The view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the city overlay

Prepare the Calculator – This is the True Cost of Living in San Francisco

Posted in City Guides on May 26, 2022

Part of the cross-country moving is to find out all there is to know about the city you are planning to relocate to, and daily expenditures are a huge part of that preparation. If your dream is to settle in San Fran, here is a true cost of living in San Francisco.

If you wish to relocate efficiently and on the budget, knowing how much money you will need for a life on a monthly basis should be your top priority. That way, you can put some money on the side so you don’t struggle with regular payments once you relocate. The best course of action is to have money for at least three months worth of expenses for a stress-free relocation.

Living Costs in California

Before you book cross-country movers for a cross-country moving service, first, you need to learn all there is to know about the state you are relocating to. It is no secret that California is not considered affordable, but on the other hand, it has one of the richest economies in the US and the world. So the true question is – how much are you willing to pay for access to a booming economy with so many thriving sectors? And if the IT sector is your passion, then moving to Bay Area will pay off big time.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis data, the average life expenditure in California is $46,600, while Alaska, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts have a higher score. Yes, these numbers will be higher or lower depending on the town you are planning to settle in, but as you can see, it is not impossible to live in California. And with the almost guaranteed high salary, these expenditures will be reasonable.

Cost of Living in San Francisco – Housing Prices in SF

Moving across the country to SF will have to involve ideas for small apartments because the biggest expenditure in SF will be housing, which is 231% higher than the national average. The median rent is around $3,600. Still, you can find some more affordable places outside the city core. According to Numbeo data, a one-bedroom apartment outside the city center will be $2,500, while the same apartment in the city center will be $3,000. On the other hand, if you get a job before you move (and with a great salary,) you may even be able to rent a bigger apartment. You will need around $5,000 for a three-bedroom apartment in the city center and around $4,200 for the same apartment further from downtown.

On the other hand, if you plan to do some house hunting, be prepared to put some real money on the side. The median home prices are $1,146,835. Still, there are apartments and townhouses you can find for $600,000 or even $400,000. It all depends on the area of the town you decide to relocate to. And even though San Francisco owes high home prices to the city’s density, many new apartment complexes are being built on the periphery of the SF.

Utility Prices in San Francisco, California

When you think about how much does it cost to live in San Francisco per month, utility costs will be an important section of your monthly budget. In SF, utilities are 9% higher than the national average. For basic utilities, you will pay around $210. The internet is an additional $65, while the phone bill will be around $195.

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There Is Plenty of Affordable Food to Enjoy in San Francisco

Golden State is famous for its fresh ingredients you can find on every corner year-round. From seafood products to fresh vegetables and fruits, you will not lack quality organic food. Groceries are 23% higher than the national average – data that may seem intimidating until broken down to some basic ingredients. Here is how much you will have to pay for food in store.

Food Cost
Loaf of white bread $4.20
Carton of eggs $2.33
Gallon of milk $2.50
Tomato 1 Ib $3
Domestic beer $15
Beef $8

How Much You Will Pay for the Most Popular Restaurants

Small family restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and expensive Michelin-star restaurants are on every corner of SF. And finding your perfect spot to enjoy this beautiful town will not be that hard. Eating in regular restaurants will be around $20. In mid-range restaurants, a three-course meal will be around $100. Keep in mind that dining in a Michelin-star restaurant will be more expensive, but the experience and the meals will be worthwhile.

Family eating homemade food
Preparing the homemade meals will be easy in SF

Getting Around in SF – How Much Will You Pay for Transportation?

No matter what your reasons to move are and whether you are relocating alone or with family, make sure to pack the most comfortable ones when packing your shoes. In SF, you will walk a lot. San Francisco is one of the most walkable cities in the country, and here even the people who don’t like to walk will start doing so. The city’s charm and architecture will lure you into walking the streets. But going on foot is not the only way you can go around in SF – there is also a public transportation system with buses and cable car services which cost 78 dollars, while a pass for Bay Area Rapid Transit is $94.

