Here’s the beef!

Despite soaring prices caused by high costs of fuel and fertilizer, the ongoing bird flu and inflation, Temple grocery prices were 17.9 percent below the national average. David Stone photo

Temple named second-cheapest city in US to buy ground beef


Despite higher prices across the stores and across the nation, a new Cost of Living Index ranked Temple as the second cheapest place in America to purchase ground beef in 2022.

According to the Council for Community & Economic Research, only Florence, AL, topped Temple’s average price of $3.61 per pound. The average price of ground beef in Florence was $3.47. 

The most expensive places to buy ground meat in America were Kodiak, Alaska, and Stockton, Calif. Ground beef in those cities was nearly $7 per pound.

In addition to being ranked No. 2 in burger meat, Temple was the third cheapest place in America to buy groceries for traditional grocery items such as beef, beer, fish, bread, milk, wine, cereal and bananas. Temple groceries were 17.9 percent below the national average of the nearly 300 cities where prices were compared. In September, Temple was 17.7 percent below the national average.

Four of the five cheapest places to buy groceries were in Texas. Harlingen was the cheapest in the nation at 21.1 percent below the national average, followed by Topeka, Kansas; Temple; McAllen; and Cedar Park.

The report showed that Harlingen was also the least expensive urban area to live in the US. The cost of living in the Rio Grande Valley city was 22.9 percent below the national average. McAllen for fourth.

To no surprise, Manhattan, Honolulu, San Francisco and Brooklyn are the most expensive cities to live in America.

Here are some sample prices in Temple from the Cost of Living survey:

  • The average price for a 16 oz ribeye steak was $11.90.
  • The average price for a half gallon of milk was $1.88.
  • The average price for a pound of bananas was 45 cents
  • The average price for coffee was $3.96
  • The average price for a standard loaf of white bread was $3.54
  • The average price for a six-pack of Heiniken was $9.31.
  • The average price for a 1.5 liter bottle of value-grade white wine was $7.31.

Overall, the cost of living in Temple was 7.2 percent cheaper than the national average in 2022, fueled primarily by the lower grocery prices. In housing, the city is 10 percent cheaper than the national mark. 

Temple Chamber of Commerce president Rod Henry said Temple has a long history of being ranked as one of the best values in the nation when it comes to the cost-of-living.

“The cost of living quarterly study is a factor and does have a bearing on our livability and attractiveness, and it elevates our overall ranking when one is looking for a new business site or a place to plant roots,” he said.

Adrian Cannady, president and CEO of the Temple Economic Development Corporation, said the city’s cost of living is one of the many reasons families from around the country and even within the state are choosing to call the Temple region home.

“The factors of affordability coupled with great career opportunities are positioning the Temple region as a destination for those who wish to enjoy an exceptional quality of life,” Cannady said.

The average cost of a two-bedroom, 950-square-foot apartment in Temple was $1,326, up about $350 from 2021. The average price of a four-bedroom, two-bath house with 2,400 square feet of living area and an 8,000-square-foot lot was $390,662, up $88,060 from a year ago.

The average effective mortgage rate in Temple was 4.73 percent over 30 years in 2022. That rate was 2.72 in 2021. 

Temple had higher-than-the-national-average costs in two areas: health care and home utilities. Health-care costs in Temple were 22.5 percent higher than the average, and utilities were 14.5 percent above the national average.

“The health-care category includes office visits to a general practitioner, a dentist and an optometrist, as well as the cost of 100 200-mg Advil,” said Jenne Allison, research manager for the Council for Community & Economic Research.

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