Top 12 Cities in the US With the Best Cost of Living

Rose Morrison

Jul 18, 2021


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Deciding where to live can be an exciting and stressful experience. You want to find a place that fits your lifestyle and future goals. However, pricing is an important factor to consider. Thankfully, there are multiple affordable places within the U.S. to call home. Here are 12 of the top cities in the US with the best cost of living to look into.

1. Memphis, Tennessee

With a population of 651,011, Memphis is the second-largest city in Tennessee. It’s known for its musical and historical culture. One popular place to visit is Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. Another is Beale Street, featuring nightclubs and restaurants. Memphis also played a role in the Civil War and is home to the National Civil Rights Museum.

Also, the lower cost of living makes it an attractive option for new homeowners. The cost of living index is 66.8, which is cheaper than the average of 100 for the U.S. One thing that makes Memphis one of the cities in the US with the best cost of living is its lower housing prices. The median rent is $539 and the median home value is $60,062. So, if you’re a recent graduate looking to lease an apartment or a first-time homebuyer, this is the place to be.

Another thing that makes Memphis affordable is its lower tax rate of $2.71 per $100 assessed value. It also has no state income tax. This allows you to save your money for other expenses, such as entertainment.

Another area you can cut costs is when it comes to buying gas. Memphis also has lower gas prices of around $2.53. Saving money on gas can help save money on renter’s issuance, which is higher in Mississippi River flood zones.

2.  Indianapolis, Indiana

This place is known as the “Crossroads of America” since it is the hub for several major highways. This makes it the perfect place for those who like to travel or work remotely. It also helps reduce your daily commute time.

And if you like sports, you have to check out the famous Indianapolis 500 event. This is a 500-mile-long race with 200 laps around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

While the pandemic increased housing prices, Indianapolis still has affordable housing options. Their median price for housing is $225,000, which is below the current national average of $353,000. Indianapolis also has lower grocery, utility, and health care expenses. Their grocery costs are 7% below the national average. These low prices are ideal if you have a larger family or are just starting in your career.

3.  Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha has a strong economy, featuring the Fortune 500 company Berkshire Hathaway. It’s a multi-conglomerate company owned by top investor Warren Buffet. Omaha is also a farm country offering plenty of rural views. For those more eco-conscious, they’re also leaders in the farm-to-fork movement. This movement calls for the restaurant to receive food directly from the farm. Omaha is also known for hosting the NCAA’s Men’s Collegiate World Series.

Omaha is one of the higher ranked cities in the US with the best cost of living since the cost of the living index is 2.9% lower than the national average. It also has lower housing, food, and transportation costs. Their housing prices are 21% below the national average, with a median rental fee of $998. Country Club Hills and Dodge Park are affordable neighborhoods to check out.

4.  Columbus, Ohio

Columbus is known for its rising knowledge economy. The city is creating new infrastructure and is home to a younger, more educated group of residents. The median age in Columbus is 32 years. It’s also home to the highly regarded Ohio State University. So, this is a perfect place for ambitious young people to start their careers.

The lower cost of living helps attract these driven professionals. The average resident spends around $1,722.50 on monthly expenses. They spend less money on housing, groceries, and health care. Having reduced rates on health care can help keep you protected from illness, such as COVID-19.

5.  Las Vegas, Nevada

This place is known for glitter and glamor and is regarded by tourists as a party scene. However, there is more here than meets the eye. Las Vegas also has an emerging technology hub. It hosts two annual trade shows, too: the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the Specialty Equipment Market Association show (SEMA). The city also created an innovation district downtown to test new technology.

So, for those looking to make breakthroughs in tech, this is a place worth checking out. Plus, the fact that it’s one of the most affordable cities in the US with the best cost of living. doesn’t hurt.  One of the reasons for this is their low property taxes of 0.65% and no income tax. The city also has lower-than-average health insurance costs. Keep in mind housing prices vary depending on your location. For example, it may be more costly near the Strip.

