Is the Cost of Living in Florida High?

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Is the Cost of Living in Florida High?

Florida is a state in the United States of America. In 1845, it became the 27th state. Florida is the most populous of the southeastern states and, after Texas, the second-most populous Southern state. Tallahassee, the state capital, is located in the northwest panhandle.

Florida is well-known for its beaches, theme parks, natural scenery, and orange groves. The Florida Everglades, for example, are known for their natural beauty in this East Coast home of Mickey Mouse. Because of its abundant sunshine and generally warmer subtropical climate, it is known as the Sunshine State.

Many people wonder if the cost of living in Florida is prohibitively expensive. If you’re retired, on a fixed income, or a first-time home buyer, this is a good question to ask yourself.

Today we’ll talk about the cost of living in Florida.

How Much Does It Cost to Live in Florida?

Despite being one of the most popular vacations and retirement destinations in the United States, Florida is reasonably priced. According to the Cost of Living Index, the average cost of living in Florida is not even 1% higher than the national average. However, there is still a wide range—some Florida cities have costs that are 8% lower to 18% higher than the average U.S. city.

To obtain these figures, we employ a Cost of Living Index, which compares a dozen Florida cities to the average U.S. city in several expense categories. A value less than 100 indicates that Florida has a lower cost of living than the national average in that category—take a look!

Cost of LivingFloridaU.S.
Total100.7100
Housing99.7100
Utilities105.8100
Groceries106.4100
Transportation100.8100
Health care97.8100
Miscellaneous98.1100

Let’s take a closer look at each category to get a better understanding of this index.

Florida Housing Costs

Let’s begin with housing costs. In the summer of 2021, Florida’s median home price was more than $382,000, just a tad lower than the national median of $385,000!

Unfortunately, renting is a different story: In Florida, the median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment was more than $1,500, nearly 27 percent higher than the national median of $1,200!

Keep in mind that not all of Florida is the same price. When total housing costs are considered, Florida ranges from 17 percent lower than the national average in Daytona Beach to 51 percent higher in Fort Lauderdale!

Check out the cost differences between these Florida cities to find the one that best fits your budget:

City in FloridaAverage Home PriceAverage Apartment Rent
Miami$442,258$2,227
Pensacola$326,566$1,054
Orlando$305,622$1,181
Tampa$281,455$1,291
Jacksonville$280,161$1,281

Utilities

In Florida, utility costs are on the high side. According to the Energy Information Administration, the average monthly electricity bill in Florida is around $126.44. The cost of electricity in Florida is 13% higher than the national average of $111.67. According to the most recent Energy Information Administration data, Florida consumes 1,089 kWh per month.

As you might expect, electricity consumption is high in Florida because residents must keep their air conditioners running all year due to the hot and humid climate. When it comes to utility costs, Tampa is the cheapest Florida city, while Palm Cost is 18% higher than the national average.

In Florida, utility costs are on the high side. According to the Energy Information Administration, the average monthly electricity bill in Florida is around $126.44. The cost of electricity in Florida is 13% higher than the national average of $111.67. According to the most recent Energy Information Administration data, Florida consumes 1,089 kWh per month.

As you might expect, electricity consumption is high in Florida because residents must keep their air conditioners running all year due to the hot and humid climate. When it comes to utility costs, Tampa is the cheapest Florida city, while Palm Cost is 18% higher than the national average.

Finally, many Floridians have backyard swimming pools or hot tubs. As a result, your monthly utility bills will rise as well, and it’s critical to factor all of this into your budget before diving in and purchasing that large house with a pool!

Groceries

We’re going to Publix, so grab your shopping cart! This well-known Southeastern supermarket chain was founded and is headquartered in Florida, so if you relocate to the Sunshine State, you might find yourself buying oranges and key lime pies there. In Florida, groceries range from 4% lower than the national average in Pensacola to 19% higher in Miami.

Meanwhile, Tampa is in the middle of the price range for Florida cities. In Tampa, a picnic of fried chicken, bread, lettuce, chips, and coke costs about $12, which is 4% more than the national average. 10 But, hey, a picnic on the beach is probably worth it.

Transportation 

In Florida, the average price of gas is $3.31 per gallon, compared to the $3.38 national average. However, if you’re coming from a higher-cost state like California, you could save a lot of money on gas in Florida! Car insurance is another important factor to consider when it comes to transportation costs in Florida. When it comes to auto insurance, Florida is typically more expensive than other states. Consider this: with all of the tourists (including international visitors), a high density of older people, and a variety of other factors, you will most likely pay a higher price for car insurance in Florida.

Florida Public Transportation

In general, Florida is not known for having excellent public transportation. Larger cities, such as Miami, will have more transportation options than smaller towns. Despite the fact that some cities, such as Orlando, have public transportation, most residents rely on their cars to get around because public transportation is less efficient and less convenient than driving.

