How Much Does It Cost to Live in Madison, Wisconsin?

Madison is a medium city located in Wisconsin with a metropolitan area population of 240,323. A couple could live a moderate lifestyle in Madison on a budget of $3,376 per month, or $40,509 per year.

Cost of Living in Madison, Wisconsin

As noted above, the cost of living in Madison, Wisconsin is $3,376 per month for a couple living a moderate lifestyle. This budget consists of $1,834 for housing related costs, $713 for food, and $829 for other costs, all of which will be broken down below.


  • A one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Madison is estimated to cost $1,614
  • Basic utilities including electricity, water, and gas will run about $147
  • High-speed internet averages $72


  • Typical grocery costs of $525 per month include things like bread, eggs, milk, cheese, rice, chicken breast, bottled water, fruits, and vegetables
  • Alcohol including beer and wine for moderate home consumption costs about $85
  • Frequent coffees in a neighborhood café are estimated to be about $104


  • Meals out are estimated to be $505 per month, including 4 meals in mid-range restaurants and 8 in inexpensive restaurants
  • Transportation costs of $163 for public transport passes and occasional taxis
  • Fitness center memberships of $102
  • Cinema tickets of $60 include several outings for international releases

Note that Madison, Wisconsin is a very walkable city with a Walk Score of 91/100, which means you won’t need a car if you are living in the city center and you may even save some money by not using public transportation and taxis very often.


Amount of Money Needed to Retire in Madison, Wisconsin

Many people searching the internet for the cost of living in Madison, Wisconsin are doing so to see if and when they can quit their jobs and retire. A popular and easy way to calculate your retirement number is using the 4% Rule.

The 4% Rule estimates that a person(s) could withdraw 4% of their retirement nest egg and never run out of money. Using this calculation, a couple would need an investment portfolio of $1,012,734 to live a moderate lifestyle in Madison, Wisconsin.

Annual expenses of $40,509 ÷ 4% = $1,012,734 portfolio needed.

Of course, everyone’s financial situation is different, and the above calculation could change based on any other sources of passive income and social security income.


Overall, the cost of living in Madison, Wisconsin is affordable coming in at $3,376 for a couple living a moderate lifestyle. Those seeking to retire could do so comfortably with a retirement portfolio of $1,012,734.