Understanding the Cost of Living in Fort Collins: A Comprehensive Guide for 2024

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Fort Collins, known for its vibrant culture, scenic landscapes, and dynamic community, is a sought-after destination for many. However, understanding the cost of living in this beautiful Colorado city is crucial. This guide provides an in-depth look at the expenses you’ll encounter, from housing to healthcare and everything in between.

Housing: The Foundation of Your Budget

In 2024, Fort Collins’ real estate market reflects a diverse range of options, catering to various preferences and budgets. Single-family homes have a median sales price of $620,000, while attached dwellings such as condos and townhomes stand at $405,000. Here is a look at a couple of purchasing scenarios:

First Time Home Buyer:

8% Down (per nerd wallet) on a Median Single Family Detached Home at 6.25% and Price Point $620k

Principal and Interest: $3,512

Property Taxes – .65% of Purchase Price – $335/Mo

Insurance – .5% of Purchase Price – $141/Mo

PITI – $3,988

PMI – $100/Month

PITI + PMI = $4,088 (monthly mortgage payment)

2nd Time Home Buyer or Repeat Home Buyer:

19% Down (per nerd wallet) at 6.25% and Price Point $620k

Principal and Interest: $3,092

Property Taxes and Insurance – $476

PITI + $3,568

PMI – $25/Month

PITI + PMI = $3,593 (monthly mortgage payment)

Renters can expect an average rate of $2,500 for single-family homes and $1,737 for a 2-bedroom condo or apartment. A safe assumption for 2 or more bedrooms for an apartment or home is $800/bedroom. With renter’s insurance averaging around $10-$20 per month, securing your belongings is both essential and affordable.

Utilities: Keeping the Lights On

Your monthly utility bill in Fort Collins can vary widely based on your home’s size and type. On average, residents can expect to pay around (city of Fort Collins Utilities):

Electricity: $88.41

Water: $53.04

Wastewater: $37.04

Stormwater: $23.09

Natural Gas: $78.20 (average of 5 people’s gas with different sized homes)

Total Utilities: $279.78/Month

No additionally, you are going to want to have internet. Check out Fort Collins Connexions as it is absolutely amazing! You could get gigabyte speed with a modem for around $75/Month!

You will have trash/sanitation service and possibly HOA dues as well depending on the area of town you are living in. This will add an additional $40-$100/month for trash/HOA dues if you’re in a single family detached home.

Transportation: Navigating the City

The average commute in Fort Collins is about 20 minutes, with gas prices averaging $2.669. I drive daily from southeast Fort Collins to Downtown Fort Collins which is roughly 7 miles each way. For those considering electric vehicles (EVs), charging costs can impact your electricity bill, depending on your vehicle’s battery size and charging habits. On the flip side, it can reduce your gas usage and have pretty significant savings.

Fort Collins also offers extensive bike paths and free public transportation, providing eco-friendly and cost-effective alternatives to daily commutes. Leverage the tools at hand to reduce your transportation costs!

Food: Fueling Your Day

Groceries in Fort Collins can cost a family of four approximately $1,662 per month, with staple items such as milk, eggs, and ground beef having average prices of $3.20, $2.85, and $4.13, respectively. I can say that depending on your needs, this $1,662 figure may seem a little high, but could very well be accurate. My family does go out to eat a lot and so maybe our groceries last longer, but our average over 12 months going to Costco and Walmart was $1,144.05/month.

We go out way too much as a family, but enjoy it greatly. A quick “grab and go” for a family of 5 lunch or dinner will fetch around $50-$75. If you’re going to be sitting down, getting a drink or two, you can easily expect to spend $100 for lunch or dinner.

Healthcare: Prioritizing Well-being

Health insurance premiums, such as the Anthem Silver Pathway HMO, can be around $1,460 per month for a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 kids), with out-of-pocket maximums reaching up to $16,000 for families. These figures highlight the significance of selecting the right healthcare plan to manage unexpected medical expenses effectively or having an employer who offers some pretty awesome benefits.

The years that my family had a child, we had roughly $30,000 worth of healthcare expenses those years.

Education and Childcare: Investing in the Future

The cost of education and childcare in Fort Collins varies widely, from preschool programs costing around $1,380 to $1,500 per month to annual tuition for private schools like Resurrection Christian ranging from $9,393 to $11,511, depending on the grade level. Additionally, childcare options such as in-home daycare and nanny services can range from $300 to over $2,000 monthly, underscoring the need for careful financial planning for families.

Insurance: Safeguarding Your Assets

Insurance is another critical component of living expenses, with average costs for a family’s auto insurance and a $1 million umbrella policy running about $315 per month. This is for my specific family that has 3 adult drivers (au pair) and 3 vehicles (4+ years old vehicles). A good estimation for comprehensive auto coverage is $100/person/vehicle. A $1m liability umbrella policy will run around $150/year.

Now you can get more aggressive with your coverage (collision only and lower liability limits) but you need to know your risks and exposures.

Entertainment: Enjoying Life in Fort Collins

Leisure activities, from movies to dining out and attending concerts, add another layer to the city’s living costs. The word on the street from those coming from places like Chicago, Houston and other areas suggest how “cheap” it is to go out and have fun in Fort Collins. Drinks, entertainment, food.

4 Drinks and tip at Social: $50-$65

South Broadway Country Club: 3 Hours Golfing (5 people) and a Round of Drinks $160-$180

While specific prices vary, allocating a portion of your budget to entertainment will enhance your Fort Collins experience, promoting a balanced lifestyle.

Taxes: City Sales and State Income

Residents of Fort Collins face a total sales tax rate of 8.05% and a flat state income tax of 4.4%. These taxes play a significant role in your overall financial planning, affecting everything from daily purchases to annual income.

Navigating Fort Collins’ Living Costs

Fort Collins offers a dynamic and fulfilling lifestyle, but like any city, it comes with its set of financial considerations. From the real estate market to daily living expenses, understanding these costs is essential for current residents and potential newcomers. Whether you’re looking to buy a home, relocate, or simply explore what Fort Collins has to offer, being informed will help you make the best decisions for your lifestyle and budget.

For those interested in the Fort Collins real estate market or seeking more information on living in this vibrant city, contact us. Our team is dedicated to providing insights and

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