5 Best Cities To Live on a Budget of $5,000 a Month

If you have a budget of $5,000 per month for living expenses, you’re in luck because there’s no shortage of affordable cities to settle down in. However, choosing to live somewhere based on your budget needs alone is a mistake. Instead, you can have a much better quality of life if you live somewhere that also offers the amenities and lifestyle you desire within your budget.

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To find the best cities to live on a budget of $5,000 per month, GOBankingRates considered various data points. It sourced average 2022 one-bedroom rents from ApartmentList data and consulted Sperling’s Best to find the overall cost of living index for each city. It also used the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey to to determine how much a person might spend living in each city monthly.

Additionally, livability scores were sourced from AreaVibes. Factors that are considered in AreaVibes’ livability scores include the following categories: nearby amenities, cost of living, crime rates, employment, schools, housing and user ratings. All of the spots below have an exceptional score of 80 or above. With all that considered, here are the five best cities to live on a budget of $5,000 a month.

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Apple Valley, Minnesota

  • One-bedroom rent: $1,072.40
  • Total monthly expenditures: $4,978.54

Outdoor activities are abundant in Apple Valley, including an outdoor ice skating rink. Other attractions include the Minnesota Zoo, Valleywood Golf Course and Fort Snelling State Park, which boasts 18 miles of hiking trails and skiing opportunities in the winter.

The livability score in Apple Valley is 87, which is considered exceptional. The unemployment rate in Apple Valley is 3%, which is 42% lower than the U.S. average. Total crime is 28% lower than the state of Minnesota.

Olathe, Kansas

  • One-bedroom rent: $1,032.00
  • Total monthly expenditures: $4,838.45

If you’re a fan of outdoor recreation, you’ll love what Olathe has to offer. For starters, the city is home to Ernie Miller Nature Center & Park, which spans 116 acres and features three hiking trails, an outdoor amphitheater and a nature center. The city also has plenty of historic sites, museums, shopping and restaurants.

The livability score in Olathe is 84, which is considered exceptional. The high score is not surprising considering that total crime is 39% lower than the state of Kansas and 31% lower than the U.S. average. Additionally, the unemployment rate is 3%, which is 29% lower than the U.S. average.

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Grand Prairie, Texas

  • One-bedroom rent: $1,200.10
  • Total monthly expenditures: $4,932.71

Grand Prairie, a suburb of both Dallas and Fort Worth, is made for family adventures. It’s full of all sorts of attractions, including an award-winning parks system, various golf courses and a ton of theme parks. It’s also home to EpicCentral Grand Prairie, which is a mega-recreation center that features pickleball courts, an indoor waterpark, a dog park, an all-access playground, five lakes, a boardwalk and more.

Grand Prairie has a livability score of 80, which is due to factors such as its lower crime rate and a median rent price that’s below the national average.

Richland, Washington

  • One-bedroom rent: $1,195.00
  • Total monthly expenditures: $4,894.38

Richland is one of the Tri-Cities in Washington state. It has plenty of recreational activities due to its location along the Columbia River, including hiking, fishing and various water sports. It also features an abundance of wineries and cultural attractions, such as a symphony, ballet troupe and community theater.

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Richland has an exceptional livability score of 80. Its crime rates, cost of living and rental rates are all lower than the Washington average.

Lee’s Summit, Missouri

  • One-bedroom rent: $1,191.40
  • Total monthly expenditures: $4,857.56

Lee’s Summit is a mere 20 minutes from Kansas City. The city is unique in that it has big-city amenities but small-town charm. It has an award-winning downtown district with restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping and the performing arts. It also has a bustling nightlife scene and an abundance of lakes and hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts.

Lee’s Summit has a livability score of 88, the highest on this list. The total crime rate is 29% lower than the U.S. average. The city also has higher than average rankings for amenities, education, housing and employment.

More From GOBankingRates

Methodology: To find the best cities to live on less than $5,000 per month, GOBankingRates first used ApartmentList data to find (1) average 2022 one-bedroom rents. GOBanking Rates then used Sperling’s Best to find the (2) overall cost of living index for each selected city. Next, GOBankingRates used (3) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey to find the annual expenditure amounts to determine how much a person might spend living in each city monthly. GOBankingRates then added monthly costs together. In order for a place to be qualified for the study, it had (4) to have a livability score of 80 or above, as sourced from AreaVibes. All data was collected on and up to date as of November 1, 2022.

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About the Author

Cynthia Measom is a personal finance writer and editor with over 12 years of collective experience. Her articles have been featured in MSN, AOL, Yahoo Finance, INSIDER, Houston Chronicle, The Seattle Times and The Network Journal. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
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