35 Surprising Cities With Low Costs of Living

·4 min read
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you're struggling to make ends meet, it might have something to do with where you live. 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.

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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 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.

Last updated: Oct. 14, 2021

Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

                            35. Baltimore
Total annual cost of living: $26,502.54
Annual income needed: $53,005.07
See: The 50 Best Cities for Renters

traveler1116 / iStock.com
traveler1116 / iStock.com

                            34. Huntsville, Alabama
Total annual cost of living: $26,385.81
Annual income needed: $52,771.62
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Tory Garcia / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Tory Garcia / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            33. Kansas City, Missouri
Total annual cost of living: $26,168.67
Annual income needed: $52,337.33
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Not Home / Wikimedia Commons
Not Home / Wikimedia Commons

                            32. Laredo, Texas
Total annual cost of living: $26,041.71
Annual income needed: $52,083.42

SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto
SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            31. Chattanooga, Tennessee
Total annual cost of living: $26,037.48
Annual income needed: $52,074.97

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            30. Milwaukee
Total annual cost of living: $25,977.35
Annual income needed: $51,954.70

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            29. Greensboro, North Carolina
Total annual cost of living: $25,927.14
Annual income needed: $51,854.28

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

                            28. Corpus Christi, Texas
Total annual cost of living: $25,800.21
Annual income needed: $51,600.42

dreamyguy1 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
dreamyguy1 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            27. Cincinnati
Total annual cost of living: $25,758.50
Annual income needed: $51,517

benkrut / Getty Images/iStockphoto
benkrut / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            26. Des Moines, Iowa
Total annual cost of living: $25,635.13
Annual income needed: $51,270.26
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Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

                            25. Tulsa, Oklahoma
Total annual cost of living: $25,217.09
Annual income needed: $50,434.18

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            24. Wichita, Kansas
Total annual cost of living: $25,200.71
Annual income needed: $50,401.42

f11photo / Getty Images/iStockphoto
f11photo / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            23. Indianapolis
Total annual cost of living: $25,112.34
Annual income needed: $50,224.67

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            22. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Total annual cost of living: $25,034.16
Annual income needed: $50,068.31

SeanPavonePhoto / iStock.com
SeanPavonePhoto / iStock.com

                            21. Mobile, Alabama
Total annual cost of living: $24,981.49
Annual income needed: $49,962.98

dlewis33 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
dlewis33 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            20. Little Rock, Arkansas
Total annual cost of living: $24,958.48
Annual income needed: $49,916.95

espiegle / Getty Images/iStockphoto
espiegle / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            19. Detroit
Total annual cost of living: $24,903.13
Annual income needed: $49,806.26

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            18. Amarillo, Texas
Total annual cost of living: $24,839.61
Annual income needed: $49,679.21

ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

                            17. Augusta-Richmond, Georgia
Total annual cost of living: $24,778.75
Annual income needed: $49,557.49

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            16. El Paso, Texas
Total annual cost of living: $24,715.64
Annual income needed: $49,431.28

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

                            15. Lubbock, Texas
Total annual cost of living: $24,592.25
Annual income needed: $49,184.51
See: The Most Expensive Countries To Live In

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            14. St. Louis
Total annual cost of living: $24,495.14
Annual income needed: $48,990.28

ChrisBoswell / Getty Images/iStockphoto
ChrisBoswell / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            13. Fayetteville, North Carolina
Total annual cost of living: $24,246.71
Annual income needed: $48,493.43

Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            12. Buffalo, New York
Total annual cost of living: $24,163.60
Annual income needed: $48,327.20

ChrisBoswell / Getty Images/iStockphoto
ChrisBoswell / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            11. Fort Wayne, Indiana
Total annual cost of living: $23,717.29
Annual income needed: $47,434.58
See: Cheapest Places To Buy a Home in Every State

Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            10. Memphis, Tennessee
Total annual cost of living: $23,131.05
Annual income needed: $46,262.09

Shutterstock.com
Shutterstock.com

                            9. Shreveport, Louisiana
Total annual cost of living: $23,126.13
Annual income needed: $46,252.26

Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Sean Pavone / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            8. Montgomery, Alabama
Total annual cost of living: $22,936.20
Annual income needed: $45,872.40

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

                            7. Columbus, Georgia
Total annual cost of living: $22,594.26
Annual income needed: $45,188.52

61242142 / Shutterstock.com
61242142 / Shutterstock.com

                            6. Rochester, New York
Total annual cost of living: $22,577.04
Annual income needed: $45,154.08

SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto
SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            5. Birmingham, Alabama
Total annual cost of living: $22,049.47
Annual income needed: $44,098.95

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            4. Brownsville, Texas
Total annual cost of living: $21,835.35
Annual income needed: $43,670.70

Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
Davel5957 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            3. Toledo, Ohio
Total annual cost of living: $20,928.10
Annual income needed: $41,856.20

benkrut / Getty Images/iStockphoto
benkrut / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            2. Akron, Ohio
Total annual cost of living: $20,381.18
Annual income needed: $40,762.35

ChrisBoswell / Getty Images/iStockphoto
ChrisBoswell / Getty Images/iStockphoto

                            1. Cleveland
Total annual cost of living: $20,323.36
Annual income needed: $40,646.72
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Cameron Huddleston 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 2018 American Community Survey. First, GOBankingRates referenced the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2019 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. 20-23, 2020.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 35 Surprising Cities With Low Costs of Living

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