A view of the urban part of Atlanta, Georgia
March 25, 2020 Posted in City Guides
Anastasia Hill

Apart from being the next fashion icon, Anastasia is also a freelance writer and expert on moving (and packing clothes).

What Is the Actual Cost of Living in Atlanta – the 2020 Guide

If you’re planning to relocate and start a new life in the Georgia capital, it’s only reasonable to ask yourself: what is the cost of living in Atlanta and what kind of lifestyle can you afford there with your expected income?

A pile of boxes with a piggy bank ready for the cross-country moving company Before the relocation calculate your budget

If you’re wondering is Atlanta a good place to live, you can be sure that the answer is positive. And one of the reasons why you should move here and make the so-called City in the Forest your new home are somewhat lower everyday expenses. Compared to the national average, this beautiful big city is, in fact, affordable, so you don’t have to worry about making ends meet at the end of every month.

When you’ve picked this capital, a range of other questions probably started running through your head. From how much do you need to make a year to live in Atlanta? to how much money do you need to live comfortably in Atlanta?, there’s so much you’d like to know. We are here to provide you with answers to these and many other questions and help you get the idea of how much money you need for your new life in this metropolis.

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Get Ready for the Rising Housing Prices in Atlanta, GA

Just like you should plan your moving budget before you get started with the relocation, you should also set your monthly budget after you complete the move. One of the essential items to include in your calculation is housing. To narrow your choice down, it might be a good idea to consider house-hunting around the best Atlanta neighborhoods first. Some of them might seem overly expensive, but we’re sure you want only the best for you and your family. That, among other things, means safety, so you might want to use some tools to help you check how safe your neighborhood is so you can avoid some common moving mistakes. When you know where to look, there comes another significant factor – home prices.

Those of you planning to buy a place in Georgia’s capital should be prepared for the rising prices. It has become an issue for millennials and other first-time buyers, as it’s rather challenging to find an affordable place in the entire metro area. The situation is quite similar when it comes to renting – there has been a significant surge in rent prices, as well.

Is It Better to Look for Houses or Apartments?

Before you answer the question of how to rent your home when moving to another state, you should first determine whether you should look for a house or an apartment. Your choice will depend on a variety of factors, including your salary. According to Zillow, the median home value is close to $300,000, while the median rent is about $1,800. So, it would be best that you consider your income before you pick one or another to find whatever fits your budget.

For those of you looking to save a few bucks, moving to the suburbs is an excellent solution. Not only will you be able to find a more affordable place, but your overall monthly expenses will be much lower. Suburbs are usually much safer than the center, too, which is of crucial importance for people moving with kids. Only when you find a home that meets your needs and fits your budget can you start thinking about how to change your address, donate unwanted items, and start creating a photo inventory and packing with the help of some moving day tips.

Speaking of packing, if you find it too troublesome to handle or you don’t have enough time finding the cheapest way to move out of state, be sure you look for help. Recommended and top-rated professional Atlanta movers can provide you with packing services, and all the packing materials for moving, and save you some precious time and nerves because they know all tips and tricks for boxing up things like clothes and furniture. If you’re moving to a smaller home and you still don’t know what to do with some extra stuff, you can ask for storage services, too.

house with garden Learn more about different housing options and at what price they come to find the most suitable option to fit your budget.

Don’t Forget to Add Utilities

When you’re planning your monthly budget, don’t forget to add utilities to get the real idea of how much money you need per month. According to data provided by Numbeo, basic utilities for an apartment of about 915 square feet will cost you over $150. These include water, electricity, heating, cooling, and garbage. As you can see, this package does not include the Internet. And we’re sure you can’t imagine a single day without it. So, get ready to pay an additional $80 for this service.

All in all, when you find a place that you like, and you think fits your budget, don’t forget to ask for the price of utilities. Those moving to another state alone might want to consider finding a roommate for the first couple of months to split the bills and avoid relocation depression.

Keep in Mind that Georgia Is Among the States With the Highest Utility Costs

Speaking of utilities, you shouldn’t be surprised even if the numbers are higher than what we’ve previously mentioned. Georgia is among the five states with the highest utility costs in the country, and a US Energy Information Administration (EIA) report from 2017 shows that residents of the Peach State receive a $14 higher monthly energy bill than the average US citizen.

Electric Bill with Pen and Calculator Utility price can affect your budget more than you thought, so don't forget to calculate how much you're going to need to cover these expenses, too.

Food Prices Are Somewhat Lower Than the National Average

No matter if you are relocating during the holidays or in the summer, you need to eat. When it comes to food, you’ll be happy to hear that the Big Peach is among those affordable cities. A single person spends about $310 a month on food, which is less than the national average of over $320. We suppose that you’d also like to know more about some specific numbers when you go shopping for groceries. So, let’s see how much you should expect to spend on particular everyday necessities.

