Cost of Living in Colorado Springs, CO 2021
Colorado Springs is known for its beautiful, flowing streams that run along Monument Creek. It was so wildly popular during the 20th century that nearly 20% of the residents came from Great Britain. Because of the unique history, the city has the nickname Little London.
With a geographic location at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs remains a popular destination for anyone, whether you enjoy the scenic views and rock formations or hands-on adventure in places like Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods.
With all of its natural beauty and history, you might wonder what the Colorado Springs cost of living looks like. Let’s take a closer look at the cost of living in Colorado Springs to better understand how much you need to live there.
Colorado Springs Housing Costs
While many cities nationwide have experienced significant drops in rent prices due to the pandemic, most are seeing increases once again. Colorado Springs is proving to be right on par with the current rental trends of the national average. According to the latest Rent Report on Colorado Springs, the median rent index is $1,033 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,311 for a two-bedroom.
Although rent prices took a slight decline in December of 2020, rates have increased over the last four months and are trending upwards. The city's year-over-year rent growth is on par with the state average of 2.2%. However, it falls just below the national average by -0.1%.
Colorado Springs lies just 70 miles south of the state capital, Denver, though the city offers more of a small-town feel. Even for a large city, you get small-town prices. Denver’s median rent index is $1,308 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,603 for a two-bedroom apartment. Another popular Colorado city sits just 30 miles north of Denver, Boulder's median rent index is $1,454 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,852 for a two-bedroom.
The Colorado Springs housing market is seeing steady growth, with median home prices at $392,914. These prices are significantly lower than other competing areas like Denver, which has a median price index of $517,766, or Boulder at $885,579.
Colorado Springs Transportation
The official public transportation operator in the Colorado Springs Metro area is the Mountain Metropolitan Transit. The Mountain Metropolitan Transit, or Mountain Metro, provides services across the city as well as the city limits, including neighboring cities like Manitou Springs and Widefield.
Tickets for the Mountain Metro can be purchased individually at $1.75 for adults aged 19 to 59 or $0.85 for youths aged 6-18, Medicare patients, disabled, or senior riders aged 60+. Bus fares are good from the origin to the end of a line. You can also purchase Mountain Metro tickets in bulk for a flat rate. Pick up an unlimited Day Pass for $4.00, a 20-Ride Ticket good for 20-one way trips for $32.00, or a 31-Day Ticket with unlimited rides for $63.00.
Although the Mountain Metro runs throughout the city, their minimal scheduling can make it difficult to navigate as a newcomer. Thankfully, ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are readily available throughout Colorado Springs. Other available transportation methods include taxis, car rentals, and chauffeur services, although these tend to be much pricier options.
If you're a single adult with no children, you'll spend about $4,900 for transportation in Colorado Springs over a year. Two adults with one or two children pay $11,186 on average for transportation. Gasoline prices are around $2.58 per gallon, which is just slightly on the higher end of the national range of $2.03 to $2.90.
Colorado Springs Food Costs
Colorado Springs offers countless dining options, from family-friendly spots to hip gastropubs and upscale restaurants. Eating out in Colorado Springs will cost an average of $15 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant. A three-course dinner for two people at a mid-range restaurant will run $55 on average without alcohol or dessert.
If you're a single adult with no children, you can expect to pay at least $3,792 on food per year. If you're a family of two working adults with one child, you can expect to pay $8,639 per year for food.
When it comes to grocery market pricing, you can anticipate costs around the national average or slightly below for food items. For example, one gallon of regular milk will run you $3 in the grocery store, with the national range being $2.39 to $3.50.
Colorado Springs Healthcare Costs
You will also want to account for proper medical care when planning your budget in Colorado Springs. A single adult with no children will pay around $2,810 for medical care over the year. Two working adults with one child will pay $8,135.
Colorado Springs Utilities
While summers in Colorado Springs remain temperate for the most part, with the hottest days of the year in July averaging highs of 84° and rarely exceeding 92°, the winters are very cold and dry. The cold seasons begin mid to late November and go through early March with the coldest days at an average low of 20° in late December.
