Florida Keys – Cost of Living

Today we’ll explore the overall cost of living in the keys. If you read “housing costs & considerations” then you already know housing is high, but what about everything else?

I’ve lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia and now Florida and the cost of living here is higher in some aspects and lower in others. There’s no state income tax in Florida so you’ll automatically get a bump in pay when you move here if you keep your job like we did. That helped us offset the higher cost of housing. We track all of our spending and overall we don’t spend much more than we used to but the allocation of that spending has changed, let’s look at how.

It’s a tourist town

The keys are a major tourist destination and the restaurant prices reflect that. There’s a place down the street with a $15 veggie burger and tiny draft beers for $6. Some places give locals a discount so it’s worth asking at your favorite spots. Once you’re here for a while you’ll know where to find the best deals, just look for the locals.

Price points

  • Groceries – we definitely spend more on groceries here than we did in our previous state but we work from home full-time now and eat most meals at home. While we spend more on groceries we’re spending less on going out so that’s a wash for us.
  • Utilities – utilities are included in our rental but everyone talks about how expensive water is here so that will cost you more than where you are right now. Electricity is also higher but we’ve barely run the AC since November so you’ll save in the winter. The summer is a different story! We ran it 24-7 in the summer but set at a reasonable level – around 82 during the day and 78 at night. We like to be warm though.
  • Car Insurance – expensive! Ours doubled. I researched it and apparently it’s due to the mixing pot of international people which leads to more incidents which leads to higher insurance. If you’ve ever driven around Miami you know why it’s so expensive!
  • Registering your car – expensive! There’s a one-time charge of over $400 per vehicle. After the first year it’s comparable but the initial registration will get ya.
  • Hotels – all Florida hotels charge a daily “resort fee” that varies from hotel to hotel so that drives the cost up a bit. Once you have a Florida license you can get a resident rate at a lot of hotels so that helps offset it but they never offer it during holidays.
  • Bars – find the place with the best deal and go there. Ask the locals where they go otherwise you’ll be paying $10+ per drink everywhere and that will quickly take a big bite out of your budget. You’re in the keys though so you’ll want to go out, meet people, and watch our famous sunsets. There are deals out there.
  • Restaurants – same thing, look for places that offer deals to locals and ask people who live here where they go. Often times we’ll go out for sunset drinks and come home and cook, budget and waistline friendly! We started doing that because the restaurants just aren’t that great on the whole here and why spend a lot for something that’s just mediocre. Lots of times I cook something in advance that we can just heat up, quick & easy.

 

Curious about the cost of something here that I didn’t cover? Let me know in a comment or by email and I’ll do my best to answer it!
Until next time …

 

Stay Warm Friends!

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