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​Texas suburbs top Austin's cost of living, new household bills study says

Austin has been regarded as one of the most expensive cities in the country recently. (Canva)

Living in a growing city is expensive—the average Austinite pays $2,447 per month to live here, which is more than any other major city in the state. However, you may be surprised to learn 25 other Texas cities are even more expensive to live in.


According to a study done by doxo, which broke down the 10 most common household bills, Texas is the 20th most expensive state in the country. More than 4,000 cities nationwide were included in the study, with Austin ranking 964th and within the top 25% most expensive.

Austinites pay 22.2% more in monthly bills than the national average, which is $2,033. However, Austin isn’t the most expensive by a long shot with 25 suburbs coming in ahead, and upscale Dallas suburb Southlake taking first place in Texas at $3,655.

Southlake is an outlier, at $600 more expensive than Houston-adjacent Bellaire in second place, though three Austin suburbs came in higher than the capital city: Buda in 10th place, Dripping Springs in 19th place and Hutto in 21st. Round Rock was one place behind Austin.

Housing payments

Luxury house in Travis Heights. (Austonia file photo)

Moving to the suburbs is bound to get you a cheaper price on a house, but you’re likely to pay almost the same price in rent. Dripping Springs had the highest Austin-area mortgage price—Austin came in $200 cheaper at $2,173 per month—but the average price in Buda, Hutto and Round Rock was around $1,500.

When it comes to rental prices, you’re going to find similar rates from the city center to suburbs. Doxo’s average rent for Austin falls at $1,316, which turned out to be cheaper than Buda, Hutto and Round Rock, though Dripping Springs clocked in $100 cheaper.

Car costs

(Pexels)

When it comes to owning a car in Austin, it tends to be cheaper than its suburban counterparts except when it comes to insurance. While Austinites tend to pay about $50 more than the average American car payment, which is $433, buying a car in neighboring suburbs is actually more expensive. In Hutto, the average was nearly $800 per month in car payments.

The average American pays $196 per month on car insurance, though the average Austinite pays $228, which capped out all the nearby suburbs.

Essentials

(Pexels)

Utilities in Austin are on the cheaper end—the average resident pays $203 per month compared to the American average of $328 monthly. Austin was cheaper than all the other suburbs except Hutto but Buda soared high above the rest of the cities at $460 per month in utility payments.

As for health insurance, Austin was most expensive but only by around $20 per month. The average resident here pays $116 for medical insurance, $97 in Hutto and Dripping Springs, and $50 in Round Rock.

Thankfully, Central Texans pay about the same on cable and internet as the rest of the country. Austin was only $10 above the national average of $114, while Hutto paid $127 per month.

All that info will have you thinking twice before choosing which suburb to move to!

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‘Like speed dating of cats’ at Purr-fecto Cat Lounge
Purr-fecto Cat Lounge

Lina Martinez with her newly adopted cat, Emmanuel, who she renamed Sullivan.

Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.

As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.

“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”

Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.

“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”

Actually, a purr-fect idea.

Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.

At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”

Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.

“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”

Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.

“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”

Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.

“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”

Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.

“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”

And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.

“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”

Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.

“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”