Cost of Living in Madison, WI, United States

Updated On July 19, 2023

How Much Does It Cost to Live In Madison, WI?

Madison is the capital of the State of Wisconsin.

It’s a charming small, college town, very family-friendly, inexpensive, and liberal.

Madison is centered around the huge state university: there are tons of young people and a vibrant downtown scene.

If you’re old enough, it has a great bar scene and if not, there is still plenty of fun to be had, no matter what you’re into.

The biggest drawback is the very harsh winter that keeps many people away – December through February is truly torture!

Cost of Living Index:
* Based on Research & User Data


The food and beer scene there is one of the best in the U.S.: you could go to a different restaurant or bar every night for a year and not run out of great places to eat and drink at.

If you are more into coffee shops, there is also an abundance of that as well.

There are many places to eat at a very reasonable price.



Food and groceries are on par with all major cities.

There are many grocery stores around. I

f you know how to cook, you will find all the ingredients you need here which is great news because you can save a ton of money this way.

You should know that supermarkets keep basically the same prices as all the other stores in the country.



Madison has consistently been rated among America’s most bicycle-friendly cities which is great if you’re looking to cut costs because you can save a bunch of money this way.

However, due to Madison’s harsh winters, you can’t cycle year-long, but you can get around much of Madison on the Metro bus system at reasonable prices.



Utilities in Madison are really cheap.

The prices of utilities here are much cheaper than in many other cities – up to 50$ cheaper, in fact.

For an apartment around 85m2 (which is definitely bigger than a usual apartment for one or two people), basic utilities like electricity, trash, and water will cost you 183$ approximately.

Sports and leisure


Madison has a strong cycling scene, from frequent races to lots of tours and group rides, paths, etc.

It’s easy to get out of the city on a road bike and enjoy the rolling countryside.

Mountain bike trails are surprisingly good in the area and there is a ski resort that is 30 mins away.

A gym membership will cost you nearly 57$ per month.

Clothing and shoes


Although you won’t find any high-end or luxurious shopping complexes, there are many shopping malls and opportunities in Madison.

The prices are reasonable.

If you want a pair of Levi’s, it will cost you almost 55$, though.

Quality sneakers cost more, around 96$, and lighter pieces of clothing like summer dresses cost around 50$.

Rent per month


You are looking on average at around 1200$ for a decent one-bedroom apartment in a nice area of the city.

And of course, the closer you get to the city center, the more expensive the apartments will be.

You can always go to the suburbs and rent a charming apartment further from the city for some 1200$.

Cost of Living Averages Table for Madison, WI

*Note: All prices are indicated in USD.
Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant)$15.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter)$6.00
Water (0.33 Liter)$1.64
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter)$0.90
Loaf Bread (500g)$3.82
Eggs (12)$6.00
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket$2.00
Monthly Pass$65.00
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling)$183.94
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local$0.13
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)$71.61
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult$56.88
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour)$13.33
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release$11
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable)$54.62
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...)$48.33
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range)$96.75
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center$1610.77
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center$1263.15
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center$3241.67

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Madison, WI?

Most of the money in Madison gets spent on food, and people go and spent huge bulks of money in markets and grocery stores.

You can count on 200$ a week going on food if you have a family.

Another one of the biggest expenses in rent, as it can be pretty steep in certain areas, but in general, it is quite reasonable compared to some other major cities in America.

Restaurants and transportation go side by side like in most countries – though transportation is cheap, it’s essential for everyone, everyday, and as for the restaurants – it’s the only option for a huge part of the population.

Average Costs Breakdown


Madison, WI: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

The city’s economy is the best in the state, but Madison is, unfortunately, not a big place. Job opportunities are there, for sure but there are only so many open job places that can be filled.

The average monthly net salary in Madison is reasonably high, above 3600$, so most people can live without any problems, while the minimum monthly wage is considerably less – around 1200$.

However, if you’re the type of person to goes out every night, spend money in bars and restaurants, and act comfortably when it comes to pastime and leisure – you might find this average salary a bit too low.

Average Salary$3608.39
Minimum Wage$1256.67
Mortgage Interest Rate6.39%

Madison Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Madison Safety Review

Safety Index:

Cost of Living by City in Madison, WI

CityCost of Living Index
Albany, NY72.4
Albuquerque, NM72.4
Anchorage, AK72.4
Ann Arbor, MI72.4
Arlington, TX72.4
Asheville, NC72.4
Atlanta, GA72.4
Austin, TX72.4
Bakersfield, CA72.4
Baltimore, MD72.4
Bellevue, WA72.4
Bellingham, WA72.4
Berkeley, CA72.4
Birmingham, AL72.4
Boise, ID72.4
Boston, MA72.4
Boulder, CO72.4
Brooklyn, NY72.4
Buffalo, NY72.4
Burlington, VT72.4
Charleston, SC72.4
Charlotte, NC73.33
Chattanooga, TN72.4
Chicago, IL72.4
Cincinnati, OH72.4
Cleveland, OH72.4
Columbia, SC72.4
Columbus, OH72.4
Dallas, TX72.4
Dayton, OH72.4
Denver, CO72.4
Des Moines, IA72.4
Detroit, MI72.4
El Paso, TX72.4
Eugene, OR72.4
Everett, WA72.4
Fayetteville, AR72.4
Fort Myers, FL72.4
Fort Wayne, IN72.4
Fort Worth, TX72.4
Fresno, CA74.2
Gainesville, FL74.2
Grand Rapids, MI74.2
Greensboro, NC74.2
Hartford, CT74.2
Honolulu, HI74.2
Houston, TX74.2
Huntsville, AL74.2
Indianapolis, IN74.2
Irvine, CA74.2
Jacksonville, FL74.2
Jersey City, NJ74.2
Kansas City, MO74.2
Knoxville, TN74.2
Las Vegas, NV74.2
Lexington, KY74.2
Little Rock, AR74.2
Long Beach, CA74.2
Los Angeles, CA74.2
Louisville, KY74.2
Lubbock, TX74.2
Memphis, TN74.2
Miami, FL74.2
Milwaukee, WI74.2
Minneapolis, MN74.2
Nashville, TN74.2
New Orleans, LA74.2
New York, NY74.2
Oakland, CA74.2
Oklahoma City, OK74.2
Olympia, WA74.2
Orlando, FL74.2
Peoria, IL72.4
Philadelphia, PA72.4
Phoenix, AZ72.4
Pittsburgh, PA72.4
Portland, ME72.4
Portland, OR72.4
Raleigh, NC72.4
Reno, NV72.4
Richmond, VA74.2
Rochester, NY74.2
Sacramento, CA74.2
Saint Louis, MO74.2
Saint Paul, MN74.2
Saint Petersburg, FL74.2
Salem, OR74.2
Salt Lake City, UT74.2
San Antonio, TX74.2
San Diego, CA74.2
San Francisco, CA74.2
San Jose, CA74.2
Santa Barbara, CA74.2
Santa Rosa, CA74.2
Seattle, WA74.2
Spokane, WA74.2
Springfield, MO74.2
Syracuse, NY74.2
Tacoma, WA74.2
Tallahassee, FL74.2
Tampa, FL74.2
Toledo, OH74.2
Tucson, AZ74.2
Tulsa, OK74.2
Vancouver, WA74.2
Virginia Beach, VA74.2
Washington, DC74.2
West Palm Beach, FL74.2
Wichita, KS74.2

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