Anyone considering a move to Phoenix must draw up a budget and calculate their projected monthly expenses to establish whether relocation makes financial sense for them and their families.

The cost of living in Phoenix is slightly higher than the US national and Arizona state averages. Despite this, Phoenix isn't necessarily regarded as an expensive city, and the quality of life is a major drawcard for newcomers.

Most people can afford to live fairly well on an average salary. That said, wage growth tends to be a little slower than one would be accustomed to if moving from a city with a more dynamic economy. It's therefore quite important to consider the cost of living alongside one's potential job opportunities in the city, and the individual's lifestyle preferences and family circumstances.

Cost of accommodation in Phoenix

The cost of housing in the city is just higher than the national average, and will usually take up the largest portion of a person's monthly budget in Phoenix. Phoenix residents tend to get good value for money in terms of the size and quality of properties, and the higher cost is therefore generally worth it for most residents.

Property investors have seen huge investment potential in Phoenix, which accounts for much of the constant development taking place throughout the city. Although the population in Phoenix is steadily increasing, this isn't at such an intense rate that it is putting pressure on the property market. This positively impacts renters, as it allows them a little scope for negotiation when it comes to agreeing on a rental price.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Phoenix

New arrivals in Phoenix will discover that the city caters for a range of tastes in terms of lifestyle, arts, culture, nightlife and eating out. The cost of a night out depends mostly on a person's preferences, but even those keen to stick to a tight budget will find plenty of opportunities to have a good time in Phoenix without breaking the bank.

Many of the city's attractions can be experienced at little to no cost. Phoenix's famously great weather is conducive to outdoor pursuits such as exploring the city's various gardens, parks, reserves and hiking trails. Most of these outdoor activities cost next to nothing to enjoy.

Although Phoenix's culinary scene is beginning to flourish, it remains incredibly unpretentious. The number of fine dining restaurants is relatively small compared to cities with stronger gastronomic traditions, such as New York or Los Angeles. Phoenix residents can eat very well for a reasonable price, as local chefs often promote local produce.

Cost of education in Phoenix

Parents moving to Phoenix will of course need to factor in the cost of their children's education. Much of these costs will depend on which schooling option families choose.

Some good public schools in Phoenix, including several charter and magnet schools, come at little to no cost. There are also a few private schools in the city that offer a higher standard of teaching and greater opportunities in areas such as sports, art, and drama. The costs associated with private school education can be high, especially when factoring in all the added extras such as uniforms, textbooks, extracurriculars and field trips.

The state of Arizona has well-established systems to support students with special needs and disabilities at no extra financial cost to their families. But parents who choose to provide their children with additional academic support through private tuition services outside the public education system will be required to foot the bill themselves.

Cost of healthcare in Phoenix

As the capital of Arizona, Phoenix has become quite the healthcare hub and has some of the foremost cancer treatment and heart health centres in the state.

While residents of Phoenix have access to excellent healthcare resources, it's important to note that it doesn't come cheap. Prospective residents should investigate the different health insurance plans available before relocating. Medical insurance is a complicated area, so individuals must work out which package makes the most sense for themselves and their families.

Those moving to Phoenix for a lucrative job offer should negotiate a medical insurance contribution into the employment contract to save on this cost.

Cost of transport in Phoenix

While there are plans to extend the public transport offerings in Phoenix, at present they remain inadequate. Although public transport fares are much more reasonable than in other US cities that have more sophisticated transport infrastructure, the networks only cover the downtown area sufficiently and are geared more towards visitors to Phoenix rather than commuting residents.

Taxi rates in Phoenix have become increasingly competitive since e-hailing services became better established in the city. Still, using taxis regularly isn't a viable way to get around Phoenix, especially with the vast distances people are expected to cover on a daily basis.

So even though owning a car is an expense that Phoenix residents can't really avoid, new arrivals will find that purchasing a car in Phoenix is pretty affordable, and petrol (gas) is also relatively cheap. That said, when one considers the amount of driving the average Phoenix resident does daily, it's easy to see how car maintenance costs and petrol expenses can quickly mount.

Cost of groceries in Phoenix

The cost of groceries in Phoenix is on the rise and is well above the state and national averages. New arrivals looking to reduce the cost of their grocery baskets should consider purchasing seasonal produce and staying away from brand names and imported products, as these tend to be pricier.

Buying bulk at national wholesale retailers like Costco is another way to save on groceries. Winco and Aldi are some of the most popular and affordable supermarkets in Phoenix, while shops such as AJ's Fine Foods offer gourmet and speciality products at a premium.

Cost of living in Phoenix chart

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Phoenix in April 2024.

Accommodation (monthly)
One-bedroom apartment in city centreUSD 1,600
One-bedroom apartment outside of city centreUSD 1,400
Three-bedroom apartment in city centreUSD 2,700
Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centreUSD 2,300
Eggs (dozen)USD 4
Milk (1 litre)USD 1
Rice (1kg)USD 4.15
Loaf of breadUSD 4
Chicken breasts (1kg)USD 10.50
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)USD 9
Eating out
Big Mac MealUSD 10
Coca-Cola (330ml)USD 3
CappuccinoUSD 5.40
Local beer (500ml)USD 5.25
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantUSD 80
Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and dataUSD 71
Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)USD 71.20
Basic utilities (per month for a small apartment)USD 236
Taxi rate (per kilometre)USD 1.40
Bus/train fare in the city centreUSD 2
Petrol/gasoline (per litre)USD 1.09

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