Cost-conscious singles don’t experience the same financial benefits as their coupled counterparts — they don’t have a partner with whom to split major bills, and they don’t get to enjoy the dual income. A 2013 analysis by Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell of Onely.org found that legal and private sector policies ranging from Social Security to health care can drive up the cost of being unmarried to more than $1 million over the course of a lifetime.
To help singles get the most bang for their buck, GOBankingRates analyzed 89 major U.S. cities, seeing where singles can find the most savings in their lifestyle expenses by comparing local costs of rent, wardrobe staples, date nights and gym memberships. Read on to see the 15 most affordable cities for single people.
Related: 15 Most Expensive Cities for Singles
15. Chattanooga, Tenn
At an average of $78, date night in Chattanooga tops the list as the most inexpensive city for an evening out. Clothing staples and rent come in at No. 7 and No. 10 in the affordability rankings, respectively. But with an average gym membership price of $49 per month, you should expect to pay a premium for your monthly gym membership in this city.
14. Omaha, Neb
At No. 14, Omaha provides a “big city” feel for a small town cost. The average rent price is 92 cents per square foot, and the average cost of a date night is $93.70. But, compared with other cities, that’s still a great deal for a major metropolitan area — and a good enough value for Warren Buffett.
13. Stockton, Cali
In Stockton, you can enjoy the proximity of the Silicon Valley and San Francisco without the astronomical cost of living. The average cost of rent per square foot is a surprisingly low 81 cents, and the average cost of a gym membership is a mere $32.48. Singles should consider their commute before making any moves though — a daily drive into the city could turn savings on housing into increased transportation costs.
12. Jackson, Miss
The average rent per square foot is just 64 cents in Jackson, making it the fourth most affordable of the 89 U.S. cities surveyed. Gym memberships are also well priced; the average cost is just $25 per month — a bit of a surprise for the least healthy state in the nation, according to the 2014 America’s Health Rankings.
11. St. Louis
With an average gym membership cost of $20 per month, you’ll find your most affordable gym memberships in St. Louis. Rent isn’t bad either, costing an average of 82 cents per square foot. Clothing staples average $58.48, and a night out costs $105.60, which is quite affordable for a big city.
10. Memphis, Tenn
Of the 15 most affordable cities for singles, Memphis takes the top spot for affordable housing with an average rent of just 63 cents per square foot. Average clothing, nights out and gym costs are $51.25, $85.60 and $40 respectively. Overall, it’s a pretty sweet deal for a city with a very rich culture.
9. Huntsville, Ala
Rent is low in Huntsville; the average cost is just 66 cents per square foot. The average cost of a gym membership — $27.50 — is also quite cheap, helping to balance out the high cost singles can expect to spend on their clothing staples. The average cost of clothing staples is priced at $63.67.
8. Albuquerque, N.M
With an average of 70 cents per square foot, renting a home in Albuquerque is affordable. In fact, it’s one of the top 10 most affordable cities for housing among the 89 cities surveyed, tying with Chattanooga. At $32.20 per month, the average cost of a gym membership is also relatively low, while the average cost of clothing staples is $47.17.
7. Little Rock, Ark
Little Rock also makes the top 10 in affordable rent, with the average cost at 67 cents per square foot. The average monthly gym membership price of $25 puts it in the top five for affordable health clubs too, along with Jackson and Virginia Beach, Va. The average date night, however, costs $101.26.
6. Mesa, Ariz
The average cost of rent per square foot in Mesa is 80 cents. The average cost of a night out, $101.50, is not bad considering its proximity to Phoenix and neighboring vacation destination, Scottsdale.
Housing costs, nights out and gym memberships are relatively affordable in the Midwestern metropolis, Indianapolis. The average cost of rent per square foot, 72 cents, makes Indiana’s capital city a draw for cost-conscious singles. And with an average cost of $82, date night won’t break the bank either.
4. Tacoma, Wash
This Seattle-area city boasts an affordable average rental price of just 96 cents per square foot. Nights out might be a bit outside of most people’s budgets at $102, but the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest provide many cost-friendly alternatives for adventure-seeking singles.
Keep reading: 21 Free or Cheap Date Ideas
3. Grand Rapids, Mich
The average cost of clothing staples is $50 in Grand Rapids, which is good news for singles layering up for the cold Michigan winters. The cost of rent per square foot is affordable at 73 cents — not bad for being just 30 miles from Lake Michigan.
2. Tucson, Ariz
Rent in Tucson also averages 73 cents per square foot but features a climate entirely disparate from Grand Rapids. This Southwestern desert city has affordable gym memberships; the average price is just $32.75 per month. And it costs a reasonable $90 for date-seeking singles who want to enjoy a night on the town.
1. Reno, Nev
Reno takes the top spot as the most affordable city for singles. The average cost of a gym membership comes in second only to St. Louis at just $20.67 per month. Nights out average $97.30, which is pretty affordable considering Reno is “the biggest little city in the world.” The 86 cents per square foot for rent is a good deal too, especially considering the city’s proximity to beautiful, nearby Lake Tahoe.
GOBankingRates evaluated cities to determine affordability for singles based on four expense categories, with data sourced from Numbeo.com: clothing, dates, gym memberships and rent per square foot. For clothing, the costs of four clothing staples were averaged, including business shoes, sports shoes, jeans and a dress. The cost of a date was the sum of the following costs: a bottle of wine, dinner for two, two movie tickets and a 10-mile taxi ride. Gym memberships were based on monthly subscription costs. The rankings for each factor contributed to a final scoring that ranked the cities from most expensive to least expensive, with the rankings controlled to favor cities with an even male-to-female ratio based on U.S. Census data.