In some places, it seems like rent is skyrocketing. In fact, the number of households spending more than 50 percent of their income on rent is on the rise, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. This isn’t exactly good news for retirees on a fixed income, budget-conscious people who are trying to save and invest, or those who simply need to live on less. However, realistically living on a budget of $1500 a month is possible, you just need to be in the right place! We’ve compiled 30 cities in the United States where citizens can keep their total monthly expenditures down to $1500 or less.
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Casper sits in Wyoming, one of only nine states that have no income tax — so you’re already saving a few bucks. But this small, friendly mountain town has a somewhat lower cost of living, falling 4.5 percent lower than the national average. The only shortcoming here is that groceries are just slightly higher than the national average. Anyone who loves the outdoors will be right at home here. The great outdoors is accessible here, with more boating, hiking, hunting, and fly fishing than you could possibly imagine.
If you’re looking at Davenport, Iowa, you’ll be happy to hear that the average cost of living in this small city is 18.3 percent lower than the national average. Although healthcare is a little higher here, groceries cost less and housing costs are nearly half of the national average. Art lovers will enjoy the Figge Art Museum, where they have art dating as far back as the 15th century. Music lovers will love Davenport, too, thanks to festivals highlighting jazz, reggae, rock, country, and more. Don’t miss Vander Veer Botanical Park, either, which was modeled after NYC’s Central Park.
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The average cost of healthcare in Lawton, Oklahoma is slightly above the national average, but it gets balanced out by lower grocery costs and reasonable rent. The cost of living here is 23.8 percent lower than the national average! Lawton has that small-town feel, but also has plenty of big city amenities to keep you busy. It’s particularly great for history buffs, considering you can learn area history at the Museum of the Great Plains, or at Fort Sill National Historic Landmark & Museum, an active Army fort that was established in 1869. Or go on scenic hikes to see buffalo!
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Compared to the rest of the country, Winston Salem, North Carolina is pretty affordable. If you’re hoping for a budget-friendly city, the cost of living in this NC spot is 18.7 percent lower than the national average. Healthcare costs are a little higher, but grocery and housing costs definitely make up for it. For being so inexpensive, Winston Salem is a pretty neat city to live in. Catch a Wake Forest University Demon Deacons football game, or travel back in time when you visit Old Salem. You’ll find a bustling art scene here, and there’s plenty of good food happening here, too.
If you want to enjoy warm weather and palm trees on a budget, Tallahassee, Florida has earned itself a spot on our list here. Compared to the rest of the country, this city’s overall cost of living is 6.2 percent lower than the national average. Although healthcare costs are a little higher, Tallahassee boasts lower grocery costs and reasonable rent. Tallahassee hosts the Swamp Stomp Music Festival, “an acoustic music lover’s dream.” You’ll also find plenty of museums, like the Florida Historic Capitol Museum, or check out St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, Texas may have the lowest healthcare costs out of any city on this list, with the average healthcare costs coming in at 13.3 percent lower than the national average. You’ll also find really affordable housing and cheap grocery costs in El Paso. This west Texas city is definitely unique. It sits at the intersection of Texas, New Mexico, and Ciudad Juárez, the most populous city in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Between scenic state parks, the El Paso Zoo, and museums, residents have plenty to do.
Lansing may be the state capital of Michigan, but it is one of the more affordable cities to live in. Grocery prices and healthcare costs are much lower than the national average, but housing is what really brings this city in on a budget. Expect the average home to cost a whopping 62.7 percent less than the national average. Like other cities on this list, you’ll find this city is full of art galleries, theaters, green spaces, museums, historical sites, and more.
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Fort Wayne, Indiana
Fort Wayne, Indiana is all-around affordable for its residents. When considering healthcare costs, average grocery prices, and the median cost for average homes, you are looking at getting more for your money here. In fact, the cost of living in Fort Wayne is 21.1 percent lower than the national average. With all the money you’re saving, take a stroll in the attractive downtown and enjoy its small-town feel. You’ll find over three dozen galleries and boutiques, music, theatre, and historic neighborhoods.
When it comes to affordable living, Odessa, Texas is a good choice. The average cost of housing is 25 percent less than the national average, so you’ll get more house for less money here. Grocery prices are also lower here, so you won’t break the bank to stock the fridge. Odessa has a lot of unique things to entertain residents: the 8-foot-tall statue, Jack Ben Rabbit; a replica of Stonehenge; and the Globe Theatre, a working re-creation of William Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre. There are, of course, a few normal things to do, too, like concerts, amusement parks, and college sports.
