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December 12, 2019 Posted in City Guides
Kate Holland

A true grunge and rock music fan born in Seattle, Kate has moved across the country and started writing about her experience

The Cost of Living in Seattle – What to Expect in the Emerald City

After some careful thinking, you’ve chosen Seattle, Washington to be your new place of residence. That’s an excellent choice. However, before you start packing your bags, you should find out a bit more about the cost of living in Seattle to be able to plan your budget accordingly.

Family with kids Figure out your finances before the relocation

You need to find out more about the most crucial things you should know before moving to Seattle to be sure you have made the right decision before you move on to housing and planning your future there.

Moving to a big city per se can be quite daunting and tricky to plan, as there are so many aspects of the potential destination to consider. The cost of living is, without a doubt, among the most important ones. The place you’ve chosen can be amazing and offer everything you’ve ever dreamed of, but if you can’t afford to live there, what good of everything else? That’s why we’d like to tell you more about the food, home, and transportation costs, and give you an idea of how much you’d need approximately to live there. Let’s see how affordable or how expensive the Emerald City is.

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Home Prices

We understand that you can’t wait to get to your new place and start your new life there. Before you learn how to change your address when moving, you first need to find a new address, to begin with, right?

When it comes to house-hunting and housing, the prices might be somewhat steep, depending on the area that you choose, of course, so we understand if these numbers give you anxiety about moving out. Finding affordable housing in some of the best places to live in Seattle, can be quite a challenge here, which is why you need to make sure you have enough time before your move to search the market and find what fits your budget without having to struggle to reduce the costs of moving.

In case you are moving with kids, and you’re thinking about buying a house, you should know that the median sales price there ranges from $490,000 to $700,000, which is significantly higher than the national median price of $230,000. When it comes to apartments, the price per square meter goes from about $4,570 to $7,180, depending on how close to the center you want to live in. So, it’s no wonder that most people living there opt for renting. Let’s see the figures in this case.

Cost of Rent

Whether you want to live in a house or an apartment, renting a home is, without a doubt, the more affordable option than buying. Naturally, it would be quite risky to relocate without a job, no matter how affordable rentals might be. To be sure you’ll be able to pay the rent, you’ll have to get a job before you move. Then you can move on to actually renting a place and experience all the advantages of moving alone.

The median rent for a medium-size apartment is somewhere between $1,660 and $2,000 a month. Some data show that you can find a studio for $1,160, while the rent for a three-bedroom apartment is around $2,500. The closer you go to downtown, the higher the prices, so to live in a three-bedroom flat in the central area, you’ll need as much as $3,660. Considering that the average monthly net salary is around $5,250, paying more than $3,000 just for an apartment is out of the question.

To avoid spending too much and moving into a smaller home, you might want to consider moving to the suburbs where the costs are always lower, and not just when it comes to housing, but considering other aspects, as well.

A person holding a wallet Start saving money on time so that you can live comfortably

Food Prices

No matter if you move during the holidays or some other time of the year, you will need to eat. Grocery prices are as much as 27% higher compared to the national average. According to some data, an adult spends around $400 a month on food, which is, again, higher than the national average ($324). For instance, a loaf of bread costs around $4, while the price for a gallon of milk is about $2.5.

If you are relocating for love, and even moving in together, you might want to treat your special someone with a meal and when it comes to eating out, a meal in a mid-range restaurant would probably cost around $30 per person. Also, if want to treat yourself to a nice meal when you unpack there are plenty of eateries to choose from. If you want to eat in one of the best restaurants in Seattle, you’ll probably have to pay at least twice as much and higher than in a mid-range one, depending on how trendy and classy a place you’ve chosen. To save a few bucks, leave the restaurants for something special or just an occasional treat, pack your kitchen items, and try to cook for yourself as much as possible.

Even though the supermarkets are somewhat pricey, too, you can be sure that the quality of the food is excellent. You can rely on the local markets to get fresh produce and seafood. Since these are open-air, they usually run from spring through fall. Take the opportunity to buy your food there while you can.

a man buying groceries You might spend a couple more bucks on food than you’re used to, but at least you can be sure of the excellent quality

Transportation Costs

When it comes to getting around the city, most people rely on public transportation. If you’re planning to learn how car shipping works and transport your vehicle across the country, you can, of course, hire professional auto transport services, and your car will be delivered where you want it. However, we should warn you – the traffic here can be quite congested. In addition to that, gas is somewhat pricey, too – you’ll spend around $3.50 for a gallon of gas.

When it comes to the public transportation system, the first thing to know about the light rail there is that it only serves a limited area, so it might not always be convenient to get anywhere you want. It might be a better idea to take the bus. A single ticket for a bus is about $2.70. The exact price depends on the time of the day you’re traveling and the distance between point A and point B. If you’re planning to travel by bus regularly, it pays off to buy the monthly Orca Card (around $100).

