AUSTIN -- Austin is a growing city and inevitably there are growing pains.
"It's a lot more expensive and it's a lot more crowded," said Phil Rugeley, who's been living in Austin since the 1970s.
"It used to be cheaper, it's getting more expensive," said Austin resident Courtney Link who said compared to other places she's lived in, Austin ranks among the middle of the road in terms of expenses.
"Rent is up than the way it used to be, but where isn't it like that?" said Ian Tennant, an Austin resident originally from Canada.
When it comes to cost of living, Austin is pricey by Texas standards.
According to Sperling's BestPlaces.net, a $50,000 income in Austin compares to about $43,000 in Dallas or Houston, but you'd have to make $20,000 to $50,000 more just to keep up in cities like Seattle, New York or San Francisco.
More and more people moving to Austin has driven the average cost of a home up to $215,000, but within the city itself prices can vary significantly.
"It depends," said Rugeley. "If you're living on South Congress it's a little bit pricey, but that's supply and demand."
"You pick your spots and you're okay," said Tennant. "I don't have to drive that much so I'm not paying for gas, so that's kind of big."
On the upside, Austin benefits from some of the cheapest gas prices in America, according to GasBuddy.com, averaging around $3.65 a gallon compared to well over $4 on the East and West Coasts.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, residential end user electricity prices in Texas are just below the national average.
When it comes to food, Austin has long enjoyed its reputation as a hub for local restaurateurs specializing in unique and affordable fare.
"If someone here complains about the price of their food, they need to travel," said Zar Lewellen, a developer from Seattle. "It's just dirt cheap."
Another unconventional economic barometer is the average price of a glass of beer. In Austin, the average pint of domestic beer runs between $3 and $5 dollars, but according to the website PintPrice.com, the same beer in a city like New York could run between $6 and $8 dollars.
"A six-pack of beer down here seems like cheap as get out compared to up there," Tennant said in comparison to his native Canada.
Any visitor can tell you much of Austin's attractiveness has nothing to do with money.
"I always enjoy coming down here because it's fun," said Lewellen. "Good barbecue, good beer, great Mexican food and some incredibly beautiful people."
For many, that in itself is a bargain.