Boston Water
May 18, 2020 Posted in City Guides
Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

What Is the True Cost of Living in Boston, Massachusetts

What are the major contributors to the cost of living in Boston? Is it expensive to live there, and how much money do you need to earn to afford a decent life in the famous Athens of America? No matter how tempting it may seem, moving to Boston requires getting familiar with the common everyday expenses and hammering out a viable newcomer’s budget.

streets of Boston Before relocating to the Hub go over all of the expenses

B-Town is in no way a cheap place to stay in. Rents and home prices are some of the highest on the East Coast, while food and grocery prices top the average US levels. But what it lacks in affordability, the city makes up for with excellent job opportunities, high overall quality of life, and other reasons why you should move here. Add lower-than-average unemployment rates, some of the highest salaries in the US, as well as globally-known hospitals and universities, and you got yourself a superb place to call home. Clearly, the best time of the year to move here is anytime.

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What Are the Housing Prices in Massachusetts?

Planning your moving budget and relocating to Massachusetts is a great decision for all of those who are looking for safe spots to stay in because crime rates are lower than the US average. Also, if you are moving with kids, you picked the right state to settle down because 27% of the MA population are families with children.

The essential step in the process of relocating to MA, besides changing the address, is trying to find a job before moving to another state and the right accommodation. One of the key tips for successful house hunting and avoiding common moving mistakes is – proper and detailed research. That means you need to get familiar with the housing market before you actually create a household inventory list, pack up your furniture, donate unwanted items, and move.

According to data from the rental marketplace Zillow, the median home value in MA is around $430,000, a 3.3% increase over the last year. However, the value is expected to depreciate by 1.4% over the next 12-month period, so it might just be the moment to become a homeowner in the Bay State.

When you know what you are looking for, where should you move next shouldn’t be a hard question to answer. As the capital and the most prominent city of Massachusetts, B-Town has everything families, young professionals, and outdoor enthusiasts might need. If you choose it as your home, you should go over all the benefits of renting and home-owning and make an educated decision that won’t put a strain on your budget.

Should You Buy or Rent in B-Town?

Ranking and review site Niche states that 65% of Bostonians opt for renting homes instead of buying them. If you want to join the ranks of renters, know that the median rent price is currently (May 2020) at $1,540. It is higher than the national median of $949, but still less expensive than SF or NYC, for instance. On the other hand, if you want to own a property, you should know that the median home value in the city is $487,300.

The answer to the question of whether you should rent or buy a property depends only on your finances and long-term plans. Nevertheless, if you want to save some money, look up cheaper neighborhoods; there might be some accommodation that you will like.

What Are the Best Neighborhoods in Boston?

B-Town is sometimes referred to as the City of Neighborhoods, and there’s a valid reason for that. When looking for a new place, there are 23 locations you can choose from. Some of the best neighborhoods in Boston are also affordable, some are perfect for career chasers, and some are perfect for families due to a slower pace of life.

  • Roslindale is perfect for those who plan on moving to the suburbs. The area is well connected with the rest of the city, and some of the highly ranked schools in Boston are located here. This makes it perfect for families with kids who looking for a high general safety of a neighborhood.
  • West End is a mixed-use commercial and residential location. It is one of the best places to live in Boston for singles and young adults because it is within walking distance to Downtown, where many companies have headquarters.
  • South End is for those who love to be in a Victorian-age scenery since most of the parks and houses are from that area. If you are moving with your pet, you will easily find a place to take them for a walk, since there are many pocket parks and community gardens around.
  • Charleston is an old neighborhood oozing with historical gems waiting to be discovered. Here you will find some of the best and most exciting things to do in Boston, starting with the Freedom Trail.

No matter which neighborhood you pick to call your own, they are all well connected, and you can quickly go from one part of the town to another and explore it.

the Hub area view Picking the right spot to settle down in can be a long but rewarding experience.

How Much Does Transportation Affect the Cost of Living in Boston?

Public transportation is an unavoidable topic when living in a metropolis. Local transportation in B-Town is run by Massachusetts Bay Transport Authority (MBTA). With the subway, commuter rail, ferries, and busses, you will get wherever you need to go.

The first-ever subway in the US is easy to use and has very affordable prices. With LinkPass, you get unlimited access to all the lines and local busses for just $84.50. Compared to big cities like New York, where the tickets are $116.50, and Los Angeles where fees are $100, B-Town’s transportation is affordable.

Nevertheless, if you would rather transport your car across the country instead of using public transportation, ship your car and enjoy wide and well-maintained streets, but make sure that you understand how car shipping works.

What Are the Costs of Driving a Car?

Driving around makes some people feel calm and free. If you are one of them, know that according to the data from Numbeo, the average cost of a gallon of gas is around $2.80, which is in par with the national average. New Yorkers have to pay 10% more for their gas, while folks in LA pay almost a third more.

When it comes to parking, metered one costs around $1.25 an hour, but remember that parking is always free on Sundays and government holidays. When the time comes for you to register your four-wheeler, you will have to go to Massachusetts DMV and pay a fee of $60.

If you prefer to walk around, you will be happy to learn that this is a very walkable city. Company WalkScore gave it a 98 walking score, making it a walking paradise for all the residents. That is the reason why almost 13% of all residents walk to work.

