How High Is the Cost of Living in Texas?

Texas has the 16th lowest cost of living index score in the U.S., making it one of the country’s most affordable states to live in.
Written by Annette Maxon
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
is one of the most affordable places to live in the U.S. Though the population and housing prices continue to grow steadily, the Lone Star State boasts affordable food, healthcare, housing, and transportation costs compared to the nation’s averages.
As the old saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas—except for the cost of living. Though it may be home to some of the country’s fast-growing cities like
San Antonio
, Texas remains inexpensive compared to the rest of the United States. It is ranked as the 16th most affordable state in the country, after
Whether you’re considering making a move to the Lone Star State or just looking for a cheap place to live,
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How high is the cost of living in Texas?

The Lone Star State is affordable compared to the national average cost of living. We took a closer look at the cost of living index to determine how high the cost of living is in Texas. This index score weighs how much people spend on groceries, housing, transportation, healthcare, and miscellaneous expenses across the U.S. 
Texas scores 92.1 on the cost of living index, putting it below thenational average index score of 100. Out of all 50 states, Texas is among the sixteen most affordable places to live
By comparison,
is the cheapest in the nation, with a cost of living index of 83.3.
follow suit with index scores of 86.5 and 87.9, respectively. Though Texas is more expensive than these midwest and southern states, it remains well below
index of142.2,
105.3, and even
at 100.3
However, Texas is the largest state in the nation, so, unsurprisingly, the cost of living can vary across the state. Here’s a closer look at what goes into determining the Lone Star State’s cost of living score and how prices vary depending on where you live. 

Food: $287 to $1,000 per month

Food is one of the biggest non-negotiable costs in day-to-day life. However, we’re talking about your monthly grocery bill—so forgo all restaurant food and drinks expenses for the moment!
MIT Living Wage Calculator
estimates that the average cost of groceries in Texas can range from $3,351 to $11,999 per year, depending on your household size, income, and location. At the low end, a single adult with no kids spends an average of $287 on monthly food expenses. However, a family of two adults with three kids can spend up to $1,000 per month just on food!
Before you start panicking, know that the average cost of food in Austin and other urban areas tends to be higher than what you’ll pay in many rural towns. And remember, these estimates only include the cost of groceries. If you frequently eat out, you’ll need to account for a higher annual food bill!

Healthcare: $483 per month

The average cost of Healthcare is $5,793 per year, as reported in a 2020 study by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, or $482.75 per month. This is significantly lower than the national average annual healthcare cost of $7,006, or $583.83 per month.
Of course, it’s important to remember that healthcare costs vary significantly from one household to the next. Factors impacting this dollar amount include family size, age range, location, income, and medical needs. So, if a family member is in poor health, you may anticipate a higher annual healthcare bill than if you’re a single, young person in excellent health. 
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Housing: $693 to $1,780 per month

Housing prices in the Lone Star State are skyrocketing with no stopping in sight. According to Zillow's Home Value Index, the average home price in 2022 is $308,628. When compared to the average home value in the U.S. as of May 2022, $349,816, it’s no wonder that Americans are flocking to this southwest state.
However, not all Texas residents are homeowners—many residents choose to rent instead. The average cost of rent in Texas is $1,083 per month, which is on par with the national monthly rent of $1,096. 
Since costs can vary depending on the type of home or apartment, here’s a look at the average monthly housing costs by home type: 
  • Median monthly mortgage payment: $1,621
  • Average studio rent: $1,143
  • Average one-bedroom rent: $1,185
  • Average two-bedroom rent: $1,933
  • Average three-bedroom rent: $1,780
Remember, these prices will vary by location. Expect to pay $1,995 a month on a two-bedroom apartment in
. By contrast, a two-bedroom apartment in
will cost $693 monthly.

Transportation: $460 to $1,359 per month

MIT’s Living Wage Calculator estimates that Texas residents spend an average of $5,509 to $16,304 per year on transportation, which shakes out to $460 to $1,359 a month! Compared to the national average transportation cost of $818 a month, Texans can expect to pay a little less.
But what goes into transportation expenses? This cost encompasses the price of vehicles (including financing and auto insurance), gasoline, routine vehicle maintenance, other transportation expenses, and public transportation. Here’s a closer look at some of the factors with the most significant impact on your monthly transportation expenses:
  • Average annual cost of car insurance in Texas: $1,865 (for liability coverage only, whereas comprehensive coverage will set you back $2,301)
  • Capital Metro monthly pass in Austin: $41.25
  • METRO monthly pass in Houston: $50
  • Average cost per gallon of gas, June 2022: $4.524
  • Average commute time in Texas: 26.5 minutes
Like the other cost of living factors, your annual transportation bill will depend on the size of your household, commute, and location.

How much you need to live comfortably in Texas: $34,133 to $74,360 per year

Texas has one of the country’s most inexpensive living costs. An adult with no children must make at least $16.41 per hour to make a living wage or $34,133 a year. If you’re a family of four with only one working adult, you need to make at least $35.75 per hour or $74,360 annually, which will allow you to live comfortably in Texas.
But considering that the state’s minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, it becomes harder to meet the comfortable living wage threshold. We pulled together the average price of non-essentials in the Lone Star State to prep you for the costs:
  • Average cost of a date: $110.99 (US average: $116) 
  • Average cost of a night at the movies: $11.61 (US average: $10.61) 
  • Average cost of a Big Mac: $3.75 (US average: $3.99) 
  • Average sales tax: 8.20% (US average: 5.09%)
However, know that living comfortably looks different for everyone. Whether you’re more frugal or prefer to splurge on the finer things in life, a $40,000 income in Texas may be comfortable for some and tight for others.
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The Texas cities with the lowest cost of living

Texas is inexpensive compared to the rest of the country, but that doesn’t mean that the cost of living is dirt cheap everywhere you go. Plan on urban areas costing more, whereas the suburbs or rural communities will be more budget-friendly. 
If you’re looking for the most affordable places to live in Texas, here’s a look at five Lone Star towns with the lowest cost of living index scores:
  1. Brownsville
    (COLI: 70.3): Situated on Texas’s western Gulf Coast, budget-friendly Brownsville has stunning wildlife refuges, museums, and art galleries. 
  2. Waco
    (COLI: 77): Waco, the midpoint of Austin and Dallas, is home to Baylor University, Magnolia Market, and some of the most affordable Lone Star living.
  3. Muleshoe
    (COLI: 77): Not only is this town on the New Mexico-Texas border home to a stunning national wildlife refuge, but it also boasts the most affordable living in the state!
  4. Abilene
    (COLI: 78.1): Located in central Texas, this thriving, midsize city has kept its affordable prices, old-world charm, and booming arts scene. 
  5. El Paso
    (COLI: 81.4): If you love big city living but don’t like the price, meet this affordable Texas city, the 22nd largest metropolitan area in the U.S. 

How to easily find home and car insurance in Texas

Whether you’re new to the Lone Star State or a born-and-raised Texan, the state’s low cost of living means that Texas residents pay at least $140 less than the national average home and
auto insurance
cost. Plus, you can save even more by cross-comparison shopping before settling on a coverage plan. 
But we get it—insurance shopping takes time and energy, which is already hard to come by! Fortunately,
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The average cost to live in Texas is $3,305 per month, making it less expensive than the national average cost of living.
No! Texas is the 16th most affordable state to live in and scores below the nation’s average cost of living index.
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