Toll Roads in Florida – Another Factor to Consider

You may or may not be aware, but Florida has the most toll roads of any state in the United States! So it’s critical to think about where you’re moving to in Florida and where you’ll frequently be driving because tolls can quickly add up! If you’ve been to places like Orlando, you’re probably already familiar with toll roads. The Florida Turnpike is one of the most popular ways to travel from north to south in the state, but there are numerous other regional toll roads throughout the state.

Keep in mind that some Interstates in Florida have tolls as well! I-75 through Alligator Alley in South Florida, for example, and even some bridges, such as the Sunshine Skyway Bridge into St. Petersburg.

Medical Care

Healthcare costs in Florida range from 16% lower than the national average in Jacksonville to 10% higher in Vero Beach. 13 Meanwhile, Tampa, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is in the middle of the pack, with healthcare costs that are nearly 2% lower than the national average—not bad.

Here’s a breakdown of Tampa’s healthcare costs in comparison to the national average:

Health Care TypeTampa, FL CostThe average U.S. City CostCost Difference
General doctor $99$11614%
Dentist$106$1006%
Eye doctor$98$1099%
Advil$11$109%
Prescription drug$443$4716%

Taxes

Can you figure out how much income tax Florida levies? Nothing, nada, zilch! 16 That’s right, the Sunshine State doesn’t deduct any of your hard-earned money from your paycheck or retirement income—just one of the many benefits that make Florida such a popular retirement destination.

Keep in mind that Florida still has a 6% state sales tax — or 7.08% if you include the average local tax rate. That’s not too bad, considering Florida has the 22nd highest total sales tax rate in the country.

However, Florida has one of the highest cellphone and gas taxes in the country, as well as some other special taxes. Don’t worry if all of this tax talk makes you dizzy. Connect with one of our trusted tax advisors to learn more about how moving to Florida will affect your taxes.

Various Goods and Services

Miscellaneous costs include a wide range of goods and services such as common restaurant foods, clothing, entertainment, activities, and personal care. In Florida, these costs range from 8% less than the national average in Palm Coast to 8% more in Fort Myers.

Gainesville represents the majority of Florida cities in terms of miscellaneous costs, which are 3% lower than the national average. A typical “Florida Man” in Gainesville can order a pizza for $9, get a haircut for $22, and buy a new shirt for $24. For comparison, the average U.S. city’s prices are $11, $19, and $31.

 How Much Money Do You Need in Florida to Live Comfortably?

The median household income in Florida is $55,660.22. But just because you make that much money doesn’t mean you can afford to live anywhere in Florida—at least not comfortably. If you want to live comfortably in Florida, you should first ensure that you can afford your biggest expenses, which are your housing costs. Whether you decide to rent or buy in your new city, follow the 25 percent rule: never move into a home with a monthly payment that exceeds 25% of your monthly take-home pay.

When it comes to mortgages, that 25 percent limit includes principal, interest, property taxes, home insurance, and private mortgage insurance (PMI)—not to mention homeowners association (HOA) fees. Enter your down payment amount into our mortgage calculator and experiment with different home prices within your budget.

Talk to our friends at Churchill Mortgage about a 15-year fixed-rate conventional loan for a mortgage you can pay off quickly. Any other mortgage will cost you more in interest and fees and will keep you in debt for decades.

Compare the Cost of Living in Florida to the Cost of Living in Your Current City

You now have an idea of how much it costs to live in Florida—but can you afford it? If you’re not sure, use our free Cost of Living Calculator to see how much more or less it would cost you to live in the Florida city that’s calling your name.

If the cost of living in Florida is higher than you can currently afford, all hope is not lost. Try one of these suggestions:

  • Change your standard of living.
  • When you find a new job, try to raise your salary.
  • Move to a more affordable zip code that is close to your desired city.

What Is the Most Affordable Place to Live in Florida?

There are many places in Florida where the cost of living is lower than in Miami. You can also visit towns further inland from the beaches, where you will not be required to have flood insurance, and your property taxes may be lower. Among the cheapest places to stay in Florida are:

Kissimmee: Located just outside of Orlando, Kissimmee offers free admission to the theme parks. Homes start in the low $100,000s, and new properties are built every year.

Cape Coral: It is about an hour south of Tampa and just outside of Fort Myers. The median home price is $180,000, and there are over 400 canals to choose from if you want to live on the water. You can buy a boat or take weekend trips to Key West using the money you save by moving here.

Gainesville: It is the home of the University of Florida and is located in the state’s central region. The college-town atmosphere keeps home prices low, and its location in the state allows residents to easily visit beaches, theme parks, and nearby springs. Grab your snorkel and float in the crystal clear waters alongside a manatee.

Conclusion

Living in Paradise Is Completely Worth It!

There are numerous reasons why people choose to relocate to Florida. Doing your research and analyzing the cost of living differences between where you are moving from and where you are moving to in Florida will go a long way toward assisting you in making the best decision for you and your family. At the end of the day, we want to relocate to paradise so that we can live a luxurious lifestyle! Setting your expectations and being prepared will help you achieve happiness and the #ThatFloridaLife you’ve always wanted!

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.