Moving to the US: cost of living

cost-of-living-in-the-us

One of the first things you should consider before accepting a job and moving to the US, is the cost of living. It will vary greatly depending on which state and city you chose to live in. There really isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes down to it.

Negotiating a salary and deciding exactly how much you’ll need to have saved in the bank before you move really depends on the cost of living and what your spending habits are.

Coming from Australia, you might be shocked by how much it costs to live in the US. Then again, you could be coming from Sydney where no form of financial insanity is too much.

expat-cost-of-living

Numbeo ranks each city in the world on its cost of living, and these are most of the US and Aussie entrants:

Cost of Living US v Australia

Ranking City Ranking City
16  New York, NY, United States 77  Melbourne, Australia
17  Honolulu, HI, United States 79  Sacramento, CA, United States
18  San Francisco, CA, United States 81  Adelaide, Australia
19  Anchorage, AK, United States 82  New Orleans, LA, United States
20  Washington, DC, United States 84  Hartford, CT, United States
21  New Haven, CT, United States 85  Santa Barbara, CA, United States
22  Berkeley, CA, United States 87  Cairns, Australia
23  Santa Cruz, CA, United States 89  Brisbane, Australia
25  Brooklyn, NY, United States 92  Orlando, FL, United States
27  Seattle, WA, United States 95  Des Moines, IA, United States
28  Arlington, VA, United States 97  Hobart, Australia
30  Boston, MA, United States 100  Jersey City, NJ, United States
31  Akron, OH, United States 101  Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States
32  Oakland, CA, United States 102  Grand Rapids, MI, United States
35  Santa Rosa, CA, United States 104  Cleveland, OH, United States
36  Charleston, SC, United States 106  Tacoma, WA, United States
38  Philadelphia, PA, United States 108  San Diego, CA, United States
39  Miami, FL, United States 109  Canberra, Australia
40  Allentown, PA, United States 112  Jacksonville, FL, United States
41  Sydney, Australia 114  Detroit, MI, United States
42  Perth, Australia 118  Newcastle, Australia
44  Darwin, Australia 123  Saint Paul, MN, United States
45  Burlington, VT, United States 125  Nashville, TN, United States
47  Chicago, IL, United States 126  Milwaukee, WI, United States
48  Fairfax, VA, United States 128  Indianapolis, IN, United States
52  Melbourne, FL, United States 129  Atlanta, GA, United States
56  Pittsburgh, PA, United States 132  Charlotte, NC, United States
57  Minneapolis, MN, United States 134  Tampa, FL, United States
58  Irvine, CA, United States 135  Syracuse, NY, United States
59  San Jose, CA, United States 136  Houston, TX, United States
60  Boulder, CO, United States 137  Saint Louis, MO, United States
61  Portland, ME, United States 142  Birmingham, AL, United States
62  Denver, CO, United States 145  Wichita, KS, United States
65  Asheville, NC, United States 146  Fresno, CA, United States
67  Albany, NY, United States 147  Bakersfield, CA, United States
72  Greensboro, NC, United States 148  Louisville, KY, United States
73  Baltimore, MD, United States 154  Austin, TX, United States
74  Los Angeles, CA, United States 157  Tallahassee, FL, United States
75  Portland, OR, United States 159  Buffalo, NY, United States
76  West Palm Beach, FL, United States 163  Gold Coast, Australia

That should start to give you a bit of an idea of how a US city will stack up to your Australian home state.

Cost-of-living-in-America

I won’t be so presumptuous as to assume that you’re all like me, in that you’d never eat avocado on toast more than 30 occasions each year. But I can’t imagine you forking out your hard earned for 2,000 of them either.

The US is pretty expensive, and these cost of living tables don’t even take food, insurance, clothes, or car costs into consideration.  And remember these figures are in US dollars.

As you can see, the bills tend to stack up and on average, you’ll need a fair bit of money behind you. Having said that, you’ll most likely be working in the states, on a wage that hopefully takes into account the area you’ll be living in.

This is really just to keep in mind while you start looking for work, to give you an idea of the kind of salary you might need to keep you afloat in the US.

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4 thoughts on “Moving to the US: cost of living

  1. I love the avocado toast table – I’ve been to all the cities in the table and would live in almost all of them in a heartbeat. Living in Sydney, I don’t think those prices are that crazy at all!

    1. Thanks Sam! I can’t imagine eating that much avocado toast in a year…. maybe a lifetime. Ugh, Sydney is the worst for property prices. I don’t think I could ever afford to live there.

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