For instance, a loaf of bread is about $2.60, the price for a gallon of milk is just over $3, while a carton of 12 eggs is about $2.30. When it comes to the distribution of expenses, beef and chicken take up a major part, followed by some fruits, such as apples and oranges.

Now, what happens when you get tired of cooking, and you decide to eat out? Let’s see how much money you should set aside for Atlanta’s world-class restaurants.

Be Sure You Allocate Some Money for Eating out in Atlanta’s Renowned Restaurants

When it comes to eating out, you should be prepared to pay a bit more in some extravagant eateries, which are quite common here. The Big Peach has become a rather popular foodie destination due to its thriving restaurant scene. Also, if you are moving with a dog, there will be plenty of pet-friendly places where you can eat out.  In more upscale restaurants, the average price for a meal per person is not less than $50. It can even go up to $200 for a foie gras or some other gastronomic delicacy. Furthermore, when moving in together with your partner, take advantage of extravagant eateries, and have some memorable date nights.

As for the more affordable options, a meal in an inexpensive restaurant is about $14, while a three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant for two people is about $50. The data provided by Numbeo also suggest that, on average, domestic draught beer is $5, while imported beer is a bit more expensive (about $6). When it comes to coffee, a regular cappuccino is $4.15.

When you are done with unpacking after the move, you might be in the mood to taste all those specialties and enjoy Atlanta’s food scene, that’s why you should also want to save the date for the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival.

meat In addition to grocery shopping, be sure you also include the costs of eating out, as there are many excellent restaurants you shouldn't miss.

How Much Do You Need for Transportation?

To start with, you’ll be happy to hear that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is located only 10 miles south of the downtown area. Whether you decide to use the airport shuttle or a bus, you’ll be in the center in less than 30 minutes.

Once you settle in, you’ll need to rely on public transportation or your own car to get around the city. While you’ll surely enjoy walking and biking, neither of these is fast enough to get you from one part of town to the other. So, it might be a good idea to buy a monthly pass for $95 and rely on public transportation.

As for those driving their own car, you should know that a gallon of gas is around $2.60, which is cheaper than the national average.

Should You Rely on Public Transportation After Moving to Atlanta?

When it comes to getting around, the first thing you should know and be prepared for is heavy traffic. The average commute time is 62 minutes, which is among the highest in the entire country. Nonetheless, according to US News, public transportation is the best way to get around the city.

If you’d rather get around the city in your own vehicle, learn how car shipping works, and do not hesitate to ask for auto transport services. A professional and reliable long-distance moving company will transport your car across the country straight to your future address.

Atlanta road Choose the most convenient and affordable mode of transport and brace yourself for Atlanta's heavy traffic.

Cost of Living in Atlanta Compared to Other Cities in Georgia and the US

When you are figuring out where to move, know that the overall cost of living in Georgia is lower than the national average, so you can be sure you’ve picked one of the more affordable destinations in the category of metropolises. Being the state capital, however, Atlanta is more expensive than smaller cities in Georgia. So, if you come to realize that you can only make ends meet in the capital, it might be a better idea to relocate to one of the smaller cities for a start. For instance, Fort Valley, Eatonton, and Sandersville are among the most affordable places in the state.

If, however, you don’t want to go anywhere else, you should have some idea about how much money you need to make. According to data provided by Numbeo, a family of four spends about $3,500 per month without rent. Thus, a family of four should earn about $80,000 per year combined to live here. For a more comfortable lifestyle, you should pursue an annual income of about $100,000.

The Cost of Living in Atlanta Is Significantly Lower Than in Many Popular US Cities

Even though it is more expensive than some smaller places in the same state, the Big Peach is still much more affordable than many popular destinations around the country. If we compare your chosen city to New York, San Francisco, and Los Angles, for instance, we can see that the numbers speak for themselves. The Big Peach is 38% cheaper than Los Angeles. The figures are even more shocking when it comes to San Francisco and NYC. The Big Apple is 74% more expensive while living in the City by the Bay is as much as 150% more expensive than in the Big A, so you might not have to try so hard to reduce costs when moving here.

person calculating Feel free to compare the costs in other cities to make sure that you've made the right decision.

In a Nutshell

How do you like these numbers? Does the Big Peach fit your planned budget? If so, there should be nothing else stopping you from relocating to this fantastic city with so much to offer no matter if you are moving for a relationship or in pursuit of your dreams. From great job opportunities and lovely weather to affordable prices, there are many reasons why so many want to call this place home.

If you were wondering how to make friends in a new state, cope with moving stress, or how to adjust to a new location, there’s no reason to worry about that. People are friendly and welcoming, so rest assured that it won’t be long before you forge some new friendships.

All you need to do is figure out how to reduce relocation expenses, pick the best time of the year to move, and get a job before you move to be sure you can afford everything needed for a comfortable life. Quick reminder: when trying to find a job before relocating to another state, don’t forget about the most important relocation questions to ask your employer. Once you find work and a lovely place that meets all your expectations, it’s time to start packing and looking forward to your future life in the Big Peach.


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