In case you were hoping to rely on your bicycle, that’s not always feasible considering the number of hills. Plus, rain is quite common there, so the weather, too, would make your bike ride much more complicated. Speaking of weather, take that into consideration when deciding on the best time of the year to move here.

downtown, street, city, day Figure out the best route and the most convenient means of public transportation to avoid being stuck in a traffic jam longer than you have to be

How to Plan Your Budget to Fit the Cost of Living in Seattle, Washington

Wherever you chose to move, you need to plan your moving budget carefully, and this is especially the case when relocating to the Emerald City, where the cost of living is rather high. If you’re on a tight budget, moving to a smaller home and finding the cheapest way to move out of state is an idea worth considering to manage your finances better, as is relocating during the cheapest time of the year and donating unwanted items.

When looking through the best neighborhoods in Seattle, pay attention to the housing and other prices so that those fit into your planned budget. Do plan to allocate a somewhat higher amount of money for your home, whether you buy or rent it, whether you choose a house or an apartment.

For those who are planning to relocate alone, finding a roommate can make your life easier, at least for a start. After all, this metropolis made it to the list of 15 most expensive cities in America, according to data provided by Business Insider.

In case you’re having trouble organizing your budget by yourself, know that many excellent financial advisors in the area there can help you out. If you do want to organize everything by yourself, don’t do it without a calculator – you’ll want as precise numbers as possible to plan the budget accordingly.

Calculate Monthly Costs

The best thing to do to be sure you can afford to live in a sprawling metropolis like this one is to calculate your monthly expenses and compare that number to how much you spend now. Does it fit into your budget? Do you have a better-paid job waiting for you that will make your life there comfortable? Think about this, as there’s no point in relocating if you’re barely going to make ends meet, right? Let’s see some numbers to help you get the picture and avoid relocation depression.

An adult should plan to spend at least $1,900 a month for basic expenses only. The only commodity that will be cheaper here than in the rest of the country is electricity. You should plan to spend between $30 and $60 a month on utilities, depending on the size of your apartment, of course. As for the Internet, the average price is around $36 per month, and that’s for an internet-only service. The low-cost internet service costs about $10 a month, as a part of the assistance system for low-income residents.

These are just some rough numbers, but depending on your situation, in particular, it might not apply to your needs. To get more precise numbers, it might be best to use a cost of living calculator and get the idea of how much money a month you’d need to live there comfortably. Such a calculator can give you the average budget you should have according to your job, salary, and the chosen place of residence, given that the location is a significant factor when determining monthly expenses. Thus, be careful when you’re checking the safety of your future neighborhood and picking out your favorite.

Piggy bank The first step to take is to use a calculator and work out how much money you’d need to move to make sure you can afford to build a new life in the City of Flowers

Should You Move the Largest City in Washington?

As one of the fastest-growing cities in the US, Rain City really has something to offer to everyone, no matter the age and personal interests, and preferences. There is a variety of job opportunities and chances for climbing the career ladder. There are also plenty of things to do in Seattle and places worth visiting. Since this is one of the best cities to raise a family in the US the education is of high quality. There are excellent Seattle public schools if you’re relocating with your children or you’re planning to start a family there. If you are moving with a dog or you are an outdoor enthusiast you can explore many exciting recreational activities and enjoy beautiful nature, too – there’s much more to this metropolis than the central urban area.

It might take you some time to adjust to the rainy weather if you’re coming from a warmer climate, and it would be best to bring your umbrella everywhere you go or at least pack a raincoat. Speaking of packing, we understand that this can be too daunting a process, especially if you’re moving on short notice and don’t have the time to go through packing tips and tricks, in which case you should hire professional packing services to speed the process and avoid common moving mistakes. Consider making a photo inventory in case you want to get moving insurance. As for the climate, we’re sure you’ll get used to it sooner than you’d think and even begin to like the occasional drizzle, just like the locals do. Considering everything there is to explore, a rainy day is not enough to spoil the magic.

Seattle pier Join more than 600,000 people who call this metropolis home and enjoy everything it has to offer

How Does Seattle, Washington Compare to Other Popular US Cities?

If we compare it to some other major US cities, we’ll see that the prices can go even higher – significantly higher. In terms of opportunities and amenities, we can’t say that it lags behind other sprawling US cities, on the contrary.

As you can see, even though it is among the most expensive cities in the US, it’s still not that bad if we compare it to New York, for instance, and there are still plenty of reasons why you should move here. There are many ways you can reduce moving expenses. Also, if you find a good job before moving to another state, highly recommended and reliable Seattle movers with reasonably-priced moving services, and use our moving tips to plan your budget wisely, you should do just fine and experience little to no moving stress. Good luck!


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