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True Cost of Living in Seattle – Wage, Comparisons and More

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      If you’re thinking about making the famous Emerald City your new home, it’s only natural to worry about the cost of living in Seattle and how does it compare to other major cities across the US. Go over housing, utility, grocery, and transportation prices, and you will see how much money is necessary for a comfortable life here.

      public market center
      Seattle is a wonderful location

      When moving to Seattle, you might be plagued with questions such as: Is it expensive to live in Seattle?  Relocating to the most prominent city in the state of Washington won’t be cheap for sure, but the fact is that its total population has grown by 23% since 2010 while job openings have increased by nearly a third over the same period.

      To help you figure out How much money do you need to live comfortably in Seattle, we’d like to shed some light on the common housing, utility, grocery, and transportation prices, and compare the everyday expenses with other major US cities like Portland and Chicago.


      Accommodation Plays a Crucial Part in Your Expenses

      Before you start living in Seattle, you will need a place to call home. Do your research, go over different Seattle neighborhoods, and pick the one that fits not only your lifestyle but your budget as well.

      Before hiring moving services, you will have to decide whether to rent or buy, but also, if you’ll be moving from an apartment to a house or vice versa. According to data from the website Niche, the number of renters is almost the same as the number of homeowners. Besides, 60% of residents say that the interior and exterior of their properties are excellent.

      In any case, study the housing market, and you will avoid being conned into paying expensive rent or buying overpriced houses.

      As per exact numbers, statistics from the global database website Numbeo show that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the center is around $2,120. At the same time, for the same size place in another area, you will need $1,650. A three-bedroom flat in the center can be rented for $3,710 a month, and in other, more remote locations, you will have to pay around $2,650.

      There are many reasons why people move. If yours is because you want to become a homeowner, you should dig a little deeper and find a property that will be a perfect place to settle down. Emerald City has plenty to offer to its new residents in this regard, from single-family homes in mid-range prices to luxury condos. You will find your next home no matter what your budget is. Purchasing a place in the center will cost around $700 per square foot, while in other locations, the price drops to $425.

      You can see that the prices vary depending on the location as well as the situation on the market. That’s why you should start looking for your next place even before you start packing. With proper research and enough time, you will hunt down property that will be within your price range and still accommodate your lifestyle in the best way possible.

      model of the house and money
      The quality of life index is very high here, and accommodation plays a part in it.

      Transportation Prices in Emerald City and the State of Washington

      If you are moving from a small town to a big city, don’t forget to think about the commute time and means of transportation. Maybe you are used to walking around, but if you work in one part of the metropolis and live in another, you will need to use public transportation or drive yourself.

      Luckily, Emerald City is covered with King County Metro busses, Sound Transit, and Link Light Rail, which can get you from one place to another fairly quickly. Also, the unique geography of the area means you might have to catch a ferry every once in a while to get to the desired destination.

      If you want to use King County Metro, you will have to pay $2.75 for a one-way ticket, while a monthly ticket costs around $100, depending on your age and whether you are eligible for a discounted fare.

      If you prefer to sit behind the wheel, you should consider shipping your car with you. The metropolis has an extensive network of well-maintained roads, and Interstate 5 and State Route 99 run uninterrupted through it.

      With the notion of a healthy lifestyle, many Seattleites opt for biking instead of driving or using public transportation. It is the main reason why you will find plenty of lanes all over the metropolis. Use a bike map and locate routes, trails, and other bike-related amenities in your vicinity. If you left your bicycle in storage or sold it before you relocated, you can always rent one, and prices go from $9 per hour to $75 per day.

      When you need to travel long distances, use the Sea-Tac Airport. It provides air services to quite a few destinations all over the world. There’s also the Paine Field Airport, which opened in 2019, 25 miles north of the center.

      Ordinary Miscellaneous Expenses You Should Think About

      Money is something you need and use all the time, whether you are paying rent, buying a house, or spending it on something enjoyable. There are plenty of unique things to do in Seattle that you will need the almighty dollars for.

      When you want to have some good old fun, pay $15 and go to the movies to catch the latest blockbuster, or have a sports day on a tennis court that will cost you around 35$ an hour. If you are an active person, you should have a gym membership, which is approximately $65 for a month.

      If you want to spend your free time shopping for clothes, know that a pair of jeans is $50, while a pair of mid-range running shoes is around $90. Maybe you are moving across the country for love, and you want to surprise your loved one with a thoughtful gift? Check out summer dresses that go for the price of $45, or men leather business shoes that are around $140.

      If you are relocating with children, know that there are so many things to do in Seattle with kids that don’t involve spending a lot of money. Put on some good shoes, go outside, and enjoy a day in the park. Spending time with your family is a completely free activity. If your kids are at that age when you need to enroll them in preschool, know that full-day private care is $1,900 a month.

