Everybody loves a beautiful sunny weather. When you combine this with access to a variety of cuisines from across the globe, white sand beaches, theme parks, and various other entertainment options, you’ll then understand why a lot of people are looking to move to Florida.
However, before you make that move it is very important that you find out if your budget can handle your moving expenses and allow you settle comfortably.
Knowing the cost of living of a particular place before moving there is a right move as you wouldn’t want to be taken unawares at the cost of things especially the basic necessities which include housing, food and clothing.
There are a lot of things that you have to put into consideration while drawing up your moving budget and that is what we will be taking a look at in this article.
Florida (Sunshine State) Prices
Bear in mind that how you view the cost of living in Florida is not only a function of the city or area in the state where you want to move to, but where you are making the move from as well.
Florida Housing Prices
Like we said earlier, where you are moving from plays a huge part in the way you will view the cost of living in the state – including housing costs. If you are relocating to Florida from a high cost area such as San Francisco, you will be of the opinion that the cost of housing in Florida is quite affordable.
On the other hand, if you are making the move from a place such as Oklahoma then you will most likely be of the opinion that the cost of housing in Florida is on the high side.
Generally, the cost of purchasing a home in Florida is 2% below the national average. You can purchase a house for an average amount of $355,000. So if you thought that all there were in Florida are massive and over the top expensive mansions and beach houses, you now know otherwise.
Another thing you should know is that you could pay more or less for a home, depending on the city or neighborhood of your choosing. For instance, the average price for a home in Jacksonville is about $263,000, while in Miami you are looking at spending an average amount of $454,500.
Of course not everyone will be looking to purchase a home right away. So, if you are looking to rent, the average amount it will cost you in a city such as Miami is about $1,915, while in Tampa it is for about $1,647.
Please bear in mind, that it is highly recommended that the amount you spend on housing should not be more than 30% of your income.
Making proper research about a place before relocating is very important and cannot be overemphasized. It helps you plan ahead and know the areas where you can make some adjustments.
For instance if your first choice of an area to relocate to is Sarasota, but after making comparisons with the cost of living there and your budget and you find that it is on the high side for you, there is something that can be done.
You can still make it work by moving into a nearby area that will be more affordable for you such as North Port which will avail you a similar lifestyle as well as convenient commute to Sarasota.
The cost of utilities in the state is on the high side but let us focus on the cost of electricity which on an average is 13% higher than the national average.
Now a lot of factors determine how much you get to spend on electricity in the state. One major factor is the weather which would usually require the residents to keep their air conditioners running.
Of course this means that the electricity bill will go up. Other factors include your personal preferences on home temperature as well as how large your house is. Do you plan on buying a large house with a hot tub? Just be prepared to pay the electricity bills that will be accumulated.
Florida Food and Groceries
Florida has an amazing food scene, with delicious cuisines from across the world. The amount that you will have to spend on food and groceries, vary from one area to the other. However, the general cost of food and groceries in the state is on the high side as it is above the national average.
While the cost of food and groceries in a city such as Miami can be termed expensive, in Jacksonville it is more affordable. This is why you don’t just wake up and decide that you want to relocate. It is important that you make your research, draw up your budget and make the right choices.
Dining Out Prices
It is not unusual for you to want to try out the different amazing restaurants in the state. Whatever cuisine you might be craving or whatever type of restaurant you want to pay a visit to – be it standard restaurant chains, national fast-food chains, high-end restaurants, or local restaurants, you are sure to find it in Florida.
Where you go to eat and where the restaurant is situated influences the amount you will have to pay for food in those places. For instance, if you go to a restaurant in a tourist area then just know that you are going to be paying much more for food there, than you would in other areas.
Florida Healthcare Costs
While the average cost of healthcare in the state is about 3% lower than the national average, there are some areas where you will have to pay higher and there are places where it might be more affordable. For instance in Jacksonville, the average cost of healthcare is 16% lower than the national average.
That notwithstanding, there are different factors that determine how much you will have to spend for healthcare and they include; your health status, your health insurance and of course the area where you reside in.
As you very well know, different people have different health conditions and that is a huge determinant to the amount that will have to be spent on healthcare.
If the reason why you are moving to Florida is for a job, then you best obtain their health insurance details. Also you can purchase insurance on the marketplace at healthcare.gov by making use of the federal exchange. Also check to see if you are eligible for any discounts and make the most of it.
Misc. Goods & Services
There are various goods and services that you would spend money on that are not among the major categories we have taken a look at so far. These include things such as personal care, entertainment, and other activities.
The cost of these goods and services are different across different cities in the state. But generally, the average cost for a haircut is $16 and $31 for a new shirt in the state.
Like we pointed out earlier, these expenses vary across different areas so while you have it at 7% above the national average in Fort Myers, it stands at 9% below the national average in Palm Coast.
However you should bear in mind that the amount of money you eventually get to spend on these miscellaneous goods and service highly depends on your lifestyle, taste and personal preferences.
Florida Transportation Costs
If you plan on owning a car in Florida then some of your concerns will include the cost of gas and insurance. While the national average for price of gas is at $3.38, AAA has it that the average price of gas in Florida is $3.31. Car insurance in the state is quite expensive and this is not surprising seeing that the state welcomes a lot of tourists each year.
If your plan is to use public transportation, we also have some helpful information for you. The public transportation system in Florida is not as easy, convenient and efficient as you would have in some other states.
A lot of persons in the state use their personal cars for their day to day movement. You also need to know that bigger cities such as Miami have more transportation options than other smaller areas.
You should also be aware of the fact that Florida has the most toll roads compared to any other state in the country. You can easily spend $20 to $50 on tolls monthly, depending on where you reside and the roads you usually ply.
So you see that it is best that you really consider where you want to move to and how you will be getting around daily so that you can save some money that you would have spent on the tolls.
Florida does not have state income tax and when you realize that the state makes a lot of money through tourism it will not come as much of a surprise. If you have a really high income level, then not paying state income tax will really save you a substantial amount of money.
The fact that there is no state income tax does not mean that the state does not take other types of taxes because they do. In fact, the tax level is even more substantial at the local levels of the state. One way to find out is when you try to register your cars.
Property taxes in the state are a little bit below what is the case with the rest of the country. At 7.05% the sales tax in the state is above what is obtainable in some other states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, and at the same time lower than other states such as Arizona and New York.
Can You Afford Florida?
Having read through all that we have discussed, do you believe that your budget can balance with the cost of living in Florida? After making comparisons with the cost of living in Florida and your current location are you still inclined to move?
There is no need to panic if you are not yet sure of the numbers, simply use an online cost of living calculator and you will get your answer. Also take into cognizance your earning and income level.
Apart from your first choice of the city to move to, you should equally compare other areas and neighborhoods as you might find one that is better suited for your budget, and that can still provide you easy access to your choice area.
It’s Totally Worth It to Live in Paradise!
If Living in Florida is a dream of yours, then don’t allow anything get in the way of achieving it. Even if at first glance you feel that the cost of living is too expensive for you, there are ways that you can still make it work.
Examples of which are looking for more affordable neighborhoods around your choice area, increasing your income by maybe getting better jobs or expanding your business, then making lifestyle changes and cutting off unnecessary expenditures.
Cost of Living elsewhere