There are many good reasons to move to Austin. From excellent weather that allows residents to spend time enjoying the great outdoors to exceptional education options and an impressive job market, it's easy to understand why people are flocking to the city. Unfortunately, despite Texas’s low state taxes, the cost of living in Austin is surprisingly high.

Despite being Texas's most expensive city, salaries in Austin tend to offset the cost of living, as residents are well paid. It's also far cheaper than some other major US cities, such as New York and San Francisco.

Cost of accommodation in Austin

Accommodation is almost always a person's biggest living expense, but rental rates in Austin are particularly high as a result of the city’s rapidly rising population and housing shortage. In fact, average rents in the Texan capital have more than doubled over the last year. Newcomers must also factor in the cost of utilities such as electricity, gas, and water as well as optional extras, including internet and telephone services. These aren’t always included in the cost of renting the property itself.

Those looking to buy property in Austin will also need to be prepared to fork out, as house prices in the city are higher than both the national and state averages. Homeowners pay around twice as much for a property in Austin than they would for a similar place elsewhere in Texas. Compared to national house prices, a home in Austin is around 50 percent steeper.

Cost of transport in Austin

Although much of Austin is still heavily car-dependent, the city's public transport infrastructure is evolving, and more and more residents are inclined to find an alternative means of getting around, rather than simply getting behind the wheel of a car.

The cost of public transport is reasonable in Austin. That said, because people tend to use various combinations of public transport, taxis, and e-hailing services as well as their own private vehicles to get around, much of the total transport expenditure will depend on the individual. With the increased presence of e-hailing services, taxi companies have had to drop their fares to remain competitive.

In terms of driving, the price of cars in Austin is fairly reasonable, as is the price of petrol (gas). When you consider the distances many people drive regularly as well as the cost of parking, especially in the downtown area, it is easy for these expenses to mount.

Cost of groceries in Austin

Austin offers a relatively budget-friendly grocery shopping experience compared to the national average, with prices for staples such as bread, milk, eggs, and bananas being notably affordable. This affordability is largely thanks to the presence of grocery chains like H-E-B, which provide competitive prices and a wide selection of products. 

Residents can maximise their savings by shopping at local farmers' markets, which are abundant in Austin, providing fresh and locally sourced produce at reasonable prices. Additionally, embracing strategies such as meal planning, purchasing in bulk and using coupons and discounts can lead to even more cost savings. These approaches, combined with the lower-than-average cost of groceries, contribute to making Austin a more manageable city for day-to-day living expenses, despite its overall cost of living being slightly higher than the national average.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Austin

Naturally, lifestyle expenses are really dependent on an individual’s priorities and preferences. While Austin does have its fair share of fine-dining establishments, swanky wine bars and nightclubs, the city also boasts a range of attractions that can be enjoyed at little to no cost.

Most of the city’s museums and galleries have free admission or at least offer special discounts for kids, students, and pensioners. Austin’s wonderful weather also makes it a real pleasure to spend time outdoors, and having a picnic at Zilker Park or exploring the hiking trails around the city are just some low-cost activities available to residents.

Cost of education in Austin

There is a range of public and private schooling options available in Austin. The amount a family would be expected to budget for school fees really does depend on the choice of school they choose.

The Austin metro area is home to 19 public school districts and, while the standard of public schools varies tremendously, the cost of attending one will cost little to nothing. With charter and magnet schools, parents may be expected to pay for some extracurricular features, but anyone who is a legal resident in Austin is entitled to attend a public school for free.

There are also more than 100 private schools in Austin. Parents who decide to pursue this option must factor in the cost of school fees, which won’t be cheap. In addition to these tuition fees, they’ll also need to budget for various other expenses such as the cost of uniforms, extracurricular activities, books, and field trips.

Cost of healthcare in Austin

Newcomers to Austin will be pleased to learn that the state capital has some of the best healthcare facilities in Texas. That said, residents will need to be in possession of a comprehensive health insurance plan to take full advantage of these services.

While the cost of healthcare in Austin is ever so slightly lower than the national average, it isn’t cheap by any means. Anyone moving to Austin to take up a lucrative job offer should negotiate a healthcare allowance into their employment package, this will afford them significant savings on their monthly expenses.

Cost of living in Austin chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Austin in March 2024.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in the city centreUSD 4,600
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centreUSD 2,900
One-bedroom apartment in the city centreUSD 2,300
One-bedroom apartment outside the city centreUSD 1,560
Food and drink
Dozen eggsUSD 4.40
Milk (1 litre)USD 1.11
Rice (1kg)USD 3.22
Loaf of white breadUSD 3.53
Chicken breasts (1kg)USD 7
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)USD 8
Eating out
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantUSD 90
Big Mac MealUSD 10
Coca-Cola (330ml)USD 2.81
CappuccinoUSD 5.41
Bottle of beer (local)USD 2.74
Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)USD 0.23
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)USD 69
Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)USD 205
Taxi rate/kmUSD 1.86
City-centre public transport fareUSD 1.50
Gasoline (per litre)USD 0.82

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