How Much Does It Cost to Live in San Francisco, California?

San Francisco is a medium city located in California with a metropolitan area population of 825,863. A couple could live a moderate lifestyle in San Francisco on a budget of $6,003 per month, or $72,035 per year.

Cost of Living in San Francisco, California

As noted above, the cost of living in San Francisco, California is $6,003 per month for a couple living a moderate lifestyle. This budget consists of $3,941 for housing related costs, $942 for food, and $1,120 for other costs, all of which will be broken down below.


  • A one-bedroom apartment in the city center of San Francisco is estimated to cost $3,622
  • Basic utilities including electricity, water, and gas will run about $238
  • High-speed internet averages $81


  • Typical grocery costs of $703 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 $119
  • Frequent coffees in a neighborhood café are estimated to be about $120


  • Meals out are estimated to be $625 per month, including 4 meals in mid-range restaurants and 8 in inexpensive restaurants
  • Transportation costs of $203 for public transport passes and occasional taxis
  • Fitness center memberships of $218
  • Cinema tickets of $75 include several outings for international releases

Note that San Francisco, California is a very walkable city with a Walk Score of 99/100, 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 San Francisco, California

Many people searching the internet for the cost of living in San Francisco, 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 $1,800,870 to live a moderate lifestyle in San Francisco, California.

Annual expenses of $72,035 ÷ 4% = $1,800,870 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 San Francisco, California is affordable coming in at $6,003 for a couple living a moderate lifestyle. Those seeking to retire could do so comfortably with a retirement portfolio of $1,800,870.