With the increasing prices of commodities and housing, it’s no wonder that people are starting to look for the cheapest cities to live in. Combined with the recent rate of unemployment, scraping up enough money to cover rent, food, gas and all of the utility bills has become an ongoing monthly battle for many families. Here are five US cities with the lowest cost of living compiled using a cost of living index* current for 2012.
Hopefully this will aid you in your search to find a better way to save money and live within your budget. The figure used as a basis for this list is called the consumer price plus rent index. This is a combination of the average monthly rent and price of consumer goods in a given location; the index is based on the current cost of living in New York City, NY.
1. Des Moines, IA – Peaceful and rich in cultural heritage, Des Moines, IA, is currently the cheapest major city to live in as of 2012. It has a consumer price plus rent index of 58.80, which means that the cost consumer goods and average rent prices total 58.8% of what it would cost to live in New York at this time.
If you are considering moving, make sure you determine the value of your home before you make any big decisions. Some folks overlook this step and that’s a mistake. They move and then find out they can’t sell their home for what they think it’s worth.
2. Las Vegas, NV – Known for its active nightlife, you’ll never have a dull moment if you move to Vegas! When compared to the cost of living in New York City, Las Vegas comes in as the second cheapest US city to live in. It has a consumer price plus rent index of 60.31.
3. Portland, OR – Based on a consumer price plus rent index of 61.59, the city of Portland takes third place. If you’re interested in art, culture and a relaxed community, then you’ll fit in just fine here!
4. Austin, TX – If you’re looking for a drier climate to relocate to, then Austin may be exactly what you’re looking for. It has a consumer price plus rent index of 66.91, which is still 20% less than what you would pay to live in New York City.
5. Denver, CO – With its beautiful scenery and lovely weather during the spring and summer, you can’t go wrong moving to
Denver. Here, the consumer price plus rent index is 68.25.
When looking for US cities the lowest cost of living, it’s also important to look at the local job market, too. If you’re trying to live within your budget, then the worst thing that you can do is move to a city without knowing how to find a job – or worse yet, one that doesn’t have an average hourly wage that will support your new monthly expenses.
Additionally, the average monthly rent in the area definitely isn’t the only thing that factors into the cost of finding work. You will also need to account for the price of groceries, which unfortunately doesn’t always correspond with cheap housing.
To compare the cost of living where you currently reside with another location, check out this cost of living comparison calculator.