Charlotte, North Carolina, has long been a center for business and finance, with its university roots shaping its well-educated population. Aside from sporting franchises and entertainment venues, it is also a fantastic place for dining and entertainment. 

Charlotte has it all. Whether you want to live in the heart of the action downtown or you prefer to stay in a quiet neighborhood with more space and other amenities, Charlotte is the place for you. 

An added bonus, it’s also one of the most affordable cities in the country, with average salaries coming in higher than the national average. But then again, if you wish to live a full and active life, there are always costs to consider. So, to help you take the guesswork out of your move, our guide covers all the associated considerations for the cost of living in Charlotte NC.

The Cost of Living In Charlotte NC

Housing

In terms of the cost of living in Charlotte, NC, housing expenses are 14% lower than the national average. This makes housing affordable in almost all areas of the city. 

Renting

On average, a two-bedroom apartment will cost you around $1,200. But, this cost depends on how close you are to the heart of the city. If you are living closer to the city center, the cost of rent is going to be significantly higher. For example, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around $1,700 and can cost around $3,100 for a three-bedroom apartment. 

If you live further away, the cost of rent is lower. For a one-bedroom apartment outside the city center, you can expect to pay around $1,150 per month and around $1,820 per month for a three-bedroom apartment. 

When checking the affordability of rent in comparison to your income, it’s a great idea to abide by the 30% rule. The rule simply states that you should aim to spend 30% or less of your gross monthly income on your rental amount.

Buying

If you’re interested in buying property rather than renting your home, it can be helpful to know the average prices of a house.

Similar to renting, the housing price is more expensive in the heart of the city when you’re buying an apartment. An average-sized apartment will cost around $3,500 per 10 square feet in the city center. If you are looking to buy outside the center, the median apartment cost is around $1,600. 

For a small family, buying a home is relatively affordable. The average price for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Charlotte is around $300,000. 

The Mortgage Interest Rate yearly at a fixed rate for 20 years is between 2.5 and 4.25 %. So, you can expect your interest rate to end up at around 3.51%.

Utilities

The average cost of utilities in Charlotte, NC, is 8% lower than the national average. For basic utilities such as electricity, heating and cooling, garbage services, and water, utilities cost around $155. This, of course, will fluctuate depending on the size of your home, your family size, and your personal utility usage. 

If you include a cable or ADSL internet line with unlimited data and a speed of 60 Mbps or more, it will cost you around $65 per month. This can bring your average utility expense up to around $220 per month.

Food And Groceries

Regarding the cost of living in Charlotte NC, food and grocery expenses are 6% less than the national average in the U.S.

For a single person, you can expect to pay an average of $3,200 per year on groceries and food. This works out to less than $300 per month. For a family of four, your monthly grocery expenses may fall between $700 and $1,000. This averages out to $8,400 – $12,000 a year. 

Of course, your food expenses are largely dependent on the type of groceries that you buy. If you prefer to buy organic or diet-specific foods, your food costs will rise quite a bit. 

In a grocery store, the cost of certain items is relatively similar. For example, a loaf of bread costs around $3.50, while a dozen eggs and a gallon of milk each cost under $2. 

If you tend to eat out often, a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant will cost around $65. You can get a meal at an inexpensive restaurant for around $15 per person. Fast food is also relatively inexpensive, with a generic McDonald’s meal averaging around $8.50.

Healthcare

Unlike some of the other expenses included in the cost of living in Charlotte, NC, healthcare is actually 3% above the country’s average. 

For check-ups with general healthcare professionals, the cost difference isn’t affected too much by the 3% increase. For example, a visit to the dentist or optometrist will cost you around $115 each. For a general visit to the doctor, you can expect to pay around the same.

On average, the cost of prescription drugs is around $455 a year. This depends on your personal medical needs and prescriptions, though, and so these costs may vary from person to person. 

Of course, your pet is just as much a part of your family as anyone else. So when they get sick, you’ll need to factor in their healthcare costs, too. A vet check-up for your furry friend will cost an average of $50. This excludes any medications or specialized food that your vet may prescribe for your pets, which come with their own costs.

Childcare And Education

If you’re relocating with your family, including childcare and education fees into your overall cost of living in Charlotte, NC, is important. 

The average cost of childcare in North Carolina is around $770 per month. One child attending a private preschool or kindergarten full-time will cost you around $980 per month, or just under $12,000 annually.

