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

A Guide to the Cost of Living in San Diego, California

You have picked America’s Finest City to be your new home. To make sure you’ve made the right choice, you need to consider the cost of living in San Diego before you actually get there. This place truly has much to offer, and it’s undoubtedly one of the best places in the country. But, to enjoy all that, before moving to San Diego, you first need to make sure you can afford to live there.

A surfer on the beach in sunset overlay
sunset- san diego beach surf

We know that you’re probably wondering about home prices, as well as how much you need for food and transportation. It is also essential to know how much money you need to move out of state. Knowing what your monthly expenses will be is of crucial importance, especially so when relocating to an expensive place such as your chosen destination. We’re here to answer all your questions and help you plan your budget before relocation. Without further ado, let’s get a sneak peek at what kind of life you should expect in this coastal metropolis.

Home Prices Might Scare You Off

You would like to live in one of the best neighborhoods in San Diego, and all things considered, who wouldn’t? And if you’re moving with kids, you want the best San Diego schools in your vicinity, alongside all kinds of amenities that one can wish for. But to get all that, you’ll need to allocate quite some money. When it comes to the second-largest city in California, housing is a significant factor to consider.

The median home price is between $600,000 and $800,000, which is significantly higher than in LA and New York. So, before you start asking around about what you need to rent a house or buy one, take a calculator to be sure you can earn enough money to pay for it. Housing expenses overall are as much as 136% higher than the national average.

As for the utilities, you should expect to pay about $130 a month for electricity, water, and heating, while the Internet service alone amounts to about $65 a month. Overall, utility costs are about 15% higher than the national average.

Renting a Place is More Affordable Than Buying

In case you’d rather rent a home, you won’t be that thrilled about the prices here, either, but it’s still more affordable to rent than to buy. The median rent per month is about $2,500. Now, this number, of course, depends on the size of the apartment you’re looking for and the location.

For instance, you can rent a one-bedroom apartment in the center for just over $2,000 or save some money and rent a place of the same size outside of the center for about $1,600. When it comes to bigger flats, the prices are quite higher, too. So, you’ll need at least $3,600 for a three-bedroom apartment in the center or about $2,700 for one outside of the center.

Once you find a place that suits your needs and fits your budget, learn what you need to rent an apartment there, and you can start picturing your new life in a new place. Then you need to figure out how to pack your apartment and get down to business.

Transportation Costs – Look for Public Transport Discounts

Once you’ve settled in, it’s time to think about getting around. At first, you’re just troubled by the question of how to move at all. Then you move on to think about getting around your new place of residence. We’re sure you’ll want to explore this magnificent place and enjoy so many exciting things to do in San Diego. But how much do you need for transportation there?

If you’re going to use your car, you’ll first need San Diego professional movers who can provide you with auto transport services and ship your vehicle to the new address. Then, you’ll need to set aside about $4 for a gallon of gas, which is quite high compared to the national average of $2.89.

Those of you who are planning to rely on public transport can get a monthly pass for about $72. In case you don’t need one, you can get a one-way ticket for $2.50. Note that there are always discounts for children, the disabled, and senior citizens. Take this opportunity if you or your loved ones fall under any of these categories.

Ready for a Long Distance Move? Get a Quote

Food Prices – Eating out Can Be Pricey

Grocery prices are about 13% higher than the national average. For instance, a meal in an inexpensive restaurant will be at least $15. If you want to check out some of the best restaurants in San Diego, you will have to pay a somewhat high price for the high-quality service. In a mid-range restaurant, a meal for two will probably cost you around $60. So, just like anywhere else, the best way to save some money is to stay home and cook for yourself as often as possible.

food on a plate in a restaurant overlay

How Much You Need for a Comfortable Life in America’s Finest City?