      Seattle during the day
      CenturyLink Field is home field of both the NFL's Seahawks and MLS's Sounders

      You Can’t Go Without Paying for Utilities and Food

      Utilities are paid every month (or at least every month you want to use them), and that’s why they are one of the essential parts of the cost of living index. Basic utilities that include electricity, cooling, water, garbage, and heating are, on average, $170 for a 915-square-foot apartment. If you want to use the internet, you will have to pay around $65 for unlimited data ADSL/cable.

      Besides bills, you should think about groceries and food in general. Depending on your lifestyle, your overall grocery and food expenses can vary a lot. If you prefer dining out to cooking, you might spend little extra money on food in some of the best restaurants in Seattle. When you move in with your partner, and you want to take them out for a meal, know that a three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant is around $75. Also, a quick bite at a cheaper diner will knock $17 from your wallet.

      If you decide to prepare a homemade meal, head out to the store and get essentials like a gallon of milk that is around $3.50, a loaf of bread for $3, and a carton of eggs that has a price of $2.75.

      Go Over School Expenses

      Did you know that Seattleites are among the top educated people in the US? Almost 54% of residents older than 25 hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. If you are moving to Seattle in pursuit of knowledge or to raise kids, you should check out the tuition fees of the local educational institutions.

      According to the website CollegeTuitionCompare, the average tuition costs for colleges in the metropolis are around $5,650 for in-state and $21,300 for out of state students. The most expensive is Seattle University, with tuition fees of $46,600, while the most affordable one is Central College, with tuition and fees of $3,800.

      person holding a lot of money
      Did you know that the purchasing power index is very high in the area?

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

      Personal finance resource GoBankingRates calculated how much money you need to live comfortably in every US state. The calculator shows that you need an annual wage of around $77,200 to live comfortably in Washington state.

      While life here is more expensive than in some other states, salaries are higher as well. Nevertheless, the job you have will dictate the amount of money you get to spend every month. Some will have more than enough cash, while others will be surviving from salary to salary.

      What’s the Living Wage in Seattle?

      The economy of the metropolis is driven by a mix of older industrial enterprises and new internet and high-tech companies, as well as service, design, and clean technology firms.

      Even though this is the city of many opportunities, not all get to land a dream job. Those who are starting from the bottom and climbing up should know that, according to the official government website, the minimum wage in companies with more than 500 employees is $16.39 an hour. In an enterprise that employs less than 500 people, the minimum wage can be $15.75 or $13.50 an hour, depending on whether the employer pays medical benefits to workers.

      What Are the Paychecks That Can Cover the Average Cost of Living in Seattle

      We went over the minimum wage and the one that you should earn to have a comfortable life. Somewhere in between is an average paycheck that will cover all of your necessities and leave you with some money for entertainment.

      Many factors, such as housing, can influence this salary and what is left of it when all the bills are paid for. If you pick a more affordable neighborhood, you will surely save on rent or mortgage. Cooking over dining out is also something that will influence the amount of cash needed to live a decent life in the metropolis, as will driving your own car. If you want to save up, the best thing you can do is walk or use a bike.

      Reexamine your lifestyle, write all of your expenses down on paper, use a calculator, and see just how much money you need.

      girl looking through the window
      No matter what kind of job you land, work your way up the ladder, and earn the best salary.

      How Does Cost of Living in Seattle Compare to Other Cities

      Starting anew in a completely different environment can be overwhelming. To have a stress free moving experience, you should learn about your new area as much as you can. Knowing how much money you will need to live there is at the top of the list. No matter where you are coming from, be prepared for some adjustments because the cost of living index is not the same everywhere.

      Compare the Cost of Living in Seattle vs Portland

      If you decided to stay on the west side of the country and exchange Oregon for Washington, you might want to go over the general costs and see how much the prices vary.

      According to Numbeo, residents of Emerald City will pay almost 5% less for essential utilities and the internet than residents of Portland. Also, Seattleites pay less for taxi services and many market products. Add higher salaries into the mix, and you will see why people choose to relocate.

      Cost of Living Seattle vs Chicago

      You should have a great reason if you are relocating all across the country. Chicago might be cheaper when it comes to groceries and housing, but Seattleites have 30% higher monthly paychecks. The amount of money they earn covers more than basic expenses, leaving enough cash for savings and entertainment.

      Seattle Cost of Living Comparison With Other WA Cities

      Washington state is the 13th most populous state in the US, with more than 6.7 million inhabitants. Residents of the state are mostly concentrated in bigger, more urban areas. If you want to relocate to Washington, but you are still on the fence about the exact location, go over Numbeo and Niche data, which show how prices vary among the biggest cities.

      City Utilities Median Home Value Median Rent Average Monthly Net Salary
      Seattle $200 $663,100 $1,615 $5,890
      Spokane $115 $187,600 $870 $3,390
      Tacoma $220 $277,900 $1,180 $3,310

      Enjoy Your Life in Emerald City

      You made it. Relocation is over, all of those long days of researching and learning about housing and job markets are finally done. Going over your budget will be so much easier when you are actually in the metropolis. You might even pick up some tricks on how to save up additionally. Now, all that’s left for you to do is kick back and relax. Sink into your new life, and enjoy all of its perks.

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