St. Cloud, Minnesota
If you’re hoping to get by with only $1500 a month, St. Cloud, Minnesota could be the town for you! Compared to the rest of the country, the cost of living here is 16.2 percent lower than the national average. It’s mostly due to reasonable rent, but grocery and healthcare costs are also relatively low. St. Cloud really has that friendly, small-town Midwestern feel. Sitting along the Mississippi and Sauk Rivers, the city is home to protected wild riverfront, and there are plenty of parks and nature preserves to enjoy.
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Lorain, Ohio isn’t the cheapest place to live on our list — after all, healthcare and grocery costs are around 9 percent above the national average here. Even still, Lorain makes this list because the city has a median monthly rent under $500 a month. You’ll find plenty of museums, galleries, and wineries to keep you occupied. Or, plan a visit to the lighthouse, play a round of golf, or spend the day fishing. Lorain is also less than an hour away from Cleveland!
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Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa is surprisingly affordable, thanks to the cost of living falling 18.4 percent lower than the national average. Not only are housing costs much lower on average here, but the average cost of groceries is about 5.7 percent below the rest of the U.S., too. This east-central Iowa city along Cedar River is packed to the gills with things to do. Between four golf courses, more than 70 parks, the African American Museum of America, Czech Village District, Slovak Museum & Library, and more, you’ll never be bored.
Lynchburg, Virginia is particularly budget-friendly, with the cost of living falling 17.1 percent lower than the U.S. average. It’s mostly thanks to affordable housing costs, but it’s worth noting that average grocery costs here are pretty cheap, too. With breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains, plus a mix of new and historic districts, you’ll have plenty to look at. History buffs will appreciate Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest and the Civil War Trail, but Lynchburg is also known for riverfront concerts and a bustling art scene.
Grand Forks, North Dakota
I’m pretty sure the forks are so grand in this North Dakota city because average grocery costs are 4.3 percent lower than the national average. The total cost of living is 11.8 percent lower than the rest of the country, too. Affordable living does not mean you won’t have anything to do, though. Live music is easy to find, or enjoy fishing and boating on one of two rivers. It’s also worth mentioning that golfers will really love Grand Forks, thanks to the numerous golf courses here.
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Bloomington is a pretty affordable spot in north-central Illinois. In fact, the cost of living is 17.1 percent lower than the national average, thanks to the budget-friendly trifecta: affordable healthcare, reasonable rent, and cheap groceries. All three of these categories fall below the U.S. average. You’ll find a small-town atmosphere in this mid-size city, boasting plenty of independent restaurants, jazz, art galleries, and museums. The area is synonymous with golf courses, too. If none of that is enough for you, Bloomington is also only 100 miles from Chicago.
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Lubbock, Texas is another U.S. city that can help you stretch your dollar, thanks to a lower cost of living. Although the average monthly rent is a little higher than other towns in Texas, grocery costs here are over 5 percent below the national average, and healthcare expenses are 3 percent below the national average, too. You won’t be bored in this small city on the southern edge of the Texas Panhandle, either. There are plenty of music festivals and the Buddy Holly Center, hit up Joyland Amusement Park, or check out the art scene in the Cultural District.
Everything is more affordable in Akron, Ohio, making it an ideal place for people looking to live on a budget. Overall, the average cost of living is 30.5 percent lower than the U.S. average! While healthcare and grocery costs are definitely lower than the national average, it’s the average housing costs that make Akron extra affordable. Don’t confuse affordability with dullness. Akron is home to the Akron Art Museum, the Akron Zoo, minor league baseball, breweries, theatres, and more.
Minot, North Dakota
Although Minot’s overall cost of living comes in slightly under the national average, the median cost of an average home is higher. At least the cost of healthcare is lower to help balance it out. This city offers plenty to its residents, though. You’ll find the Roosevelt Zoo, the Dakota Territory Air Museum, and the Scandinavian Heritage Park. The North Dakota State Fair is here each year, too. If going outdoors is your thing, there are plenty of parks and trails, hunting, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.
Terre Haute, Indiana
In Terre Haute, Indiana, budget-conscious residents can whittle their monthly expenditures down to $1500. The overall cost of living here is 25.7 percent lower than the U.S. average, particularly thanks to low healthcare and housing costs. Home to Indiana State University, this city provides plenty of college-town perks like athletic games and arts. Terre Haute also has plenty of museums, a historic district with the Indiana Theatre, and the Terre Haute Action Track, a half-mile dirt track that hosts plenty of racing events.
The cost of living is much lower in Abilene, mostly due to the affordability of housing. The median cost of an average home here is nearly half the average national cost. Abilene is among the lowest on this list in average grocery costs, too. This small city in north-central Texas has a surprising amount of arts and cultural amenities for its size. Abilene has been recognized for its use of the arts to both preserve and revitalize the historic district. You’ll also find plenty of golf courses, unique museums, and the Abilene Zoo.