To combat the colder months of the year, you'll need to account for higher utilities in the winter. Basic utilities in Colorado Springs include electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage, and run $125.63 for a 915-sq. ft. apartment.
Adding on the Internet with 60 Mbps or more and unlimited data, cable/ADSL will cost you an extra $68.29 for a total of $193.92 each month.
If you’re looking to plan your move, find out more about how much utilities will cost in an apartment.
Colorado Springs Fitness and Entertainment
If you plan to keep fit, even during the cold winter months, you’ll want to consider the costs of a club membership. The monthly fee for a fitness club membership for one adult is $36.58.
Otherwise, most of the year stays temperate, encouraging residents to get outdoors. Enjoy hiking trails all over Colorado Springs like Palmer Park, Pulpit Rock Park, Seven Bridges Trail, or Upper Gold Camp Road.
There are plenty of sources of entertainment throughout the city. A seat at the cinema will cost you $12 without snacks or drinks. You can also save a few bucks by checking out one of the seven public parks in Colorado Springs, including Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Frozen Lake in Red Rock Canyon, or Ute Valley Park.
Other Expenses to Consider in Colorado Springs
The state of Colorado has a flat income tax rate of 4.63%, which is well below the nation’s highest at 13.3% in California.
Even better for renters, Colorado also has the lowest sales tax in the country, which recently decreased in January this year from 3.12% to 3.07%. Homebuyers benefit from extremely low property taxes too.
While taxes won’t likely break the bank in terms of living expenses in Colorado Springs, you’ll need to keep them in mind when making the move. For anyone moving out of state, it is important to consider cross-country movers, storage, hotels, and transportation costs to get settled in. Also remember that these moves will require additional fees such as apartment application fees, security deposits, pet deposits, and other add-ons.
You’ll want to make sure your new home feels like home, which comes at a cost. Furnishing a new apartment can be expensive, though luckily, there are ways to do it frugally. Get more tips on decorating your apartment on a budget.
Recommended Salary in Colorado Springs
As you can imagine, your recommended salary will depend entirely on the type of lifestyle you plan to lead. The living wage in Colorado Springs is $14.77 an hour, which is the basic wage necessary for paying essentials such as housing, food, and necessities. This living wage does not account for any extra costs like entertainment and dining.
The average salary index in Colorado Springs is $65,000 per year, which is roughly $17.64 an hour.
Before you pack your bags and move on over to Colorado Springs, it’s important to remember that living wage, average salary, and recommended salary are very different things. To determine your recommended salary you can follow the 30% rule for rent.
Based on the 30% rule, you should not be spending more than one-third of your gross income on rent. For example, if your rent is close to the median for a one-bedroom apartment in Colorado Springs at $1,100, according to the 30% rule, your monthly wages should be at least $3,300 per month or an annual salary of $39,6000.
If you know you will have a lot of additional living costs, whether it be dining, entertainment, etc., you’ll need to anticipate these needs and search for a higher salary, a less expensive apartment, or if you’re lucky, both.
Thankfully, the typical annual salaries of common professions in Colorado Springs are highly competitive. The three highest typical annual salaries belong to Management, Computer, and Mathematical, and Architecture and Engineering positions, respectively.
Job Market in Colorado Springs
Since there are several defense bases and corporations located in the area, the culture and economy of the city are heavily influenced by the military. The Colorado Springs Metro area alone is home to Fort Carson, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The current unemployment rate of Colorado Springs is 6.7%, which is just slightly above the national average of 6.0%. Thankfully, the city is seeing a continued decline from its peak in April of 2020 of 12.6% as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Even still, Colorado Springs has enjoyed a steady increase in the job market, year over year, by 4.1%. Predictions show that over the next ten years, the city will continue to see a rise in job growth with an increase of 48.4%. This growth is significantly higher than the national average prediction of 33.5%, which means Colorado Springs will have plentiful opportunities in the job market in the upcoming decade.
If you are looking for small-town charm with the accessibility of a big city, Colorado Springs might just be one of the best places for you.
If you're interested in learning more about other cities in Colorado, check out the following blogs:
- Things to Know Before Moving to Denver
- Best Neighborhoods in Denver
- Cost of Living in Denver
- Average Rent in Denver & Rental Price Trends
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