As you can see, living in America’s Finest City requires careful planning of your finances. To be able to live comfortably, you need to prepare properly, which means finding a well-paid job for starters. You might want to rely on a budget guide if you’re moving out for the first time. It is of crucial importance to take a calculator and write down at least the approximate expenses to be able to determine how much you’ll have to earn to cover all your needs. Let’s take a look at monthly costs to give you an idea.

 wallet overlay

Figure out Your Monthly Costs

Before you ask for packing and unpacking services to speed the relocation process, you need to take out your calculator and determine your monthly costs. To make it easier, you might want to try out an online cost of living calculator.  To save you from that trouble altogether, we bring some rough numbers.

On average, you need about $2,000 for rent, up to $200 for utilities and internet service, around $180 for gasoline, and about $313 for groceries. Overall, you should reconsider your decision to move there if you don’t earn at least $2,700 a month. This is if you’re relocating by yourself. In case you’re moving with your family, note that a four-member family spends around $3,200 a month without rent.

The Cost of Living in San Diego, CA If You Move to the Suburbs

Before you rule out the idea of living in the suburbs, think about all the advantages, with lower expenses being one of the major perks. Some of the best places to live in San Diego are, in fact, suburban areas. Not only do you get the peace and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle, but you also get to save more money if you live there.

Most importantly, housing is much more affordable, and there are adorable places to find. In Chula Vista, for instance, the median house value is between $430,000 and $530,000, and the median rent is about $1,500, while in El Cajon, the median rent is $2,100. As housing is probably the most crucial factor to consider when planning your budget, with this item cheaper than the city’s average, you’re already off to a good start. Figure out the best way to pack for moving and start getting ready for your new calm and cozy life in the suburbs, if that fits your needs.

How the Cost of Living in San Diego Compares to Other Cities in California

The data shows that the cost of living there might be as much as 44% higher than the national average, but do note that there are even more expensive cities in California. For instance, in San Jose, you need about $3,290 a month, while in San Francisco, this number goes to $4,200 a month. According to some data, life in Frisco is 68.2% more expensive than in America’s Finest City. Los Angeles is also more expensive, 8.2%, to be more precise.

Let’s get a sneak peek at how this magnificent metropolis compares to other cities in California.

If this coastal metropolis is simply too expensive for you to live there, let’s take a look at some of the most affordable places to live in the state of California. Perhaps some of the following are the right choice for you.

coins for long distance moving overlay

Most Affordable Cities in California

Popular cities like those previously mentioned are usually the most expensive ones to live in, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other places worth considering. On the contrary – there are many cheaper places in California that still have a lot to offer to its residents. So, if you’re looking for a cheaper solution, you should take into consideration some of the following most affordable places in Cali:

  • Irvine, Orange County– great job opportunities, excellent education, highly rated for safety and quality amenities
  • Oxnard, Ventura County– close to Los Angeles, affordable housing, a strong economy
  • Costa Mesa, Orange County– suitable for young professionals, highly rated public schools, high walk score
  • Simi Valley, Ventura County– family-friendly communities, convenient transportation, excellent weather
  • Vacaville, Solano County– close to Sacramento, high-quality public schools, suitable for raising children


All things considered, the cost of living in Sandi is relatively high, but when you compare it to other major cities in the Golden State, the data shows that these figures can go even higher. Given how much it has to offer in terms of employment and average income, as well as culture and entertainment, you’ll find it easier to overcome the fear of moving knowing what awaits you there. The people there are kind and welcoming, so don’t worry about making friends in a new city – they’ll make it easier to adjust. And as for the relocation itself, expert movers with professional moving services can make this process easier.

Your primary concern now should be to land a well-paid job to make sure you can live comfortably. And if not, there are always cheaper places in California where you can find your perfect home. Choose wisely and enjoy your relocation.

Gemma Collins

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

        © Copyright 2024 Long Distance Movers. All Rights Reserved.
        Check how much your move would cost.

        An obligation free quote

        Error: Contact form not found.

        Get a Free Estimate 877-299-3827