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What is the Cost of living in USA?

8 min read
Blog Summary The article delves into the various expenses associated with living in the USA, offering insights into accommodation, food, transportation, and other costs.

One of the most critical concerns of studying abroad for international students is the cost of living. You should do thorough research and plan well before making your final decision. The USA is not a cheap country to live in, and it is no secret. Knowing the likely expenses that can come your way is advisable, so you do not suffer in the end. You can expect a monthly expense of USD 1000 to USD 3000 per month. However, this cost highly depends on your area and the university you study at. For instance, your monthly expenses will be higher if you study at a university in New York. On the other hand, your expenses will be considerably lesser if you live in a place like Ohio. In general, to put it short, you should consider the means to support yourself before shifting to the USA. The following sections will help you understand the likely costs of living in the USA, the affordable cities etc.

Cost of Living in USA for International Students

It is estimated that an international student will have to spend around USD 10,000 to USD 18,000 per year to live in the USA. This cost depends on your area, but there can only be a minor difference. Tuition fees cover a more significant part of your expense in the country, followed by accommodation. Several scholarships available for international students provide full and partial funding. Nonetheless, you will have to spend on clothes, entertainment, movies etc. A few costs that come yearly are highlighted below.

  • Most universities offer in-campus accommodation. To live outside, you must rent an apartment for around USD 300 to USD 600 per month.
  • You can expect a travel cost of between USD 300 and USD 700 to travel within the country.
  • You may need to spend around USD 900 to USD 2000 per year on your books and other study materials.
  • If you are someone who eats out more often, you can expect an expense of USD 2500 per year.
  • You may also spend around USD 2500 a year on your clothes, movies and other forms of entertainment.

Average Cost of Living in USA

The USA is one of the most prominent nations in the world in terms of attracting international students. At the same time, it is one of the most attractive countries to live in. however, with all these come a few costs that you should be aware of. A monthly breakdown of the cost of some necessities is given below.

Type of Expense

Average Amount (in USD)


USD 200


USD 150


USD 100

Food from restaurants

USD 75


USD 50

Health insurance

USD 60


USD 100

Electricity & Gas

USD 90


USD 70

Housekeeping supplies

USD 150

Personal care products & services

USD 100

Related Article: USA Student visa from Nigeria

Cost of Accomodation in USA

The cost of accommodation is highly dependent on where you stay and how you stay. If you live in a costlier city, your accommodation expenses will be higher and vice versa. Also, your expenses will be lower if you live in an off-campus dorm. You have four options to stay; an on-campus, off-campus, one-bedroom apartment in a rural area and an urban area. The monthly cost can considerably vary. 

A rough estimate is given below: 

  • On-campus accommodation: USD 9800 - USD 11,100 per year
  • Off-campus dormitory: USD 450 per month
  • One-bedroom apartment in the city: USD 3500 per month
  • Off-campus apartment in a rural area: USD 500 per month

Cost of Utilities in USA

The cost of utilities can include the expenses of electricity, water, water, gas, telephone, cable etc. It can vary depending on your need and the place you live in. For instance, fuel costs are reduced if you do not own a vehicle. You may spend around USD 35 to USD 115 per month on water, USD 117 on electricity, USD 55 on natural gas etc. On average, Connecticut, Alaska, Hawaii etc., are a few places with more utility expenses, and New Mexico, Utah, Idaho etc., are a few places where it is cheaper.

Cost of Transportation in USA

Travelling within the USA is easy and less time-consuming as the country has a well-connected transportation system. You will find a variety of means of transportation like bicycles, trains, buses, subways, taxis etc. Monthly passes will be available for students in buses and metros, and you can take them. It can cost around USD 40 to USD 100 per month. Additionally, if you book your air tickets back home in the off-season, you can cut your expense there too.

Cost of Food From Restaurants in USA

Eating food from a restaurant is undoubtedly more expensive than cooking on your own. But, you can choose to eat from some reasonably priced restaurants to spend lesser. If you choose an on-campus accommodation, you will not have to worry about food, as it will be provided to you. Otherwise, you will have to cook on your own or eat at restaurants. A basic lunch in the USA can come to around USD 15. A burger can cost USD 2, and a cappuccino can cost USD 4. A Chinese restaurant is the least expensive, while a French restaurant is more costly.

Cost of Healthcare in USA

Healthcare in the USA is very expensive compared to several other countries. Though the doctor consultation cost is not too high, the medical treatment is costlier. A standard medical treatment can cost you around USD 200 to USD 300. If you need to be admitted to the hospital for some reason, the cost can be even higher. 

