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Cost of Living in Columbia, SC

Updated: Mar 25

Are you thinking about moving to Columbia, SC and would like to know what is the cost of living?

Here are all the things you need to know about the cost of living in Columbia.

1. Eating Out

Eating out in Columbia is pretty affordable! For instance lunch at my favorite Asian restaurant, Miyo’s, costs $11.00.

Now if I want something fast and healthy I can always go to Moe’s and eat a burrito for $8.99.

I’m not a fan of fast food restaurants, but, if you are in a pinch there is always that option.

2. Groceries

According to a study from move.org, South Carolina has the seventh most expensive groceries in the nation. Researchers found residents in The Palmetto State pay $411.29 for groceries every month, 16 percent more than the national average of $355.50. 1

3. Internet Service

The price of internet in Columbia is also affordable and it really depends on the provider you select for your service.

The average cost of internet as per salary.com is $66.20 per month.

Some providers offer bundle packages that include internet, cable and phone. One thing to consider is the amount of data you use in order to pick the perfect plan.

The best thing to do is shop around and select the plan that best fits your needs.

4. Electricity Bill

Electricity in South Carolina is lower that many other states.

According to Salary.com the price of electricity in South Carolina has gone down about 1.224%. I’m currently living in a 5 bedroom 2.5 bath home and the electric bill ranges from $150 to $175.

According to Electricity local the average monthly residential electricity bill in South Carolina is $132, which ranks 3rd in the nation and is 23.36% greater than the national average of $107 per month.

So, for a 3 bed 2 bath home I estimate the average reported by electricity local is pretty much accurate.

5. Childcare

According to salary.com The estimated average annual cost for child care in Columbia, South Carolina (based on state average), is $6475. This cost is ranked NO. 43 nationally. Some employers have company provided day care centers that let you bring your child to work with you and receive care on site. Some colleges and universities with Childhood Education programs also may have day care centers available at reduced costs, so you should explore those possibilities to see if you can reduce your child care expense. 2 2021-12-27 salary.com.

6. Taxes

The sales tax in Columbia is 6%.

Home property taxes are 4% for your primary home and 6% for a secondary home.

If you are serious about making your move to Columbia and are curious about how much you will pay for property taxes, make sure to click the links on the description of this video.

I have included links for Richland and Lexington Counties.

All you have to do is input the address of the home your are planning to buy and the system will give you a pretty accurate amount.

We also have vehicle taxes! According to the DMV Vehicle taxes in Columbia are 5% of the purchase price, but it will be no more than $500. If you purchase an item that is $9,999 or less, your IMF or Infrastructure Maintenance Fee will be 5% of the sale price. If it is $10,000 or more, you will owe $500. You will also have to pay for title and registration fees and you have 45 days to register your vehicle.

7. Public Transportation

“The COMET is a fast, fun and friendly transit system that can take you pretty much anywhere you want to go in the Midlands.”3

A one way trip is $2. An all day pass $4. A 7 day pass $14. A 31 day pass is $40.

If you have a disability that prevents you from using The COMET fixed route system, you may qualify for Dial-A-Ride Transit or (DART) service.

DART is a origin-to-destination, advance reservation, shared-ride transportation service. There are no restrictions on the purpose or frequency of reservations. Riders going in the same general direction are grouped together to share rides. A fleet of small buses provides DART service. Each is equipped with wheelchair lifts and can accommodate four wheelchairs.”4

8. Health Care

According to E-Health Insurance “South Carolina residents can expect to pay an average of $452 per person* for a basic major medical individual health insurance plan. Prices will vary and premiums can be lower if you are in good health.” 5

9. Salaries

Here are a few positions with salary range and average.

Job Title Range Average

Operations Manager $36k - $99k $63,667

Project Manager $46k - $107k $72,108

Administrative Assistant $27k - $42k $32,292

Civil Engineer $54k - $88k $64,576

Office Manager $32k - $68k $42,062

(HR) Manager $43k - $85k $60,899

(HR) Generalist $34k - $64k $42,739


10. Housing

The Cost of living here is 17% less than the national average. Housing is very inexpensive and also are the property taxes, which makes Columbia a perfect place to be for individuals looking to relocate.

For instance, a primary home in the 200 to $225,000 range will pay approx $1,100 to $1,300 a year in property taxes. It really depends on the county you chose to live in.

In November of 2021, the median listing home price in Columbia, was $210K, trending up 13.5% year-over-year. The median listing home price per square foot was $118. The median home sold price was $230K as per Realtor.com. 7

11. Gym Membership

This cost of living video will be totally incomplete without mentioning how much does it cost to have a gym membership.

The gym that I’m a member of is MUV Fitness. I’ve been a member for a long time and I pay $25/month.

If you sign up for the MÜV Fitness membership plan, there are a few different options that can be selected. The bi-weekly pricing varies from $25 to $80, excluding the one-time joining fee which ranges anywhere between $0 and $220, depending on the available promotions. 8

Anytime Fitness Gym: The cost varies by location and membership type, but most Anytime Fitness prices hover around $36.50 per month. Some locations charge as little as $30 per month, while others charge as much as $44 for a single monthly membership (or $39 per month when you sign on for a year). 9

Planet fitness charges $10/month on their classic deal with a $39 registration fee.

If you are thinking about moving to Columbia, SC make sure to download my FREE relocation guide here.


  1. https://abcnews4.com/news/local/study-south-carolina-among-states-with-most-expensive-groceries-leading-into-thanksgiving

  2. https://www.salary.com/research/cost-of-living/columbia-sc#locationdesc

  3. https://catchthecometsc.gov/about-us/

  4. https://catchthecometsc.gov/dart-service/

  5. https://www.ehealthinsurance.com/south-carolina-health-insurance

  6. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Location=Columbia-SC/Salary

  7. https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-search/Columbia_SC/overview

  8. https://www.thepricer.org/muv-fitness-membership-cost/

  9. https://slickdeals.net/article/list/how-to-best-anytime-fitness-membership-deal/

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