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Cost of Living in San Antonio, TX 2021

By: Davina Ward
October 12, 2021

San Antonio is an excellent representation of everything Texas has to offer. The city boasts an incredible sports team, mild weather year-round, good eats, and much more.

That’s why it’s not surprising that so many people are flocking to the home of the Alamo.

If you want to count yourself among those moving to San Antonio, you’ll need to know how the cost of living in San Antonio differs from your current city’s.

Luckily, this guide will break down everything you need to know about the cost of living in San Antonio.

San Antonio Housing Costs

In excellent news for new renters, San Antonio is considered an affordable city because San Antonio’s housing costs are relatively low for a city of its size.

According to our San Antonio rent report, when compared to the national median rent of $1,302, San Antonio’s median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $57 lower at $1,245.

However, those numbers only tell a part of the rent price story. Here’s a look at the average rent prices in San Antonio by the number of bedrooms:

  • Studio: $1,076
  • One-bedroom: $1,182
  • Two-bedroom: $1,506
  • Three or More Bedrooms: $1,856

Renting an apartment in one of the more popular San Antonio neighborhoods means higher rent prices, but generally, living in the city won’t break the bank.

Rents have increased 2.3% in the last month and have risen by 13.8% in a year-over-year comparison. So, if you’re looking for a deal, you can save on housing costs by looking for units advertised with San Antonio apartments with move-in specials.

San Antonio Transportation

Once you get to the city, you’ll have to find a way to get around.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking to walk or bike around the city, the experience may be lacking. According to Walk Score, San Antonio boasts a 35 walk score and a 45 bike score.

In short, you’ll need a personal vehicle to get around the city.

If you’re dead set on avoiding relying on a personal vehicle to get around (gas prices — we get it!), San Antonio may not be the best city for you.

The city has a low 36 transit score. However, waiting a little longer between stops and longer commute times may be worth it for the savings.

An annual public transit pass costs $365, saving you money on car insurance, maintenance expenses, and gas.

According to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, a single adult spends $5,113 on transportation annually. For a family of four with two working adults and two children, annual transportation costs rise to $13,896.

All things considered, that annual bus pass seems like a pretty good deal.

San Antonio Food Costs

Eating is a basic need that takes a pretty substantial chunk out of your annual budget.

A single adult spends an average of $3,117 on groceries annually, while a family of four spends$9,305.

If you’re looking for low-cost groceries, San Antonio residents swear by H-E-B and Sprouts.

Beyond groceries, San Antonio is a place of culinary delights. Its proximity to Mexico means you can find delicious authentic Mexican cuisine throughout the city.

Moreover, as a southern state, Texas is home to delectable Deep South treats.

In short, be prepared with a fully-funded takeout budget.

According to Numbeo, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant is $15, while you can expect to pay $60 for a nicer, two-person dinner.

However, if you plan on tackling San Antonio’s dating scene, be aware that there are better cities for singles out there. For example, Austin, Texas, is actually the place to be for singles in Texas!

San Antonio Healthcare Costs

Healthcare costs significantly vary from person to person. However, the general consensus is that paying for healthcare is expensive.

As the average single San Antonio resident spends $2,760 annually on healthcare costs, while the average family of four spends $8,694, that’s not an inaccurate assessment.

That said, it’s possible to get low-cost health insurance to help reduce the financial impact of your medical costs.

Head over to Healthcare.gov to view a marketplace for low-to-no-cost health insurance.

Just be aware that you may have to wait until open enrollment to register for coverage. Open enrollment for 2022 starts on November 1, 2021, and ends on January 15, 2022.

San Antonio Utilities

When you move to a new locale, it can be challenging to estimate your utility costs. Luckily, San Antonio residents enjoy a relatively low monthly bill for basic utilities.

Although one would expect the blazing Texas heat to drive utility costs up, the total average utility bill in San Antonio is $223.14 per month for electricity, gas, water, and fuel.

Here’s a look at how basic utility bills in San Antonio break down:

  • Average San Antonio Electricity Bill: $160.26
  • Average San Antonio Gas Bill: $16.82
  • Average San Antonio Water Bill: $45.64
  • Average San Antonio Fuel Bill: $0.41

When you consider the national average utility bill, which sits at $240 per month, you’ll likely enjoy some savings in that department. This is especially true if you’re moving from another state.

