Washington metropolitan area
February 24, 2020 Posted in City Guides
Blake Shaw

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

Everything You Need to Know About the Cost of Living in Washington DC

The cost of living in Washington DC has a reputation for being notoriously high, so it’s perfectly reasonable to be worried about whether you’ll be able to afford to settle down there. It might seem too expensive, especially if you come from a more affordable place, but you should keep in mind that the city has many job opportunities and a high median household income to make up for the steep prices.

A woman saving money for cross-country moving Figure out how much money you need before the relocation

Compare this community to other cities, and you will discover the many benefits of moving to Washington DC. It has some of the best-educated workforces in the States, and with the federal government as the biggest employer, this is an excellent place for all career seekers. Think carefully whether you will rent or buy your next home and how will you commute to work and back. All of these will affect your monthly expenses.

But staying in the capital of the United States of America does not mean only business. Here you can find some affordable entertainment options, as well as free tours, plays, and concerts. The best time of the year to move here is anytime.

Housing Prices Are a Major Part of the Cost of Living in Washington DC

Are you moving for a relationship? Do you wish to live in one of the best cities to raise a family in the US? Or you have one of those jobs that require relocation? Whatever is your reason to move, you will need a place to call home. Did you know that more people rent than buy in DC? According to data from Niche, 58% of people are renting their homes. If you want to become a part of this trend, know that you can rent an apartment for a median price of around $1,400.

Use a calculator to figure out your moving budget before you start thinking about buying a house, so you can avoid getting relocation depression and additional moving stress. Future homeowners should know that the median home value is around $500,000. One of the best house hunting tips is to research the neighborhood you want to settle down in, as well as some moving day tips on how to reduce costs when moving and avoid common moving mistakes. DC is a place that has some of the lowest property taxes, so don’t forget to put that on your financial checklist. Settling down in some of the best places to live in Washington DC will make your adaptation process faster and more pleasant.

DC is divided into eight wards, and each of them has to offer many different areas you can call home. If you can’t decide where to move on your own, consider Takoma Park. It is a diverse neighborhood, populated mainly by middle-class families, and the houses here are historical and over a hundred years old. On the other hand, Brookland is well connected with the rest of the city via the metro red line. The median home value here is around $440,000, while the median income is $77,000.

If you are still on the fence about whether to hire recommended and reliable Washington DC movers to relocate your stuff to the US capital, consider all the things the community here has to offer. Relocation will be excellent for your budget and the overall quality of life, especially if you are currently living in some big and expensive area.

How Is Washington DC Better for You Than Other Cities?

Moving to another state will bring a lot of unknowns, and picking DC over any other place can be beneficial for you. If you are not a fan of crowded cities, know that the District, with less than 700,000 residents, is significantly less populated than many other areas on the East Coast. Life in DC won’t be as cheap as living in Philadelphia, but if you are relocating from New York City, you will be surprised by more affordable housing. You will save up if you are relocating from Boston as well since both renting and buying are cheaper in DC.

Finding the perfect flat can be tricky, but don’t let that cause you relocation anxiety, because there are plenty of different-sized places you can check out. There are big, three-bedroom apartments for everybody that is relocating with family or studios for singles. With the Rent Control Act, the landlord can raise the price of rent once a year by an amount equivalent to the rise in the Consumer Price Index.

Moving to the suburbs is always a cost-efficient option. Luckily, DC is going through redevelopment, and many older areas are being transformed into lively communities. Besides, micro-units allow you to find affordable housing that can meet your budget needs without opting for the cheapest way to move out of state or having to move into a smaller home.

When researching Washington DC neighborhoods, you’ll surely encounter many that have what it takes to be your potential home. Think about everything that you need in your environment. People that are moving with kids will probably focus on the best Washington DC public schools and the general safety of a neighborhood.

You should know that there are private universities if you are seeking higher education, as well as art schools and public universities. The capital is also famous for medical research institutions such as the Hospital Center, the Children’s National Medical Center, and the National Institute of Health. Additionally, there are three medical schools and teaching hospitals here. Any career chaser will look for locations near the office or big corporations.

Stable Incomes Will Make Your Life Easier

Have you considered getting a job before you move? Having a stable income will make your life that much easier. You won’t have to dip into your savings, and you might actually put some money in the bank. According to DataUSA, the median annual household income in DC is $82,372.

