Wonder what life might look like if you lived in another place? Or how far your salary could go if you picked up and moved to another—more affordable—state? Here's a quick peek inside the cost of living on the East Coast.
You might have seen this infographic recently from the Tax Foundation, which reveals the relative value of $100 in every state across the country:
Kind of eye-opening, yeah? The Tax Foundation used 2016 Regional Price Parities (RPPs) from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis to adjust the value of $100 state by state. What that means is that in, say, Ohio, $100 will buy you goods that would cost $111.98 in a state at the national average price level. "You could think of this as meaning that Ohioans are, for the purposes of day-to-day living, 11 percent richer than their incomes suggest," it says on the Tax Foundation website.
Basically, $100 will go a lot farther in some places than in others. And to see exactly how far, we did a little back-of-the-envelope math.
An Average Day in Charlotte vs. New York City
From the Tax Foundation's "Value of $100" infographic, we singled out one of the most affordable and one of the least affordable states from the Eastern seaboard (only Washington D.C. ranked lower in affordability than New York state, and only South Carolina was more affordable than it's Northern counterpart) to compare the real-life implications of the value of a dollar.
Then, using each state's most populous city, determined how far $100 might go on a somewhat normal (if a bit spendy) day for a reasonably average person (also someone who hasn't been grocery shopping in a while, so pretend it's re-up day on the breakfast staples) by adding up the same list of purchases a person might make in either city. To determine the average cost of goods in both Charlotte, NC, and New York City, we consulted the data on Numbeo.
Well-fed and a little buzzed, $100 in Charlotte buys a pretty good day out—and enough left over to get a taxi back home at the end of the day.
1 gallon of milk: $3.25
1 dozen eggs: $2.29
1 lb. apples: $2.15
During the workday:
One-way ticket on local transportation: $2.25
Regular cappuccino: $3.33
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $12.25
Small bottle of water: $1.55
2 miles in a taxi to happy hour: $10.57
1 pint of domestic beer: $4
1 bottle of imported beer: $5
1 mile in a taxi to dinner: $6.66
Meal for one at a mid-range restaurant: $25
5 miles in a taxi home: $22.30
Grand total: $100.60
New York City
In NYC, your $100 stops just short of getting you home for the night.
1 gallon of milk: $4.04
1 dozen eggs: $3.70
1 lb. apples: $2.50
During the workday:
One-way ticket on local transportation: $2.75
Regular cappuccino: $4.25
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: $18
Small bottle of water: $1.67
2 miles in a taxi to happy hour: $8.30
1 pint of domestic beer: $6
1 bottle of imported beer: $7
1 mile in a taxi to dinner: $5.40
Meal for one at a mid-range restaurant: $40
Grand total: $103.61
You'd need an extra $17 to grab that 5-mile taxi ride home.
Check out the West Coast:
Even close by in two neighboring states—OK, California is pretty huge—you can get a lot more for your dollar in one over the other.