The 2020 Guide to the Cost of Living in Phoenix Arizona

Once the land of lawmen and outlaws, cavalry, and the Apache, contemporary Arizona is a much calmer place. If you’re planning a relocation to the Grand Canyon State’s hotspot, the cost of living in Phoenix may be just the info you need to nudge you towards the decision. And we collected basic data so that you don’t have to.

For all those looking for a new life someplace else, say in the desert, moving to Phoenix may prove to be the best choice. After all, the city derives its name from a symbol of new beginnings, a bird that rises from its ashes.

What Are the Best Jobs and How Much Money Do You Need to Make to Live in Phoenix?

Once you decide on living in Phoenix, you’ll have to earn some dough. We won’t pretend to teach you how to get a job before you move, but we’ll give you some overview of the local economy.

Once built around the”5Cs” – climate, copper, cotton, cattle, and citrus – the metropolitan economy is now diversified, with emphasis on tourism, construction, and technology manufacturing.

According to data provided by website payscale.com, the average salary in the city is 65,000 USD per year. Phoenix’s best-paid profession is the director of operations, with an average annual income of 92,000 USD. Software engineers can expect to receive around 77 grand. Next in line are project managers, software developers, and mechanical engineers, who all earn above 70,000 USD. Well below them, but still quite well-paid, are office managers who make around 49,000 USD per year.

And since time is money, as people say, it may please you to hear that Grand Canyon State ditched daylight savings altogether.

 

What Is Considered a Living Wage in Arizona?

With respect to everything that you’ll see in a bit, one can say that for a comfortable life in Arizona’s capital, your monthly income shouldn’t be lower than 2,000 USD. It is possible to make a living with less cash if you’re single, but only if you spend just on necessities. For families, that sum has to be higher. Here you may employ an online calculator to see how you would fare with earnings in your trade.

What can hurt your financial prospects significantly is a felony charge in case you harm a famous saguaro cactus. Or let your pet donkey sleep in a bathtub. Law is the law.

Phoenix area is a good place to earn a decent living.

Cost of Living in Phoenix AZ – Housing, Rent, and Utilities

It won’t come as a big surprise that the most substantial portion of your paycheck will be spent on housing. Luckily, getting a home in the Valley of the Sun area is quite easy. The housing market isn’t as valuable as in some other places, but more than half of the residents own their homes. Housing index is lower not only that the national one, but also the state one.

But let’s move on to the prices. Those who are renting an apartment should know that rent in Phoenix is lower than the median rent in the US. According to the latest data provided by specialized website numbeo.com, the average monthly price for a small apartment downtown is 1,243 USD. The same apartment outside of the center can be rented for around 940 USD. Larger apartments, three-bedroom ones, for example, can be rented for an average price of 1,930 USD per month in the center, and 1,500 USD outside of it.

If you prefer to join the ranks of homeowners, it is achievable. All you’ll need is around 224 USD per square foot if you’re buying a home in the center. If you prefer the outskirts, the price per square foot is around 152 USD.

Still, if you’re unsure about the ability to cope with financial burdens, you should use an online calculator or even hire an advisor. Of course, if you wish to live in some of the best neighborhoods in Phoenix, the price may be significantly higher.

Whether you live in a house or apartment, a utility bill will come every month. The basic bill for the 915 sq ft apartment stands at around 185 dollars. It covers essential services, such as electricity, water, garbage, heating, and cooling. A decent Internet connection would require around 70 bucks monthly. The utility index is the only one in Phoenix higher than the national one.

Valley of the Sun is affordable in terms of buying homes and rent, especially when you compare it to other cities.

Cost of Living in Phoenix, Arizona – Groceries and Restaurant Prices

The next compulsory item on the expenses checklist is food. When you wade into a supermarket, you should, on average, have on your card as many bucks as you would in the rest of the country. Groceries index is on a par with a national one.

Let’s start with the necessities. According to numbeo, a one-pound loaf of bread costs 2.6 bucks. Regular milk is 0.6 bucks, a carton of 12 eggs, 2.1 dollars, and bottled water is 1.7 dollars.

Two pounds of meat can be bought for 10.2 (chicken breast) and 11 dollars (beef round). Since the meat doesn’t go as smoothly without cheese, two pounds of a local sort is around 11.5 bucks. To round up an excellent meal at home, the price of beer ranges from 1.5 to 1.8 dollars. If you’re a wine person, a bottle of it stands at around 13 bucks. The old-fashioned guilty pleasure of a cigarette after lunch would come at about eight dollars for a pack of Marlboro.

On the healthier side of the aisles, these are the prices of fruit and vegetables, per two pounds:

  • Rice – $4.8
  • Oranges – $3.1
  • Apples – $3.3
  • Bananas – $1.6
  • Potatoes – $2.5
  • Tomatoes – $4
  • Onions – $2.2
  • Lettuce (one head) – $1.3

That’s for culinary experiments. But what we Americans love more than anything is eating out. Phoenix’s restaurants are many, diverse, and exquisite. A meal in an inexpensive restaurant will require splashing of about 12 dollars. Three-course meal for two in a mid-range joint stands at around 60 bucks. Meals at fast-food chains come at about 7.5 dollars.

Out in a pub, you can have a glass of domestic beer for four bucks, while the imported one would be 5.5 USD. A cup of tasty cappuccino is four bucks, while a bottle of Coca-Cola would come for less than two dollars.
Keep in mind, though, that we’re talking about averages here. Lavish dinner in one of the best restaurants in Phoenix would surely cost a bit more than this.

