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Living Cost Calculator

Calculate living expenses with the living cost calculator

  • Created by Sarah Martinez
  • Reviewed by Michelle Carter

Add monthly recurring expenses below.

Cost of Living (Monthly):

The values cost of living will vary by location, lifestyle and other factors. This calculator is for guidance only.

What does the cost of living mean?

In a specific location and historical period, the cost of living is the amount of money required to pay basic expenses such as housing, food, taxes, and healthcare. The cost of living is frequently used to compare the expense of living in different cities. The cost of living is proportional to the amount of money earned.

Does the cost of living vary by location?

The cost of living varies from city to city. If you live in New York or San Francisco, you would have a much higher cost of living than in Memphis or Austin for example. Different locations generally have different prices for goods and services.

There are many factors that influence the cost of living in a particular location. Common reasons include higher state taxes or building rates, higher demand for housing, high rental rates on business premises (set by landlords) which leads to higher product prices. Other location factors may include the proximity to the central business district or the cost of shipping essential goods in or out.

How much is the cost of living in the United States?

It is estimated that the living cost for the United States is approximately $10,000 to $18,000 per year. On a monthly timeframe, this works out to be between $1,000 and $1,500 per month. This figure would include your accommodation costs, day to day living expenses such as food, travel and entertainment.

Living expenses can vary a lot depending on how frugal you are with your money. The total figure will also vary by location, for example living in New York will likely mean a higher cost of living than living in less built up locations.

Using a tool like a living expense calculator makes it easier to compare your monthly expenses against your income. Having a good understanding of your financial health enables you to make decisions accordingly.

How does the cost of living affect salary?

The cost of living index is frequently used to compare the expense of living in different cities. Wages influence the cost of living. If living costs are higher in a location, such as New York, people must earn more to afford to live there.

An easy way to compare cost of living against your income is by using the debt-to-income ratio calculator. You simply add your income sources and all your monthly expenses, then the calculator will give you debt to income percentage that shows your financial health.

Cost of Living vs Standard of Living

It represents the overall costs accrued as an individual for basic needs. This includes accommodation, utilities, groceries, clothing and entertainment. It can also be used as an indication of how expensive it is to live in a particular place. Standard of living represents your level of comfort and wealth within your environment.

If you live in New York or California for example, you may be struggling to get by and perhaps not able to dine out as frequently as you like or live in a big enough house to comfortably accommodate your family. However, the income that you make in those locations would give you a much better quality of life if you were living in a less condensed location. Often, there is a fine balance between cost of living and standard of living.


The cost of living refers to the amount of money needed to maintain a certain standard of living, including expenses such as housing, food, transportation, healthcare, and other essential goods and services.

The cost of living is influenced by various factors, including:

  • Housing costs (rent or mortgage)
  • Food and groceries
  • Transportation expenses
  • Healthcare costs
  • Utilities (electricity, water, etc.)
  • Education expenses (if applicable)
  • Entertainment and leisure activities

The cost of living can vary significantly depending on your location. Major cities or urban areas tend to have higher costs of living due to higher housing prices, increased demand for services, and generally higher prices for goods and amenities.

To estimate your own cost of living, you can create a budget that outlines your monthly expenses in various categories. This includes housing, groceries, transportation, healthcare, and any other significant expenses. Tracking your spending over a period of time can help provide a realistic picture of your cost of living.

To reduce your cost of living, consider the following strategies:

  • Downsize your housing or consider more affordable living arrangements
  • Budget and track your expenses to identify areas for potential savings
  • Explore public transportation or carpooling to save on commuting costs
  • Compare prices and look for discounts when shopping for essentials
  • Consider sharing expenses with roommates or family members
  • Review and potentially renegotiate contracts for services like internet, insurance, etc.

Understanding the cost of living is crucial for financial planning and decision-making. It helps individuals and families determine their budget, make informed choices about where to live, and evaluate job opportunities in different locations. Additionally, it allows for better financial stability and the ability to save for future goals.