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Cost of Living in Florida

So you’re dreaming of moving to Florida—the home of Disney World, Universal Studios, airboats and alligators, the Kennedy Space Center, and some of the country’s most beautiful beaches!

But how expensive is the cost of living in Florida? That’s a smart question to ask before you replace all your winter clothes with gallons of suntan lotion and head toward the Sunshine State.

To learn if you can afford to live in Florida, you’d have to compare the cost of living in your current city with the Florida city of your dreams. To help you make a confident decision, we’ll show you how much Florida charges for “super fun” grown-up stuff like housing, food, taxes and bills.

Let’s hit the beach!

What’s the Average Cost of Living in Florida?

Despite being one of the most popular vacation and retirement destinations in the U.S., Florida can be affordable. In fact, the average cost of living in Florida is not even 1% higher than the national average, according to a Cost of Living Index.1 But there’s still a wide range—some Florida cities rank 8% lower to 18% higher in cost when compared to the average U.S. city.2

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To get these numbers, we use a Cost of Living Index that compares a dozen cities in Florida with the average U.S. city for several expense categories. An amount below 100 means Florida has a lower cost of living than the U.S. average for that category—take a look!

Cost of Living

Florida

U.S.

Total

100.7

100

Housing

99.7

100

Utilities

105.8

100

Groceries

106.4

100

Transportation

100.8

100

Health care

97.8

100

Miscellaneous

98.1

1003


To better understand this index, let’s take a closer look at each category.

Housing Costs in Florida

Okay, let’s start with housing costs. In the summer of 2021, median home prices in Florida were more than $382,000—just a tad lower than the national median of $385,000!4

Unfortunately, it’s a different story for rent: The median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Florida was more than $1,500—nearly 27% higher than the national median of $1,200!5

Keep in mind, not all of Florida costs the same. When you consider total housing cost factors, Florida ranges all the way from 17% lower than the national average in Daytona Beach to 51% higher in Fort Lauderdale!6

To find the Florida city that fits your budget, check out the cost differences between these cities:

City in Florida

Average Home Price

Average Apartment Rent

Miami

$442,258

$2,227

Pensacola

$326,566

$1,054

Orlando

$305,622

$1,181

Tampa

$281,455

$1,291

Jacksonville

$280,161

$1,2817

Utilities

Utility costs like energy and phone use in Florida range from 13% lower than the national average in Tallahassee, to 56% higher in Gainesville.8 Miami is somewhere in the middle range among Florida cities for utility costs and is pretty much the same as the national average. Trust us, you’re going to want to crank up the AC. They’re not called the Miami Heat for nothing.

cost of living in florida

Groceries

Grab your grocery cart, we’re headed to Publix! This popular Southeastern supermarket chain was founded and is headquartered in Florida, so there’s a chance you’ll buy some oranges and key lime pies there if you move to the sunny state. Groceries in Florida range from 4% lower than the national average in Pensacola, to 19% higher in Miami.9

Meanwhile, Tampa sits somewhere in the middle price range among Florida cities. In Tampa, you can purchase a picnic worth of fried chicken, bread, lettuce, chips and coke for about $12—which is 4% more than the national average.10 But hey, a picnic on the beach is probably worth the extra change.

cost of living in florida

Transportation

Rev up your engines! Florida transportation costs range from 12% lower than the national average in Jacksonville, to 11% higher in Fort Myers.11

Speaking of transportation, Daytona Beach—home of all things motorsports, including NASCAR’s headquarters and the Daytona 500—drifts into the middle range for transportation costs among most Florida cities, which is nearly 2% lower than the national average.12

Since Florida is mostly a driving state, you’ll want to keep transportation costs low by getting the right coverage. Try bundling your auto insurance for a discount by talking to one of the independent insurance agents we recommend.

cost of living in florida

Health Care

Florida health care costs range from 16% lower than the national average in Jacksonville, to 10% higher in Vero Beach.13 Meanwhile, Tampa, on the Gulf Coast, sits in the middle range among Florida cities, with health care costs nearly 2% lower than the national average—not too shabby.14

