Cost of Living DefinitionOur FREE online Cost of Living Calculator will let you calculate the expected increase in your cost of living in just moments! The cost of living is how much it costs you to maintain the necessities of life, such as a place to live, food, electricity, clothing and gas. Use this calculator to make your calculations easier and quickly!
The cost of living does not include luxury items like dining out, cable TV, jewelry and the like. It covers basic necessities only.
The average cost of living varies from place to place. It costs a lot more to live in New York City than St. Louis or rural Tennessee, for example. It also varies from country to country.
Your cost of living is sure to be either more or less than the average for your area. Regardless, the one thing that is certain about the cost of living is that it goes up every year. Our FREE Cost of Living Calculator will help you calculate this increase!
How to Use the Cost of Living Calculator
The Cost of Living Calculator requires the following inputs:
1.) Current Cost of Living
2.) Expected Annual Cost of Living Increase
After you submit these two figures, you can press the calculate button, and this financial calculator will show the expected increase in your cost of living for the up coming year.
Current Cost of Living
Your current cost of living is how much it you currently spend on the basics of live. This is fairly easy to figure out, but it does involve some math.
First, write down your big expenses. This includes your rent or mortgage payment and your car payment if you have one.
Second, write down your other essential bills. These include your power and water bill and your car insurance. It does NOT include your phone bill or cable bill.
Third, come up with a rough estimate of how much you spend on food per year. Take your weekly grocery budget and multiply it by 52, or take your monthly budget and multiply it by 12. Do not include money spent on take out or meals out.
For the last thing, figure out about what you spend on clothing and other necessities, such as shampoo. Finally, estimate how much you spend on gas.
Add these numbers up. This is your total cost of living for the year.
Expected Annual Cost of Living Increase
This number you will need to get from another source. The expected increase in the cost of living is always expressed as a percentage and it varies from year to year.
The cost of living changes over time because of inflation. Inflation causes the value of money to erode and the cost of goods and services to go up, thus leading to a higher cost of living.
Therefore, the best way to estimate the increase in your cost of living from year to year is to use the inflation rate. The United States measures inflation using an index known as the Consumer Price Index, or CPI.
The CPI is calculated on both a monthly and a yearly basis. The CPI for May 2010 to May 2011 was 3.6%. This is the current Expected Annual Cost of Living Increase.
Let’s suppose your current cost of living is $25000 a year. If you input this into the first box and 3.6% into the second box and hit calculate, your answer will be $25,900.
What does this mean? That $900 is the additional amount you will have to pay for basic necessities during the next year. You will have to either make this much more in income or reduce your expenses to keep your standard of living from going down
How to Calculate Cost of LivingLet’s be honest – sometimes the best cost of living calculator is the one that is easy to use and doesn’t require us to even know what the cost of living formula is in the first place! But if you want to know the exact formula for calculating cost of living then please check out the “Formula” box above.