Cost of Living in Philadelphia: A Comprehensive Guide

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A Complete Guide on Cost of Living in Philadelphia

Looking out for a perfect destination to pursue your higher education and fulfil your dreams? Is it Philadelphia? If yes, then, you might wonder about various factors such as the cost of living in Philadelphia, PA. It collectively involves, food costs, accommodation costs, transportation costs, entertainment costs, basic utilities, food costs, etc.


Here is a complete guide for you on the cost of living in Philadelphia where you will get insights into the expenses that you will encounter in Philadelphia. 

Also Read: Cost of Living in New York

Why Choose Philadelphia for Study Abroad?

Philadelphia is one of the most beautiful cities in the USA, filled with art, culture, and architecture. Here you will find various top-notch universities offering a variety of courses. If you wish to experience a lifetime career change then, you must opt for the University of Philadelphia. In addition, the cost of living in Philadelphia is affordable as compared to New York. You can easily manage the expenses if you spend according to a set budget.

Here is a list of the top universities in Philadelphia:

  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. Drexel University
  3. Temple University
  4. Thomas Jefferson University
  5. Saint Joseph’s University

Cost of Living in Philadelphia

The median salary in Philadelphia PA is $36957 on an annual basis. So, it is important to segregate the expenses based on the priority of things needed to live in Philadelphia. The average cost of living in Philadelphia for a single person excluding rent is $1198.8. Given below are some important expenses while you live in Philadelphia, PA:

Also Read: Cost of Living in Scotland: A Guide on Expected Expenses

Transportation Cost

Mentioned below are the transportation costs in Philadelphia:

Source Fare
A one-way ticket for Local Transport$2.50
Monthly pass of Local Transport$96.00
Taxi (Normal Tariff)$5.00
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline$24000.00

Food Cost

Food is an essential element to live life. Living outside one’s country could be difficult when it comes to having good food. Given below is the list of cost of food items in Philadelphia:

Milk (1 liter)$2.42
12 eggs$2.35
Loaf of white bread$4.52
Local cheese (1 kg)$16.63
Chicken (1 kg)$13.33
White rice (1 kg)$4.56
Onion (1 kg)$3.16
Potato (1 kg)$2.48
Tomato (1 kg)$5.71
Lettuce $3.03
Oranges (1 kg)$3.30
Apple (1 kg)$4.99
Banana (1 kg)$1.59
Meal at a cheap restaurant$20.00
McMeal at McDonald’s $9.00
Coke $2.45
Water (1.5 liters)$1.92

Accommodation Cost

Being an international student, the experience of living abroad would be a completely different experience. Everything from climate to housing would vary. The rent in Philadelphia is cheaper as compared to the rent in New York. Thus, it is the most sought study destination in the USA. The cost of accommodation varies on the type of housing facilities you are seeking. Living in student housing/accommodation offered by the university might cost you less compared to private apartments.

Here is the list of accommodation and the rent monthly:

1-bedroom apartment in a city$1945.94
1-bedroom apartment outside the city$1319.13
2-bedroom apartment (median)$1549
3-bedroom apartment in a city$3150.08
3-bedroom apartment outside city$2091.69
Median home price (3 BR, 2 BA)$431275

Utility Cost

It is important to take out a portion of monthly expenses for utility bills such as bills for electricity, mobile phones, internet, etc.

Here is an overview of the basic utility costs that you may encounter every month:

Basic electricity, cooling, heating, garbage, and water bill for 85 meter square apartment$190.71
Internet bill (it includes 60 Mbps data and more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL)$65.84
Monthly mobile phone bill$52.00

Entertainment Cost

Entertainment is one of the major factors where you have to pay a lot. For example, going to a movie, the ticket may cost you somewhere around $11.94. Newspaper would cost you $12.96. If you are going to any concert it might hit your pocket because that would be expensive from a student’s perspective. A haircut and beauty salon would cost you around $22.22 and $64.12 respectively.

Healthcare Cost

Health should be everyone’s priority as it is rightly said that health is wealth. Look at the table given below to get a reference of healthcare costs in Philadelphia:

Healthcare ServicesCost
Optometry Check-up$119.50
Dentist $97.54
Rx Drugs$446.88

Average Annual Tuition Fee

Another important consideration you should have while calculating the cost of living in Philadelphia is the tuition cost. The average tuition fees charged at the universities in Philadelphia are as follows:

Course LevelAverage Annual Tuition Fees
Undergraduate $58,000
PhD$28,531 to $57,590

Tips to Manage the Cost of Living in Philadelphia

Philadelphia will seem expensive if you do not manage your expenses and make a smart budget. Everything outside is different in terms of money and experience. Being a student, it is important to save money.

Here are some budgeting tips for students:

  • You can cut the cost of living in Philadelphia by finding affordable plus shared accommodation.
  • Opt for student accommodation offered by the chosen university.
  • Cook your food.
  • Avoid eating from expensive restaurants.
  • Use student’s discount wherever applicable.
  • Depends on public commutation.
  • Use bicycles to visit nearby places.
  • Buy used or second-hand books.
  • Shop groceries from Farmer’s Market at cheap prices.

Relevant Reads:

Cost of Living in Perth: A Comprehensive GuideCost of Living in Cambodia: A Guide on Expected Expenses
Cost of Living in Taiwan: A Guide on Expected ExpensesCost of Living in Doha: A Guide on Expected Expenses
Cost of Living in Birmingham: A Comprehensive GuideCost of Living in Calgary: A Comprehensive Guide


Q1. What salary do you need to live in Philly?

A. As per the analysis of the Go Banking Rate, you need to earn a minimum salary of $59384 per annum to live in Philadelphia. Your average monthly salary after taxes should be $4896.95 to lead a comfortable life in Philly.

Q2. Is Philadelphia PA expensive to live in?

A. The cost of living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA is 6% higher than the state average. But the housing facilities in Philadelphia, PA are 1% cheaper than the US average. You can manage the expenses through smart budgeting. 

Q3. How much does it cost to live in Philadelphia?

A. The cost of living in Philadelphia for a family of four is $4303.9 excluding rent, and for a single person is $1198.6 excluding rent every month. The city is 20.2% cheaper than New York, which makes it an affordable study destination for international students. 

This was all about the Cost of Living in Philadelphia. If you want to fulfil your dreams with the minimum hustle to search for a perfect study abroad destination, then reach out to Leverage Edu. You can also register for 30 minutes of free career counselling sessions by contacting us at 1800572000.

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