Did you know that, as of 2023, the population of Florida is around 23 million? With this large number, it’s not surprising that Florida is a very popular place to live. After all, Florida is a paradise for many with its long, sandy beaches and warm weather.
However, if you’ve been thinking about moving to Florida, you’ve no doubt been asking yourself questions such as: Is it expensive to live in Florida? What is the average cost of living in Florida? Can I afford to live in Florida and is it the right choice for me?
Luckily, you’re in the right place to have all these questions answered. You’ll learn all about rent in Florida, some of the most locations to live in Florida, as well as other costs such utilities, food costs, and transportation. After all, if you’ve been thinking about moving to Florida, you can’t make the move without making sure you can afford the Florida lifestyle.
By the end of this article, you’ll be able to use the information you learned to make more confident decisions regarding your potential move to Florida. To start, let’s take a closer look at what you should expect from housing costs in Florida.
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What Are The Housing Costs in Florida
Housing is what people spend the largest chunk of their money on. Housing, of course, is also one of the most essential aspects you need to consider when moving to a new location. However, when asking yourself, “how expensive is it to live in Florida,” you can come up with several different answers depending on what part of Florida you decide to settle down in.
The cost also depends on what kind of housing you’re looking for. This is because there is a big difference in the cost of renting an apartment compared to buying a house. Another important factor to consider is the size of your housing, with bigger almost always being more expensive.
And of course, we need to take a look at location. Some of the most popular places to live in Florida include Miami, Naples, Orlando, and Tampa. Some of the less popular but cheaper alternative locations include Kissimmee, Cape Coral, and Gainesville.
Let’s see how much the cost of living is in Miami (one of the most expensive places to live in Florida) when compared with Jacksonville, one of the cheapest places to live in the state.
The Cost of Living in Miami
The city of Miami boasts long beaches, expensive yachts, delicious food, and an eternal nightlife. Miami is the place to be if you really want to live life to the fullest. You’ll also be able to enjoy warm, breezy weather throughout the year, even in the middle of winter when the rest of the country is blanketed in snow.
However, keep in mind that Miami is not for those looking to live on a budget. If you’ve ever looked for apartments to rent in Miami, you already know that the cost of rent is significantly higher than in other parts of Florida as well as the rest of the country. In fact, a one-bedroom apartment in the heart of Miami easily costs around $2400 every month, and it can sometimes cost more depending on your location and your view of the city.
You also can’t forget about the utility bills that go along with the rent. Utility bills, depending on how much you try to save on electricity and water, tend to hover around $128 per month. If you plan on buying a house, you’d better have several hundreds of thousands of dollars on hand, if not millions, because housing in Miami does not come cheap.
If you’re frugal and don’t eat out too often, you can expect to spend around $375 per month on food. Of course, if you’re living it up at the impressive nightclubs and bars strewn throughout Miami, you can expect to spend much more than that.
If you want to live especially affordably, you can ditch your car in favor of public transportation which tends to be quite cheap. On the other hand, if you have a car, you’ll need to consider car insurance and the price of gas.
The Cost of Living in Jacksonville
Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to live the Miami lifestyle. However, just because you can’t move to Miami doesn’t mean you should give up on your dream of living in Florida altogether. There are plenty of beautiful and more affordable places to live in the state such as the city of Jacksonville.
Jacksonville is not as large as Miami, but it still has plenty to offer in terms of a bustling nightlife, good food, and warm weather. It’s also not far from the Jacksonville airport or from Savannah, Georgia. A big benefit of moving to Jacksonville is that the cost of living is below the national average compared to Miami which is far above.
While the price of houses can vary depending on what neighborhood in Jacksonville you’re interested in, you often won’t spend much more than $300,000. Rent is especially affordable, usually hovering around $1,500 per month compared with $2,500 in Miami.
More than the price, apartments are easier to find in Jacksonville because there is not as much competition compared to the very much sought-after city of Miami. You might be wondering if Jacksonville is so cheap because it might be in an undesirable location. However, this is incorrect.
Jacksonville, much like Miami, is on the Florida coast, although it is on the north-eastern coast compared to the southern coast of the state. Because it is in the northern part of the state, the winters might get a bit chilly, but if you’re from the states in the far north of the country, you’d hardly consider Jacksonville’s winter a winter at all. Beyond that, you could still get your fill of sandy beaches and swims in the ocean when living in Jacksonville.
