average monthly salary
$4,650
$4,350
$4,150
$3,150
Rent for 1 bedroom apt, central location
$1,550
$1,700
$1,450
$1,170
Rent for 1 bedroom apt, in the suburbs$1,100
$1,100
$1,000
$890
Basic utilities
$150
$140
$150
$165

Cost of Living in Dallas Texas vs. Fort Worth

Settling in some of the many Dallas suburbs is just one way to cut the costs, and Fort Worth stands out from the rest in that sense. Many people now think that Big D and Fort Worth are the same place, but actually, those are two cities that are so close that they are probably going to merge one day. Right now, they just share the same metro area, and since it is a smaller place, the most significant advantage of Fort Worth is the fact that it is more affordable. However, keep in mind that the average salary in Fort Worth is almost $1,000 lower than in Big D.

If you want to live here, try to find affordable housing and start your new life as a Dallasite.

Is Dallas an Expensive City?

If you are moving from a small town to a big city such as Big D, you are probably worried about all the costs that big city life brings, but living in Dallas is not crazy expensive. For example, when looking at TX, life in cities such as Austin and Houston is not cheaper, and there are definitely more pros than cons to making the Big D your new home. When talking about expenses, future Dallasites don’t have a lot of reasons to worry – all that is left now is to find a place with great BBQ and enjoy as locals do.

Written By: Jane Davis