Erie may be Pennsylvania’s third-largest city, but it still manages to be pretty affordable. In fact, compared with the rest of the country, the average cost of living is 25.4 percent lower than the national average. The cost of living is among the lowest out of every city on this list, and so is healthcare — with the average cost falling 12.1 percent lower than the U.S. average. You’ll never be bored in Erie, thanks to Presque Isle State Park, professional hockey and soccer teams, and the Presque Isle Downs & Casino.
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Compared to the rest of the country, the cost of living in Tulsa, Oklahoma is pretty attractive! Grocery costs are some of the lowest on this list, so you’ll be able to keep the pantry stocked without spending a ton of money. Overall, the average cost of living here is 16.8 percent lower than the national average. With all that money you’re saving, hit any of the fourteen public golf courses to enjoy a round or two. There are also a ton of festivals throughout the year, museums, and the Tulsa Zoo to keep you entertained.
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Waterloo, Iowa may have higher-than-average healthcare costs, but this small city is still affordable. The cost of groceries in Waterloo is 7.1 percent lower than the national average, so you’ll save a few bucks every time you stock the pantry. However, you’ll save even more with reasonable rent: housing costs are a whopping 59.3 percent lower than the U.S. average. Although Waterloo isn’t big on nightlife, you’ll still stay busy. Take in the beauty at the 40-acre Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, visit science museums, or travel the bike trail running 52 miles to Cedar Rapids.
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Lake Charles, Louisiana
This small southwest Louisiana city makes it easy to live on $1500 a month. The average cost of groceries and healthcare is lower than the national average, but the housing is very affordable. Lake Charles offers plenty to do. You’ll find great music, casinos, parks, and a charming historic district. Seafood lovers will love the restaurants here. Plus, this city is located between Houston and New Orleans, so you’ll find plenty more activities to keep you occupied, from museums to water activities to wildlife experiences — not to mention, Mardi Gras!
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If you’re hoping to live on a budget, Amarillo, Texas might be the place for you. Average healthcare costs are a little higher than the national average, but it gets balanced out by lower grocery costs and really reasonable rent. Compared to the rest of the country, the cost of living in Amarillo is nearly 20 percent lower than the national average. You won’t find a ton of nightlife in this “cow town” of cowboys and ranch life. But you will find plenty to do, with museums and historic sites, plus performing arts from the Lone Star Ballet and the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra. Or, head 30 minutes away to Palo Duro Canyon for horseback riding, hiking, and camping.
The cost of living in Muncie, Indiana is among the lowest in the state. Compared to the rest of the country, the cost of living is 28.1 percent lower than the national average. While healthcare and grocery costs are very affordable, it’s the housing that will really keep you under budget in Muncie. Home to Ball State University, Muncie offers the benefits of a college town, with a vibrant arts and culture scene. You’ll also find plenty of green spaces, or take in the impressive views of the White River from the Cantilevered Walkway.
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Affordability is the name of the game in Springfield, Missouri. This small city is a great option for budget-conscious residents. Compared to the rest of the country, average living costs in Springfield come in 17.7 percent lower than the national average. The average cost of healthcare is slightly higher than the national average, but affordable housing and grocery costs make up for it. Although Springfield is a small city, it’s the third-largest in the state and it sits at the foot of the Ozark Mountains. That means you’ll find plenty of things to keep you entertained, from museums and art galleries to gorgeous state parks and hiking trails.
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If you’re hoping to keep your monthly expenditures under $1500, Ocala, Florida could be the city for you. The overall cost of living here is 16.2 percent lower than the national average. The median cost of an average home is 35.9 percent less than the U.S. average. Although we often think of Disney World or Miami when it comes to Florida, Ocala is much different. This quiet city is home to Silver Springs State Park, where you can go kayaking, canoeing, biking, or take advantage of the area’s boat tours.
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To get more for your money, check out the affordable city of Evansville, Indiana. When compared to the rest of the U.S., the cost of living in this city is much lower than the national average. It’s thanks to low grocery prices, affordable healthcare costs, and even lower housing costs. Located along the Ohio River, Evansville features an attractive downtown with historic areas and a mall near the waterfront. You’ll also find golf courses, museums, and minor league baseball to keep you entertained.
Shreveport shines when it comes to affordability, with cost of living coming in 22.5 percent lower than the national average. Grocery costs are 9 percent lower, and average healthcare costs are 8.7 percent lower, some of the lowest on this list. Thanks to the riverfront entertainment district, residents enjoy plenty of nightlife and casinos in the revitalized downtown area. Plus, this mid-size city also has plenty of free entertainment, like Artspace, the Southwestern University Museum of Art, and the Spring Street Museum. If you enjoyed this gallery, follow us on MSN here.