Tech

7 Tools to Estimate and Compare Cost of Living in Various Cities


While there are several factors to consider when relocating to a new city, the cost of living is perhaps the most crucial one. Especially if you’re relocating for a better-paying job, make sure you take the cost of living into consideration.

If you don’t have any friends in the new place to guide you, you can seek help from these online tools to estimate and compare the cost of living in various cities.


NerdWallet needs little introduction. The platform enables you to make informed financial decisions, thanks to its tools and guides. And if you’re planning to relocate, it has a tool for comparing the cost of living too.

The tool asks you to enter your current city, the city you’re planning to move to, and your pretax income. It then shows how much you’ll need to earn in the new city to maintain your living standard.

Below the overview, NerdWallet compares the costs of various categories individually. These include housing, transportation, food, entertainment, and healthcare. Click on these to view the estimated prices of various goods in both cities.


For instance, you can view the average rent of a two-bed apartment, the cost of a dozen eggs, the price of gas per gallon, and the fees of a doctor’s visit.

For every city, NerdWallet has a city life page that provides more detailed insight into the cost of living, demographics, and quality of life. Thanks to these details, you can find the best place to live. It’s a decent tool, but it’s only limited to US cities.

Unlike most other tools on the list, the Numbeo Cost of Living Calculator isn’t limited to the US only. It has data for around 450 cities across the globe.

Just enter your current city, the city you’re comparing with, and your current expenditures. For a better understanding, the tool lets you select the preferred currency.

It then estimates how much you’ll need to spend in the new city to maintain your standard of living. The Cost of Living Comparison shows the difference in indices like consumer goods, rent, groceries, etc.

Below this, you’ll see an extremely detailed comparison of various goods and services. These include the prices of utilities, sports, transportation, childcare, and rent. By comparing average salaries between the two cities, Numbeo offers a broader perspective.

Lastly, it has a Cost of Living Estimator, which factors in your living style and expenses to estimate living costs.

At its core, PayScale is a platform for providing salary estimations to professionals and employers. But it does have a Cost of Living Calculator on its website. It, too, asks you to enter two cities for comparison along with your income and provides an estimate of income required to maintain the living standard.

What sets it apart from other tools is that you can compare the cost of living in any city with that of the national average. Besides the overall average, it shows data for houses, utilities, and groceries, along with a category-wise graph.


Moreover, you can view the estimated prices of various goods in any particular city. For example, you can view how much a bunch of bananas, a loaf of bread, and a veterinary visit cost in Texas city.

Expatistan is a site to help expatriates find reliable information about the cost of living and salaries. It has a couple of tools for estimating the living cost.

First, you can compare the cost of living in two cities. It provides the overall difference as well as category-wise change in the costs. Similarly, there’s a tool for comparing the living cost of countries.

The third tool shows the average cost of living in a particular city, depending on whether you’re living alone or with a family. In the very same way, you can use the Cost of Living By Country to find the national average.

Expatistan ranks all countries and major cities based on the cost of living. It has data for cities across the globe, so there’s no location constraint.

BestPlaces provides tons of information about the various cities, helping you pick the best one to live. There is a cost of living calculator on the site that provides detailed information.

BestPlaces’ 2022 Cost of Living Calculator (which it adjusts every year) estimates the equivalent salary in the new city after considering your current location and income. Besides the overall comparison, the tool provides a comparison of different categories, like food, housing, utilities, transportation, etc.

This is a great free tool for general comparison. However, you’ll have to upgrade your plan to customize the estimated cost of living based on your family, taxes, and lifestyle. The Premium account costs $9.99 per month.

If you’ve planned to relocate to a new city, you can also use its Compare Cities tool to get a fuller picture, besides the living costs.

SmartAsset aims to help people manage their finances better. To that end, it has various guides and tools on its site. Its cost of living calculator takes into account the number of adults and children in the household, besides common factors like cities and income.

Not only does the tool compare living costs and salaries, but also provides a breakdown of taxes, housing, and food costs individually.

Ramsey Solutions is a financial consultancy that hosts popular shows on managing money. Its cost of living calculator works almost the same way as other tools. Enter the cities and salary, and view the overall comparison.

The tool lets you estimate the cost of housing, utilities, food, transport, etc. individually. For instance, you can compare rental costs in two cities.

To do so, enter the cities and scroll down to view the breakdown. Then, expand the housing category, input your current housing expenses, and see how they would change in the new city. The website features guides on the cost of living by state and relocating, which you might find useful.

Estimate the Cost of Living in a New City

Whether you’re moving for work or personal reasons, these tools can provide fairly accurate estimations of living costs. Despite being an important consideration, the cost of living is not the only thing you should take into account.

When choosing a city to live in, consider the job prospects, quality of life, amenities, diversity, and crime rate. Once you’ve decided to move, many apps can help you with the process.


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