When checking the job market, you will see that the biggest employer in DC is the federal government, but you can find many others, as well. Let a trustworthy moving company handle your relocation while you check out positions in law firms, non-profit organizations, industry trade groups, education institutions, and find a job before moving to another state.

calculate your costs when moving cross country The income inequality measured by the Gini index is 0.465

Public Transport Is Popular in the District of Columbia

Public transport is a big deal in DC. Not only because the metro is the second-largest heavy rail system in the country but because it serves around four million people.

If you want to use the subway, you should get a Metrorail SmarTrip pass that costs anywhere between $72 and $216. The amount depends on the distance of your trips. Unlike in many other cities, DC subway fares are not flat, meaning that the price gets higher the farther you travel. A daily pass is $14.50, while a ticket for seven days will cost you $60.

Hailing a cab should not be a problem if you decide on this transportation option. Traveling within DC will cost you between $10 and $20, but you have the option of using Uber, as well.

Going to places like Georgetown, where the metro can’t take you, will require using the bus system, which is the sixth-largest in the country. Bus rides are $1.75, but if you are not a fan of public transportation, you can always opt for transporting a car across the country. Just be sure to find out how car shipping works, get auto transport services, and use it whenever you need to.

What Are the Costs of Driving a Car?

Having your four-wheeler with you after you relocate might bring some sense of familiarity, but it still comes with expenses like parking and gas. According to Numbeo, the average price of a gallon of gas is $2.90, which is cheaper than in New York.

To drive in DC, you will need an annual registration. The prices vary between $72 and $155, depending on the weight of your car. Also, be prepared to pay around $250 for monthly parking.

Did you know that all the roads in the DC lead to the Capitol building because it is a dividing center for all quadrants? Having your car with you will give you the chance to sit behind the wheel and drive around, exploring your new area, bit by bit.

If having a car seems like more trouble than it’s worth, consider biking or walking as a way of getting by.

Living in DC Brings Many Low-Cost Transportation Options

Tell the crew that provides you with packing services to pack up your bike because they know all packing tips and tricks and you might want to use it. Waterfront parks, a growing number of bike lanes, and off-street trails are putting DC as one of the top bike-friendly places.

If you don’t own a bike, you can rent one from 350 stations that Capital Bikeshare has. Renting costs $8 for a day or $17 for three days.

Don’t forget your good and comfy shoes when relocating to DC. This place is amongst the top ten most walkable places in the United States, according to WalkScore. If you are relocating with a dog, you can use take your furry friend outside and explore the surroundings together. Stop by the National Mall or Meridian Hill Park and let your dog run around while you bask in the beauty of the park.

metro Currently there are 91 Metro stations in DC

Low Prices of Utilities Leave More Money for Food

Paying for utilities is something you can’t avoid, no matter where you live. For generally not so cheap of a place, DC has low utility prices. Data from the US Energy Information Administration states that the monthly energy bill is $96, almost $15 less than the national standard. Besides, other places on the East Coast have more expensive electricity. For example, New Yorkers spend $174 on electricity bills.

Statistics from Numbeo also show that basic utilities such as heating, garbage, water, and electricity for 915 square foot flat will be $123.12, which is almost $30 less than the national average.

Food is an essential part of life, and you will be happy to hear that groceries are not as expensive as in New York. According to Numbeo, a minimum amount of money you will need on a daily basis is $15.20, while for a month, you will need $471.28. If you stop by the market to get some essentials, know that a gallon of milk costs $3.45, while for a loaf of bread, you will pay $3.17. Fresh fruit like apples is $2.90 a pound, while bananas are $0.62 a pound.

With the oldest fish market in the United States nearby, you have a chance to get all the seafood you desire. Also, did you know that DC locals drink more wine per capita than residents of any of the 50 states? Big wine drinkers will need around $15 for a mid-range bottle of this alcoholic beverage.

If you are not in the mood for cooking and have some money to spend, stop by some of the best restaurants in Washington DC, and enjoy fine dining. Let’s see how much money you’ll have to set aside for it.

What Are the Prices of Dining Out?

With more than 2,200 restaurants located in DC, you can find anything from Chinese food to pizza. When you unpack after the move, start exploring eateries. DC has so many different dining options where you can eat anything you crave at the moment. There are plenty of eateries where you can celebrate moving in together with your significant other, getting a promotion, or having a birthday party.

Stop by Taqueria Habanero and enjoy some of the tastiest, traditional Mexican cuisine. See why business here blossoms, try some tortillas, fiery sauces, and many other adventurous meals. If you are in a rush to get to work and you just need a quick bite, stop by Elle, a cafe that serves sandwiches and has a spot for vegans and vegetarians. Bad Saint is a place where you can get Filipino food and choices range from grilled pork to curry-soaked vegetables to noodles cooked with crab fat.

