Living in the US is not as cheap as you think. In fact, you need at least $58,321 annually to live comfortably in states like Mississippi. If this is the case in a poor state like Mississippi, what do you expect in a major city like New York?

So, as a low-income earner, you may wonder, is it possible to survive on low income in major US cities? Of course, you can survive in major US cities on low income only if you can cut your clothes according to your coat.

But how can you do this? Don’t fret! This and many more questions will be answered in this post. Just read this post from the beginning to the end.

How Much Do You Need To Live Comfortably In Major US Cities?

Generally, to live comfortably in the US, you’ll need an average income of $5,000 – $6,500 per month, which is about $60,000-$70,000 annually. However, this figure varies from city to city. Let’s take a look at it from city to city.

New York City, NY

New York City

New York City is the 7th most expensive city in the world. Although there are many job opportunities in NY, it’s better to plan your budget well before moving to The Big Apple.

This is because a bedroom apartment in NY alone costs $2,045, while transportation is $121 monthly. Approximately a single person will spend $5,537, while a family will need $8,300 to live comfortably. This amount covers other expenses like groceries, medicals, and clothing.

San Francisco, CA.

San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the US. So, if you’re considering moving to the Bay Area and residing there, you’ll need to make some serious dough!

On average, a single person needs $4,200, while if you’re a family of four, it jumps to $7,810 to live comfortably in this city.

This sum accounts for necessities, including shelter, food, transportation, medical care, and other costs.

Boston, MA.

Boston is another expensive city to live in, in the US. This city is known for its rich history, clam chowder, Fenway park, and Boston Tea party. Your lifestyle and priorities depend on how much you’ll need to live comfortably in this city.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the significant expenses you’ll face in Boston:

  •  Rent: $1,500 – $2,500 per month
  •  Groceries: $300 – $600 per month
  •  Utilities: $100 – $200 per month
  •  Transportation: $100 – $200 per month
  •  Entertainment: $200 – $500 per month

Washington, DC

Washington is home to seats of US political heads, which has made it a place of attraction for tourists and firms.

You’ll have to think twice about living in this city. Here, you’ll know how much it will live a comfortable life in the Evergreen State.

According to Getjerry, the average cost of living in this city has been increasing by 12% to 20% yearly. A single individual will have to earn as much as $5,580 compared to a family of four with $7,275. These price tags cover rent, grocery, transportation, bills, and other utilities.

How To Live In Major US Cities On A Low Budget

If you’re on a low budget, there are plenty of ways to cut costs and still enjoy life in major US cities. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Rent An Apartment Or Share With Roommates

Rent An Apartment

If you’re on a low budget, you can quickly get an affordable apartment in a less expensive neighborhood. For instance, if you’re in New York City, you can get a cheaper apartment in Parkchester.

You can also share an apartment with roommates. This will help you split the rent and other bills.

Cook Yourself

Visiting restaurants and eating out can be too expensive if you’re on a low budget. The best way to live comfortably without spending much on food is to cook.

There are grocery stores where you can buy foodstuff at a discount price. Also, you can find recipes online or in cookbooks that are easy to make and don’t cost much money.

Take Advantage Of Free Activities

If you like a tour or extracurricular activities, you can’t get anything less in the major US cities. There are lots of exciting places you can visit without paying a dime.

For instance, In Washington and New York, there are free public museums and parks you can visit for free. But if you go, ensure you contact an expert for US immigration advice.

Use Public Transport Instead Of Taxis

public transport

Major cities in the US have large land masses. And, if you don’t know how to commute properly in these cities, you’ll spend more on transportation than you planned. Check out these doable suggestions for cutting transportation expenses.

Start by avoiding taxis and use the subway or a public bus instead. Second, if your destination is roughly a mile away, you can walk there. It might seem difficult initially, but it’ll help you save money.


Whether you’re moving to the US with a partner visa or any other visa type, you can survive on low income in major US cities. But, you must be careful with your budget, cook yourself, use discount grocery stores available, and get an apartment that fits your budget to live on a low budget in the US major cities. Additionally, there are places that help with furniture vouchers, which can be a helpful resource for furnishing your apartment on a tight budget.

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