Private elementary schools can come with an expense of an average of $700 a month or $8,500 per year. The cost of education increases with grade level, though, and the cost of an international primary school for one child is $14,300 per year or $1,190 per month.

Transportation

Factored into the cost of living in Charlotte, NC, are transportation expenses. These expenses are 3% lower than the national average.

Public Transportation

In Charlotte, NC, there are extensive bus and rail systems to help you find your way around the city. For both systems, a weekly pass will cost you around $30 each. You can also buy a monthly pass for $90 for both the bus and rail systems, or you can buy a monthly pass for the express bus for around $120. There are discounts on these passes for students, seniors, and children.

Although public transportation is safe and efficient, the most common mode of transportation in Charlotte is a personal motor vehicle. You can also choose to walk if you relocate to a smaller, walkable neighborhood. 

Charlotte is also notorious for being largely bike-friendly. Certain businesses allow you to pay a monthly membership fee of around $50, which allows you access to an unlimited number of one-hour bike rides. After an hour, members pay an additional $1 for every thirty minutes.

Personal Transportation

If you’re thinking of relocating to Charlotte, NC, it’s important to think about the cost of buying and running a car. 

A new mid-range car like a sedan will cost you an average of $22,000 to $25,000. Of course, this is dependent on the model of the car and whether or not you choose to buy a pre-owned or a new vehicle. 

The average price of gas is around $3 per gallon in Charlotte, but this may change quickly since gas prices are constantly changing. 

You can expect to spend around $5,100 per year or $425 a month on transportation for a single individual. If you are married with at least one child, you can expect your cost of living in Charlotte, NC, to increase by $11,700 a year or around $975 per month.

Entertainment

There are plenty of fun things to do in Charlotte. These can include recreational or fitness activities, or even sightseeing. 

When you move to a new place, getting to know your new hometown can be as exciting as it is nerve-racking. These kinds of experiences can sometimes have a hefty price tag attached to them, though. Luckily there are plenty of affordable options in Charlotte. For example, an adult ticket to the Charlotte Motor Speedway will cost you anywhere from $45 to $200. This gives you the freedom to pick the most budget-friendly option for you. Similarly, another fun activity may be going on a tour of Panthers Stadium. This is a fantastic group activity and will cost around $75 for a group of 25 people. That works out to just $3 per person, provided you can get enough people together to do it.

Fitness clubs and gyms generally cost around $40 a month for an adult, and yoga classes will cost you around $19 per person per class. If you’re looking for a more laid-back fitness activity, why not rent out a tennis court for an hour? To rent the court for an hour on the weekend, you’ll only have to pay $17. 

Or maybe you’re looking to sit back, relax, and enjoy a movie? An adult cinema ticket will cost you around $12, excluding snacks and drinks. 

Of course, you can always pay a visit to Freedom Park, which is free.

Overall Cost Of Living In Charlotte, NC

The overall cost of living in Charlotte, NC, varies depending on your lifestyle and the size of your family. For a single individual, the overall cost averages around $950 per month or $11,400 per year, excluding rent or mortgage expenses. If you were a small family of four, your monthly expenses would average $3,400 per month. This would mean your expenses are around $40,800 a year which is also excluding housing costs like rent or a mortgage. 

Besides rent, you may also need to factor in extra expenses like tax. Luckily, in North Carolina, there is a flat income tax rate of just 5.25%. You can also retire with peace of mind because there is no tax on Social Security retirement benefits.

Salary Versus Cost Of Living In Charlotte, NC

On average, the general living wage of a single individual in Charlotte is around $16 if they are a full-time employee. This doesn’t include extra expenses such as entertainment, eating out, or vacations. The living wage will cover just enough for an individual to buy everything they may need monthly. 

The median household income is $53,270 a year. This is slightly lower than the U.S national average, which is around $54,850 per annum. The average net salary for an individual after tax is around $5,480 per month.

Conclusion

If you’re considering relocating to North Carolina, Charlotte is a fantastic place to plant your proverbial roots. Most expenses are generally lower compared to the U.S. national averages, such as housing (14% less), utilities (8% less), transport (3% less), and food (6% less). 

So, not only is Charlotte an exciting and vibrant city to live in with a myriad of things to do to keep yourself entertained, but it also boasts a cheaper cost of living at 5% under the national average. If you are in need of quality Charlotte Movers, give us a call today!