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The Cost Of Living Diaries: Tampa, Florida

How much does it cost to live in Tampa? We asked a local to give us ALL the details.

By Sarah Von Bargen on March 15, 2019

Tampa is consistently one of the most popular cities featured on Livability. A beautiful, welcoming, rapidly growing city that was recently named one of our Top 100 Best Places to Live in America, there are tons of reasons why so many people want to know more about living in Tampa. So, how much does it really cost to live there? We asked a local to give us the scoop on everything from rent to lattes to childcare.

Name: Hannah

Age: 31

City: Tampa, FL

How long have you lived in Tampa?

Eight years. I lived in a suburb of Tampa as a teen, then moved out of state for a job, but HATED IT. My boyfriend (now husband) was living in Tampa and I forced my way in to living with him when I came back.

What’s your rent/mortgage in Tampa?

Our mortgage is $1,178/month for a 1,300 square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom house on the edge of a hip neighborhood. We bought our house in December 2017, but previously rented a two-bedroom apartment in the middle of the hip neighborhood for a few years before that. Rent kept increasing, so we decided to buy instead!

Why Everyone Is Moving to Tampa Right Now (And You Might Want to Join Them)

Who are the main employers in Tampa? Are jobs relatively easy to find?

I work in the nonprofit world, so my view might be a bit limited. My friends work mostly for breweries or marketing agencies. Large companies that come to mind are Moffitt Cancer Center, the VA hospital and University of South Florida.

How’s the access to grocery stores and food in Tampa? Are you going to be able to find things like quinoa and gluten-free pizzas at your local grocery store?

Publix is the best. I have always found everything I need there. We also have a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Sprouts and Rollin’ Oats all within a reasonable distance.

How family-friendly is Tampa?

It’s great! There are always family-friendly activities going on – we have a toddler, and I find a lot is geared toward stay-at-home parents. However, we still find plenty to do to keep busy on the weekends.

There are a ton of beautiful parks and playgrounds, and a surprising number of small organizations that act as a great resource to new or young families.

Moving to Florida? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

What’s childcare like in Tampa?

We pay $140 per week for full-time care for our two-year-old. When I was pregnant and researching childcare, I was immediately in a full panic – anything affordable and decently rated had a huge wait list.

Courtesy of Visit Tampa Bay

How walkable is Tampa? Is there a good public transit system?

[Walkability and public transportation] is a huge issue. Tampa is very spread out so perhaps someone living in Downtown or Tampa Heights would have a different opinion.  

I attempted to take the bus for a few months as a way to get home from work. It does have a good app that lets you know the schedule and when the bus will be arriving, but it just wasn’t working for me as a real option. I would love to have better transportation options in this city.

To give us an idea of the overall cost of living – how much does a nice, fancy cup of coffee cost? A nice cocktail?

My regular order at Spaddy’s (an iced latte) is $4.50. For a nice cocktail, I expect to spend at least $11.

Courtesy of Visit Tampa Bay

What are you absolute favorite things about Tampa?

There is just always something going on. You can always find somewhere to hang out, grab a drink or see an old movie. We have amazing restaurants. I love the airport.

I love being close enough to the beach that it doesn’t feel like a big deal to go there but it also doesn’t feel like a touristy beach city. We have a few great breweries, murals everywhere, perfect coffee spots and the winters are truly delightful.

Read more: Why Tampa Is One of the Top 100 Best Places to Live in America.

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