The cost of everything is a hot-button topic nowadays, so it is no surprise that people are looking to do anything to save a little cash, even if that means relocating. Relocating comes with many added expenses, so you will have to save quite a lot in the cost of living to make it worthwhile.
Luckily, there are still cities in the United States where the cost of living is significantly lower than in the rest of the country; moving to these cities and making a few changes may save you a lot in the long run.
Fort Wayne, Indiana
This city, and state for that matter, may not be on the tip of everyone's tongue, but Fort Wayne has something for everyone. With a population of over 268,000, this isn't exactly small-town living, but the median rent is less than $800 a month. Fort Wayne brings all the savings of living in a lower-population area with all the benefits of a big city.
Dayton sounds like a utopia since its hospitals stay on the cutting edge of technology, and it doesn't take long to get anywhere in the city. Still, median home prices are significantly lower than the national average, and prices at the local restaurants won't give you sticker shock. On top of the already low cost of living, the city of Dayton has economic growth resources that entice small business owners to come and live the American dream.
San Antonio, Texas
There are so many cities in Texas that could make this list, which makes Texas the overall low-cost state to live in. San Antonio gets the nod because it is the seventh-largest city in the country but still has housing prices well below the national average. When you add in the thriving art scene, natural beauty, and a growing economy, it makes sense why people would want to relocate to San Antonio.
South Bend, Indiana
South Bend is another hidden gem mainly because of its perfect location. While the city isn't huge at just over 100,000 people, it is surrounded by major metropolitan areas like Detroit and Chicago, so big city life is only a day trip away. South Bend is also on the edge of Lake Michigan, so there is plenty to do for the nature lover in the family. With its perfect location and so much to do, it's shocking that the average home price in South Bend is under $90,000.
Buffalo, New York
When people hear New York, they automatically think of the big city where a studio apartment costs thousands a month, but outside of New York City, you can find plenty of amazing places to live in the state. Buffalo is special because they manage to keep the cost of living down without giving up much else in return. The city is filled with opportunity and even has its own sports team, yet median rent is only $800, and the average work commute is less than twenty minutes.
Nebraska may be thought of as a quintessential flyover state, but that is by people who have never been to Omaha. There is plenty to do in the city of nearly 500,000, and the city is surprisingly clean and easy to navigate. Omaha continues to grow, and there are plenty of work opportunities in all job sectors, making it a great place to relocate. Omaha's housing prices are higher than others on this list, but cost savings elsewhere and a booming job market make up for it in the overall cost of living.
You can argue about how it's pronounced, but you can't argue that this city will save you serious money. Louisville has a perfect marriage between lower food costs and utilities and significant economic opportunities, so you can make more and spend less.
Kansas City may get more attention, but Wichita is the largest city in Kansas. At just under 400,000 people, Wichita is a comfortable mix between country and city life and still manages to keep the median rent a little over $800. There is plenty to do in Wichita and a thriving food scene, and with that comes plenty of job opportunities for those looking to balance work and the cost of living.
One reason Birmingham is called The Magic City may be because it seems too good to be true. Birmingham has found a way to balance family-friendly single-family neighborhoods and forward-thinking lofts for younger generations. Despite only having a population of 200,000, there is plenty to do around Birmingham, including 500 restaurants inside the city limits. If you want a loft overlooking the beautiful Birmingham skyline, you will expect to pay less than $1,000 a month for it - a far cry from the loft prices in New York City.
What Else to Consider
The cost of housing and the price of food are essential ideas when figuring out the cost of living, but there are other things to consider, some of which may be intangible or don't have a monetary value. These are a few more things to consider before moving to save money.
The average age of a city is important because it can tell you a lot about what the city's future holds in terms of relationships and job opportunities. If the average age is on the high end, you can assume that there will be lots of room for advancement as people retire, but if you are looking to meet someone special in your age range, it may not be the best fit.
Being able to save money on essentials doesn't mean too much if you can't enjoy yourself sometimes. Make sure that the city you're moving to has opportunities for leisure that you enjoy at an equally acceptable price point.
There are a lot of important institutions we take for granted, like libraries, colleges, specialty stores, and banks, that you may not find to your liking everywhere you go. That's why it is essential to find a bank that goes where you go so you don't need to worry about whether or not your new city has the same bank as your old one.
Like many utilities, gas prices fluctuate throughout the country, and the last thing you want is to use up all your cost of living savings on your commute. Before moving to a new city, look at their gas prices compared to the national average and the average gas prices over the past year.
Make a Move that Counts
Whether moving across the country or moving your money from a traditional bank to a bank that goes where you go, make a move that counts. Change is challenging, but if the result is a better life for you and your family, it will be worth it.
What did one penny say to the other penny?
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