Madison is the capital of the State of Wisconsin.
It’s a charming small, college town, very family friendly, inexpensive and liberal.
Madison is centered around the huge state university: there are tons of young people and a vibrant downtown scene.
If you’re old enough, it has a great bar scene and if not, there is still plenty of fun to be had, no matter what you’re into.
The biggest drawback is the very harsh winter that keeps many people away – December through February are truly a torture!
The food and beer scene there is one of the best in the U.S.: you could go to a different restaurant or bar every night for a year and not run out of great places to eat and drink at. If you are more into coffee shops, there is also an abundance of that as well. There are many places to eat at a very reasonable price.
Food and groceries are on par with all major cities. There are many grocery stores around. If you know how to cook, you will find all the ingredients you need here which is great news because you can save a ton of money this way. You should know that supermarkets keep basically the same prices as all the other stores along the country.
Madison has consistently been rated among America’s most bicycle-friendly cities which is great if you’re looking to cut costs, because you can save a bunch of money this way. However, due to Madison’s harsh winters, you can’t cycle year-long, but you can get around much of Madison on the Metro bus system at reasonable prices.
Utilities in Madison are really cheap. The prices of utilities here are much cheaper than in many other cities – up to 50$ cheaper, in fact. For an apartment around 85m2 (which is definitely bigger than a usual apartment for one or two people) basic utilities like electricity, trash and water will cost you 115$ approximately.
SPORTS & LEISURE
Madison has a strong cycling scene, from frequent races to lots of tours and group rides, paths, etc. It’s easy to get out of the city on a road bike and enjoy the rolling countryside. Mountain bike trails are surprisingly good in the area and there is a ski resort that is 30 mins away. A gym membership will cost you near 50$ per month.
CLOTHING & SHOES
Although you won’t find any high-end or luxurious shopping complexes, there are many shopping malls and opportunities in Madison. The prices are reasonable. If you want a pair of Levi’s, it will cost you almost 50$, though. Quality sneakers cost more, around 75$ and lighter pieces of clothing like summer dresses cost around 35$.
RENT PER MONTH
You are looking on average at around 1200$ for a decent one-bedroom apartment in a nice area of the city. And of course, the closer you get to the city center, the more expensive the apartments will be. You can always go to the suburbs and rent a charming apartment further from the city for some 900$.
Cost of Living Averages Table for Madison, WI
|Average Restaurant Prices|
|Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant)||$ 12.00|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter)||$ 4.00|
|Water (0.33 Liter)||$ 1.66||Average Market Prices|
|Milk (1 Liter)||$ 0.68|
|Loaf Bread (500g)||$ 2.47|
|Eggs (12)||$ 1.35||Average Transport Prices|
|One Way Ticket||$ 2.00|
|Monthly Pass||$ 65.00|
|Gasoline||$ 0.67||Average Utilities Prices|
|Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling)||$ 114.30|
|1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local||$ 0.13|
|Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)||$ 54.65||Average Leisure Prices|
|Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult||$ 46.67|
|Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour)||$ 14.25|
|Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release||$ 11.50||Average Clothing Prices|
|1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable)||$ 46.86|
|1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...)||$ 35.54|
|1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range)||$ 85.05||Average Rent Prices|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center||$ 1206.95|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center||$ 937.50|
|Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center||$ 1943.81|
How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Madison, WI?
Most of the money in Madison gets spent on food, and people go and spent huge bulks of money in markets and grocery stores. You can count on 200$ a week going on food, if you have a family.
Another one of the biggest expenses in rent, as it can be pretty steep in certain areas, but in general, it is quite reasonable compared to some other major cities in America.
Restaurants and transportation go side by side like in most countries – though transportation is cheap, it’s essential for everyone, everyday, and as for the restaurants – it’s the only option for a huge part of the population.
Madison, WI: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages
The city’s economy is the best in the state, but Madison is, unfortunately, not a big place. Job opportunities are there, for sure but there are only so many open job places that can be filled.
Average monthly net salary in Madison is reasonably high, above 3000$, so most people can live without any problems, while minimum monthly wage is considerably less – around 1200$.
However, if you’re the type of person to go out every night, spend money in bars and restaurants and act comfortably when it comes to pastime and leisure – you might find this average salary a bit too low.
Cost of Living by City in United States
*Click the name of the city for more information.