It’s getting more expensive to live in the U.S. Here’s where to escape to
You can live a good life on less — if you move.
Earlier this year, the U.S. cost of living increased the most it has in nearly four years, according to data on consumer prices from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in Bloomberg — spurred by higher prices for gas, cars, clothing and more.
And while that means it may be more expensive now for many Americans to just exist, there are plenty of spots in the U.S. where you can live pretty well on $50,000 or less, as a GoBankingRates survey released this week revealed. But, of course, the question then is often: Just because I can live cheaply in these places, do I want to live in them?
So Moneyish analyzed some of the cities with a reasonable cost of living to find cities with a rich culture, decent weather and lots of things to do — and where you can live decently on $50,000 or less. Here are five.
If its nearly 300 days a year or sunshine don’t sell you on this desert town, its other perks will. There’s the fact that it snagged the United States’ first UNESCO Capital of Gastronomy designation — UNESCO ranks “creative cities” around the globe on things like design, art and gastronomy; only 116 cities are on this list across all categories — likely thanks to its distinctive, multicultural cuisine, and numerous farmers markets and food festivals. And there’s a charming downtown with shops and breweries connected by a streetcar; surrounding mountains with tons of hiking and biking options; and a lively art scene on top of that. GoBankingRates estimates that you’ll need $46,000 a year to comfortably afford rent, groceries, utilities, healthcare and transportation, and still be able to afford to save and spend money on fun things.
You may only know Louisville as home to the Kentucky Derby, but this southern city has way more than just horses and hats. It’s a friendly town — “ a glass of fine bourbon and good conversation aren’t hard to find,” the New York Times recently noted — and its arts and music scenes aren’t too shabby either. Music festivals — Forecastle, the Midwest Music Festival, the Kentucky Bluegrass Music and Burgoo Festivals, among them — abound, as does live music throughout the week. It’s also been named a top foodie town by a number of publications and even bred Top Chef star Edward Lee. Winters are mild and the cost of living is cheap: GoBankingRates notes that you can live here pretty well on $49,000 a year.
San Antonio, Texas
Locals here are “touting the city’s easy diversity, with all races and cultures truly coexisting and supporting each other,” Lonely Planet notes. And they love this Texas town’s major bike sharing program, which makes it easy to get around everywhere from the tourist heavy River Walk to the Pearl district, which the Star Tribune notes has some of the hottest restaurants in town and Conde Nast Traveler calls out for its shopping. You can live here on about $48,000.
If you want a big city with cheap living, this may be the spot for you. GoBankingRates estimates you can live on $47,000 a year pretty well — and you’ll have plenty to do with your extra spending money. These include sporting events (the city is home to the Indianapolis Colts and Pacers, to name a few), a major zoo and aquarium and the world’s largest children’s museum. Low on cash? The city has 210 parks and 135 miles of trails.
You can’t deny this town’s musical heritage: It is the birthplace of rock ‘n roll, home of the blues and a place where Elvis, Justin Timberlake and Al Green have all called home — and these days you’ll find live music bursting out of bars and venues in nearly every neighborhood. And while it’s best known for its BBQ, you can eat so much more: Alton Brown has said Memphis is the best food town in America, and a number of publications, Southern Living among them, have put it on their list of best foodie towns. The overall cost of living here is well below average (the U.S. average is an index of 100, in Memphis the cost of living is just 74).
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