How to Do a Cost of Living Comparison

by Contributor ; Updated July 27, 2017

How to Do a Cost of Living Comparison. You are interested in moving and want to know how costs in your new area compare to your current location. Do a cost of living comparison to find out. Cost of living is the cost of continuing the same standard of living over time. A comparison is useful when considering a move for a job or retirement. You will also be better prepared to evaluate your job offers.

Step 1

Go to an online cost of living calculator. Choose the state and city to which you will be moving. Then select the job or put in a salary. Print out the results.

Step 2

Rank the most important factors to you. Categories include overall, housing, utilities, transportation, food or groceries, health care and miscellaneous expenses.

Step 3

Research your potential locations further. Get specific information on the neighborhood, schools, quality of life and the job that you will have.

Step 4

Write down your findings and compare the results.


  • Indexes measure the rate of change of the cost of living. The U.S. Consumer Price Index measures relative cost of living as a value of 100 in a given year. Indexes compare cost of living across locations, usually metropolitan areas. The cost of living index is a basis to determine a COLA, cost-of-living-adjustment that adjusts salaries. A cost-of-living adjustment provides employees extra income when they relocate. US military personnel often receive COLAs when stationed overseas.