In 2020, Business Insider surveyed “The 25 US cities with the lowest cost of living”. Of the 25 listed cities, Texas had the lions cut, with 11 cities listed as places where the cost of living doesn’t eat up the whole income.
Living comfortably in Texas means, first and foremost, getting a nice place to live. Then, there’s spending a logical amount on basic needs and splurging a bit on luxuries. Having done that, still being able to save 20% of your income is good. Here in Texas, you need around $80,000 annually if you’re a homeowner and $85,000 if you’re a renter.
The cost of living in any place is calculated by factoring in the basic expenses and comparing them to the average income. The most significant bill is housing, followed by food, transportation, education, and entertainment costs.
To simplify, each city and state has a cost of living index in the United States, averaging 100. An index exceeding that figure reflects expensive locations, while an index well below it signifies affordable living.
The most important figures to look at are the following:
- Overall cost of living
- Housing index (compared to the national average)
- Groceries index (compared to the national average)
- Median home price
- Median income
While assessing the figures mentioned above, it’s also important to consider the quality of life in that city. This includes work opportunities, crime rate, the cultural scene, aesthetics, and social dynamics. Let’s look at two popular destinations in the lone-star state.
San Antonio is among the most popular cities in Texas, as it has the perfect mix of affordable living, a lucrative work environment, and a thriving cultural scene. If you’re into memorable outings, exceptional food, and charming architecture, keep your eyes on San Antonio.
The cost of living index is 88, with the housing index at 74 and the groceries index at 89. The median home price is approximately $280,000, which is a real catch compared to other locations. The annual income to live comfortably in San Antonio is around $98,000. Half goes to the basics, 30% for extra expenses, and 20% into savings.
A long-running TV show was named after this city, owing to its importance as a big-business hub. Nowadays, both traditional industries and leading-edge tech live side by side in this glamorous city.
An annual salary of around $100,000 should suffice for a single person to fare nicely in Dallas. The overall cost of living index is 98, the housing index is 82, and the grocery index is 100. The median house price in Dallas can be around $400,000, which is still significantly less than the rates at Frisco, Coppell, or Austin.
To live comfortably, your household income should exceed the normal living expenses. Various business studies show that a reasonable figure comes from assuming that the basic needs should be 50% of the salary. On top of that, you should have an extra 30% for wants and set aside 20% as savings.
To give some perspective, here’s Texas’s average cost/income compared to other states.
|Median Household Income
Naturally, these figures change in response to political, environmental, economic, and social effects.
Texas has been recently attracting a younger demographic. This is similar to the turn-of-the-century wave that flooded silicon valley with fresh talent.
This isn’t surprising with the relocation of many big businesses to Texas and the way many of its cities are turning into tech hubs. Tesla is among the titans that found their way to Austin, and that move has encouraged many people to try their luck in Texas.
Starting a business is easiest if the administrative system isn’t too bureaucratic, the infrastructure is ready for action, and a suitable workforce is easily available. The business environment in Texas checks all these boxes.
Cities like Dallas, Austin, Fort-Worth, and Houston are among the best places for startups. Texas is home to some Fortune 500 companies, like Exxon Mobil, AT&T, Dell Technologies, Phillips 66, and Valero Energy.
If you’re looking for a glamorous metro area, go to San Antonio. Do you want to see some amazing beaches, you can head to Corpus Christi. And if you fancy an unforgettable adventure in the wilderness, Galveston is waiting for you.
Suburban areas like Irving, Lubbock, Sugar Land, and Frisco are pretty upbeat and elegant. They’re rife with music, culture, wonderful schools, and beautiful residential areas. This variety is what makes Texas an amazing destination. And on top of that, it’s also affordable, and people can live comfortably in most of its cities.
Texas is a bustling hub of activities, cultural events, and business opportunities. The varied lifestyles in each city attract individuals from all walks of life. The main reasons are low taxes, affordable living, and ease of finding good jobs. This often covers the basic expenses, which include the following.
- Housing (purchase/rent)
- Medical and insurance
- Child care
- Social expenses
- Leisure and entertainment
- Home improvement
- Emergency fund
- Savings and investments
Plenty of young people are increasingly choosing Texas as their new home. That’s because of the availability of lucrative work opportunities and relatively affordable cost of living.
The housing prices here allow people to get lovely homes with plenty of square footage at the same rates that could only get them a tiny space in New York or California. Additionally, the areas they can afford are often aesthetically pleasing and usually have various services.
With two people sharing the expenses of a household, the overall income can exceed the living expenses by a huge amount, especially if they have high-paying jobs.
In Texas, starting a career in management is excellent, which should get you an average of $112,000 annually. Finance, computer, business, architecture, and engineering are great occupations, paying annual salaries of around $88,000 to $97,000.
Texas has many family-friendly cities, with relatively safe neighborhoods and several impeccable schools. A small family would need anything from $85,000 to $120,000 to cover the basics.
The cost of living for a family is best handled with two working parents having a reasonable number of kids. There are other viable alternatives where one of the adults works while the other takes care of the family.
Living Costs FAQs
Is it a good idea to move to Texas?
Currently, the basic expenses are evidently below the average income in Texas. The overall cost of living index is usually below the national level, and the housing is more affordable than in many other states.
On top of that, there are some fantastic work opportunities and picturesque cities in Texas. Thus, moving to this state might not be a bad idea.
What is the best city in Texas?
Texas has many beautiful cities, from business hubs, tech silos, high-profile residential areas, beaches, and natural reserves to the pristine desert. It’s hard to pinpoint one town as the best; that depends on what you’re looking for.
- The 25 US cities with the lowest cost of living: businessinsider.com
Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.