Living in Florida is great. We seemingly have it all. White sandy beaches, clear blue oceans, the Everglades, Disney world. The list goes on. But living near all of these wonderful things comes at a price. And depending on where you choose to live in Florida, that price can be pretty steep or fairly reasonable.
Now this is a tough article to write because the cost of living in Florida can vary so greatly. But I am going to do my best to break it down for you and show you some real life examples.
Mortgage / Rent
Let’s start with the most expensive and obvious cost that everyone wants to know about. Yes I’m talking about your rent or mortgage payment. This is everyones number one expense no matter where you live and is pretty much necessary unless you are able to live off the grid or something like that.
It is a good rule of thumb that you never spend more than 1/3 of your income on your rent or mortgage but with how expensive housing is in Florida, that might not be possible for you. So I think your income situation and how much you “think” you will be making should have a big influence on where you actually decide to live in Florida.
The median house price in the Miami area where I live is $365,000 for a single family home and $245,000 for a condo according to the Miami Association of realtors. Even this is a HUGE generalization, because this is for all of Miami Dade county and these prices can vary tremendously depending on your neighborhood.
But for the sake of simplicity let’s use these numbers. That means if you buy a single family home for $365,000 and put down a 10% down payment, your monthly expenses for that home would be roughly $2,352 with your mortgage, taxes and insurance.
If you buy the condo for $245,000, you are actually still very close to that monthly price because with a condo of this price, your maintenance fee will probably be close to $500 per month, which is in addition to your mortgage taxes and insurance. That brings your total monthly payment to $2121.
You could also rent which can actually be cheaper in Miami due to the high cost of purchase. According to rent cafe.com the average rent in Miami is about $1700 per month for a 1 bedroom, and I can
confirm that, since I am a realtor here. Of course there are places cheaper and many more expensive, that is just the average.
However, if you were to buy a house in St. Augustine, which was my top pick of where to move to in Florida in 2020 in my last video about Florida, or to Orlando, those numbers become a lot more manageable for most people. In St Augustine that average house will cost you $263,000 and in Orlando $241,000, which I would say is pretty much on par with living in a decent community in Florida.
One thing to watch out for in Florida is HOAs and Condos. Simply put, there are a lot of these communities in Florida and areas like Boca Raton for example, are made up almost entirely of HOA communities. While these communities can offer value in the form of security, gated property, and regular maintenance, they do come with their own set of headaches with lots of regulations and it will cost you extra money every month to pay your HOA or condo dues, on top of your monthly mortgage.
Sow how about utility bills to power your new house or condo in Florida? Surprisingly, I give Florida a lot of credit in this department. I think the price that we pay for most utilities is pretty reasonable. Our electric bill every month for our 2 bed 2 bath condo runs about $130/mo on average. And we run our air conditioner every single night of the year, regardless if its winter or summer, because I love it cold it at night!
Cable and Internet
The cable and internet bill combined is about $140/mo and that includes HBO, Epix, a decent number of cable networks and 100 mb/s internet speed.
Water we don’t pay since we rent, and we live in a condo. But even when you own a condo, usually the water bill will be included in your monthly maintenance fee. However, I have to say on our duplex in West palm beach, the water bill is quite high, especially recently. And from my research, west palm beach has some of the highest water bills in Florida. There is actually going to be an audit going on there this year over this. A lot of residents are complaining about how high these water bills are. In fact, Our last water bill was a whopping $335!!
Phone is super cheap for me. I have Cricket wireless which works off of ATTs network and it only costs me $35/mo for unlimited talking / texting and I get 5 GB of high speed data per month, which more than enough for me.
Why anyone still pays Verizon, or ATT’s extremely high cell phone bills of $120/mo or more for one person, is beyond me.
If you want to sign up for cricket it is easy and please consider using my affiliate link above 🙂
Next up, is your car! Obviously this is another expense that can vary tremendously. If you drive a Lambo, it’s probably going to cost a lot. Don’t even have a car and walk everywhere? Great! I’m not going to get into a car payment here because of this really depends on the type of car you drive, but I will talk about Florida car registration fees and car insurance.