Food is affordable, and supermarkets are filled with goods.

Is It Expensive to Live in Phoenix? How Much Do You Need for Amenities and Leisure?

After the working day is done, other things in life take over. With the city being a popular tourist destination, you can look forward to the best things to do in Phoenix and its top-notch amenities.

We’ll begin with the crucial thing – healthcare. That index is 11 points lower than the national and nine points lower than the state one. Specialized website expatistan.com shows that prices of basic medical examinations vary around 75 dollars. Twelve doses of antibiotics can be bought for 22 bucks, while a week’s worth of cold medicine stands between five and six dollars.

When it comes to clothing, jeans and summer dresses can be acquired for 50 to 55 dollars, while footwear ranges from 85 bucks for mid-range sneakers, to 120 dollars for business shoes.

For an evening in the cinema, you’ll have to splash 12 bucks per ticket. Theaters are more expensive, with prices for the best seats reaching a hundred dollars.

City also has many museums, with some fully dedicated to Native Americans who lived and still live in the region. One of the most popular venues, Pueblo Grande Museum, charges three to six bucks per ticket.

Sports fans will have no trouble but to choose where to go. Phoenix has teams in all Big Four leagues. The most affordable are games of the local MLB franchise Arizona Diamondbacks, which go for as low as 13 bucks per ticket. Prices on average for Diamondbacks are 45 dollars, for the NHL franchise Arizona Coyotes 66, for Suns of the NBA 82, while tickets for the NFL games of Arizona Cardinals range from 450 do 1400 dollars. If you can’t get to the game, head out to the bar, meet new neighbors, and spend a high-quality afternoon.

If you want to stay in shape, the price of a monthly gym membership is around 30 bucks.

How Much Does the School Cost in Valley of the Sun, AZ

For all the folks who are moving with children, it is only natural that educational institutions are among their primary concerns. Well, the city is well-covered with schools. One year in an international elementary for your kid would require 15 grand. If your child is of preschool age, one month in the kindergarten costs around 800 dollars.

Transportation Costs

Phoenix is a spread-out place. It is an adventure to get anywhere unless you’re on wheels. Engine-powered wheels, make no mistake about that (though investments in the bike infrastructure are growing). Therefore, nobody could blame you if you opt to hire auto transport for shipping a car cross country and get into the driving seat right away. If not, a mid-range sedan can be acquired for around 20 grand. Fuel is a bit steep, though. At $3.2 per gallon, it’s significantly higher than the national average.

If you don’t wish to drive, you’re at the mercy of the Valley Metro transportation system. But fear not! You can use buses or light rail, downtown and in the metro area. Carpooling is also a common thing. As numbeo’s data shows us, a single ride ticket is two bucks. For a one-month pass, you’ll have to splash 64 dollars.

Overall, the transportation index is on par with the national one.

Valley of the Sun is a great place with lot of things to offer

Taxes in Valley of the Sun

You can control what you do and where you live. What you can’t control are taxes. As ever with them, there are highs and lows. In Phoenix, sales tax is high. The combined rate of state and Phoenix’s Maricopa County is 8.6%.
On the plus side, property tax in the county is meager 0.68 percent, lower than the state average. Income tax is also low, with a maximum rate of 4.54%, but mostly lower.

If you own property in Arizona's capital, you won't pay high taxes

Let’s Compare the Cities – Cost of Living in Denver vs Phoenix

Now, we’ll make comparisons between Phoenix and some other US cities, popular with people looking for a new home. The first one on our list is Denver, the capital of the State of Colorado.

Arizona’s capital is much more affordable than its counterpart. Rents are lower from a few hundred to a thousand dollars, depending on the size of the apartments. Prices of 10,7 sq ft in Denver are higher for two grand downtown and more than a grand outside of the city center. On the other hand, residents of Denver earn, on average, about a thousand dollars more monthly.

The yearly tuition fee for an elementary school is at the same level.
Monthly passes for public transportation in Denver are nearly double the price of the Phoenix’s one.

And to Compare Cost of Living in Phoenix With Other Neighboring Cities

Still, though very affordable, Phoenix isn’t the cheapest state capital. For example, Columbus, Ohio, is cheaper. But New Mexico’s Santa Fe or Salt Lake City in Utah are not. Here are some details about housing prices in mentioned cites and beyond, so you can compare them all in one place:

CityAverage SalaryPrice for 10,7 sq ft DowntownRent for One-Bedroom Apartment DowntownMortgage Interest RatePrice of UtilitiesElementary School Tuition Fees
Phoenix$3,595$1,243$2,4804.3%$185$15,000
Denver$4,420$4,511$1,6654.16%$143$15,190
Santa Fe$3,595$3,867$1,2134.28%$143$20,335
Salt Lake City$3,680$3,782$1,1954.27%$136$14,677
Columbus$4,010$1,035$1,8354.29%$180$18,900
Phoenix is on a par with average national cost of living index.

Valley of the Sun Is Exciting, Yet Affordable Place

As you could see, life in the Phoenix area can be rich in opportunities, and at an affordable price.

The overall cost of living index is lower than the national one. You and your family will undoubtedly find a niche for you. So think it through, call your chosen Phoenix long-distance moving company and hire moving services to ship your belongings to your new home.

And one last fun fact – there are four deserts in North America, and parts of every one of them are in Arizona. Sonora, inside which Phoenix lies, is one of the greenest and wettest deserts in the world. So, if you’re an outdoor type, you have one more incentive to relocate.

Written By: Steven Rogers