cost of living

Trip Advisor

As much as living in major U.S. cities is glorified in TV and film, the reality can be untenable for most American families. Depending on on one's marital status, health care, child care, transportation, and needs for every day sustenance, some cities are twice as expensive as others just to satisfy basic living necessities. Experts used MIT's living wage calculator to assess the minimum income required to live in these 10 major cities. The calculations are based on a family of two adults and one child, and they don't include any leftover funds for dining out at restaurants, taking vacations, or adding to savings. Additionally, banking experts used the 50-30-20 rule (50% necessities, 20% savings, 30% disposable income) to assess what incomes are necessary to live comfortably in these major cities, including perks like dining out and putting money aside for the future.

1. New York

Living wage: $67,817

Living comfortably: $99,667

The Big Apple certainly has one of the highest rents in the country, averaging $2,295 a month. Groceries and healthcare also contribute to a high cost of living.

2. Los Angeles

Living wage: $65,963

Living comfortably: $87,260

With rent averaging $2,050 a month, property costs consistently present a challenge for affordable living. There's currently a $51,538 difference between median income and what's needed to I've comfortably.

3. Chicago

Living wage $59,215

Living comfortably: $76,086

Chicago's sprawling public transit system gives the city the second-lowest transportation costs among the 50 most populated cities in the U.S.

4. Boston

Living wage: $55,777

Living comfortably: $88,967

With rent averaging $2,100 a month, property and food costs are especially high in Boston. However, the city has one of the lowest annual transportation costs.

5. Atlanta

Living wage: $50,049

Living comfortably: $76,049

Atlanta's recent tech boom is also driving up costs of living. Unfortunately, this means there's about a $26,651 difference between median household income and the minimum salary to "live comfortably."

6. Philadelphia

Living wage: $55,600

Live comfortably: $73,005

Housing is the most expensive aspect of living in Philadelphia, with the median cost of a home averaging $147,000.

7. Denver

Living wage: $56,258

Live comfortably: $77,562

Not too long ago Denver was considered the fastest growing city in the U.S, which drove the cost of living higher. Now the difference between median income and a comfortable salary is still over $20,000.

8. Austin

Living wage: $54,638

Live comfortably: $73,163

Between 2017 and 2018, Austin's booming popularity sparked a large spike in cost of living. Transportation costs and healthcare are particularly expensive.

9. San Francisco

Living wage: $78,386

Live comfortably: $123,268

Out of the 50 most populated U.S. cities, San Francisco is the most expensive. With an average cost of $3,300 per month for rent, that's almost $40,000 a year for property alone.

10. Portland

Living wage: $58,423

Live comfortably: $79,397

After a recent explosion in popularity, the cost of living in Portland has risen with higher rent and property costs. Additionally, transportation is particularly expensive to get around the sprawling city.

When you're contemplating re-locating or settling down for the first time, the cost of living you should budget for can vary wildly depending on your family size, your vocation, and your needs. Consider your health care costs, means of transportation, and whether you plan to rent or own before you commit to a new city.

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Are you planning on moving to a new apartment?

Before you spend money like it's going out of style, consider these four ways to save. You can move with ease of mind—and have pennies to spare!

Be Frugal with Your Furnishings

'Nice enough' is all you need i1.wp.com

"Fancy" is overrated. You can create a charming and welcoming ambiance without racking up your credit card bills. Use your flair for style sensibly by seeking out sales or even going for the "minimalistic" look. Less can be more after all, particularly in a pint-sized apartment.

Another tip? Get thrifty. As Unpakt suggests, "Scour the local yard sales, consignment stores, and sites like Craigslist to score quality furniture for less." You may not be able to pass down the pieces to your grandkids one day, but those tables and chairs will do just fine for where you're at right now.

Mull Over the Movers

Check around to get the best rates des.az.gov

Moving all your stuff from Point A to Point B can be a challenge, and it's so easy to call in a moving company to do your dirty work. After all—they'll do everything from packing your things to trucking them to your new pad. Strong men will unload, and some will even unpack your fifty-pound boxes. Sound tempting? I understand, but movers don't come cheap. There are other, more affordable ways to move your items to your new place that don't involve writing a huge check.

Rent.com has a smarter solution: "Renting a truck or van and moving your furniture yourself may be a much cheaper alternative. Self-service rental truck companies such as U-Haul have locations all over the country and offer affordable rates for daily rentals of their equipment." Put your muscles to task and money to better use!

Efficiency is Essential

Lights out www.mediashower.com

Along with rent, your monthly budget is sure to include electric and other utilities. Not only will being mindful of your daily routine be kinder to your wallet, but your eco-friendliness will also pay off in more ways than one. Shut the lights off when you're not home. Limit time in the shower. Do you really need to run the dishwasher every night? And why is the television on 24/7?

A few simple changes to the way you operate will start adding up to significant savings. Key Renter recommends, "You can invest in compact fluorescent light bulbs. These light bulbs are energy-efficient, and they last longer. You may also want to invest in a programmable thermostat." Two more ways to whittle down your spending.

Round Up a Roommate

Cut the rent in half and have double the fun www.baymgmtgroup.com

Now this plan won't work for everyone, but if you're single and seeking companionship (or at least someone to split the bills), hunting for a housemate can be a huge way to save. Even for a short-term arrangement, having a roomie can make the rent much more affordable. You may even be able to move into a larger or more glamorous apartment if you have a roommate to split the costs.

