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Cost of Living Index

Updated on March 7, 2011

Not World Peace but it is signifcant.

Why did I pick this particular topic to write about?  I want to make sure that we don’t make a huge mistake by buying the first place we find once we sell our current home.  We are like thousands and thousands of retired couples who worked for the Federal or State government long enough to draw a pension and collect our social security money each month.   

I do not want to get into all the pros and cons of how we should have done a better job of saving for our retirement by investing in stocks and bonds, etc in this article.  We have a decent enough income coming in to meet our current financial needs.  Sooner or later we will sell our home and downsize. 

The crash of the real estate market in the last 3 years has seen our home value drop over $66,000.00 but yet the property taxes continued to rise.  We save 26% of our net monthly income to meet once a year expenses such as Property taxes, automobile insurance, home owners insurance, medical premiums and pay the IRS if needed. 

We are walking a financial tightrope.  Feeling threatened by what could happen we started looking into the possibility of finding a cheaper area to live in.  My husband found multiple cost of living index websites.  I want to share with you how we looked at the possibility of moving to another state by having a useful tool to help us with that decision.

Moving away from family and friends is very difficult.  Moving to a lesser cost of living area is not for everyone.  Hopefully by keeping an open mind you will be able to pick and choose from thousands of locations if you really want to stretch your retirement income.

The Cost of Living Index is a website tool which shows the difference in living costs between cities. The cost of living in the base city (where we currently reside) is always expressed as 100. The cost of living in the destination (where we are thinking of living) is then indexed against this number.

For example:  if Seattle is the base (100) and Atlanta Georgia is the destination, and the Atlanta index is 120, then Atlanta is 20% more expensive than Seattle.  The converse is also true:  If Seattle is the base 100 and Yuma Arizona is 80, then Seattle is 20% more expensive than Yuma.

The link that is supplied below will take you to a Cost of Living Index website.  I entered in where I live, where I might want to move to and an estimate of our annual income.  For the sake of this article I have chosen an estimated annual income of $48,000.00.

Read more: Cost of Living comparison calculator


The equivalent income for Logan Utah where I want to possibly move is: $44084.95.

We may take a 8.16% decrease and still maintain our standard of living.

The comparison chart below explains in dollars and cents just how some services are less expensive in Logan versus Olympia:

Olympia WA Metro
Logan UT-ID Metro
Home Price
Payment + Interest
Apt. Rent
Total Energy
Dentist Visit
Doctor Visit
Other Energy
Washer Repair
Part. Electrical
Vet. Services
Beauty Salon
Men's Shirt
Women's Slacks


Our income level is defined by our retirement and social security monthly payments.  Since neither of us is working, we have a fixed income.  Our income does not vary month to month unless there is a change dictated by the Federal Government. 

With the estimated $48,000.00 yearly income used for the example we would have $3915.05 more disposable income per year if we moved to Logan Utah.


The extra money equals out to $326.25 more disposable income per month which would help out if an emergency should arise.  Reviewing the cost of living index for Logan Utah, our current retirement income would be worth 8.16% more if we moved to Logan Utah.

 That is not world peace but it is significant.

High Cost of Living in the Roanoke Region


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