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The Cost of Living in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, offers both colonial charm and modern attractions. As far as cost of living goes, Philadelphia isn’t as expensive as New York or San Francisco and there are still relative bargains to be had in the housing market. If you want to take a detailed look at the cost of living in Philadelphia, you’ve come to the right place. 

Philadelphia Housing Costs

You can still find a single-family home in Philadelphia for under $300,000. According to trulia.com, recent prices for a one-bedroom home average $317,500. A two-bedroom home carries an average price of $195,750. Three bedrooms? $115,000. Four-bedroom homes carry an average price of $166,000. The average price for all properties is just $150,000.

The Cost of Living in Philadelphia

There are many foreclosures among the homes for sale in Philadelphia. That provides a buyer the opportunity to bag a bargain at a foreclosure auction. But if you’re not interested in buying a foreclosure, be sure to tell your real estate agent to exclude those listings.

If you want an expert’s advice before you invest in a home, these are the top financial advisor firms in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Rent

According to myapartmentmap.com, the average rent for a studio apartment in Philadelphia is $1,038. A one-bedroom apartment carries an average rent of $1,152. Two-bedroom places rent for an average of $1,503 and three-bedroom places go for $1,689.

Utilities in Philadelphia

Numbeo.com puts the average monthly utility bill in Philadelphia at $150.06. That’s for a 915 square-foot apartment and includes electricity, heating, water and garbage.

Want to add internet? Of course you do! Expect to pay around the average price of $57.31 per month. That’s about 18% higher than the national average price for a month of internet.

Philadelphia Food Prices

According to numbeo.com, the minimum recommended amount to spend on food for a day in Philadelphia is $12.20, for a monthly minimum of $378.22. That’s just 1.5% above the U.S. average.

These minimum recommended spending amounts assume that you’re buying only grocery items and preparing your own food. If you want to eat out, you can expect to pay $12 for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Philadelphia or $55 for a three-course meal for two at a mid-range eatery.

Want to sample one of the city’s famous Philly cheese steaks? A cheese steak hoagie from the renowned Dalessandro’s will cost you $9.


According to the SmartAsset property tax calculator, the average effective property tax rate in Philadelphia County is 0.925%. That’s a bargain compared to Allegheny County (home to Pittsburgh) which has an average effective property tax rate of 2.16%.

Proponents of the flat tax system should be glad to hear that Pennsylvania has a flat income tax rate of 6%. That’s the lowest rate of any of the eight states with a flat income tax. On top of that flat 6% rate, Philadelphia charges a municipal income tax, known as a “Local Earned Income Tax.” That tax rate is 3.924%.

The statewide sales tax in Pennsylvania is 6%. Philadelphia has an added 2% sales tax for a total of 8%. That’s about on par with New York City, which has a sales tax rate of 8.875%. It’s lower than Chicago’s 10.25% sales tax, the highest of any city in the country.

Philadelphia Sports

The Cost of Living in Philadelphia

Philadelphia has plenty to offer sports fans. Check out the table to see how the average price of a ticket varies from sport to sport. Checking out a football game with the Philadelphia Eagles will be the most expensive option (for average ticket price) but you can see the Phillies for much less. And if you want to make like Rocky and run up the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, well, that’s free.

Philadelphia Arts

No tour of the Philadelphia arts scene would be complete without a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), which isn’t just famous for that scene in Rocky. Admission to the museum is $20 for an adult but the first Sunday of every month and Wednesdays after 5 you can pay what you will. If you decide to pay the $20, you’ll get two consecutive days of admission to the PMA, the Rodin Museum and historic houses Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove.

Another jewel of Philadelphia’s art scene is the Barnes Foundation, formerly located outside of the city but now in a convenient location down the road from the PMA. Admission is $22 for non-members or $25 on the weekends. Members and children 0-5 get in free.

Philadelphia History

Anyone interested in U.S. history should be able to find plenty of free entertainment in Philadelphia. Whether you’re wandering the historic streets lined with colonial homes, visiting Independence Hall or strolling through Reading Terminal Market, we’re guessing you won’t be bored.

Next Steps

If you’re gearing up for a move to Philadelphia, it can be helpful to know how the change will affect your budget so you can plan accordingly.

  • If you’ll be switching jobs, your paycheck may end up looking quite different than it does now. Our Pennsylvania paycheck calculator can help you figure out what your new take-home pay will be.
  • A financial advisor can help you navigate big life changes like a cross-country move, or just help you to meet your financial goals in general. A matching tool like SmartAsset’s can help you find a professional to work with to meet your needs. First you answer a series of questions about your situation and your goals. Then the program matches you with up to three financial advisors who meet your needs. You can then read their profiles to learn more about them, interview them on the phone or in person and choose who to work with in the future. This allows you to find a good fit while doing much of the hard work for you.

Photo credit: © iStock/aimintang

Amelia Josephson Amelia Josephson is a writer passionate about covering financial literacy topics. Her areas of expertise include retirement and home buying. Amelia's work has appeared across the web, including on AOL, CBS News and The Simple Dollar. She holds degrees from Columbia and Oxford. Originally from Alaska, Amelia now calls Brooklyn home.
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