Higher than the national average, the cost of living in Maine has continually increased. In Maine, a single adult needs to make at least $37,184 to live comfortably.
Whether you’re a lobster or lighthouse fanatic or just enjoy the great outdoors, Maine has everything you could need. From state and national parks galore to harbors and beaches, Maine’s wide variety of scenery, unfortunately, comes with a high cost of living.
How high is the cost of living in Maine?
While the cost of living wasn’t always higher than the national average in Maine, it has surpassed it in recent years.
The national average cost of living index for the U.S. is 100. Anything higher than 100 has a higher than average cost of living, while anything below 100 has a cheaper cost of living.
The cost of living in Maine is 115.1, making it the 12th most expensive state in the U.S, right along with
Vermont at 116.9 and
New Hampshire at 117.4. So, while it costs more to live in Maine, it’s on par with its Northeastern neighbors.
With a higher cost of living, you may be wondering what real, everyday needs will cost. We’ll look at the costs of essentials in Maine, including food, healthcare, housing, and transportation, and compare that to the national average.
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Food: $324 to $952 per month
Although it’s possible to cut corners and save money in a lot of areas, food is considered an essential, non-negotiable part of everyday life. However, we mean essentials like your grocery bill, not eating out.
Living Wage Calculator estimates that the average cost of food in Maine is $3,891 to $11,425, depending on family size, income, and location. So, a single adult typically spends $324.25 on groceries each month, while a family of four spends $952.08. Comparatively, as of 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average U.S. household spends $411 on groceries every month.
Again, these estimates are only for essential food, so your mid-day latte and weekly sushi aren’t included and would be extra costs.
Healthcare: $606 per month
While the cost of healthcare can vary depending on the type of plan you have and your health status, most Maine residents spend an average of $7,851 per person every year on healthcare, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis 2020 report. Per month, that averages to $606, which is significantly higher than the national average of $477 per month.
However, this number can fluctuate if you have several members of your household on the same plan, have a family member with expensive prescriptions, or have other additional healthcare expenses, you’re likely to have a higher cost of living.
Housing: $706 to $1,434 per month
As of July 2022, the median home price in Maine is $360,836. But what does that mean for your monthly costs? Here’s the breakdown based on your home size:
Median monthly mortgage payment: $1,387
Average studio rent: $706
Average one-bedroom rent: $757
Average two-bedroom rent: $962
Average three-bedroom rent: $1,234
Average four-bedroom rent: $1,434
That said, these averages will fluctuate depending on where you live in the state, when you purchased your home, etc.
For example, in
Portland—Maine’s largest city—the average rent for a studio apartment is $1,143, while a four-bedroom apartment is $2,689! This is more expensive than 95% of the rest of the state.
Compared to the rest of the U.S., it is currently less expensive to buy a home in Maine. The median home price in the U.S. is $428,700, while it’s around $360,000 in Maine.
It’s also less expensive to rent in Maine, as the U.S. average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,769, and a two-bedroom apartment is $2,105.
Transportation: $353 to $963
Maine is relatively affordable when it comes to transportation costs, paying between $353 to $963 per month, depending on the household size. A two-person household in Maine can expect to pay around $627 per month, while the U.S. average is $818 per month.
Again, these numbers will vary depending on where you live and the expenses you have. For a better understanding, here are a few examples of transportation costs in Maine:
Average commute time: 24 minutes
Average cost per gallon of gas, July 2022: $4.93
Average cost of DiriGo monthly pass in Portland: $60 to $150
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How much you need to live comfortably in Maine: $37,184 to $81,251
If you’re a single adult in Maine, you’ll need to make at least $37,184 per year or $17.88 an hour. If you’re a family of four (two adults and two children) on a single income, you’ll need to make $81,251 or $39.06 an hour.
As Maine’s minimum wage currently sits at $12.75, it’s easy to see that many struggle to make a living wage and live comfortably. For a bit more insight, here’s what some basic non-essentials cost in comparison to national averages:
Average cost of a date: $157.02 (U.S. average: $116)
Average cost of a night at the movies: $9.89 (U.S. average: $10.61)
Average cost of a Big Mac: $4.47 (U.S. average: $3.99)
Funtown Splashtown tickets: $50 per person (U.S. average theme park ticket price: $91)
Average sales tax: 5.5%(U.S. average: 5.09%)
That said, everyone is different. You could live comfortably in Maine for under $37,000, but for most, it’s the minimum for basic needs and any additional expenses.
The Maine cities with the lowest cost of living
While Maine’s largest city may be expensive, it doesn’t mean the entirety of the state is! There are several cities with a lower cost of living than the state and national averages.
Caribou (COLI: 93): Considered a hidden gem, this city is a hub for arts, culture, outdoor recreation, industry, and tourism.
Presque Isle (COLI: 94): Home to several colleges, you can find the University of Maine, Northern Maine Community College, and Husson University here.
Gardiner (COLI: 97): Gardiner’s historic downtown and old architecture make it a popular place with plenty of outdoor activities.
Old Town (COLI 98): Made up of islands, you can canoe or kayak through the Stillwater or Penobscot rivers while surrounded by wilderness.
Waterville (COLI 97): A coastal town, Waterville is home to two private colleges, an Opera House, and one of the best art-house cinemas in New England.
If you plan on moving to Maine, consider checking out these five cities—they may be perfect for you!
How to easily find home and car insurance in Maine
Although Maine’s cost of living is above the national average, the cost of home and
car insurance in Maine is rather affordable! On average, home and car owners in Maine pay between 25% to 40% less than the national average.
But what’s even better than that? Using the
Jerry app to potentially save even more on your car and home insurance.
Jerry contacts your home insurance company to get the details of your current coverage, so you don’t have to scale a mountain of questions. Then, they’ll use that information to find new quotes—based on your current information.
You get all the best prices and coverage with none of the legwork. Better yet, Jerry will help you bundle your home and auto insurance for even bigger savings and less paperwork.
Jerry was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.