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What is The Average Cost of Living in Phoenix, AZ?

Phoenix, Arizona, has been a fast-growing metropolitan area for many years.

Today, it is a large, diverse city full of people from all walks of life. It has also become one of the most desirable cities for people to relocate to thanks to its relatively low cost of living.

There are many factors that contribute to the reasonable cost of living in Phoenix that set it apart from other major cities across the U.S. This guide is designed to walk you through all of the common costs you can expect when living in Phoenix.

About Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is the largest city in the state of Arizona with a population of more than 1.6 million people. While it has a long reputation as a winter home for those who come from the Upper Midwest, Phoenix has actually developed into a well-rounded city with year-round entertainment.

The city is a major tourist hub, but it is also home to some incredible parks and outdoor recreation areas, museums, theaters and more. Today Phoenix also is a major hub for real estate, finance, insurance, healthcare and manufacturing.

The Housing Market

Perhaps the biggest indicator of the cost of living in Phoenix, AZ, is the rental market. For the most part, the cost of living comes in under the national average thanks to low rent across the city. Even in central Phoenix, it is possible to find an apartment for less than $1,000 per month. Statistics from the last few years show that Phoenix is approximately 3 percent below the national average for rental rates.

If you are willing to go just outside of the city you will find steep discounts for apartments under $700 per month. While cities like Denver, Atlanta and San Francisco are dealing with skyrocketing rents, Phoenix has been largely untouched by the trend and remained stable.

Since rent typically makes up the majority of your bills, it is easy to see how Phoenix can offer some relief if you're coming from a high-rent city, perhaps saving you several hundred dollars per month for suitable living accommodations.

If you intend to purchase a house there is some good news here. On average housing prices in Phoenix are 11% below the national average. On a major purchase, that can amount to thousands of dollars. However, monthly payments are only slightly below the national average due to differences in insurance costs and interest rates.

Utilities

Another common concern among people relocating to Phoenix is the difference in the cost of utilities. Given the high heat index of the city, it's not unreasonable to expect higher power bills for air conditioning and even a slight bump in your water bill if you plan on having a green lawn or a swimming pool.

To begin with, some costs will stay relatively level throughout the year, such as your Internet bill. In general, $50 per month should cover your internet bill.

Your biggest fluctuation will come in the form of your electricity bill but there is good news here, too. Your average monthly utilities will probably be in the range of $180 per month for a two-bedroom apartment or home around 950 square feet. However, the larger your home, the more it will cost you to keep it cool.

An important note about this number is that it includes your water, power, heating, and garbage, so it's not just your power bill alone. According to some studies, this is actually above the national average, but when compared to other major cities it is actually quite competitive.

Now for the good news: Throughout the winter months, the temperature will be pretty comfortable so you won't have to worry about a heating spike for the most part. This means you will only have a couple of months each year where your electricity increases, and then you will enjoy several months of lower bills.

Many power companies offer payment-leveling programs that average your last year's bills and offer you a stable payment month to month to offset any spikes that may occur. This means you pay a little more during the winter months but you largely avoid the shock of opening a huge power bill in the middle of summer.

Commuting

Perhaps one of the best features of Phoenix is their focus on building a truly great network of public transportation. The bus, light rail, and LINK all provide access throughout the city to anywhere you need to go. The transportation department has partnered with employers and universities to offer huge discounts for people who purchase monthly passes.

Even without a monthly pass – $4 for an unlimited day pass – it is hard to find any other big city that provides this good of a deal to help people get around.

The other half of the commuter equation is how much you'll be spending on your vehicle. Interestingly, you might find that since you have so much access to public transport you actually put fewer miles on your car. Currently, gas prices in Phoenix are below the national average by a few cents.

In addition, a survey of common maintenance services found that shops in Phoenix charge less for balancing tires and changing the oil. This makes Phoenix a pretty commuter-friendly city, regardless of whether you choose to drive or ride.

