In 2016, the US News & World Report named Colorado’s capital as the best place to live in the US, and with a good reason. It has beautiful landscapes, a healthy economy with low unemployment, a wide range of cultural and sports events, and it is in close to proximity to some of the best skiing centers in the whole nation. But what concerns prospective newcomers the most is the cost of living in Denver and whether they can actually afford to reap all the benefits of residing in it. That is precisely why we decided to help you out a bit and create a quick breakdown of the costs of everyday life in the so-called Mile High City.
Located in the western, mountainous part of the US, the state of Colorado has less than 6 million residents, which makes it the 21st most populous state in the US. The largest sectors that run Colorado’s economy are agriculture, construction, manufacturing, mining, and services such as tourism.
As its largest city, Denver is also the state capital, and somehow logically, it is the priciest place in Colorado. Generally speaking, the cost of living index for Colorado is 121.1, which means that it is higher than the national level. So if you were wondering what the cheapest state is, this is not one of them. However, the median household income is also higher than the national figure, which partially offsets the somewhat higher prices of everyday life. The number of employed people is growing, as well as their annual incomes.
In case you are moving to Denver, there is probably something more important going on in your mind besides looking for the best neighborhoods in Denver. If you are curious, you can check the living wage calculation. It shows us what is the hourly rate that an individual must earn to be able to support himself and his family. You can use online calculators to check the numbers, whether you are relocating alone or moving with children.
It is essential to keep in mind that the living wage is not the same as the minimum wage. In the charts below, we are going to show you a few examples of the median wage in the Mile High City, depending on the number of people in the household.
|Poverty wage||Minimum wage||Living wage|
|1 adult without kids||$6||$11.10||$14.26|
|1 adult with 1 child||$8.13||$11.10||$29.70|
|2 adults, only 1 working||$8.13||$11.10||$22.14|
|2 adults, only 1 working, plus 1 child||$10.25||$11.10||$27.21|
|2 adults, both working, no children||$4.06||$11.10||$11.07|
|2 adults, both working, 1 child||$5.13||$11.10||$16.25|
Living comfortably is a pretty flexible term, and it doesn’t mean the same for everyone. For some people, it is the ability to visit the best restaurants in Denver every week, without looking at the prices on the menu. Other people prefer to travel and invest in that kind of activity. So we can agree that it doesn’ have to be the same for everyone. However, when we take a look at some numbers and compare them to other cities, we get an approximate amount that should be enough for what’s considered as comfortable and decent life.
According to Numbeo, the median monthly salary is $4,360, after taxes. And a single person spends around $940 per month, without rent. Renting a home downtown is, of course, the most expensive option, and a one-bedroom home can cost up to $1,650. If you find a roommate, you will be able to live much more comfortable once the costs are cut in half. Having children comes with some extra expenses such as kindergarten, clothes, sports, etc. So, in that case, it is always more convenient if both parents are employed.
If, for example, we take a family of two adults and two children, statistics show that on a yearly level, their income should be around $92,500, or $7,700 per month, which is still pretty achievable if both adults are employed. You have to keep in mind that the majority of your income will go on rent, so your location also plays an important role. If you are moving out for the first time and you have a budget, picking a home further to the suburbs will enable you to live more comfortably for sure.
When house-hunting in a different state or town, it is always more comfortable if you’re relocating for a job. Because one of the questions to ask your employer when relocating can be related to housing, and in a lot of cases, the company will offer to assist you and find you a place to live.
If you are looking to rent, expect that, as a single person, you can find a one-bedroom apartment outside of downtown for around $1,100. In case you have a family and you need more space, a three-bedroom home can be found for up to $2,900 in the center. If you go for some of the suburban areas, you can save $1,000 per month just on housing.
If you thought that everything is more pricey here, here is a fun fact: utilities are actually cheaper, even below the national average. For example, for a 910 square feet apartment, you will have to pay around $120 for water, heat, and electricity. The internet is extra, about $60, depending on the internet provider and deal. In total, we can say that approximately $180 is enough to cover all the utilities for one month.
Unlike many other cities in the US but similar to other places in the South, this is a very car-friendly place, and traffic jams are not such a problem. Besides, considering that the Rocky Mountains surround the place, it is very convenient to have a car and go around to explore in your free time. Also, if you are an outdoorsy type of person, then this is the perfect place for you because you can spend all of your leisure time out in nature.
