GOBankingRates

35 Surprising Cities With Low Costs of Living

Isabella Hilligoss / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Isabella Hilligoss / Getty Images/iStockphoto

No matter what your income level, most Americans have felt the impact of recent high inflation on the costs of goods and services you regularly buy. However, if you’re struggling to make ends meet, where you live can also play a part. It can be tough to stretch even a big paycheck far enough to pay for necessities and have money left over for savings — and a little fun — if you’re in a place where the cost of living is high. So, it might be time to move to a place that’s more affordable.

Explore: Your Biggest Money Etiquette Questions Answered
Find Out: Protect Your Financial Future With Gold and Silver

More: Why Buying Property in These Vacation Destinations Could Be a Great Investment

In order to help you pinpoint the cheapest places to live, GOBankingRates compared living expenses in 150 of the largest U.S. cities to find the top 35 cities to find out where you can live comfortably. The 50/30/20 budgeting rule was used as a guideline, in which 50% of income covers necessities, 30% covers discretionary items and 20% is for savings. For necessities, the cost of rent, groceries, utilities, transportation and healthcare were used. Then, GOBankingRates doubled the cost of necessities to get the total income needed.

Keep reading to see how much money you need to live comfortably in these U.S. cities.

Make Your Money Work for You
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

35. Aurora, Illinois

  • Total annual cost of living: $29,154.56
  • Annual income needed: $58,309.13

Take Our Poll: Do You Think Student Loan Debt Should Be Forgiven?

SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

34. Chattanooga, Tennessee

  • Total annual cost of living: $29,110.77
  • Annual income needed: $58,221.54
Tory Garcia / Getty Images/iStockphoto

33. Kansas City, Missouri

  • Total annual cost of living: $28,873.02
  • Annual income needed: $57,746.05
Long_Strange_Trip_01 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

32. Columbus, Ohio

  • Total annual cost of living: $28,866.75
  • Annual income needed: $57,733.49
benedek / Getty Images/iStockphoto

31. Cincinnati, Ohio

  • Total annual cost of living: $28,558.75
  • Annual income needed: $57,117.50
©Shutterstock.com

30. Corpus Christi, Texas

  • Total annual cost of living: $27,983.98
  • Annual income needed: $55,967.97
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

29. Oklahoma City

  • Total annual cost of living: $27,801.17
  • Annual income needed: $55,602.34
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

28. Indianapolis

  • Total annual cost of living: $27,671.95
  • Annual income needed: $55,343.90
f11photo / Getty Images/iStockphoto

27. Milwaukee

  • Total annual cost of living: $27,426.58
  • Annual income needed: $54,853.16
©Shutterstock.com

26. Mobile, Alabama

  • Total annual cost of living: $27,272.03
  • Annual income needed: $54,544.06
Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

25. Greensboro, North Carolina

  • Total annual cost of living: $27,228.76
  • Annual income needed: $54,457.51
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

24. Laredo, Texas

  • Total annual cost of living: $27,228.76
  • Annual income needed: $54,457.51

Make Your Money Work for You
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

23. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

  • Total annual cost of living: $26,913.65
  • Annual income needed: $53,827.30
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

22. Lubbock, Texas

  • Total annual cost of living: $26,896.00
  • Annual income needed: $53,791.99
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

21. Wichita, Kansas

  • Total annual cost of living: $26,850.45
  • Annual income needed: $53,700.90
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

20. St. Louis

  • Total annual cost of living: $26,810.56
  • Annual income needed: $53,621.12
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

19. El Paso, Texas

  • Total annual cost of living: $26,782.30
  • Annual income needed: $53,564.59
Davel5957 / Getty Images

18. Tulsa, Oklahoma

  • Total annual cost of living: $26,603.23
  • Annual income needed: $53,206.46
ChrisBoswell / Getty Images/iStockphoto

17. Fayetteville, North Carolina

  • Total annual cost of living: $26,579.74
  • Annual income needed: $53,159.48
©Shutterstock.com

16. Rochester, New York

  • Total annual cost of living: $26,438.91
  • Annual income needed: $52,877.82
RogersE / Getty Images/iStockphoto

15. Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • Total annual cost of living: $26,388.64
  • Annual income needed: $52,777.27
pabradyphoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

14. Des Moines, Iowa

  • Total annual cost of living: $26,322.87
  • Annual income needed: $52,645.75
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13. Little Rock, Arkansas

  • Total annual cost of living: $26,203.00
  • Annual income needed: $52,406.00
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

12. Detroit

  • Total annual cost of living: $26,174.91
  • Annual income needed: $52,349.83
SeanPavonePhoto / iStock.com

11. Augusta, Georgia

  • Total annual cost of living: $25,861.85
  • Annual income needed: $51,723.71

Make Your Money Work for You
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

10. Amarillo, Texas

  • Total annual cost of living: $25,694.05
  • Annual income needed: $51,388.10
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

9. Montgomery, Alabama

  • Total annual cost of living: $25,372.99
  • Annual income needed: $50,745.98
karenfoleyphotography / Getty Images

8. Memphis, Tennessee

  • Total annual cost of living: $25,241.81
  • Annual income needed: $50,483.63
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

7. Columbus, Georgia

  • Total annual cost of living: $25,117.72
  • Annual income needed: $50,235.43
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6. Brownsville, Texas

  • Total annual cost of living: $24,678.68
  • Annual income needed: $49,357.37
SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

5. Birmingham, Alabama

  • Total annual cost of living: $24,439.12
  • Annual income needed: $48,878.25
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

4. Shreveport, Louisiana

  • Total annual cost of living: $24,373.68
  • Annual income needed: $48,747.35
Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Toledo, Ohio

  • Total annual cost of living: $22,308.57
  • Annual income needed: $44,617.14
ChrisBoswell / Getty Images/iStockphoto

2. Cleveland

  • Total annual cost of living: $21,710.15
  • Annual income needed: $43,420.29
benkrut / Getty Images/iStockphoto

1. Akron, Ohio

  • Total annual cost of living: $21,631.90
  • Annual income needed: $43,263.79

Cameron Huddleston, Grace Lin and Sydney Champion contributed to the reporting for this article.

Methodology: To find 35 cities with low costs of living, GoBankingRates analyzed the 150 largest cities in the United States by population, according to the Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey. First, GOBankingRates referenced the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey data  to find the amount that a typical consumer unit spends annually on necessities across the following five categories: housing, groceries, utilities, healthcare, and transportation. Then, GOBankingRates used Sperling’s Best Places’ cost of living indices to adjust spending estimates in each category to reflect prices in each city. Finally, GOBankingRates doubled the estimated total annual cost of necessities in each city to create an estimated minimum income needed to live comfortably, using the 50/30/20 budgeting rule (which allocates 50% of income to necessities, 30% to discretionary spending, and 20% to savings) as a guideline. Cities were then ranked on the estimated minimum income needed to live comfortably, with no. 1 being the city with the overall lowest cost of living. All data was collected on and up to date as of Nov. 30, 2022.

Make Your Money Work for You