Before You Move, Consider Cost of Living…

July 20, 2017 : Allie Freeland

We live in a highly mobile world. People move regularly for work or personal reasons between state or even International lines.

If you are considering a move this year to a different state within the U.S., it’s important to keep the cost of living in mind. In fact, cites Washington, D.C., Hawaii, California, and New Jersey have the highest cost of living, while Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Missouri are the states with the lowest cost of living.

What is Cost of Living?

Cost of living relates to the prices of everyday items in different Geographic locations across the United States. Here are some of the key components of cost of living to consider as you make a move to a new home:

1 – Income Tax

While federal taxes remain at a consistent marginal rate,  state income taxes vary from 0 to 13%. For instance there are a number of states they don’t have any income tax like Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Access, Washington State, And Wyoming, while California, Oregon, and Minnesota have the highest. Before you make a move from a low to highly taxed state, consider ways you can make up for the loss of income, like a higher salary or even signing bonus.

2 – Housing

Here’s another area that varies greatly. In some states, affordable housing may seem impossible to find, especially if you have an extensive list of must-have amenities. Whether you are buying or renting, check out websites like to see what’s within your budget.

3 – Healthcare

States vary greatly when it comes to cost and quality of healthcare. You heard that right —  physicians, dentists, emergency care, and preventative-care specialists vary across state lines.

4 – Monthly Expenses

Monthly expenses like automotive gas, groceries, as well as utilities like gas, electric, water, and trash vary based on where you live. Even childcare falls into the category of monthly expenses and vary greatly. WalletHub has a good list of the most and least energy efficient states — check it out!

5 – Food, Entertainment, and Gas

Groceries, restaurants, entertainment venues, and gas is another category you should consider prior to the move.

6 – Moving Cost

While moving, it may seem like a no brainer that you’ll incur moving costs like storage, moving trucks, and more, not everyone knows this. You can use an online tool like QuoteRunner to estimate average costs. Here you can plug in your current zip code then your future zip code, and it will give you an estimated cost of moving from place to place.

Final Words

Before you move, the elements above should weigh in your decision as you compare cost of living from state to state, or even city to city. There are even interactive cost of living calculators available so you don’t have to do the calculations on your own. In fact, offers a cost of living calculator. Simply enter the state you currently live, the state you are moving to, your annual salary, and your job title.

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Allie Freeland

Allie Freeland

Contributing Editor, H&R Block

Allie is the Contributing Editor of the H&R Block blog, Block Talk. She has been a practicing grammar geek since 2007.