That said, your utility bills also extend to your cell phone and internet service, meaning you’ll have to consider their costs when creating your budget.

The average cell phone bill for a single adult in the US is $94, while the average internet service bill sits around $30-$60 a month. At about an additional $140 per month, these services will bring up the cost of your average utility bill.

If you’re looking to save on these bills, you could consider bundling these services.

Many service providers offer discounts for bundled services and may even throw in some bonuses for new customers. It wouldn’t hurt to have your Netflix subscription covered for a year.

Fitness and Entertainment

Spending money isn’t exactly hard in San Antonio. The city offers so many entertainment and recreation options, you’d be hard-pressed finding enough time to experience them all.

However, all that fun can have a pretty significant impact on the budget. Entertainment costs run single San Antonio residents $1,811 annually, while a family of four spends $4,127.

Here’s a look at how San Antonio residents spend their money on fitness and entertainment.

Fitness Costs in San Antonio

If you’re a fitness lover, San Antonio isn’t lacking when it comes to gyms.

San Antonio’s gym memberships are relatively affordable at just $31.09 on average.

That said, the fantastic weather and plethora of local parks mean you can get your fitness fix without spending a dime.

Head out for a walk or run in your neighborhood to run some of the extra calories you’ll consume after visiting a Southern restaurant.

Head North of Downtown to Brackenridge Park

Brackenridge Park is one of the most popular public parks in San Antonio.

Within its 340+ acres of land, you’ll find traditional park features, including baseball fields, children’s playgrounds, picnic areas, trails, and more.

Brackenridge Park is also home to the San Antonio Zoo, the Japanese Tea Gardens, and the Witte Museum.

The San Antonio Zoo offers a full day’s worth of adventure. With tons of animals, food stands, and a mini-train ride, this zoo is the perfect destination for an unforgettable day.

Adult standard admission tickets cost $29.99 per person. If you plan on bringing a child over the age of three, you’ll pay an additional $25.99.

The Japanese Garden is free to visit (and pet-friendly!). However, if you’re visiting the Witte Museum, expect to pay $14 to cover general admission.

Catch a San Antonio Spurs Game

The San Antonio Spurs are the only major league professional sports team in the city. However, that only partially explains the team’s popularity.

With five championships in the past two decades, they’ve earned every bit of their hometown love.

Additionally, the Spurs play downtown in the AT&T arena, which is why it’s considered one of the best neighborhoods in San Antonio.

If you want to catch a bit of the action, expect to pay $97 on average. However, that number will vary greatly depending on the opponent and how close you want to be to the action.

If you want to save money on a ticket and stay close to the action, head to one of the city’s many sports bars.

Other Expenses to Consider in San Antonio

Your budget for your move to San Antonio should be as comprehensive as possible, meaning you’ll have to consider some of the “hidden costs” of living in the city. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.

Here are some of the hidden expenses to consider when moving to San Antonio.

  • Income Taxes: One of the most important things to know before moving to San Antonio is that Texas doesn’t collect a state income tax. It’s in the minority of states that don’t collect income taxes. If you're moving from out of state, this can be a major plus!
  • State Sales Tax: Although San Antonio doesn’t levy a state income tax, they do charge a 6.25% state sales tax.
  • San Antonio Collective Sales Tax: San Antonio imposes a collective sales tax of 8.25%, including the state’s sales tax.

As a general rule, individuals shouldn’t spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs to live comfortably.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, San Antonio residents earn $49,520 on average annually. That number isn’t too far off from the recommended salary.

As the median rent price for a two-bedroom in San Antonio is $1,245, this translates to recommended $3,735 in pre-tax monthly earnings.

Annually, a single adult should earn at least $44,820 before taxes to live comfortably in San Antonio.

If you’re not interested in doing the math (we don’t blame you), you can use our rent calculator to help you determine how much you can afford to pay in rent each month.

Final Thoughts

Moving to San Antonio isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s an incredible option for anyone looking to live in a major city without spending major city money.

Take our quiz, if you’re ready to get started on your San Antonio apartment search!

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AUTHOR
Davina Ward is a contributing author at Apartment List and freelance writer specializing in real estate and digital marketing. She received her B. Read More
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