Before deciding on where to live, one of the things many people consider is how much it will cost to live in a specific area. You may know that a state is expensive, but just how much can you expect to spend on average and how do you successfully survive and thrive in one of the most expensive states in the United States?
The costs of living can vary depending on the state you reside in, so consider your location carefully when moving state to state. Let’s go over the top 10 most expensive states to live as well as how you can live a great life in them.
Top 10 Most Expensive States to Live In
At the top of the list is Hawaii, the most expensive state you can move to in the United States. The average price of a home on the island is over $1 million and the average for utility bills is also high; just the average energy bill each month alone is over $350. You’ll also expect to pay more for basic goods, such as milk and produce, as many are imported from the mainland.
2. District of Columbia
The District of Columbia comes in at number two on the list of most expensive places to live in the States. D.C. housing costs are relatively high, with a typical 2-bedroom apartment averaging more than $2,500 each month. The living wage is almost $68,000, though the state’s median household income is high as well at just over $85,000.
Third on the list is the state of California, which is notorious for its high housing costs along with high transportation costs. Average monthly costs for a 2-bedroom apartment in California come in at about $2,500 per month and can rise depending on the city you live in. Gas prices are also some of the highest in the U.S.
4. New York
New York comes in at number four and boasts some of the highest housing expenses in the United States. Buying a home in New York will, on average, cost more than $1.5 million. Rent prices top the charts as well, averaging residents more than $3,500 each month. You should also keep in mind that the closer you move to New York City, the higher your costs of living will be.
The fifth most expensive place to live in the United States is Oregon. The median home value in the state is over twice the median for the whole of the country. Groceries in Oregon cost more than the national average as well, particularly sugars and coffees. The costs of transportation are just below California and Hawaii, though utility costs are less the national average.
Number six is Massachusetts, home to Boston, which is one of the United State’s most expensive cities. The average home in Massachusetts will cost more than $660,000 – three times higher than the national average. The costs of energy each month average over $230 and gas prices in the state are high as well. The median household income of the state is one of the highest, at over $77,000.
At number seven on the list of most expensive states to live is Alaska. Similar to Hawaii, goods must be shipped from the mainland to the country due to the fact that it is separated from the United States by Canada.
Because of the long and dark winters in Alaska, energy bills can be very high throughout the year. The average median household income is around $75,000 and residents will also receive income boosts via oil dividends.
The state of Maryland comes in at number eight, which is likely on the list due to how closely it is situated to Washington, D.C. A home, on average, in Maryland will come in at around $790,000. Though the cost of living is high, the poverty rate is one of the lowest in the country. The median income per household is also high, at over $80,000.
Ninth is Connecticut, which has higher-than-usual prices for utilities, housing, and alcohol. The average cost of a home in the state is just over $660,000 and the average monthly energy bill comes in at around $210. Grocery prices are high, though, and drinks with dinner will likely cost you more than double the price as in other states.
10. New Jersey
Last on the list is New Jersey, coming in at number ten. Just like in New York, costs will rise as you move closer to New York City; Passaic and Bergen are two fairly expensive counties to live in.
The average costs of homes in New Jersey average around $550,000 and a single bedroom apartment will cost over $1,200 per month. The property tax rate is the highest in the United States at almost 2.5% and the median income for households is just under $80,000.
How to Survive in an Expensive State
It’s possible to live in an expensive state and keep your budget intact, allowing you to save while still enjoying the amenities and events in your state. There are two important things you should keep in mind to make living easier when the costs of living are high:
- Keep large expenses as low as you possibly can (such as transportation or housing)
- Make discretionary spending your priority and track your expenses thoroughly
Some other things you need to keep in mind include the differences between renting and owning, your transportation costs, daily expenses you expect, what you’ll eat, and what fun things you can do to keep from having a very boring experience in a new city.
Renting vs. Buying
Renting a home or apartment wherever you live will likely be the biggest expense you have to pay each month. The average rent price can vary dramatically depending on your area, so when looking for a residence it is essential that you be able to afford it.
Ideally, your rent should be 30% or less of your total monthly income. Oftentimes, a landlord will perform verification checks to ensure that you are capable of affording the rent for a property before you can sign a lease and move in.
If you can, you should look for a home that is less than 30% of your income, making what you pay each month as little as possible. This can be very difficult, or near impossible, in places like New York or California, but with a bit of research, effort, and creativity, it is possible. Some things you can try include:
- Living with a roommate
- Moving further away from central city areas
- Find out if any utilities are included in rent prices
- Ask questions about accommodations, pets, fees, etc.
- Begin searching for a place to live as soon as possible
Many people that live within cities rent their residences, but there are some that own their own homes and condominiums. If you plan on living in an area for over 5 years, you could end up saving a lot of money and making a good investment that helps you in the future.
