Rent vs Buy: Renting could be the better choice for a lower cost of living
The largest contributor to any cost of living estimate is housing. In Alabama, the cost of renting a home could be about the same as purchasing one, but may still be the better overall option for you. Renting generally has fewer up-front costs. If you hate the idea of having to spend time or money on yard maintenance, renting could be a better fit for you. Utilities are often included as part of the rent and may help to reduce your energy budget. Renting may also offer on-site amenities like a fitness center, pool, children’s play area, or tennis courts that would be out of reach if you were to purchase a home.
Wrapping those expenses into your rent could potentially leave you with more disposable income and a lower cost of living. Renting can give you a chance to experience a new location before making the major commitment of buying a home.
Healthcare access and affordability and your cost of living
Alabama is ranked number 38 out of all states in overall healthcare access and affordability.
Healthcare costs make up a significant part of the cost of living. The ability to afford healthcare as well as the ability to access care are key indicators of how much you will be paying for this important resource if you move to another state. Affordability is generally measured by the rates set for insurance coverage in a state, as well as the out-of-pocket expenses that need to be paid by you when receiving the care. If rates or out-of-pocket expenses are high, your cost of living will increase. Access to healthcare is how easy or difficult it may be to receive the care. Access is measured by identifying barriers that might prevent the delivery of care such as the inability to obtain insurance coverage, having to travel long distances to health care centers and lack of sufficient facilities and/or healthcare professionals. The timeliness of care, how fast you can get to see a healthcare provider, is another important measure.
Hot summers and the cost of living
Alabama has one of the highest state-wide average temperatures during the summer months of June, July, and August. If you live in Alabama, it is likely that your air conditioner will be running non-stop for most of the summer. This could contribute to higher energy costs during the summer based on your thermostat setting and preference for a cool indoor climate. A hot summer is usually followed by cooler temperatures during the winter months when heating expenses may be low. Because the cost of living is linked to energy costs, expect an increase in those costs during the summer months if you live in Alabama. (2022-11-23salary.com)
Cost of Living Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Cost of Living index and how is it used?
In the simplest terms, a Cost of Living index is the estimated amount that represents the cost of the basic necessities required for an individual to live. A cost of living or COL estimate may typically include estimates for housing, food, energy, medical care, transportation, taxes, and other necessities. A COL index may be used to measure what the cost difference would be for a person living in a certain location compared to another location. This cost of living comparison helps individuals make decisions about where they would like to live and what they can afford based on the costs in that location. A cost of living comparison can provide guidance about how an increase or decrease in these basic living expenses impacts necessary spending for an individual or a family.
What factors are included in estimating your cost of living?
The Salary.com cost of living calculator estimate is based on data related to five general categories: housing, food, healthcare, transportation, and energy. These are the universally recognized core components of any cost of living estimate and represent those expenses that apply to everyone. Obviously, there may be other factors that could contribute to your particular cost of living situation and not everyone has the same spending habits. For example, education and/or childcare costs might not apply to everyone, but for those who have those expenses, they could be significant and should be considered when you evaluate your cost of living comparison.
The Salary.com cost of living calculator is unique in that it also incorporates current salary data for thousands of jobs specific to a chosen home or work location to provide a more refined estimate of the cost of living variations. You can see how your job and your salary will be impacted by a change of location. If you live in one location but work in another, the cost of living calculator will make those adjustments to provide an accurate estimate of the change in COL. The Salary.com cost of living calculator helps you to make cost of living comparisons cost comparisons easily and quickly.