How Much Does It Cost to Live in Santa Barbara, California?

Santa Barbara is a small city located in California with a metropolitan area population of 88,410. A couple could live a moderate lifestyle in Santa Barbara on a budget of $5,085 per month, or $61,016 per year.

Cost of Living in Santa Barbara, California

As noted above, the cost of living in Santa Barbara, California is $5,085 per month for a couple living a moderate lifestyle. This budget consists of $3,044 for housing related costs, $944 for food, and $1,096 for other costs, all of which will be broken down below.


  • A one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Santa Barbara is estimated to cost $2,670
  • Basic utilities including electricity, water, and gas will run about $252
  • High-speed internet averages $121


  • Typical grocery costs of $690 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 $131
  • Frequent coffees in a neighborhood café are estimated to be about $123


  • Meals out are estimated to be $700 per month, including 4 meals in mid-range restaurants and 8 in inexpensive restaurants
  • Transportation costs of $130 for public transport passes and occasional taxis
  • Fitness center memberships of $201
  • Cinema tickets of $65 include several outings for international releases

Note that Santa Barbara, California is a very walkable city with a Walk Score of 96/100, 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 Santa Barbara, California

Many people searching the internet for the cost of living in Santa Barbara, California 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 $1,525,389 to live a moderate lifestyle in Santa Barbara, California.

Annual expenses of $61,016 ÷ 4% = $1,525,389 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 Santa Barbara, California is affordable coming in at $5,085 for a couple living a moderate lifestyle. Those seeking to retire could do so comfortably with a retirement portfolio of $1,525,389.