Cost of Living in San Francisco | City Guides | Long Distance USA Movers

The Cost of Living in San Francisco – Can You Afford to Live in SF?

If you are wondering what the cost of living in San Francisco is, you just need to remember that this is one of the wealthiest and most expensive cities in America. However, it is home to a wide array of tech companies that provide plenty of excellent-paying jobs. Even though the prices have skyrocketed, the popularity of this metropolis is widespread. There are even rumors that the competitive rental market might soar up again.

San Francisco Golden gate overlay

If you considering where to move in California and thinking about moving to San Francisco for its lovely beaches, you should know that you would profit more if you choose the beaches of Mexico and overseas relocation, than life in this metropolis for one month – it is that expensive. Despite being so costly, relocating to the Fog City is immensely popular due to the high standard of living and delightful weather. There is something in the diversity and cosmopolitanisms of this place that attracts people to move long-distance to reach it, and to pay big money to live in it.

However, if you are looking for a place to start from scratch and you are taking SF into account, you have to do your homework and find out if you can actually afford it. We have provided an insight into how much money you will need to make it in the City by the Bay to help you make an informed decision.

Cost of Living in San Francisco – Is It Worth the Money?

Is it worth the trouble to hire San Francisco long-distance movers and cross miles and miles and relocate to a metropolis that will drain your bank account? The answer to this question depends on your aspirations and life plans.

If you look at everything from a financial point of view, choosing this urban center might not be the best option for you. Nonetheless, if you are keen to explore the most interesting things to do in San Francisco, besides working and sleeping, you will be spoiled by its many attractions and the beautiful outdoor space – there are so many ways to enjoy the fresh air at the wide-open fields of Golden Gate Park. Going up and down SF’s many hills will get you in the best possible form. However, you will have to forget about high heels and fancy dress shoes.

Living in the Booming Economy of California’s Silicon Valley

One of the reasons for such high prices in this part of California is precisely the high-tech world of Silicon Valley, which is located some 50 miles south of SF. Not everyone in the metropolis is obsessed with the high-technology hub, but everyone is very well aware that this place is a money-making machine and a leading science center.

If you are into technology and IT, living here can be a great way to work on your career and find a well-paid position. That way, you won’t have the feeling that you lack anything or live in an overwhelmingly expensive place. Some of the highest paying companies are located here. You can earn up to $122k per year if you get hired by one of the tech giants. Nowhere in the world can you find so many major tech companies concentrated in such a small area. But if you’re moving for a job, keep in mind the most important relocation questions to ask your employer to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

The Cost of Raising a Family in San Francisco – Is it Manageable?

This might not be the best city to raise a family, and the reason is straightforward – it is too expensive. Recent estimates show that there has been a decrease in the number of children living in this metropolis. Families need around $200,000 annually to live comfortably in this gigantic metropolis, and that is still not the same coziness you would have if you were to choose almost any other place. A startling report showed that a household earning $117,000 would qualify as “low income” in this place. For example, the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, is estimated to be 74% cheaper than SF.

Besides the soaring prices, the school lottery system can be one of the reasons why moving with kids here might not be the best idea. Even though there are excellent high schools in San Francisco, there are many downsides to the primary school system. Your kid might not get to go to the school of their choice, and they can end up in one that is too far. There is no guarantee that your kids will go to the same school – it’s just the way it works. Even if you submit a complaint and wait for the second round, it doesn’t mean anything will change.

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Average Rent Costs

As you have probably assumed, renting costs have climbed up as well. The average apartment rent is around $3700 a month, which might be shocking at first glance if you want to get an apartment out of state. If you are orchestrating a long-distance relocation from a less expensive part of the States, this number will certainly make you dizzy. In some places, with this sum of money, you could easily have a lovely home with a yard, pay for the utilities, and have something left – that is not the case here. There are some extremely wealthy areas where apartment rents are much higher than the figure provided above. This is not a metropolis where you can find a flat for around $1000 if you go further from the center. The high cost of living drive the rental costs up, and the cheapest you can find won’t be under $2500 a month.

The good news is that you won’t have to pay too much for the utilities. If you have a 1000 square-foot apartment, the average monthly utilities will be no more than $100. This can hardly make up for the thousands you have to pay for an apartment, but at least it’s something.

