It’s hard to not be stressed or depressed about money these days. Prices have skyrocketed and I often joke that the value of everything seems to have gone up- except me. But goods and services don’t tell the entire pictures when it comes to cost of living. So how much money does it take to live comfortably in each of the major cities? A lot. The financial experts at Smart Asset recently conducted a study about the salary needed to live comfortably in cities across the country.

How Much Money It Takes To Live Comfortably

Smart Asset recommends a budget they describe as the 50/30/20 budge. This means that 50% of your salary should go to to needs. They include costs such as housing, transportation, and groceries in this category. The 30% is allocated to entertainment and hobbies. While the final 20% should be used to pay off debt, or if you’re lucky enough to be debt free saving or investing.

So to conduct this study they took the “local cost of necessities and taxes” and factored it into the 50/30/20 budget to determine the “pre-tax salary needed to live comfortably” in the 99 largest U.S. cities. They found that $96,500 is the amount needed for an individual to live comfortably in a major U.S. city. 5 North Carolina cities were included in this study. The five largest in the state- Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, and Winston-Salem. When it comes to the amount of money it takes to live comfortably in North Carolina cities, only two were less than average. I thought the south was supposed to be cheaper!

These days it truly feels like most people are living paycheck to paycheck or at least not able to save significant money. Even though when it comes to salary people are making higher than they have before that money doesn’t go near as far as it did even a few years ago. Keep reading to see how much money it takes to live comfortably in each of the 5 largest North Carolina cities. Don’t say I didn’t warn you though, it may sting a little!

Read the full study from Smart Asset here.

  • Winston- Salem

    Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA Downtown Skyline.

    According to this data the most affordable North Carolina major city to live in is Winston-Salem. This Triad city is the fifth most populous in the state. It features a vibrant downtown, historic sites including Old Salem, and lot’s of character and charm. It’s the home of Wake Forest University, and provides easy access to other areas of the state as well.

    Hourly Wage Needed For A Single Adult: $39.36

    Salary Needed For A Single Adult: $81,869

    Total Salary Needed For Two Working Adults And Two Children: $194,605

  • Greensboro

    Drone Aerial of Downtown Greensboro North Carolina NC Skyline

    Staying in the same area the next city on this list is Greensboro. It’s slightly more expensive than Winston and located in Guilford County. Greensboro is the third most populous city in the state.

    Hourly Wage Needed For A Single Adult: $41.88

    Salary Needed For A Single Adult: $87,110

    Total Salary Needed For Two Working Adults And Two Children: $203,674

  • Durham

    Durham, North Carolina, USA downtown cityscape.

    We now move to the Triangle. The third most expensive city to live in is Durham. The city offers lots of great jobs in tech and is home to Duke University. Downtown Durham has lots to offer from breweries and restaurants, to sports, arts, and entertainment.

    Hourly Wage Needed For A Single Adult: $47.62

    Salary Needed For A Single Adult: $99,050

    Total Salary Needed For Two Working Adults And Two Children: $233,043

  • Charlotte

    Charlotte Skyline

    No Charlotte doesn’t require the largest salary much to my surprise. The largest city in the state is the 2nd most expensive. And that hourly wage? I don’t know many people making that.

    Hourly Wage Needed For A Single Adult: $48.72

    Salary Needed For A Single Adult: $101,338

    Total Salary Needed For Two Working Adults And Two Children: $235,123

  • Raleigh

    A colorful daytime cityscape of downtown Raleigh North Carolina

    Which means the city where it takes the highest amount of money to live comfortably? The state capitol of Raleigh. Though it was a close race and fair to say the cost of living is fairly comparable between Charlotte and Raleigh. But hey if they want to win this one I’m ok with it since it impacts my bank account!

    Hourly Wage Needed For A Single Adult: $49.40

    Salary Needed For A Single Adult: $102,752

    Total Salary Needed For Two Working Adults And Two Children: $235,872

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