A Few Things to Consider About Housing Costs
We’ve seen the high cost of living in Miami and the lower cost of living in Jacksonville. It’s important to keep in mind that other locations throughout Florida can vary in a similar fashion. Also keep in mind that, although living in Florida may conjure up images of beach-side mansions with marble floors and swimming pools, not every house has to be as lavish if you don’t have the money to afford it.
Also, consider that the size of your family unit can increase or decrease how much you can expect to spend on housing. For example, if you are a family of four, you will be spending much more on housing than a single person or a couple.
If you are making good money at your job, you likely won’t need to worry too much about the price of housing. On the other hand, if you’re looking to move to Florida to retire, you might want more affordable options.
By being aware of the details when it comes to housing throughout Florida, it is important to make sure you can plan out what you can afford and what you can’t. By doing this, you can bring your plans of moving to Florida closer to reality.
The Cost of Food in Florida
When asking yourself, “How much does it cost to live in Florida?” or “Is Florida expensive to live in?” the next thing you need to consider beyond housing is the cost of food. This is because food is the next thing that you will be spending most of your money on besides housing.
Amazing food can be found throughout Florida from Miami in the far south of the state to Jacksonville in the north. There are vegetarian options, Mexican and Cuban restaurants, sushi dives, as well as any other kind of restaurant you could think of. In short, you’ll never be bored when it comes to eating out in Florida.
However, you likely already know that eating out can be expensive if you indulge in it all the time. Instead, eating at home can be an affordable and equally delicious option. As mentioned before, you can expect to spend around $400 per month in Miami when eating out a few times every month and eating most of your meals at home.
Unlike housing prices, the price of food doesn’t change as drastically when living in different locations in Florida. While more affordable cities like Jacksonville may sell food cheaper than in Miami, you likely will only save around a hundred dollars or less on food. Of course, if you remove eating out from the equation, you can expect to save a bit more, but what’s the point of living in Florida if you can’t enjoy the local cuisine?
A benefit of buying groceries in Florida is that, because of the state’s warm climate, you can have the opportunity to buy more fresh produce throughout the year. This especially applies to more tropical foods such as lemons, oranges, and bananas.
The Cost of Entertainment in Florida
When considering the question, “how much is it to live in Florida?” it’s important to realize that the cost of living can go beyond housing and food. Entertainment is also a very important aspect to think about. Luckily, there is no shortage of things to do in Florida. More than that, since the state is generally warm throughout the year, there’s always activities to do even in the middle of winter.
However, because there are so many things to do in Florida, one of the more important Florida living cost tips is to remember not to splurge all your money by having a bit too much fun. The good thing is that, while there are plenty of activities that you need to pay for, there are also many fun things you can do without spending a dime.
For example, if you love the great outdoors, Florida is full of stunning state parks. Many times, these parks are free and you can spend your time hiking along the trails, fishing, and even canoeing in some of the rivers or lakes. These parks are also great locations to bring your family and set up a picnic under the canopy of tall trees and Spanish moss.
Other parks may require you to pay a fee when entering the park or when pulling into a parking lot, but these fees are usually very cheap. These fees are usually used to upkeep the park and to make sure its environment and the local animals stay in good condition.
Other Entertainment Options
When following a Florida living cost guide, remember that you’ll always be free to think outside of the box. When not worrying about the basic Florida living expenses, you can take time to spend some extra money on special experiences such as hang gliding over the ocean or taking a visit to Disney World.
If those more extravagant experiences don’t attract you, there are always other options to consider that won’t cost you much money. For example, if you prioritize fitness, there are plenty of gyms you can sign up with throughout Florida. A big benefit of these gyms is that a membership is often not very expensive, depending on what kind of membership you get.
In fact, in some gyms, you can get a basic membership for around $10. If you are very conscious about the Florida living costs, however, you can avoid spending any money when you go for a jog out in some of the warm Florida parks.
Is It Expensive To Live in Florida?
After reading this article, you now know the answer to, “Is it expensive to live in Florida?” You now know all about the cost of housing, food, transportation, and entertainment in Florida. With this information, you’re one step closer to making your move to the Sunshine State.
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