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A State-by-State Analysis of Living Expenses

Triston Martin

Oct 27, 2023

The expense of living has dominated U.S. discourse. Americans feel the pinch as costs climb in every industry, from grocery to housing. In this post, we'll explore state cost of living and essential expenditure rankings using 2023 data.

Cost of Living

The cost of living is the average amount one must spend on essentials to live comfortably in a particular place. Housing, transportation, health care, food, and income taxes raise the cost of living. Cost of living calculators can help you understand state differences.

State Rankings

Hawaii consistently ranks at the top when discussing the cost of living. If you reside in Hawaii, you'll experience an average annual expense of $55,491. On the opposite side, Mississippi emerges as a beacon of affordability. Here, the average resident's yearly essential expenses tally up to about $32,336.

When people use a cost of living calculator, these two states often represent the two extremes. The cost of living increase in 2023 projections suggests that these figures might see some shifts, but this is the current landscape. While some states with the lowest cost of living might seem attractive, it's essential to consider other factors like job opportunities, amenities, and overall quality of life.

Disposable Income

Beyond just the basic expenses, there's another financial metric that's equally significant: disposable income. Take New York, for instance. Despite its reputation for high living costs, it offers its inhabitants the most room to breathe financially. After settling all their essential bills, an average New Yorker can expect to have about $25,427 remaining each year.

This might be surprising to some, mainly when they use a cost of living calculator and see New York's high living expenses. The cost of living increase 2023 predictions indicates that disposable incomes might be under pressure, especially with rising costs. However, New Yorkers have found a balance. It's also a reminder that while states with the lowest cost of living might seem financially appealing, high-income opportunities in states like New York can offset the high costs.


Hawaii again ranks first in mobility, but they want something else. Hawaii residents pay $7,458 annually for transportation, the most in the nation. Rhode Island stands out for affordable transportation. With an average annual transportation cost of $4,421, it's a paradise for budget travelers.

Transportation costs make state differences even more apparent in cost-of-living calculators. As we approach the cost of living increase 2023, transportation costs will undoubtedly be a significant factor to watch. And while states with the lowest cost of living might offer overall savings, it's essential to consider specific categories like transportation, where costs vary widely.


Hawaii has the most expensive homes. Hawaii's median home price is $837,324. West Virginia, with an average housing price of $155,773, attracts budget-conscious homebuyers. When individuals input these figures into a cost of living calculator, the disparity between the two states becomes glaringly evident.

The cost of living increase 2023 forecasts suggests that housing prices might continue their upward trajectory, making it even more crucial for potential homebuyers to be informed. Interestingly, while states with the lowest cost of living might offer affordable homes, it's essential to consider other housing-related expenses like property taxes, maintenance, and utilities.

Food And Drinks

Unfortunately, with its stunning natural beauty, Alaska holds the record for the country's priciest food bills. On average, an Alaskan shells out about $5,970 annually for groceries. In contrast, Oklahoma provides a more budget-friendly grocery scene, with its residents spending around $3,683 yearly on food.

By turning to a cost of living calculator, people can estimate their potential food expenses depending on where they live. As the cost of living increases 2023 looms, it's wise to monitor food costs closely. And while states with the lowest cost of living, such as Oklahoma, might appear to be the go-to for savings on groceries, it's essential to weigh the range and accessibility of food choices across different areas.


The topic of healthcare costs is a hot-button issue for many. Alaska, despite its allure, unfortunately, ranks as the state with the steepest healthcare bills. Residents there face an average yearly medical bill of about $13,188. On the other hand, Utah offers a more economical healthcare landscape, with its inhabitants incurring an average annual cost of $7,241.

Utilizing a cost of living calculator can offer a clearer perspective on anticipated healthcare expenses based on one's residence. With the upcoming cost of living increase 2023, being ahead of the curve in healthcare budgeting is a must. It's also crucial to remember that while states with the lowest cost of living might present lower healthcare price tags, the standard and reach of medical facilities can differ significantly across states.

Income Taxes

Income taxes vary widely by state. Hawaii is known for hefty income taxes. The lowest state income taxes are in South Dakota. When people employ a cost of living calculator, they quickly realize the substantial impact of income taxes on their overall financial picture.

With the expected cost of living increase 2023, it's vital to stay informed about potential shifts in states with lowest cost of living tax structures. While states with the lowest cost of living might seem enticing financially, one must consider the role of income taxes, as they can considerably alter net earnings.

Managing the Cost of Living Increase 2023

The anticipated cost of living increase 2023 is on the minds of many, sparking concerns about how to keep up with rising expenses. Having a strategy to handle these increases effectively is more crucial than ever. Consider these practical steps:

  • Start financial planning by understanding your expenses. A cost of living calculator can reveal your monthly and annual expenses. This tool might help you spot overpaying and save.
  • Moving may be necessary if your city or state depletes your money. Look for states with the lowest cost of living for cheaper living. Remember that moving might dramatically affect your finances and quality of life.
  • Find the best value for your money, not just cut back. Regularly compare states with lowest cost of living prices for essentials like groceries, housing, and transportation. Taking advantage of discounts, sales, and bulk buying can lead to substantial savings.
  • While tracking expenses is vital, keeping tabs on the money you have after all essential costs is equally important. This leftover amount, or disposable income, gives a clearer picture of your financial health. With the cost of living increase 2023 on the horizon, ensuring you have a comfortable buffer can provide peace of mind.

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