Austin families need $66,812 to live comfortably



Posted on July 11, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 11 at 5:41 PM

AUSTIN -- Hoping to raise a family in Austin? Now we know exactly how much it'll cost you.

According to the Economic Policy Institute’s recently updated Family Budget Calculator, the cost for a family of four to live comfortably in Austin is $66,812.

By "comfortably," the EPI says it means this budget is what it takes for a family with two adults and two children to live in Austin free of "serious economy deprivation" and to live "modestly."

Raising a family of four in Austin is more than the median of the country at $63,238.

The cheapest place to raise a family of four is Marshall County, Mississippi at $48,000. The most expensive is New York City at $93,000.

The EPI budget calculator allots the following for families of two adults and two children:

  • Monthly Housing --   $1,050
  • Monthly Food --   $754
  • Monthly Child Care  --  $961
  • Monthly Transportation --   $607
  • Monthly Health Care --   $1,448
  • Monthly Other Necessities -- $462
  • Monthly Taxes --   $286
  • Monthly Total --   $5,568
  • Annual Total --   $66,812

Other costs for families of four in the U.S.:

  • NYC: $93,502
  • Washington, D.C.: $88,615
  • Boston, Mass: $85,641
  • Philadelphia, Pa.: $77,293
  • Milwaukee, Wis.: $73,329
  • Seattle, Wash.: $70,025
  • Chicago, Ill.: $69,028
  • Detroit, Mich.: $66,896
  • St. Louis, Mo.: $64,332

To see the full Family Budget Calculator go here.

We asked Austinites on our Facebook page, The KVUE Insider, how they're making the city more affordable for their families. Here's what some of them had to say:

Kelli Bernhoft Steinhofer -- We live in Kyle and that's what makes it more affordable. We line dry out clothes, batch cook foods, have a garden, and cloth diaper our son. He also is only in school twice a week and we've changed our schedules. Child care is outrageous and it's worth it to swap schedules so we can avoid it. Our mortgage is only $1,014 for a four bedroom 1,900 sq foot home. We have more gas costs but it's worth it to live outside of Austin.

Maureen Lowry Herring -- A few years ago, after two of our three kids left home, we downsized and moved nearer the places we do life. We got rid of more than half our stuff and moved into an apartment about half the size of the house in the 'burbs, eliminating the drive, the tolls, and the expense and responsibility of maintaining more spaces and stuff than we actually need. When we honestly asked ourselves "How much is enough? How do we want to spend our money?" we discovered spending time and money on relationships and experiences was more important to us. It's still expensive in Austin but changing our proximity has made a big difference.

Leila M Fullwood -- Joined some Facemook groups that advertise free things to do around Austin. It's still never free with gas and usually you end up buying drinks but every penny counts. Second top saver coupons and eating at home more...added a leftovers day to clean out fridge reduce cooking and use food that often got thrown away.

Melissa Follette -- For my husband and I, it was more important for me to be home with our kids than it was to live in Austin. We moved outside of Austin and have been able to make it on one income for 8 years now. Wouldn't have been able to do it in Austin without living in a very undesirable neighborhood.


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