Retirement is a time of frugality for many, since other than Social Security and pension payments, many folks don't have much money coming in. If you're not rooted to a specific location, you are free to move to where the living comes cheaply, like the 10 small towns on this list.
For this study, GOBankingRates considered small towns with populations of less than 30,000 where you can retire on a budget of $2,300 or less, using data from ApartmentList June 2022. We also used Sperling's Best to find the cost of living index for every city on the list and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey. We then added monthly housing, grocery and healthcare costs together to find where a person 65 and older could get by on the $2,300 budget.
Equally important was a city's livability score -- the cities on this list had to have a score of 65 or higher as sourced from AreaVibes. When all was said and done, three states dominated the list. Here are the 10 best small towns to retire on $2,300 a month.
10. Humble, Texas
Average rent for 1-bedroom: $984
Monthly expenditures: $2,140
In Humble, nearly 15% of the population is age 65 or older. And here, you'll pay only $336.67 in monthly groceries and $305.48 in monthly utilities.
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9. Seabrook, Texas
Average rent for 1-bedroom: $1,119
Monthly expenditures: $2,290
In Seabrook, monthly expenditures are almost $400 less than the national average. Here, while healthcare is a decent chunk of expenses, at $513.44, other expenses are low, like $352.09 in monthly grocery costs.
8. Auburn Hills, Michigan
Average rent for 1-bedroom: $1,058
Monthly expenditures: $2,157
In Auburn Hills, monthly grocery costs are only $333.17 per month, and monthly healthcare costs, $452.31 per month.
7. Hopkins, Minnesota
Average rent for 1-bedroom: $1,105
Monthly expenditures: $2,204
In Hopkins, your paycheck won't be stretched overly thin by the cost of utilities, which is $309.26 per month, and healthcare is only $436.20.
6. Universal City, Texas
Average rent for 1-bedroom: $1,106
Monthly expenditures: $2,253
In Universal City, 14.3% of the population is age 65 or older. Monthly expenditures are reasonable, with grocery costs at $322.31 per month and utilities at $305.79 per month.
5. Maryland Heights, Missouri
Average rent for 1-bedroom: $999
Monthly expenditures: $2,148
Maryland Heights has one of the lowest monthly utilities costs on the lists, at $298.23 per month. Monthly grocery costs are still under the national average, as well, at $342.98.
4. Tomball, Texas
Average rent for 1-bedroom: $1,072
Monthly expenditures: $2,236
In Tomball, 18.8% of the population is age 65 or older. Here, your income goes decently far, with monthly utilities at $306.42 per month and monthly groceries costing $344.03 per month.
3. Willoughby Hills, Ohio
Average rent for 1-bedroom: $953
Monthly expenditures: $2,055
In Willoughby Hills, where 18% of the population is over age 65, monthly healthcare costs are only $464.54 per month.
2. Parma Heights, Ohio
Average rent for 1-bedroom: $889
Monthly expenditures: $1,983
In Parma Heights, which has the highest percentage of people age 65 and over at 20%, you'll pay the cheapest rent of all the cities on the list, and other expenses are also reasonable. You'll pay $457.87 in monthly healthcare costs, and $297.28 in monthly utilities.
1. Farmington, Michigan
Average rent for 1-bedroom: $982
Monthly expenditures: $2,091
Farmington is almost the cheapest place to live on this list. While some of its expenses are a wee bit higher than the number two city, it has a livability score of 94, which is fantastic, and overall, the monthly expenditures to live here are almost $600 cheaper than the national average.
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Methodology: For this study, GOBankingRates found the best small town (population less than 30,000) cities to retire on a budget of $2,300 or less. GOBankingRates used ApartmentList June 2022 data to find every small town in the U.S. that has an (1) average 2022 monthly rent of $1,250 or less for a 1 bedroom apartment. GOBankingRates then used Sperling's Best to find the cost of living index for every city on the list, looking at (2) grocery, (3) utilities and (4) healthcare index scores. Next, GOBankingRates used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2020 Consumer Expenditure Survey to find the annual expenditure amount for both grocery ("food at home") and healthcare costs for people aged 65 and older in order to find how much a person 65 and over would spend on groceries and healthcare in each city on a monthly basis. GOBankingRates then added monthly housing, grocery and healthcare costs together to find where a person 65 and older could survive on $2,300 or less. In order for a city to be qualified for the study, it had to have a livability score of 65 or higher as sourced from AreaVibes and its population had to be 10% or more over the age of 65 according to the Census Bureau's 2020 American Community Survey. For final rankings all qualified cities were ranked by (5) total monthly expenditures, (6) % of population over 65 and (7) livability with the lowest score being best. Factor (7) was weighted 1.5x. All data was collected on and up to date as of July 12, 2022.