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Cost of Living in Maine, 2021

By: Emily Kho
June 10, 2021

Maine, the northeasternmost state of the United States, is also commonly referred to as the Pine Tree State in reference to the extensive pine forests covering a vast portion of the state. In addition to its pine trees, Maine is also well-known for its lobsters and wild blueberries, covering over 40,000 acres.

For the northeastern United States, Maine has considerably affordable housing options and a lower cost of living, making it an excellent choice for anyone interested in making the most out east. Even better, U.S. News ranks Maine as #1 on its Public Safety Rankings, giving it a lower crime rate overall.

If you’re considering a move to Maine, you’ve come to the right place. First things first, you’ll want to check out this apartment guide. Next, do some research to find out what Maine’s cost of living prices look like. Thankfully, here at Apartment List, you can take a closer look at the cost of living in Maine and gain a better understanding of what type of budget you’ll need.

Maine Housing Costs

Your housing costs should always be one of the first considerations you make, as they are likely to be one of your highest living expenses. Whether you plan on renting or making mortgage payments each month, it’s safe to assume that housing costs will likely take up the most significant portion of your monthly expenses. You’ll want to start by building a budget, where you will need to consider your housing costs.

The Maine rental market is highly affordable, even amongst the most highly populated cities. Here is a list of average rent prices in four of the most densely populated Maine cities, including Portland, South Portland, Bangor, Auburn, and Lewiston.

CityAverage 1-Bedroom RentAverage 2-Bedroom Rent
Portland, ME$1,356$1,622
South Portland, ME$1,286$1,447
Bangor, ME$930$1,007
Auburn, ME$793$817
Lewiston, ME$662$670

Year over year, the rental prices in Maine have not increased. However, over the last three years, it has been growing steadily at around 4.2%, which falls a considerable amount below the national average of 6.8%.

Renting with a roommate might be an option to consider if you are looking for even further savings on housing costs. For example, if you rent in Portland and split the costs of renting a two-bedroom apartment, you can save $545 per month versus renting a one-bedroom apartment on your own.

Maine has rental properties in all forms, with a perfect fit for every renter. Choose from the ideal townhouse, apartment, or condo in a bustling downtown area, or opt for a quieter suburb in a rental home.

Maine Transportation

Maine is one of the largest northeastern states in the country, which can increase transportation costs over time. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, average annual transportation costs come out to about $4,332 for a single individual. Larger families, such as a family of four with two working parents and two children, can anticipate paying around $11,773 in transportation costs annually.

Having a vehicle in Maine is the best way to get around, considering the limited public transportation available across the state. Luckily, the state does an excellent job of keeping highways in good condition throughout the year, despite the temperamental weather bouts. Gas prices in the state range from around $2.52 to $2.47 per gallon, depending on the city.

The city of Portland is known for being a more walkable city, only covering a 3.5-mile long by 1.5-mile wide footprint. Within the compact downtown area, you can easily get around via train or bus. Greater Portland METRO provides public transportation throughout the Greater Portland area via trains, planes, ferries, and regional buses.

Otherwise, most one-way fares cost $2.50, while round-trip fares cost $5, and monthly passes cost $85. You can even go online to purchase tickets from the convenience of your computer or mobile device. You can purchase fares for all three transit systems with cash or through the DiriGo TouchPass system.

Maine Food Costs

On an annual basis, the average single Maine resident spends around $3,690 on food or roughly $307.50 per month. For a family of four, with two working adults and two children, these costs nearly triple to $10,806 annually or approximately $900.50 per month.

In comparison to the rest of the country, these food costs are relatively reasonable. However, it’s important to remember that these figures are associated with food that has been picked up at the local Hannaford, Shaws, or Food City, and has been entirely prepared in the home. Those who don’t find themselves comfortable in the kitchen will likely need to add a considerable amount to properly budget for additional food costs associated with dining out.

Maine is known for its incredible seafood, most notably the Maine lobster, so you’ll want to make sure to get out and enjoy some from time to time. Erica’s Seafood in Harpswell, Wharf Gallery & Grill in Corea, or Thurston’s Lobster Pound, all boast some of the best lobster Maine has to offer.

Here is a breakdown of the average cost for a meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant, with three courses, by city:

Maine Healthcare Costs

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is ideal and proper healthcare is an essential aspect of that. Even if just for simple annual checkups with the doctor, it is still critical to have health insurance wherever you live. Emergencies can happen to anyone, and having health insurance can help make sure you get the necessary treatment.