A hilly street in SF overlay

Home Prices in The City by the Bay

The good thing about this metropolis is that it has many wonderful, friendly residential areas. However, the best neighborhoods in San Francisco do not have to be the most expensive ones necessarily, but they are not cheap for sure. There are many factors that will determine the home prices here. You need to consider the size of the living space, walkability, commuting proximity, amenities like parking, the safety of the area, and the overall quality of the neighborhood, and you’ll find yourself one of the best places to live in San Francisco.

As you’ve probably figured by now, there is no such thing as affordable housing in this California metropolis. Since there is a healthy financial sector, people have well-paid jobs and can afford to pay a lot for housing in an attractive area. This is one of the reasons why there is a big demand for housing. Since there is a limited supply of homes, and a large number of people who want them, only those with inherited money or high salaries can afford to buy one. The median home price can be expected to value up to almost a million. Are you surprised? Don’t be – this is California, after all. Homes are remarkably expensive, but the sheer number of people that move to this part of the US every year and purchase property is an indication that they are getting their money’s worth.

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Commuting – How Much Will You Have to Pay for Public Transportation?

Commuting is an essential part of your everyday life, and the amount of money you need to set aside is significant, especially if it affects your budget to a great extent. Thankfully, this is one of the cities with the best public transportation, and you can purchase a monthly card for public transportation for around $80, and even if you want to have access to Bay Area Rapid Transit trains that cover the area of the metropolis, you need to pay a bit more – around $94.

Most people prefer to use their cars to go to work. If you plan to use auto transport along with moving services, and you want to use the vehicle on a daily basis, get ready to pay a lot for the fuel. The usual price of a gallon of gas is around $4.20 – above the US average. And this is not the end. You will have to pay around $30 for a parking spot per day since free parking places are usually outside the city center. On a monthly basis, this can amount up to $300 just for parking. Think twice before you decide to drive around – maybe the idea of public transport is not that bad after all.

Getting Around San Francisco overlay

Additional Expenses

Even though housing is probably one of the most important aspects of choosing a place to live in, there are other commodities you need to take into account. If you want to be able to say that you live in a place of your dreams, you wouldn’t want to be making ends meet every single month. There is no real pleasure if you cannot afford to dine from time to time in a fancy restaurant, take your loved ones out for a drink, go outdoors, or plan a weekend getaway.

To do all that, you have to land a well-paying position and optimize your everyday and moving expenses. That means  you need to get the full picture before you decide to relocate your entire life, deal with the never-ending packing process, and come to live in a metropolis that you have dreamed about. Have a look at some additional expenses which have nothing to do with the transportation or the soaring home prices.

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You’re About to Live in a City with High Taxes

It feels like we have forgotten something, and yes, we have – the high taxes of the metropolis. Nothing is ordinary here, neither are the taxes. We’re not only talking about the urban center; we’re talking about the State as a whole. California has one of the highest income tax rates in the nation. The state sales tax is around 7.25% and 8.50% in SF. These are not some of the highest ones in the States,  though. Take into account that Tennessee has a 9.45% tax rate, for example – that puts things into perspective.

How Much Money Do You Need for Food?

The price of food is usually higher than you’d expect it to be, especially if you’re looking for the most vegetarian-friendly cities. The basic lunchtime menu can be around $20, but that does not apply to the best restaurants in San Francisco. If you choose a fast food place, you will pay a lot less. It can be bearable. For the common articles in the supermarket, residents do pay a lot. A gallon of milk can cost almost $4, while a loaf of white bread is around $3.50. For a pound of skinless chicken breasts, the average cost is $5.82.

In most places, residents can keep the food costs between $400 and $500 a month and have nice meals. That won’t be the case here. You can expect to spend an average of $600 just for food, maybe even more.

What It Amounts To

As you can tell, the cost of living in SF definitely isn’t something you should take lightly when figuring out how to move. From rent to food, these expenses amount up to a lot every month. However, with the right set of skills to kickstart your career, you can easily afford to enjoy life in this amazing metropolis and see why so many people every year choose to make it their new home.

Gemma Collins

Gemma is an NJ local that has explored all the US states, making her the perfect person to write about moving.

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