Effectively budgeting one’s earnings and expenses is not alway easy, and the difference between saving and just scraping by depends on the cost of living in an area. Households earning the same income can afford much more — and save more — in places like Lincoln, Nebraska than in major metropolises New York City.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Bureau of Economic Analysis cost of living index for U.S. metro areas to identify the nation’s 20 cheapest cities. Prices in these cities are at least 15% lower than national average prices. The cities are not especially clustered in any region, with some in Idaho and California in the West, Arizona in the Mountain region, Pennsylvania in the Northeast, and several in Southern U.S. states.
Large urban areas tend to be more expensive than non-metropolitan areas. The cheapest cities tend to be relatively small, ranging in population from 100,000 to 700,000 people, while more expensive cities tend to be large urban centers with populations of 2 million or greater.