Your cost of living is dictated by many different factors. Chief among these is where we choose to live. After all, this is likely to dictate the majority of our other living expenses. For example, your rent, cost of food, taxes and many other key factors are going to be heavily influenced by which country and city you live in. So, what about Salem, Massachusetts? Where does this fit on the cost of living scale? Let’s find out…
Cost of Living in Salem, MA
Of course, it depends on what you are comparing it to, but in Massachusetts, Salem is among the more expensive cities. Also, Salem itself is among the 1% most expensive cities to live in globally.
So, what will it actually cost you, and how does it compare to the national average? Let’s look at a detailed cost breakdown.
Cost of Living Data
Of course, there are other factors which impact where you fit on the cost of living index(e.g. how large your family is), so we’re going to make some general assumptions in order to provide standardised figures. To this end, we will look at costs for a single person.
Based on this, the average cost of living in Salem is $2600. As we’ve said previously, this puts it in the top 1% of cities worldwide. It also puts it in the top ten most expensive cities in Massachusetts and in the top 100 most expensive cities in the US (above the national average).
Rent and utilities come in at an average of roughly $1800, food at $550 and transport at just over $50.
Like anything you pay for, you can’t assess the cost in isolation. You need to ask what you get for your money. So, is the cost of living worth it for those living in Salem, Massachusetts?
Well, looking at the average (median) wage in Salem Massachusetts, it comes in well above the average living costs ($3700). This means it is likely that people will be able to afford luxury items and put money into savings. It also means that housing costs are in line with wage increases and earning potential in the city. Also, relative to the wages, it means that everything in the city (e.g. transportation costs, health care etc.) has a relatively low cost.
What about the Standard of Living?
This data would suggest that the standard of living in Salem is relatively high. Population sentiment data also backs this up. Salem ranks very well on the quality of life index, with locals citing commute time, the standard of public schools and health care as being of a very high standard compared to the cost of living and national average. Overall, locals feel it’s a great place to live.
What Impacts the Cost of Living in Salem?
All cities have some key factors in common that impact the cost of living. For example, food costs are relatively stable across the US. However, the main factor which impacts the cost of living ratio in Salem is the ratio between average income and the cost of the rent. This ratio is more favourable than the national average and is the single biggest factor that makes the cost of living affordable in the city.
Are there better places to Live in Massachusetts?
Though for a large city, Salem offers good value, there are certainly cheaper places to live. If, for example, your employer allows you to work remotely, and still earn the same wages, it may be more beneficial for you to move to a more rural setting in order to decrease your cost of living and increase your take-home pay.
What else can you do to decrease your cost of living?
There are many things you can do to decrease your cost of living without moving cities or towns.
For most of us, the largest monthly expense will be the house or apartment we live in. Whether that’s a mortgage or rent, decreasing this is likely to have the greatest overall impact on your cost of living.
So, what can you do? Well, if you rent, there are a few options. If you live alone you could try to share a place, rather than have it all to yourself. This would allow you to share both the rent and many other living costs.
What if you own your house or apartment? Well, if you have space, you could consider renting out a room. This could go a long way to helping with the mortgage. In return for giving up a little of your privacy, you could be significantly better off each month. What’s more, if you choose the right person (perhaps a friend or close acquaintance) you might actually find that it enriches your life from a social point of view.
The other key area that is likely to impact your cost of living is how much you spend on luxury items. let’s say you have a coffee from a coffee shop each morning before work. The average cost of a cup of coffee in Salem is $4.01. If we assume that you go to the office 20 days each month, on average, this is over $80/month. You can buy a good coffee machine for $200. This means that over the course of even the first year, making your own coffee before you leave home could save you hundreds of pounds.
When you already I’ve in a place where the average cost of living is well below the average monthly wage, making these small changes can make a real difference to your disposable income at the end of each month.
So, what does living in Salem cost?
In summary, the average cost of living in Salem, Massachusetts is $2600, which is well below the median wage of $3700. However, this cost of living does put it in the top 100 most expensive cities in the US.