Best Cost of Living Calculator

Are you thinking about moving? You may need to figure out the cost of living in the new city so you know how to maintain your current lifestyle. To do that, you may need a cost of living calculator, but you can’t choose any old one. Here are the best of the best for calculating the most accurate answer possible. 


NerdWallet focuses on everything finance. The website updates on a regular basis, so you can trust the information it gives you. Even though it’s an average, the cost of living calculator is surprisingly accurate. All you need to do is choose the city you currently live in and the city you wish to move. You also need to list your current income and whether you’re a student, have kids, or are a senior. After you fill out all of this information, you click “calculate,” and it displays how much money you need to earn to live in the city. 

NerdWallet's cost of living calculator breaks down each category including housing, transportation, food, and entertainment. For example, moving to Little Rock, AR to Denver, CO costs 46% more in housing, 14% more in transportation, 6% more for food, and 8% more for entertainment. The only drawback is the limited number of cities on the cost of living calculator. You chose from a list instead of typing in your specific city, so you may not get the results you want. 


Bankrate is the website many people for the latest updates on interest rates and financial advice about loans, but did you know it also has a great cost of living calculator? The cost of living calculator works similar to NerdWallet, except it doesn’t take in account your living situation. You simply need to select the city you currently live, the one you wish to move to, and current income. Then, it calculates exactly how much you’d need to make to maintain your lifestyle.

Bankrate’s cost of living calculator lists the average cost big items like the median home price, apartment rent, energy costs, but also many of everyday products you would purchase like clothing, coffee, and a sandwich. Unfortunately, it also has a limited number of cities to choose, which makes it hard for rural residents to figure out the difference in cost of living.  


SmartAsset is another site dedicated to providing accurate financial information for every topic, including the cost of living. Like many of the other cost of living calculators, you type in where you live, where you want to move to, and your household income to determine how much more it’ll be living in another city or state. You also need to list the number of adults and children in your household. 

The biggest benefit of this site is that you can type in any city, including rural cities or small towns that may not be on the larger websites. The drawback is that the information may not be as accurate as Bankrate or NerdWallet. Additionally, you are limited to only two adults and three children, which means if you have more adults or children, you’re out of luck.

Last Updated: December 12, 2018