You will, however, have to consider the property taxes in the state you reside in when deciding on buying a home to ensure that your budget can afford it. Applying for a home loan will also be another hurdle to face, but the long-term benefits are worth it.
Another factor that depends on where you move is the transportation you can expect to require each day. If you’re moving out of state to a place like New York, you likely will not need a vehicle to get around and can save on repairs and maintenance, gas, and parking fees. However, in places like Los Angeles or Anchorage, you may find an automotive vehicle to be a necessity.
One great thing about moving to a big city is the amount of options you have when it comes to food, fun, shopping, events, etc. There’s so much you can do that it’s easy to spend more than you want and lose track of your spending.
You’ll need to take charge of your budget if you want to avoid going broke. Record your spending each week and analyze it thoroughly, finding ways to reduce your expenses as you record your expenses. Plan purchases out as well to avoid impulse buying. Your daily expenses may be higher when you first move, as you’ll be purchasing essentials, but they will go down once you’ve gotten settled.
You Can Survive and Thrive
Living in an expensive city doesn’t have to mean that you need a job paying six figures to survive. In fact, you could move wherever you like as long as you plan accordingly and know what to expect when moving to a new home in a more expensive state. The top ten most expensive states have been outlined above, so you can decide on where you want to live and how much of a challenge you’re up for.
Plan Meals in Advance
There are many great and various foods in big cities, usually at high prices, but not always. When you plan your meals, whether to eat in or out, it will save you from being hungry at a place where your only closest option is an expensive restaurant.
Even though an unplanned trip is fun, you need to know your location or where you are ordering from in advance as well as the cost. Go with snacks and water. Food like fruit, granola bars, and sandwiches can travel with you on your move.
Grocery shopping in the city can be on the high side, and may not be as expected if your kitchen space is not much. We suggest you stock up on basic cooking items. You can get better prices from large stores than a nearby street store. Making the trip is worth it.
If you find a great deal, be sure to note where you got it. This includes your grocery stores and restaurants. Good deals are often available at dinners and off-road spots at fair prices. Watch out for publications and blogs in your location that write on cheaper places to eat. Are you a student? Make sure you come with your student ID for possible discounts.
Find Free Attractions
Having something to do is also a huge benefit to a big city. Events are usually low-cost or even free. You can start your event that is aimed at attracting new participants at summer concerts in the park, film screenings, art gallery openings, and no-cover comedy shows.
You can get many free attractions on your schedule if you are ok with crowds and you don’t spend much when you get there. The best places to stay up to date are on local blogs and papers. Many museums offer reduced-price or free admission on certain hours or days. Also, bring your student ID with you.
Get ready for surprises. Set a task for yourself. You probably may locate a cheap restaurant you’d never imagine. Locate a favorite store with nice prices, or feel at home in a place you are absolutely new to.
How to Organize a Move to an Expensive State
As reported by a recent poll by Gallup, 33% of Americans wish they could relocate to another state. Whether you just graduate from college or are a mid-career professional, packing up and moving to another state has its own stress.
Do I move with a rental truck or hire a professional mover? How do I ensure my items during transit? What expenses will be covered by my employer? Before you start packing your belongings, read these 10 ways to make your moving process easier.
1. Create a Budget and Begin to save
Transportation, fuel, insurance, and hotel costs quickly add up. When you add the advance payment for renting as well as installing utilities in your new home, you will discover that moving involves more advanced expenses that can swallow up most of your savings.
Creating a budget and a savings plan to accommodate these costs will help you have a great move, but the cost of a security deposit from your old home cannot cover these costs.
It usually requires weeks and, in some cases, months for renters to get a refund of their security deposit from their landlords. Do not put an end to your budget planning when you reach your new home.
The cost of living from your former location may be different from the one in your new location as it varies from one region to another, and your current income might not be enough to live the same luxurious life after you relocate.
Find out how far your current income will be enough in certain cities in the country using a cost of living calculator and discover if an out-of-state move is the best for you.
2. Decide the Items you’re moving
Is moving a 10 years old 100-pound couch or an old TV really a cost-effective idea? Make an inventory of all your possessions, especially your furniture and electronics and determine if selling those items before your move and use the money to buy new ones to replace them when you reach your destination will be the best idea.
Remember to consider the amount of time, energy, and money you will be saving by not moving this heavy stuff. If you don’t have enough money to get brand new furniture, you can check online message boards for pre-owned items. You can haul your new items using your moving truck.
3. Get ready for Partial-Year State Taxes
As you are planning your federal tax return on expenses during tax time, remember you may be required to file two different state tax returns when you move to another state.
If you get income from two states within a year, you will be required to file a return in each of the states to cover for the time you lived there unless you are relocating to or from a state that doesn’t require individual income taxes, like Nevada, Washington, or Texas.