6.  Salt Lake City, Utah

Beautiful mountains and rivers surround this city. During the winter, the snow-covered mountains are the perfect spot for avid skiers. Utah also has a diverse economy leading to increased job opportunities. The largest industries are educational services and health care.

Along with a booming social life and economy, Salt Lake City has a lower cost of living. Their housing prices and utility costs are lower than the national average. The average utility bill for a 900-square-foot apartment is about $137.47 per month. With lower monthly bills, you can put that money away and save it for transportation fees. The city provides multiple transit options such as trains, buses, and rails.

7. San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio is the perfect spot for history lovers. It was home to the famous Spanish colonial missions, including the battle of the Alamo. Another popular attraction is the San Antonio Riverwalk, featuring restaurants and shops. Besides its culture, it’s one of the most affordable cities in the U.S., making it a place to consider checking out. It has a lower cost of living than other major cities in the area, such as Dallas.

The city has affordable housing, utility, and transportation costs. The median price of a home in San Antonio is $182,000. It also has lower grocery prices, with residents spending an average of $296 per month. The reduced food expenses allow you to splurge on eating out more often.

8.  El Paso, Texas

This sunny location provides both recreational activities and a low cost of living. For those who like to hike, there is the stunning Franklin Mountains State Park. El Paso also offers a thriving economy that is in the top-performing 20% of U.S. economies.

Their median household salary is around $43,322, and the standard for the U.S. is $57,311. The cost of living is lower since the median household income in El Paso is less than the national average. Along with the reduced cost of living, this city has a low crime rate.

9.  Wichita, Kansas

Wichita is known as the “air capital of the world” due to its large plane manufacturing industry. It is home to major aviation employers, such as Spirit AeroSystems. For those looking for culture, the city has over 33 museums, including the Old Cowtown Museum. If you’re an animal lover, you’ll want to visit the Sedgwick County Zoo, the largest in the county.

Besides these entertaining activities, residents also enjoy a low cost of living. They have one of the lowest average rents at around $634 per month. So, this is a cost-effective solution for those who aren’t ready to commit to housing at the moment. One reason for lower prices is that new construction caused properties to reduce rates. The lowered rates helped the landlords stay competitive. The city also offers lower grocery and transportation prices.

10.  Lexington, Kentucky

For any horse lover, this city is the perfect place. It’s home to thoroughbred horse farms and rolling green hills. The affordable cost of living makes this place stand out even more. Housing is one of the most important factors when deciding where to live. If you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Lexington, it costs around $847.68 outside the city center.

Along with housing, they also offer affordable education opportunities. For the academic year of 2020-2021, the average tuition fees in Kentucky were $6,455 for in-state students.

11. Little Rock, Arkansas

Little Rock is the place for nature enthusiasts who enjoy activities like hiking. It’s home to stunning natural parks, like Pinnacle State Park. It’s also located near Memphis, Dallas, and Oklahoma City for those who want to explore other areas.

Besides its natural beauty, Little Rock is one of the most affordable U.S. cities. For a single person, the average monthly cost of living is $742 without rent. Housing, grocery, and utility costs are all lower than the national average. The city also has a well-respected health care system that is affordable. U.S. News & World Report recognized The University of Arkansas Medical Sciences as the best hospital.

12. Tulsa, Oklahoma

This city sits along the Arkansas River and is at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. So, it’s the best spot for those who love being outdoors. It also has a diverse job market, from finances to telecommunications.

One of the main draws is the low cost of living. The city’s housing and grocery expenses are also lower than the national average. The median home value is $139,900 and the median rent is $829.

Most Affordable US Cities to Live In

When it comes to deciding where to live, there are multiple factors, such as housing expenses. Many cities have higher costs of living due to modern infrastructure. If you’re looking for a place to call home, consider moving to one of these most affordable U.S. cities.

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