How Much Does It Cost to Live in Des Moines, Iowa?

Des Moines is a medium city located in Iowa with a metropolitan area population of 206,688. A couple could live a moderate lifestyle in Des Moines on a budget of $2,898 per month, or $34,777 per year.

Cost of Living in Des Moines, Iowa

As noted above, the cost of living in Des Moines, Iowa is $2,898 per month for a couple living a moderate lifestyle. This budget consists of $1,482 for housing related costs, $732 for food, and $684 for other costs, all of which will be broken down below.


  • A one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Des Moines is estimated to cost $1,175
  • Basic utilities including electricity, water, and gas will run about $205
  • High-speed internet averages $102


  • Typical grocery costs of $522 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 $100
  • Frequent coffees in a neighborhood café are estimated to be about $110


  • Meals out are estimated to be $405 per month, including 4 meals in mid-range restaurants and 8 in inexpensive restaurants
  • Transportation costs of $120 for public transport passes and occasional taxis
  • Fitness center memberships of $104
  • Cinema tickets of $55 include several outings for international releases

Note that Des Moines, Iowa is a somewhat walkable city with a Walk Score of 75/100, which means you may need a car if you are living in the city center and you will probably need to use public transportation frequently.


Amount of Money Needed to Retire in Des Moines, Iowa

Many people searching the internet for the cost of living in Des Moines, Iowa 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 $869,430 to live a moderate lifestyle in Des Moines, Iowa.

Annual expenses of $34,777 ÷ 4% = $869,430 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 Des Moines, Iowa is affordable coming in at $2,898 for a couple living a moderate lifestyle. Those seeking to retire could do so comfortably with a retirement portfolio of $869,430.