Here’s a breakdown of how Tampa health care costs compare to the average city in the country:

Health Care Type

Tampa, FL Cost

Average U.S. City Cost

Cost Difference

General doctor

 $99

$116

14%

Dentist

$106

$100

6%

Eye doctor

$98

$109

9%

Advil

$11

$10

9%

Prescription drug

$443

$471

6%15

Taxes

Can you guess how much income tax Florida charges? Zilch, zip, nada, nothing!16 That’s right, folks, the Sunshine State doesn’t take any of the hard-earned money out of your paycheck or retirement income—one of the many perks that makes Florida such a popular place to retire.

Keep in mind, Florida still has a state sales tax rate of 6%—or 7.08% if you include its average local tax rate.17 That’s not too bad, though, considering the percentage only ranks Florida as the 22nd highest in the country for total sales tax.18

But the downside is that Florida has one of the highest taxes in the country on cellphone use and gas—along with some other special taxes.19 If all this tax talk makes you feel dizzy, don’t worry. You can find out exactly how moving to Florida will impact your taxes by connecting with one of our trusted tax advisors.

Miscellaneous Goods and Services

Miscellaneous costs refer to a wide range of goods and services including things like common restaurant foods, clothing, entertainment, activities and personal care. In Florida, these costs range from 8% lower than the national average in Palm Coast, to 8% higher in Fort Myers.20

Gainesville represents most Florida cities for miscellaneous costs, which are 3% less than the national average. In Gainesville, the typical “Florida Man” can order a pizza for $9, get a haircut for $22, and buy a new shirt for $24. For reference, those prices are $11, $19 and $31 for the average U.S. city.21

cost of living in florida

How Much Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Florida?

In Florida, the median household income is $55,660.22 But if you make that much, it doesn’t automatically mean you can afford to live anywhere in Florida—at least not comfortably.

If you want to live comfortably in the Sunshine State, first make sure you can afford your biggest expenses—namely, your housing costs.

Whether you decide to rent or buy in your new city, stick to the 25% rule—never move into a home that comes with a monthly payment that’s more than 25% of your monthly take-home pay.

For home buyers who are getting a mortgage, that 25% limit includes principal, interest, property taxes, home insurance and private mortgage insurance (PMI)—and don’t forget to consider homeowners association (HOA) fees. Use our mortgage calculator to enter your down payment amount and try out different home prices within your budget.

For a mortgage you can pay off fast, talk to our friends at Churchill Mortgage about getting a 15-year fixed-rate conventional loan. Any other type of mortgage will cost you extra in interest and fees and keep you in debt for decades.

Trust us, following the 25% rule will give you enough room in your budget to balance housing costs and your other living expenses with ease.

Compare the Cost of Living in Florida With Your Current City

Now you know the cost of living in Florida—but can you afford it? If you want to be sure, try our free Cost of Living Calculator to determine how much more or less expensive it would be for you to live in the Florida city that’s calling your name.

If Florida has a higher cost of living than you can currently afford, not all hope is lost. Try one of these ideas:

  • Adjust your standard of living
  • Try to bump up your salary when you find a new job
  • Move to an affordable zip code that’s within range of your desired city

Ready to Move to Florida?

If you’re able to afford living in Florida, congrats! The next step on your relocation journey is to handle your housing. For an instant way to find real estate agents we trust in Florida and your current city, try our Endorsed Local Providers (ELP) program. We only recommend top agents who are on a mission to help you crush your relocation goals.

Find a Florida real estate agent we trust!

Where Did We Get Our Data?

The data that drives most of these numbers and our Cost of Living Calculator comes from the Cost of Living Index published by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER). Since the cost of living in any area is constantly changing, you can always check our calculator to find the most recent data. If you want to learn more about C2ER, get the scoop here.

Ramsey Solutions

About the author

Ramsey Solutions

Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.

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