The bike score of the metropolis is 86, making it world-class riders paradise. If you don’t have your own bike, the metropolis has a bike-sharing system Bluebikes through which you can rent a ride for $2.50 or have it for a day if you pay $10. Nevertheless, if you like cycling so much, you should consider getting a monthly membership or a yearly one.

boston traffic City has great public transport options.

How Much Will You Have to Pay for Utilities and Grocery Cost for a Month?

No matter if you choose to relocate during holidays or in summer, you will have to pay the bill for essential utilities such as electricity, water, garbage, heating, and cooling. Numbeo data for 2020 shows that the basic utility package for a 915-square-foot property will cost you around $150 for a month. Don’t forget to count in another $70 for the Internet – it might not be one of the basic utilities, but it certainly is an important one in today’s world.

When you are done unpacking after the move, treat yourself with a nice meal. There are plenty of restaurants in Boston where you can dine out, but if you just want to grab a quick bite meal in an inexpensive restaurant, the price would be around $15. While, if you are moving for a relationship and you want to treat your partner with a meal in a mid-range restaurant, you will need around $70. Coffee addicts should remember that regular cappuccino costs around $4, while domestic beer in pubs is $7 for a pint, and imported ale is $8 a bottle.

When you feel like staying in and cooking for yourself, you should know that going to a supermarket to buy food and getting a gallon of milk would cost you $3.30, and a loaf of bread would set you back $2.80.

streets of boston B-Town is an area with plenty of coffee shops and restaurants to go to.

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in B-Town?

As you’ve probably realized by now, this is not the cheapest place to live in, even if you move into a smaller home because of well-paid jobs, scores of people still choose to settle down in B-Town. SmartAsset, a personal finance firm, published a study that shows that to live comfortably, Bostonians have to have a household income of around $130,000.

Have you thought about how to get a job before you move? Look into the job market and see if there is a job opening at some of the biggest enterprises in the area. You will be moving to one of the top 30 most economically powerful cities in the world, so use that fact to your advantage.

If you are looking for employment in biotechnology or life science, you are in luck, because B-Town is a hotspot for those two industries. Also, among the largest employers, you will find the Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and Children’s Hospital. It is no wonder that some of the highest-paid jobs are in the medical field:

  • Orthodontists have an annual paycheck of $248,000
  • Anesthesiologists earn around $243,000
  • General Pediatricians can make $240,000
  • Obstetricians and Gynecologists have a yearly salary of around $238,00

If you have one of those jobs that require relocation, ensure that your paycheck will cover not only the basic expenses but leave enough cash for you to have some fun.

Can Your Paycheck Cover the Miscellaneous Costs?

You didn’t spend so much time packing your furniture and clothes and moving to this big city just so you could work 24/7. That’s why you should negotiate your paycheck when job hunting and get the one that will leave you some money you can spend on fun activities at the end of the day or week.

Sports fans will love living here because the city has successful teams in four major North American professional sports leagues. If you want to watch a baseball game at the famous Fenway Park, you will need around $57. Gym rats will have to set aside $65 for a monthly gym membership, and if you wish to play tennis, you can rent a court for a price of $19. That being said, getting a pair of good running shoes would cost you around $80.

If you’re not a sports person, there are plenty of other fun activities you can partake in. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts for $25 or catch a movie for the price of $15.

B-Town is a great spot to settle down in because it comes with plenty of benefits, and not only those related to great entertainment. No matter where you are coming from, if you are not 100% sold on becoming a Bostonian, compare prices to other cities, and see for yourself why so many people choose it among all the rest.

How Does the Cost of Living in Boston Compare to Other Cities in Massachusetts?

Are you set on moving to Massachusetts? There are more than a few places you can call home, but the most populous places are also the most popular choices when it comes to relocation. If you are still anxious about relocating to B-Town or feel like you’re getting relocation depression, compare it to other cities in Massachusetts, and see what the benefits of becoming a Bostonian are. Also, don’t forget to check out some moving day tips, that could alleviate your stress and help you prepare better.

Worcester is the second largest place, and according to Numbeo data, salaries here are almost 70% lower than in B-Town, while utility bills are slightly more affordable. Springfield is the third one, where utilities and paychecks are lower than in B-Town as well.

Check out the table below to see exactly how prices compare in these three locations (data from website Numbeo).

City Utilities Salary
Boston $195 $5,415
Worcester $185 $3,090
Springfield $185 $2,350

It’s Time to Enjoy All of the Perks of Being a Bostonian

You figured out how much money you actually need to live a comfortable and relaxed life in B-Town. You found a job with a paycheck that can allow you just that, no need to worry about how to cope with stress when moving. Now it is time to kick back and relax, adjust to the new state, experience all advantages of moving alone, and start feeling like a true Bostonian. Contact professional Boston movers who know all packing tips and tricks, or find the cheapest way to move out of state to reduce the costs of moving, and relocate. If you don’t have a tight schedule when it comes to relocating, you can hire professional movers, but choose the cheapest time of the year to move, and save money that way. Also, be sure to find some free boxes and other packing materials for moving.

Start by treating yourself with a nice dinner in a good restaurant, buy tickets to see a show, a movie, or catch a game. Grab a coffee to go and take a walk around town. You have all the time in the world, so why not spend it enjoying yourself. This city was made to accommodate all the residents’ needs.


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