The prices of gas are reasonable; one gallon is around $2.70. If you already have a car, you can use auto transport services to bring it to the Mile High City, along with your household belongings. It is often a very convenient and affordable way to keep your favorite four-wheeler without breaking the bank and purchasing a new one.
For those who are not drivers, there is always an option called public transportation. It makes getting around very easy and inexpensive. You can choose between light rail and a bus, but keep in mind that the rail here has four zones, and your fare depends on the number of zones you travel through. There is also a special train line that goes directly to the airport. Monthly passes are valid for both buses and trains, and for $114, you can enjoy as many rides as you want. There is also a free shuttle bus that rides along 16th Street, where all the main shopping spots and restaurants are located.
Other, more affordable options for transportation include bikes and car-sharing. Here you can find a bike-sharing program that enables you to take and leave bikes all around the town, but you can also use your own if you have it. If you just occasionally need a car, there are so many great apps that can connect you to other people in need of a ride or a companion. Prices can vary depending on the distance and everything, but if you don’t need to drive daily, this is undoubtedly a more affordable solution.
We all know that our health is priceless. However, maintaining it comes at a certain price, so it is always good to explore your options and pick the right insurance provider. Those who are relocating with kids should also think about that, but as well about their education. It is not soo easy to find good public kindergartens and schools and to live close to them at the same time, so you have to research your options thoroughly.
When it comes to healthcare, it is good to know that the state of Colorado is on a solid sixth position on the list of the country’s best healthcare systems. There has been a lot of improvement over the past few years, and the results are finally showing. However, even though Colorado is often referred to as one of the healthiest states in the country, health care costs are expensive. Currently, the government is working on a new plan for a new, more affordable option for public health insurance in Colorado that should ease the costs of medical care for citizens.
Public schools are free in this state, and they are quite good. However, if you want to invest in your children’s education and send them to the best private schools, the prices are high everywhere. The median tuition fee for elementary and high schools is around $10,000 per school year. Keep in mind that almost half of them are religiously affiliated.
Of course, there are tons of free activities to engage in, but this place is a world-wide famous skiing hotspot area during the winter months, so prices tend to go up when the season hits the peak. For example, a season ticket pass that gives you access to Vail Resorts is $899 for an adult person. It covers all 65 resorts in and out of the area of the Mile High City. Of course, if you are not into skiing, you can always hike around the Rocky Mountains and enjoy the fresh air, because this is one of the best towns for hiking.
If you appreciate art, you can visit some of the local museums or enjoy a free art walk every first Friday of the month. The exhibitions are changing, so you’ll always get a chance to see something new. Museum ticket prices vary from $10 for Art Museum o $19 for the Museum of Nature and Science. Other options for spending time around the town are to visit the botanical garden, try rock climbing, and of course, cheering for the local Nuggets.
Depending on which place you are comparing it to, the Mile High City can be considered as either pricey or cheap. Food and housing are the two main things you’ll spend the majority of your salary on because those are the things you just have to pay. You can’t survive without food on the table and a roof above your head. When you look at it globally, life here is more expensive than in Buenos Aires or Madrid, but at the same time, it is cheaper than in London, but let’s compare the data to some places that are closer to us.
|1 bedroom apartment in downtown||$1,650||$3,300||$1500|
|Public transportation monthly pass||$114||$127||$96
|A meal in an average restaurant||$15||$24||$15
|Rice, 1 lb||$2||$3||$1.7
|Apples, 1 lb||$2||$3||$1.7
|Potato, 1 lb||$0.9||$1||$0.9
Most long-distance relocations represent a change of lifestyle and require particular adjustments. Whether you are moving with pets, children, or alone, this place will welcome you with open arms. When you take a look at all the data and compare it to your salary, we are sure you’ll be able to find a way to live comfortably here. The best way is to try and give it a chance.
Fear of moving is irrational, but the fear of breaking the bank is real. Relocations can cost a lot, especially if you do not find a reputable Houston moving company that will not scam you. You can save a few bucks if you find boxes and packing supplies, and then invest in the best moving and packing services. You can always rent storage, to have a place where your belongings can wait till you find a new home.