A few healthcare needs and the likely expense are given below: 

  • Ambulance: USD 400 - USD 1200
  • Medication: USD 500
  • Medical tests and screenings: USD 100 - USD 5000
  • Hospitalisation: USD 3000 - USD 30,000
  • Surgery: USD 4000 - USD 10,000
  • Dental treatment: USD 115 - USD 695

Cost of Elictricity & Gas in USA

Electricity and natural gas are two expenses you will incur if you live on your own. Though electricity is more expensive than natural gas, it cannot affect you much if you take good care. The electricity bill amount is also dependent on how you use electricity. If you wish to save money, you can easily do it by switching off whatever is not in use. You can expect USD 100 to USD 120 for electricity. On the other hand, you may have to pay around USD 12 if you use natural gas.

Cost of Clothing in USA

It is good news for those who love shopping for clothes more often that clothing is comparatively cheaper in the USA. Several designer brands sell expensive clothes, but you can choose the normal ones if you wish to. This will help you save more money. A pair of jeans can cost somewhere around USD 45 to USD 47. Now, this is an expense that is not inevitable. You can choose whether or not to buy and pile up new clothes and where to buy them from.

Cost of Housekeeping Supplies in USA

The cost of housekeeping supplies has increased in the USA in recent years, partly due to the economy's inflation. The amount is variable as it highly depends on your usage. There are ways to spend less, and you can plan accordingly if you wish to. The average cost of housekeeping supplies in the USA can come to around USD 800 per consumer unit in a year.

Cost of Personal Care Products and Services in USA

It is estimated that a person spends around USD 200 to USD 250 per month on personal care products. This is again dependent on the person. You can go for budget-friendly products to lessen your expense. The cost of skin care products falls on the higher side. An average person spends around USD 60 per month on personal care products.

Best and Affordable City to Live in USA

You need not be worried about seeing all the high figures on the likely expenses in the USA. A few cities and states in the country are cheaper and affordable for international students. If you shift to these places, it will be easier for you to manage your finances well. A few such places and the average cost of living per month are given in the table below.


Cost of Living (in USD)


USD 800 - USD 1300


USD 1000 - USD 2000


USD 1000 - USD 2000


USD 1100 - USD 2000


USD 1200 - USD 2000


USD 1300 - USD 2500

San Diego

USD 1400 - USD 2400

Related Article: Study in USA

Cost of Education in USA

The USA has over a million international students. You will find that there are courses and programs for everyone. A degree earned from that country is recognised worldwide. You will find your certificate from an American university benefitting you both for your higher studies and getting a good job. The average tuition fees of some of the popular courses in the USA are given below.

Education Level

Average Tuition Fees (in USD)

Average Tuition Fees (in NGN)


USD 8000 - USD 55,000

NGN 33,37,520 - NGN 2,29,45,450

Undergraduate Diploma

USD 25,000 - USD 35,000

NGN 1,04,29,750 - NGN 1,46,01,650


USD 7000 - USD 53,000

NGN 29,20,330 - NGN 2,21,11,070


USD 60,000 - USD 1,00,000

NGN 2,50,31,400 - NGN 4,17,19,000

Postgraduate Diploma

USD 15,000 - USD 23,000

NGN 62,87,550 - NGN 95,95,370


USD 28,000 - USD 55,000

NGN 1,16,81,320 - NGN 2,29,45,450


Studying abroad, especially in the USA, requires careful financial planning due to high living costs. International students can expect monthly expenses between USD 1000 to USD 3000, varying significantly based on location and university. Costs encompass tuition, accommodation, travel, books, and personal expenses. While cities like New York are expensive, places like Ohio offer a more affordable living. It's crucial to research and understand these costs, including available scholarships, to avoid financial difficulties.

If you need further assistance on the cost of living in the USA or anything else about studying in the USA in general, you can contact aecc. We have counsellors and professionals skilled at addressing all your queries and helping you apply to your favourite university. You need not hesitate to contact us anytime.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average monthly cost of living for students in the USA?
The average monthly cost of living for students in the USA ranges from USD 1000 to USD 3000. However, this cost can vary significantly depending on the location and the university. For instance, living expenses will be higher if studying at a university in New York compared to a place like Ohio.
How does the cost of accommodation vary for students in the USA?
The cost of accommodation depends on the type and location: On-campus accommodation: USD 9800 - USD 11,100 per year Off-campus dormitory: USD 450 per month One-bedroom apartment in the city: USD 3500 per month
What are the average utility costs for students in the USA?
Utility costs can include expenses for electricity, water, gas, telephone, and cable. On average, students might spend: Water: USD 35 to USD 115 per month Electricity: USD 117 per month Natural gas: USD 55 per month
What are the transportation costs in the USA for students?
The USA offers various transportation options like bicycles, trains, buses, subways, and taxis. Monthly passes for buses and metros are available for students, costing around USD 40 to USD 100 per month. Additionally, air travel within the country can range from USD 300 to USD 700.
How much does dining out cost in the USA for students?
Dining out is generally more expensive than cooking at home. A basic lunch can cost around USD 15, a burger around USD 2, and a cappuccino around USD 4. If a student frequently dines out, they might spend approximately USD 2500 per year.

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