Cost of Living in San Diego, CA, United States

Updated On July 26, 2023

How Much Does It Cost to Live In San Diego, CA?

San Diego is a large city right on the Pacific Ocean in Southern California.

It’s the second-largest city in the state with many universities and good swimming beaches.

It offers mountains, beaches, lakes, and deserts, so you can’t go outside without seeing some beautiful nature, or those bright, multicolored sunsets.

It’s expensive to live in San Diego.

The average family of four will need an income in the neighborhood of $75,000 annually to really do anything.

California has some of the highest income taxes in the union, ranging from 8–12%.

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


There is some seriously good Mexican food in San Diego, which is just one of the perks of being a border town. You can’t find a better street truck taco, gigantic burrito, or fresher salsa anywhere else.

But, if it’s finer dining you’re after, there is a ton of great high-end restaurants as well.



Food, though it may not be cheaper than other areas in the country, tends to be fresh and abundant with almost every fruit and vegetable grown in the world available somewhere.

Many local and national markets are here, like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and they both have organic sections with an extensive selection of delectable and nutritious treats.



The price of public transport is 3.00$ for local/neighborhood routes, as well as for urban routes, and 2.50$ for express routes.

Transfers are not available.

Day passes cost 5$.

Like the rest of California, gas is more expensive than in most other states due to the local taxes that are added.

Currently, the average in San Diego is about 3.50$ per gallon.



Utilities are pretty inexpensive in San Diego too, though it does depend on the amount of electricity you use and on the size of your apartment.

For example, for a bit larger apartment, of about 85m2, all basic utilities like heating, cooling, electricity, and gas will cost you around 302$.

Sports and leisure


The weather in San Diego is ideally suited for bicycle riding, and bikes are a good way to explore the beachside communities.

The city is very bike-friendly so you can go cycling and exercise this way for free!

Going to the cinema and enjoying some movie time is expensive.

Prepare to pay around 16$ per ticket.

Clothing and shoes


For those who prefer brand names like Bloomingdales, Gucci, and Apple, the famous Old Town-Mission Valley in San Diego has an open-air mall.

Just to get you familiar with the prices right away: quality jeans will cost you around 62$, and you won’t find any good running sneakers without cashing out around 100$.

Rent per month


Homes and apartments that have an ocean view, of course, will sell or rent for considerably more than units that are inland.

The proximity to downtown or public transportation is also important factors that greatly influence the affordability.

Most rents on a one-bedroom apartment might be between 2300$-2800$ on average.

A two-bedroom will be about 2,500$ – 4,500$.

Cost of Living Averages Table for San Diego, CA

*Note: All prices are indicated in USD.
Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant)$25.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter)$8.00
Water (0.33 Liter)$2.33
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter)$1.14
Loaf Bread (500g)$4.01
Eggs (12)$4.85
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket$3.00
Monthly Pass$75.00
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling)$302.23
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local$0.17
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)$81.00
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult$60.41
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour)$36.2
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release$16.00
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable)$62.71
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...)$67.12
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range)$98.45
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center$2837.03
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center$2315.44
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center$5308.06

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in San Diego, CA?

Rent is taking up more than 45% of one’s entire salary – and no wonder, since it’s not cheap at all in San Diego.

Food is definitely the second biggest expense for anyone living in San Diego – though this is the situation in most countries around the world.

Food is an everyday necessity and when it’s not cheap, it amounts to a high monthly expense.

Other significant expenses for the people of San Diego are restaurants (a very high percentage) and transportation, while clothing and shoes draw the least amount of money from them.

Average Costs Breakdown


San Diego, CA: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

Bear in mind that employment pays better elsewhere than in San Diego: Los Angeles, for example, has higher wages for similar jobs and can be cheaper to live in.

The usual minimum wage is around 2000$ which is a decent minimum wage that most people can earn for a normal life.

An average monthly salary in San Diego is around 5400$ which is absolutely enough for a comfortable life in this city.

This salary is, actually, typical of only the major and most popular and populated cities in America.

Average Salary$5492.65
Minimum Wage$2080.00
Mortgage Interest Rate6.42%

San Diego Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: San Diego Safety Review

Safety Index:

Cost of Living by City in San Diego, CA

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
Madison, WI74.2
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 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

Where to Next?

See these related locations:

Or, browse the country/city indexes:

Cost of Living - Country Index Cost of Living - City Index

Share Your Experience

Facebook Pinterest