Healthcare is another aspect of your cost of living when moving to Maine. A single adult without children will pay around $2,634 for medical care in a single year. A family of four with two working adults and two children can expect to pay $7,638.

Check the federal healthcare marketplace to see what coverage will be available in your new location. You’ll also want to make sure you can report your move to qualify for out-of-state coverage, as relocating outside of an enrollment period can cause complications.

You can maintain your standing if you are under 26 and still on your parent’s insurance plan, even when moving to a new state. Check through your current provider to see if your new Maine hometown has doctors that fall within the network.

Maine Utilities

Average utility bills in Maine can vary, depending on your city and climate. Because Maine is in the northeastern most portion of the United States, you can anticipate cold winters with an average annual snowfall of 50 to 70 inches along the coast and 60 to 110 inches inland.

In Maine, utilities typically fall below the national average of $240 monthly. The average cost of monthly utilities, including electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage for a 915 square foot apartment, is broken down by the major cities in Maine:

  • Portland: $120.73
  • Lewiston: $185.46
  • Bangor: $143.62
  • South Portland: $100.00

These costs cover basic utilities, but they do not cover additional items such as internet. The average monthly costs of internet of 60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, or cable/ADSL in these major cities are roughly:

  • Portland: $69.14
  • Lewiston: $77.14
  • Bangor: $63.33
  • South Portland: $64.00

There will also be additional monthly costs to consider, such as a cell phone, with an average monthly payment of $94 for the nation. Bundling your cell phone with your internet provider may help with additional discounting in some areas. Sometimes you can ask about additional discounts for new customers.

Maine Fitness and Entertainment

Maine has fitness and entertainment opportunities for everyone, depending on your personal preferences. Enjoy running, hiking trails, or even fitness classes located throughout the state. There is a wide range of national and state parks available, which help encourage residents to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful state. Just don’t forget to account for some of your fitness and entertainment expenses in your budget.

Fitness

Because of the snowfall in the winters, maintaining your fitness year-round will likely require a gym membership. Thankfully, the average cost of a fitness club in major cities throughout Maine is relatively low:

  • Portland: $28.60
  • Lewiston: $15.00
  • Bangor: $23.33

In warmer months, you can save on some of your gym membership fees by taking up other outdoor activities.

National and State Parks

Maine is home to four national state parks. Entrance fees vary,, but you can also purchase an America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass annual pass for $80, which allows access to:

  • Acadia National Park
  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail
  • Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
  • Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

Aside from national parks, Maine has 32 state parks with a daily rate that ranges from $3 to $7 per adult Maine resident. Some of the most popular state parks include:

  • Camden Hills State Park in Camden
  • Reid State Park in Georgetown
  • Baxter State Park in Piscataquis County
  • Rangeley Lake State Park in Rangeley
  • Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth

Other Expenses to Consider in Maine

One major downside to this east coast state is its progressive income tax rate, with one of the highest in the country at 7.15%. Thankfully, to help balance this, the state has one of the country’s lowest sales tax rates at 5.5%, with no additional local sales taxes.

Moving from out of state might come with additional expenses, requiring additional budgeting for movers, storage, hotels, and transportation. Moves require fees like apartment application fees, security deposits, pet deposits, and other additions that stack up.

Another overlooked moving expense is furnishing your new home. Decorating can be fun but comes at a cost unless you are careful to decorate your apartment on a budget.

Determining a recommended salary for living in Maine will mostly depend on the lifestyle you plan to have there. The living wage in Maine is $14.92 per hour, which is the basic wage needed to pay for essentials such as housing, food, and necessities for an individual adult.

The average salary index in Maine is $60,000 per year, roughly $17.50 per hour.

Using this information, you can determine your recommended salary by utilizing the 30% rule. The 30% rule says you should not be spending more than one-third of your gross income on rent.

So, to figure out how much money you will need to make, you can assume you’re planning to rent in Portland where the median rent for a one-bedroom will cost $1,356. According to the 30% rule, your monthly wages should be at least three times this amount, equalling $4,068 per month, or $48,816 annually.

Final Thoughts

Maine offers incredible food, breathtaking coastal views, and fairy-tale winters to renters looking for anything from quiet cabins to high-rise city apartments. So, if the east coast is calling you and you just can’t ignore the low cost of living it has to offer, Maine might be the place for you. Register with Apartment List today and start browsing hundreds of available apartments available for rent in Maine!

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EMILY KHO
Emily is a professionally trained SEO writer who covers a wide range of topics but specializes in business and hospitality content. With over a decade of professional writing experience in the hospitality industry, Emily comes from a strong background in the field backed with a BS from the world-renowned William F. Read More
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