4. Research Moving Companies, Truck Rentals, and Shipping Companies
Professional moving companies, truck rental companies, and container services that transport self-storage units that you pack yourself are the three major ways to relocate across the country. Prices can vary, even though each has its own benefits.
- Professional Movers: If you choose full service, all your household items will be packed, loaded, shipped, and unpacked by the movers, so you are only to inform them where to position the couch. Most people decide to handle the packing themselves to save costs and ensure safe handling of their belongings. It is not easy to estimate how much a professional moving service will cost.
Some movers send their agent to your home to inspect, evaluate, and provide you a moving quote. Unlike moving trucks and container services, moving companies usually do not consider mileage as much as they consider the shipment’s weight.
Professional out of state movers can be expensive, but their services will give you time to concentrate on other important issues pertaining to your move.
- Truck Rental Companies: Moving truck rental is not for everyone. You must be sure you can drive a large vehicle with no rear-view mirror and need to know the increased length and width of the vehicle when you are changing lanes and maneuvering across narrow streets. The majority of moving truck rental companies do not provide training on how to drive a large moving vehicle so that newbies may require time for adjustment.
Generally, a driver has to be 25 years of age or older and possess a valid driver’s license before they can be allowed to rent a moving truck. Moving truck rental rates are usually based on the truck’s size, which measured 10ft to 26ft in truck’s length, a distance of travel, duration of use, as well as insurance. Other items like appliance dollies (about $10 for two) and furniture pads (about $10/dozen) are optional.
Make sure you find out the size of your truck with your possessions so you can avoid paying for unused space. Most rental trucks come with towing materials so you can hutch your vehicle for the ride. Remember to calculate fuel costs as well.
- Shipping Container Companies: Shipping companies that make containers delivered to your current location gets rid of the stress of hauling your belongings. You give them a specific address where the company will place the container, either your driveway or in a particular spot across the street. You pack the unit as you like and secure it with your own lock. On your exact move date, the company returns to drive the container away to your destination address, where you will then unpack at your own pace.
If you are unsure of when you will be moving out of your new city, the shipping company usually will keep the container at a storage center. You can store your belongings for a monthly fee just like self-storage lockers; however, access will not be granted to your belongings while in storage.
Prices vary based on the destination as well as container size. Containers are of different sizes that usually hold between 1-3 rooms worth of items.
You will have to rent more containers if you need more. Note that these containers consume space, and you cannot move them on your own.
Normally, you should have a driveway or individual parking space in your current and destination cities to hold the container for some days while you perform loading and unloading.
5. Get Estimates
Conduct your research before signing a contract with a moving company, Rental Company, or shipping company. Get a minimum of three shipping estimates from separate companies so you can be sure of the best deal. You can discover the most reliable companies through customer-review sites. You might also ask for recommendations from friends, family, and social media.
6. Get Insured
There can be accidents when all of your household belongings are packed into a single space, moving down the highway. Even though moving companies offer insurance options for protection on your possessions, we advise you to find out the inclusions of each package. You can read further on moving insurance options on the United States Department of Transportation’s website.
7. Keep your Valuable Items Close
All your highly valuable possessions should not be packed with less-valuable items. Items that olds irreplaceable value to you should be kept with you all through the move regardless of the transportation means you plan to take to your new home.
8. Update your Information
Moving to another state can be challenging, but it is necessary to update your information in your new city as soon as you can. You can go online or contact each company that provides recurring bills like cars, credit cards, student loans, and bank accounts to update them once you get to your new home.
For your daily mail, fill out this online form, and the United States Postal Service will be notified of your address change and will forward your mail for up to 12 months.
9. Obtain New Driver’s License
In addition, you will need to get a new driver’s license as well as vehicle registration. Each state gives different timelines. Contact your local DMV to get that done. When you get there, request the laws of driving in the state. For instance, you might find it surprising that driving while operating a phone in your new state is illegal.
Conduct your research and understand the laws before you get booked with a ticket. After your registration, remember to update the insurance policy of your car.
What state is the safest to live in the country?
Minnesota is the safest state in the United States. Minnesota comes first for Road Safety, ranks third for financial safety, and seventh for personal and residential safety as well as workplace safety.
Which state has the smallest crime rate in the United States?
Some states experienced an increased violent crime rate than others. Maine is the place that experienced the lowest crime rate at about 120 violent crimes per 10,000 people, while Alaska experienced almost 830 per 100,000 people.
Which state has the largest population of black?
Texas, Georgia, Florida, New York, Illinois, Virginia, California, Louisiana, and North Carolina are the tops states that have the largest population of black as of 2017. When combined, these ten states make up 58% of the entire black population.
You have many opportunities when you live in the city. When you plan, you can get a lot of things done with much value when you keep an open mind. The above tips will go a long way in helping you to live in an expensive states comfortably.