Florida I.D. and Vehicle Registration
To get a Florida Drivers license and register one average car in Florida, is going to cost you about $50 for the drivers license itself, and then here is the kicker, between $300-500 to register your vehicle in Florida for the first time. Yeep, Thats right! It is not cheap to register a car in Florida, I was quite shocked by this too when I first registered my Camaro here.
But the upside is that after you pay this large sum up front, every year to renew your vehicle sticker is only about $50 per year after that. Which is not bad at all.
Florida Auto Insurance
Car insurance in Florida is also some of the highest in the nation. According to quote wizard.com it is about $1185 per year to insure a vehicle here. But in my own experience it is a lot more than that.
Currently, I pay about $1800/year to insure a 2019 Jeep grand Cherokee with full coverage and my 1997 Camaro Z28 with only Liability insurance. Prior to having the jeep, the insurance on the Camaro alone was still almost $900/year for full coverage.
Of course it doesn’t make much sense to talk about cars without covering gas. This is also something that varies quite a bit. Even in my own neighborhood, you can see the huge difference in price per gallon just within a few miles of me, ranging from $2.29 to over $4 per gallon.
But it is still a lot cheaper than places like California, where gas is still regularly over $4 / gallon. On average I usually expect to pay between 2.19-2.40 / gallon for regular for my Jeep, And about $3-3.40 gallon for premium for the Camaro.
Let’s move on to food. So I’m just going to give you some averages here, because this will also vary a lot depending on the size of your family and how much everyone eats and WHAT you eat. Here is one of my most recent grocery bills from trader joes.
Generally for me and my wife together, we spend about $400-500/mo on groceries. We like to buy tasty and high quality items, so it is a bit high but that is what quality of life is all about right?
And we also subscribe to several food delivery services like Hello Fresh and Home Chef that costs about $60 per week. We love using this because they send the food straight to our door, and these companies usually offer some type of coupon or discount fairly regularly and the recipes are always changing which really makes eating and life more enjoyable for us.
Entertainment! This is something that Florida has almost an endless amount of. In fact, I think besides the weather, this is one of the main attractions for a lot of people who want to live in Florida. I know there is a hell of a lot more to do here than where I’m from in Belvidere, IL.
But even though I live in Florida, this is a department I really skimp on. I’m just extremely efficient at entertaining myself, so I hardly spend any money at all on entertainment. Just once in a while going out to a movie for about $9 per person. But most of the entertainment I partake in is completely free. Like playing guitar, going for my late night walks, strolling Lincoln rd with my wife, playing video games, making these videos. Just these things alone take up the majority of my time LOL.
Eating out! Once again, this will be different depending on where you eat. For the entire time I have been living in Florida, I only have a handful of restaurants I actually really enjoy eating at. Houstons, Carpaccio, Hungry Bear, Shake Shack just to name a few. I am pretty simple and easy going when it comes to eating out.
I usually prefer eating at home, but when we do go out, I like having a great experience so if we decide to go for a nice dinner, I like sticking with Houston’s or carpaccio because they never disappoint and the food and service is always top notch. Dinner here for 2 at either of these restaurants will run you about $80-100. For cheaper quick food, Shake Shack is our go to and that is much cheaper at only about $22 for dinner for 2. Hungry bear I wish I could go to more often, but this place is in south Miami, but the subs there are killer (thanks Ryan).
And last but least, let’s talk about taxes. I saved the best for last, because this is where Florida really thrives. We have no state income tax in Florida, and the base sales tax in the state is only 6%, with every county adding their additional tax on top of that. In Miami Dade county, it is 7%. Which really isn’t bad looking at where I am from in Illinois where its currently 8.25% and 9.5% in LA and both of these states still have state income tax on top of that!
Those car registration fees are definitely high, but that is one way the state makes up for not having a state income tax. And Florida is actually one of the few states in the nation that actually runs a balanced budget so it seems like they know what they are doing in this department. And when every April rolls around, as an entrepreneur, I’m always dreading how much tax will I have to pay this year. But luckily for me, it is only 1 tax bill for the federal government not 2 like in most states.
This should give you a pretty clear picture of how much it will cost to live in Florida in 2020. Obviously if you are going to be moving here, you want to research your particular area you will be living in and plan accordingly. Florida is definitely not the cheapest state in the country to live in, but also not the most expensive either and we do have a pretty awesome overall lifestyle for the price compared to other places.