Want to Save Money? Avoid Living in These 15 Cities, Study Says

California is home to 12 of the 15 worst cities to save money.

If you’re looking to save up to purchase a house, build an emergency fund or put money away toward retirement, you might want to think twice before settling down in California, a new GOBankingRates study found.

It determined the 15 best and worst places to live if you’re trying to save money by ranking the 60 largest U.S. cities based on the seven factors that can most affect your finances: median household income, unemployment rate, median home list price, median rent price, average gas price, average monthly cost of groceries and sales tax.

Keep reading to find out the best and worst places to live a richer life.


Although there was a wide range in housing prices, living costs and median incomes among the worst places to save, 12 out of the 15 had one thing in common — they were all located in California.

Oakland took the No. 3 spot due to its high living costs and a median income that’s just slightly above the national average. Los Angeles was ranked the No. 2 worst place to live if you’re trying to save money because its home prices and rent were among the highest of all the major cities, yet its median income is below the national average. And San Francisco took the top spot for worst place for savers with the highest average gas price, cost of groceries, median monthly rent and median home listing price of any city surveyed. 

On the flip side, many of the best places to save were in Texas, with Austin, El Paso, Forth Worth, Arlington and San Antonio all making the top 15.

Here’s the complete list of the best and worst places to live if you’re trying to save money:

Worst Places to Live If You’re Trying to Save MoneyBest Places to Live If You’re Trying to Save Money
1. San Francisco1. Virginia Beach, Va.
2. Los Angeles2. Louisville, Ky.
3. Oakland, Calif.3. Oklahoma City
4. Long Beach, Calif.4. Milwaukee
5. New York5. Wichita, Kan.
6. Seattle6. San Antonio, Texas
7. San Jose, Calif.7. Arlington, Texas
8. Fresno, Calif.8. Fort Worth, Texas
9. Santa Ana, Calif.9. Omaha, Neb.
10. Anaheim, Calif.10. El Paso, Texas
11. Bakersfield, Calif.11. Kansas City, Mo.
12. San Diego12. Tulsa, Okla.
13. Sacramento, Calif.13. Columbus, Ohio
14. Riverside, Calif.14. Jacksonville, Fla.
15. Miami15. Austin, Texas

Click through to read more about states where you’re most and least likely to live paycheck to paycheck.

Methodology: These findings are a result of a GOBankingRates study of seven factors affecting financial well-being in the 60 largest cities by population according to estimates by the Census Bureau. The study assessed the following: (1) sales tax according to TaxFoundation.org 2017 data; (2) median home list price and (3) median rent price, both according to Zillow data from March 2018; (4) median household income (in 2017 dollars) according to U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts; (5) unemployment rate according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Unemployment Rates for Metro Areas February 2018 data; (6) average reported gas prices from GasBuddy as of April 2018; (7) average grocery costs based on recommended minimum amount of food per person from Numbeo data in April 2018. All seven factors were weighted equally. Each factor was given a rank on a scale from 0 to 1, with 0 being the best and 1 being the worst; a city’s total score is the sum of the scores for all seven factors.