No matter where you decide to dine out, expect to pay around $16 in an inexpensive diner, while a three-course meal for two in a mid-range venue will have a price of around $75.

Are you looking for a cheap place to eat? Check out Rasa and try their chicken in the tomato-garlic sauce for $9.32 or baked beans and a bun at Sloppy Mama’s BBQ for only $3. There are plenty of places where you can eat out without making a dent in your bank account.

wine and grapes Statistics say that residents of DC are big fans of wine.

There Are Affordable Entertainment Options

No matter if you move during the holidays or any other time in the year, there will be many things to do in Washington DC: you can check out a museum, take a walk or buy a ticket and root for your favorite sports team. All business and no play can make any person feel unhappy. Don’t let this happen to you, take some time for yourself and indulge in a variety of entertainment options.

DC is home to many sports teams, and the ticket prices vary depending on the game you are attending. According to Statista, the tickets for the Nationals (MLB) game cost $42.04. And to watch the Redskins (NFL) play, you will have to pay $118. If you are more of a basketball fan, you will need around $50 to see a Wizards game.

Going to the theatre is something that can help you relax after a long day of work. Ford’s Theatre is a historical monument and learning center, as well as an operating theatre. Admission tickets for historical visits cost $3.

Taking pictures with famous people sounds like fun? If it does, stop by Madame Tussauds and experience journey through American history. Here you can also peek behind the scenes and see how the wax figures are made. Depending on the packet of tickets you purchase, expect to pay between $21 and $77.

If you like to go out at night and bar hop, you will probably have a beer or two. That kind of fun will cost you between $4 and $7. Drinking cocktails can be more expensive, and it will cost you between $6 and $15.

Living in a big city like DC means you will have to precisely calculate your budget and make some compromises to be able to afford everything you want. If you are trying to save up, but still have some fun now and then, you should check out some of the free entertainment options the area offers.

Have Some Free Fun

When staying in a place that has a vast offer of free museums, you can always find something entertaining to do and learn something interesting along the way. If you are not up for a tour in a museum, there are parks you can visit, plays and concerts you can attend.

Learn about the city from experts. The National Park Service offers free tours of Vietnam War memorials, Lincoln’s monuments and many other places. Park rangers can even take you on bike tours.

The Smithsonian Institution has 17 museums you can visit, and many of them have free admission. One of them is a museum dedicated to Bonsai, which has 200 bonsai trees.

The drum circle in Meridian Hill Park is one of the oldest traditions in DC. For 50 years people have been gathering so that they could enjoy a picnic while listening to other people play instruments they brought.

North of Georgetown, you will find National Cathedral that is free to visit for spiritual purposes, but tours are also free on Sundays.

If you want to visit the largest library in the world, stop by the Library of Congress. There are more than 160,000 objects in collections, and they include 6,000 books that were formerly owned by President Thomas Jefferson.

Rock Creek Park spans more than 2,000 acres, and it is perfect for all outdoor enthusiasts that want to go hiking, biking, playing tennis, or just have a picnic. You can take your pets with you and make a day out of running around green surfaces.

Have you been curious about the White House? You can take a free tour inside East Wing, stop by State Dining Room, the Library, East Room, and many other spots.

Movie fans will be happy to know that watching movies under an open sky is a summer activity you can’t miss. National Mall shows classic movies, and you can check the schedule on DC Outdoor Films.

Summer is a very vibrant time when it comes to entertainment in DC. The National Gallery of Art hosts a series of concerts featuring jazz musicians, funk, and Latin, as well as vocalist and guitarist.

memorial Did you know that there is a typo on the Lincoln Memorial?

Living in the Capital of the United States

Relocating to the capital of the United States will bring some exciting life changes, firstly because residents are a diverse bunch of people that will gladly help you adjust to a new environment. Here you can find more than 175 embassies and international cultural centers, and 15% of people speak a language other than English.

When you adapt to the fact that many people around you work for the government, you can relax. Living here won’t be like a movie; it is not all high politics and presidential parades. There are so many relaxing and interesting entertainment options that will help you forget you are in the political capital of the world. Don’t overthink it and figure out how to reduce relocation expenses. For instance, you can find free boxes and other packing materials for moving or donate unwanted items. Then pack clothes, furniture, and everything else, change the address, and start an exciting adventure.


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