Cost of living - San Diego

Cost of living in San Diego

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What is the average monthly cost of living in San Diego?

The average cost of living in San Diego is $3,216.01 per month

San Diego is the second-biggest city in California, located at the southern end of the state by the Pacific Ocean. Despite its high cost of living, it is known for its pleasant weather, relaxing beaches, diverse cultures, and attractions like Balboa Park.

Even though the cost of living in San Diego is higher than the national average, especially when it comes to housing costs, living in the city doesn’t have to be out of reach. You can still discover affordable neighborhoods in San Diego that offer the best quality of life.

If you are tempted to move to San Diego, keep reading this article to learn what the cost of living looks like.


The main data collection source for this article is Numbeo and trusted city-related websites, including Metropolitan Transit System and the CA city and county page. The costs presented are estimates and pertain to an individual living alone on a monthly basis.

Cost of Living in San Diego, CA – 2024

Housing costs in San Diego

San Diego’s housing costs vary based on their proximity to the city center. This is particularly notable when comparing living within the city center to residing outside it. According to Numbeo, living in the heart of San Diego tends to be pricier (+20%), due to its proximity to the business district, cultural attractions, entertainment venues, amenities, and easy access to public transportation.

Below is the list of average costs for renting and buying properties in San Diego:

Cost of rent in San Diego


1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

San Diego (Outside of city center)



Numbeo (August 2023)

Cost of buying a property in San Diego


Average home price

San Diego


Zillow (Sept 2023)

Utility costs in San Diego: Internet, electricity and water

Whether owning or renting a property, both options involve utility costs, including essential services like internet, electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage collection. San Diegans face an approximate monthly cost of $399.86 for a 85m² apartment, covering these basic services.


Cost in San Diego


(Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 915 sq ft Apartment



(60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)




Numbeo (August 2023)

What is the average monthly cost of utilities in San Diego?
The average monthly cost of utilities in San Diego is $399.86


Grocery costs in San Diego

On average, grocery costs in San Diego tend to be slightly higher than the U.S. national average. One of the causes is the higher cost of living in the state of California, which influences the prices of various products.

Grocery items


Milk (regular), (1 gallon)


Loaf of Fresh White Bread (1 lb)


Rice (white) (1 lb)


Eggs (regular) (12)


Local Cheese (1 lb)


Chicken Fillets (1 lb)


Beef Round (1 lb)


Apples (1 lb)


Banana (1 lb)


Oranges (1 lb)


Tomato (1 lb)


Potato (1 lb)


Onion (1 lb)


Lettuce (1 head)


Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)


Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)


Imported Beer (12 oz small bottle)


Numbeo (August 2023)

What is the average monthly cost of groceries in San Diego?
The average monthly cost of groceries in San Diego is $277.68

Public transit in San Diego

San Diego offers diverse public transportation options, including buses, trolleys, and trains. The responsibility for providing and managing public transportation lies with two main entities: the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and the North County Transit District (NCTD). Together, they manage an extensive transportation network throughout San Diego County, including the San Diego city and its surroundings.

The MTS covers central and southern parts of San Diego, while the NCTD serves the north. 

The MTS Trolley is the most important public transport, linking downtown, attractions, universities, businesses, and neighborhoods. A top choice for city travel by both residents and visitors.

It has three primary lines:

Blue Line: from US-Mexico border through downtown, to San Diego State University.

Orange Line: from Middletown to El Cajon in the east.

Green Line: from Downtown San Diego, through Mission Valley to Santee.

Below is a compilation of public transportation costs in San Diego:

Type of fare

Cost in San Diego

Single ticket


Daily pass


Monthly pass


MTS (August 2023)

What is the monthly transit pass cost in San Diego?
The monthly transit pass costs in San Diego is $72.00

Entertainment costs in San Diego

San Diego’s vibrant culture, stunning beaches, and festive atmosphere invites residents and visitors alike to enjoy a wide range of entertainment options. If you enjoy food, you should try San Diego’s tasty dishes that blend coastal and Mexican flavors.


San Diego

Mid-range restaurant meal


1h taxi ride


1 movie ticket


Numbeo (August 2023)

Sales tax in San Diego

In a specific California location, sales tax consists of three parts: state, local, and district taxes. California’s base rate is 6%, but local governments can add their own taxes, causing rates to vary.

As of July 2023, San Diego’s total sales tax is 7.75%. The reduced sales tax rate in San Diego benefits consumers, increases economic activity, and helps local businesses.

CDTFA (July 2023

Healthcare costs in San Diego

In 2020, California made health coverage mandatory for residents, removing the individual mandate penalty. They also introduced a state-funded premium subsidy program to help low-income individuals get health insurance, promoting universal coverage.

San Diego, California, boasts a strong healthcare system with known institutions like UC San Diego Health, Scripps Health, and Sharp HealthCare. These hospitals provide a variety of medical services, contributing to the city’s reputation for high-quality healthcare. Healthcare in San Diego can be pricey, but the good news is there are lots of different health plans to choose from. 

Healthcare costs in San Diego are as follows:

Type of healthcare


Employer-sponsored health insurance


Non-employer-sponsored health insurance (average cheapest)




What is the average monthly cost of employee-sponsored health insurance in San Diego?
The monthly cost of employee-sponsored health insurance in San Diego is $101.23

Numbeo (August 2023)CA Health Care Foundation (April 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Sept 2023)


Moving to San Diego can be challenging because it’s expensive, but you can still chase your dreams in this southern California city. To prepare for your move, use the provided data as a reference to calculate the average cost of living and check with the best movers in San Diego to assist you. This will help you manage your money well and make your move easier.


Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center



Numbeo’s grocery list ($69.42 multiplied by 4)



Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage


Internet with 60 Mbps


Transit pass



Meal, taxi, movie


Gym membership 





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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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