If you don't personally know anyone able (or willing) to move in with you, go online. Smart Asset lists the 9 Best Roommate Finders on the Web, from Craigslist to Facebook and a bunch of others for matches all over the country. And don't forget to ask friends, family, and co-workers if they know of anyone who needs a place to live… and a new buddy, too!

Good luck with the move. Scratch "How can I save?" off your to-do list.

Did you know that October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)? As per the United States Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, "Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents." NDEAM was started in 1945, and this year's theme is "Inclusion Drives Innovation." The sentiment couldn't ring truer.

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As per the personal finance website, WalletHub, "According to the Social Security Administration, one in five Americans lives with a disability, and one in 10 has a severe disability." This portion of the population may need to pay a lot for healthcare and living expenses due to special needs. To embrace NDEAM and the U.S. cities which are friendliest to those with disabilities, WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis to rank the 150 most populated American cities to deem which are the best and worst for people with living with disabilities in 2017.

WalletHub's team of experts compared 28 key indicators to make their determination as to which cities came out on top and which were at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to overall disability-friendliness. These include cost of living, employment rate for people with disabilities, percentage of persons with disabilities living in poverty, cost for doctors' visits, cost for in-home services, percentage of persons with disabilities living in the area, walkable park access, number of doctors/practitioners per capita, and more. By ranking these indicators across the 3 dimensions of economy, quality of life, and healthcare, each metric was, "graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for people with disabilities."

So, which cities came out on top? The top five (#1 being the best) are:

  • 1.Overland Park, KS
  • 2.Grand Rapids, MI
  • 3.Denver, CO
  • 4.Salt Lake City, UT
  • 5.Aurora, CO

And the worst? The bottom five (#1 being the worst) are:

  • 1.San Bernardino, CA
  • 2.Greensboro, NC
  • 3.Providence, RI
  • 4.Winston-Salem, NC
  • 5.Brownsville, TX

Did your city make WalletHub's 5 best or 5 worst?

Some interesting facts from the analysis…

Cleveland, OH and Columbus, GA have the highest number of people living with disabilities in the area – 20.5%.

Laredo, TX has the lowest cost of annual in-home services at $20,592 per year. San Francisco is the most expensive at $68,640 per year for in-home services.

In Cape Coral, FL, people with disabilities make only $9,704 (median annual earnings). The highest median annual earnings are found in Rancho Cucamonga, CA - $38,085.

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For more details about this WalletHub analysis and the full 150-city ranking, please see the full report.

Get Ready for Halloween!! Find Your Costumes at TIPSY ELVES!

Raising kids isn't easy and it's certainly not cheap. The high cost of raising a two-child family can soar "well into the six figures" just to make ends meet, as per a recently published MarketWatch article.

Depending where parents live and decide to raise their kids can be a huge factor as to how much it'll cost them. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) dove deep into this topic and assessed 618 metro areas in the United States, taking a look at variables including costs of childcare, housing, food, healthcare, transportation, clothing and school-related costs, and area taxes.

The study looked at all sorts of families, zeroing in on 10 family types – for instance, single-parent households, how many children are in the home, ages of kids, etc. Naturally, the bigger the family, the greater the expenses.

As an example, as per EPI, "Monthly child care costs for a two-parent, one-child household can be as low as $344 in rural South Carolina and as high as $1,472 in Washington, D.C. In the latter, monthly child care costs for a two-parent, three-child household are $2,784—nearly 90 percent higher than for a two-parent, one-child household." It's no surprise that parents are feeling the burn in their wallets.

Are you living or planning to move to one of these top 10 most expensive cities to raise a child? These attractive communities have their perks, but is the high cost of raising children there worth it? Take a peek at the most expensive 10 and a few facts about each as to what makes them fall on the high end of the spectrum.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. was ranked the overall most expensive city to raise children. As per MarketWatch, who also addressed this topic, "A family of four needs $106,493 just to get by. Child care here is particularly pricey, at $31,158 a year, on average."

Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y.

Not only is the cost to raise kids in these Long Island counties well into the six figures, but taxes are a whopping $16,822 on average per year.

Westchester County, N.Y.

Don't expect to save much by moving upstate, as Westchester County isn't far behind Long Island with high taxes and overall high expenses to raise a family – nearing $100,000.

New York City, N.Y.

It looks like New York is scoring high on high expenses. A family of four will need close to $100,000 to get by in the Big Apple. The one area of savings is on transportation, as most city residents take advantage of public transportation.

Stamford-Norwalk, C.T.

Housing costs make Stamford-Norwalk climb in the ranks at an average of $22,290 annually. Taxes are a killer too.

The rest of the top ten include Honolulu, H.I., Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, N.Y., Ithaca, N.Y., San Francisco, C.A., and Danbury, C.T.

For more specific stats and to see where other cities fell on the list, see the full EPI report.

Don't have or plan to have kids but are seeking to move to a new city? Here's the list of the top ten cities with the best real estate markets. Looks like you may be heading to Texas!

Are you seeking to better budget your family's expenses? Make use of the EPI monthly and annual budget calculator.