Are you considering making the move to the Sunshine State? Florida, with its attractions like Disney World, Universal Studios, the Kennedy Space Center, and stunning beaches, is an enticing destination. But before you start packing your bags and trading winter coats for sunscreen, it’s essential to understand the cost of living in Florida.
How Does the Cost of Living in Florida Compare to the National Average?
The cost of living in Florida is approximately 2% higher than the national average. To gain a more precise understanding of the financial landscape, you need to compare your current city’s cost of living with your dream Florida city. Here, we’ll delve into the various factors that contribute to the cost of living in the Sunshine State.
Housing Costs in Florida
Housing is a significant aspect of the cost of living. In June 2023, the median home price in Florida stood at $478,500, which is approximately 7% higher than the national median of $445,000. However, keep in mind that these figures represent averages for the entire state. The actual housing costs can vary significantly depending on the city.
For example, the median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Florida is around $1,682, nearly 25% higher than the national median of $1,346. To find a Florida city that aligns with your budget, let’s explore the differences in housing costs in a few cities:
|City in Florida||Average Home Price||Average Apartment Rent|
These figures highlight the variation in housing costs across different cities in Florida, allowing you to make an informed decision about where to reside.
Utility costs, including energy and phone services, can also impact your cost of living. In Florida, these costs range from 13% lower than the national average in Tallahassee to 17% higher in Pensacola. Fort Myers falls in the middle range among Florida cities for utility expenses, closely matching the national average.
Your grocery expenses can fluctuate significantly depending on your location in Florida. Grocery costs in the state range from 10% lower than the national average in Daytona to 16% higher in Miami. Be prepared to shop for groceries at popular stores like Publix, a Southeastern supermarket chain headquartered in Florida, known for offering a wide range of products, including oranges and key lime pies.
Transportation costs in Florida are another factor to consider. These costs can range from 16% lower than the national average in Jacksonville to 8% higher in Fort Myers. Given that Florida is primarily a driving state, it’s advisable to keep transportation costs in check by securing the right insurance coverage, which you can often obtain at a discount through independent insurance agents.
Healthcare costs in Florida vary as well. They range from 18% lower than the national average in Jacksonville to 12% higher in Tallahassee. Here’s an overview of the typical expenses for common medical services across the state:
- General doctor: $115 (10% lower than the national average)
- Dentist: $109 (1% lower than the national average)
- Eye doctor: $97 (23% lower than the national average)
- Advil: $11 (9% higher than the national average)
- Prescription drug: $470 (2% higher than the national average)
Florida is known for not imposing state income tax, making it an attractive destination for many. However, it does have a state sales tax rate of 6%, which increases to 7.02% when you factor in the average local tax rate. While this rate is relatively low, it’s essential to be aware that Florida does have some special taxes, particularly on cellphone use and gas, which may impact your overall tax burden. Consulting with trusted tax advisors can provide you with a more precise understanding of your tax liabilities when moving to Florida.
Miscellaneous Goods and Services
Miscellaneous costs encompass a wide range of goods and services, including restaurant dining, clothing, entertainment, activities, and personal care. In Florida, these costs can vary from 8% lower than the national average in Ocala to 9% higher in Miami. For instance, in Daytona, you can expect to spend around $11 on a pizza, $19 on a haircut, and $30 on a new shirt, which is slightly below the average cost in most U.S. cities.
Affording a Comfortable Life in Florida
To live comfortably in Florida, you must ensure that you can manage your most substantial expense: housing. Whether you plan to rent or buy, it’s recommended to adhere to the 25% rule, which means your monthly housing payment should not exceed 25% of your monthly take-home pay. This 25% limit includes property taxes, homeowners insurance, homeowners association (HOA) fees, and private mortgage insurance for homebuyers with mortgages.
Why 25%? Going beyond this threshold can impede your ability to allocate funds to other essential financial goals, such as retirement savings. Use our free mortgage calculator to gain a better understanding of home prices that fit within your budget.
Comparing Your Current City to Florida
To determine if you can afford the cost of living in Florida, you can use our free Cost of Living Calculator. It helps you assess how much more or less expensive it would be to live in the Florida city of your choice compared to your current location. If you find the housing market in Florida challenging to afford, you can explore options such as adjusting your standard of living, seeking higher income opportunities, or moving to a more affordable neighborhood within reach of your desired city.
Ready to Make the Move?
If you’ve determined that you can afford to live in Florida, congratulations! Your next step on this exciting journey is to address your housing needs. To find trusted real estate agents in Florida and your current city, consider using our RamseyTrusted program. We exclusively recommend top agents who are dedicated to helping you achieve your relocation goals. Find a RamseyTrusted Florida real estate agent, decide on your ideal location in Florida, interview at least three local agents, and choose one we trust to assist you in finding a home within your budget.
In conclusion, the cost of living in Florida is influenced by various factors, including housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health care, taxes, and miscellaneous goods and services. By carefully evaluating these costs and comparing them to your current situation, you can make an informed decision about whether moving to Florida aligns with your financial goals and lifestyle preferences.