Another way you can go around the town is by car, and believe it or not, finding a free parking space will not be that hard. The price of gas is $3.50, while the commute to work will be around 30 minutes.

What About Health Care Costs?

Calculating the average cost of living in San Francisco can not be done without healthcare expenditures. And one of the greatest long-distance moving tips and things you will have to do after relocating is a change of healthcare plan. So make sure you put this on your moving to-do list because you will have a short opening when you can apply for a new plan. Health care cost is 20% higher than the national average, but you will gain access to some of the greatest medical institutions in the country. Also, most employers will provide good coverage to their employees. A doctor visit is $130, a dentist is $114, and if you are relocating with pets, a vet visit will be around $62.

A doctor and a nurse walking down a hospital hallway
You will have one of the best healthcare providers in the country

The Education Is One of the Best in the Country

If you are relocating with kids, you will be happy to hear that SF has the greatest schools in California and some of the best in the country. San Francisco Unified School District is considered the best in the state. The tuition cost is $23,000 for private schools, while public schools are free. Preschool is $2,500 monthly for one child the full day. So, before you book long-distance movers, make sure you find a school for your kids and arrange the transfer. The neighborhood where your kids’ school is located will probably determine where you will rent or buy a house.

Couple holding a child
Finding the good schools for your kids will be easy

What Salary Do You Need to Live in San Francisco?

Is 100k enough to live in San Francisco? When you hear this question, you probably wonder why you would even want to settle there. But what if we tell you that the monthly net salary after taxes is $7,890, and the median household income is $112,449? So if you are relocating alone, 100k will be enough to have a comfortable life in SF. Still, finding a good job once you relocate can be exhausting so the best would be to find a job before you move.

Cost of Living in San Francisco per Month

If we calculate the average expenditures one person will have on a monthly basis in SF, you will need $8,000 to have the same standard as in Los Angeles. That is the amount with a rent included, according to Numbeo. But suppose we calculate rent, meals in a regular restaurant, and utility costs for a month. In that case, you will need around $5,000, so if you are planning to live on your own and cut down some unnecessary expenditures, you will be able to have a normal life.

Money and calculator
If you cut back some expenditures you will be able to have a comfortable life

Other Living Expenses in SF

Making friends in a new city without spending money on some free time activities is not possible. So we decided to take a calculator and include other expenditures in the cost of living in San Francisco, California. Probably the best way to fight depression after relocating is exercise, and what is a better way to do so than in the gym? In SF, the monthly fee for the gym will be around $95, but if this is too much for you, you can always do some free outdoor activities – if SF has something, it is beautiful nature. And if movies are your passion, you’ll pay $15 for a seat in the cinema.

But probably the most popular thing you can do in SF is sit in some coffee shop and have some of the best cups of coffee for around $5, while a pint of domestic drought beer will be $7. And, finally, make sure you pack your books because, in SF, you will most definitely find time and the perfect spot to read.

People dancing at the party
Nightlife is one of the best in the country

Is San Francisco Expensive to Live In?

As you can see, SF is not among the most affordable places to live. But when you are deciding where to relocate, the expenditures are not the only thing you need to consider, but what you will get in return. High pay jobs in SF are the primary reason why so many young professionals decide to relocate. The SF has some of the best educational and medical institutions, and when we look overall, it is one of the most livable big cities you can choose. It has its charm, amazing architecture, and abundance of beautiful nature in SF and around.

San Francisco neighborhood
You will enjoy one of the most beautiful architecture in the world

Moving Cross Country to SF With the Best Movers

As you can see, if you decide to relocate to SF, you will gain a lot, and you will be exposed to the people and professionals from all over the world. A variety of cultures will be all around you, and if you calculate and plan your expenditures smartly, you will be able to live comfortably in SF. But, one of the smart things to do prior to your move is to find a good and trustworthy relocation company. The greatest would be to find a company that can provide you with all the services you need, from packing service and storage to car shipping. This way, you will not spend unnecessary money on different companies to provide you with the service you need.

Daisy Wilson

Daisy was born in Salt Lake City and in her free time, she writes about moving and watches Charmed.

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