Houston vs Los Angeles: cost of living comparison

Houston and Los Angeles are some of the most popular cities in the States. But, they also come at much different price points. Moving to both cities can be economical and not too expensive, but life in them is a different story. California is one of the most expensive states in the country, and LA fits into that narrative quite nicely. On the other hand, Texas and Houston are not that expensive. But, more on that later. We asked our professionals from Movers Arlington TX to help us decipher the stats. Now, let’s see the cost of living comparison for Houston vs Los Angeles.

Houston vs Los Angeles – prices

We will compare the prices of most essential things that you will spend money on in both cities. Those things are:

  • Food and groceries
  • Housing
  • Clothes
  • Personal Care

Food and groceries

Comparing food and groceries prices will tell you that Houston is more than 20% cheaper than LA. The most drastic price differences are in fruits and meat. For example, a 1-pound chicken breast will cost you double in LA compared to Houston. Apples are also almost double the price in LA. In this part of the comparison of Houston vs Los Angeles, Houston takes the cake as it is much more accessible. Food and groceries are something that you cannot avoid, so it is usually better to choose a place that has cheaper groceries than more expensive ones. But, if you don’t mind the price increase, LA is still an amazing place to live.

Two bags of groceries
Food and groceries are much cheaper in Houston compared to Los Angeles.


Again, Houston is much cheaper than LA in this area. The house prices and rent prices are almost 40% lower in Houston. That is a significant difference that shouldn’t be overlooked. The monthly rent for a 900sqft apartment is twice as high in Los Angeles compared in Houston. This is not a small difference if you are living on a smaller paycheck. On the other hand, utilities are more expensive in Houston! While in LA you will pay approximately $175 monthly (for a 900sqft apartment), which will set you back $240 in Houston. So, there are pros and cons to both, but if you calculate the rent difference, the utility difference is not very important. But, if you made up your mind and want to move from California to Houston, you should probably hire a professional moving company. By having professionals by your side you will be able to reach Houston quickly and safely. Movers will help you with every part of your move and are always a worthy investment!


Clothes are a bit cheaper in Houston, at about a 5% difference between Houston vs Los Angeles. For example, if you want to buy a pair of Levis 501 jeans, you will pay about 10 bucks extra in LA. Shoes and summer dresses are priced the same in both states, and this is true for most clothing items. Some luxury goods, like leather shoes and wallets, are a bit more expensive in California, just because there are much more leather goods in Texas. You will also pay less for cowboy boots and leather jackets in Texas, just because the cowboy culture and fashion are much more present in Texas! Jobs in clothing stores are also plenty, and there are jobs in other areas too. This is also one of the many reasons why job seekers are moving from California to Texas!

Cowboy boots
There are many more leather goods in Texas than in LA, and it is much cheaper!


If you decide on living in California, you will usually pay for a new car less (about 15%) than you would in Texas, but the gas prices are 50% higher in California. Also, monthly public transport tickets are twice as expensive in LA compared to Houston. Taxi rides are basically the same, but the most expensive option. A much cheaper option is to drive, and if you don’t have a car, in Texas you should opt for a used one in a good condition. That way you will be able to make use of the lower gas price and avoid the more expensive new cars! Because of the difference in gas prices, hiring moving companies like Mod Movers CA, is cheaper when moving to Houston, than if you are moving to California!

Personal care

Houston is cheaper in this area too, with price differences of about 20%. For example, if you get a cold, a pack of cold medicine will cost you 30% less in Houston. But, a box of antibiotics will be that much more expensive. Doctor visits and regular cosmetic items like deodorant and shampoo are much cheaper in Houston, and so is toilet paper. If you use branded toothpaste it will be 20% cheaper in Texas. Fashion-wise, haircuts are almost twice as expensive in Los Angeles vs Houston. Taking care of yourself more professionally, manicures & pedicures, and professional makeup are much more expensive in California. This is one of the top benefits of moving from California to Texas!

Cheaper toothpaste in Houston vs Los Angeles
Basic cosmetics items like toothpaste are much cheaper in Texas!


As per the trend, Houston is cheaper in this area too. Most entertainment options are significantly cheaper in Houston, except for theater which is extremely expensive compared to Los Angeles. While two tickets in LA will set you back about $80, the same thing will cost you almost $200 in Houston. But, if you are not a fan of theater, you won’t feel a lot of those costs. On the other hand, you will enjoy the cheaper beer, coffee, dinners, cocktails, and gym memberships! Moreover, you will probably enjoy the cheaper mobile plans, electronics, and outdoor activities! And there are many outdoor activities to choose from. Most of them are very cheap, and there are plenty of free options too!

Final thoughts

Even though LA is more expensive, there are many benefits to living in Los Angeles. But, if the cost of living is a crucial factor, you should probably opt for moving to Houston and living more comfortably! Houston has many of the benefits that Los Angeles but for a much lower price. So, if you ask us, in the comparison of Houston vs Los Angeles, Houston takes the cake.