Food

When it comes to feeding the family, you'll find that the Phoenix, Arizona, cost of living is about on par with other major cities. An average meal at a mid-scale restaurant in town will be about $10. For a couple to go out and enjoy a two- or a three-course meal, you can expect to spend about $50 at a decent restaurant. Or you can try one of our best-rated restaurants in Phoenix that only locals know!

If you're planning on cooking at home full-time, surveys say you should plan on about $305 a month, at the minimum, to feed a family of four. This number can be a little bit misleading because it's based on staples and few extra ingredients.

With that in mind, items like bread, eggs, and milk tend to be less expensive than the national average, but add-ons like pizza and prepared meals tend to be slightly more expensive than the average.

Healthcare

Thanks to Phoenix's warm climate, there are tons of great activities to enjoy outside. As a direct result, Phoenix is one of the healthiest cities in the nation. With such a health-conscious reputation it's not surprising that the cost of healthcare in Phoenix is significantly lower than the national average.

Everything from optometrists to dentists and even over-the-counter medications can be found for less. In some cases, you'll even pay 20 percent less than the rest of the nation!

Entertainment

A household budget always leaves room for entertainment when all the bills are paid. The good news is that Phoenix is a very diverse city with plenty to do. Even better, most of the major theaters and other entertainment venues are competitively priced. Movie tickets and sporting events will cost you less than other major cities, and there is plenty of free entertainment in parks.

Other luxuries like coffee and beers at your local bar also fall into this category. A cup of coffee downtown is actually a few cents cheaper than the national average, but your beer might cost you a few cents more, depending on where you're at in town.

Taxes

Now, for an area that you really can't control – taxes are not often discussed when it comes to changes in the cost of living, but they can have a huge impact on your new lifestyle. For instance, some states charge large taxes for moving a vehicle into their state, while other states don't even have local taxes for their residents.

When it comes to the cost of living in Phoenix, the good news is property taxes and income taxes tend to be much lower than other parts of the country. This is good news if you're buying a house or you're transferring to a new job. On the other hand, the sales tax in Phoenix is more on par with larger cities like Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tenn., at about 8.3 percent when you factor in state and local charges.

Your Expenses

While this guide gives some general guidelines on the cost of living for the average family in Phoenix, your actual expenses will largely depend on your personal lifestyle. For instance, if you go out to eat frequently, the $305 monthly grocery budget will be eaten up fairly quickly. If you don't take advantage of the light rails and other public transport options you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to save money here as well.

Now that you've done your research on what to expect from Phoenix, it's easy to plan your budget to take advantage of all the great cost savings the city has to offer. Overall, Phoenix is estimated to be 5 percent below the national average for cost of living, so you should be mindful of your salary and spending habits.

Tips for Saving Money in Phoenix

Need some pointers for saving money once you've moved to Phoenix? Try these tips from the locals:?

  • Invest in a programmable thermostat to help you manage your energy usage when you're not home.
  • Use ceiling fans whenever possible to keep your home cool. 
  • Maintain your air conditioner. A new unit can cost you thousands of dollars. A yearly service call from an AC professional is well worth the money. (Remember, you'll pay a premium if you need a repair during the middle of a heat wave!)
  • Contact the utility companies and ask about their energy-saving initiatives to cut your monthly recurring bills. 
  • Skip the backyard pool. Phoenix is full of public pools that are super cheap and accessible. Having a pool in your backyard can be very costly and difficult to maintain. 
  • Take advantage of cheap healthcare. Go ahead and enjoy those yearly physicals and teeth cleanings. The better you take care of your health while it's cheap, the less likely you are to see a large hospital bill in the future. 
  • Check out free days at local museums, zoos, and parks. There's fun for the whole family if you just do a little research in advance. 
  • Spring for the monthly transit pass. If your employer is part of the partner program you can get a pretty big discount. Plus, kids under age 18 may be eligible for a free pass with their student ID.

Find Your Next Apartment Home with Heers Management

If you're ready to explore everything that Phoenix has to offer, now is your chance! Contact Heers Management today to see a full list of available properties for rent in the Phoenix metropolitan area. With reasonable rental rates and a huge selection, our team is here to help you find the perfect home for you and your family as you relocate to the Phoenix area.