Living on a Budget? Check Out the 5 Cheapest Places to Call Home in the United States

Alana Grace

‍Photo by Pexels on Pixabay

Introduction to finding the cheapest place to live in the United States

Living on a budget can be challenging, but it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your quality of life. One of the most significant expenses for individuals and families is housing. Finding an affordable place to call home can make a significant difference in your financial well-being. If you’re wondering where the cheapest place to live in the United States is, look no further. In this article, we will explore the top five cheapest cities in the country and discuss the factors to consider when determining the most budget-friendly location for you.

Factors to consider when determining the cheapest place to live

When searching for an affordable place to live, several factors come into play. One of the first things to consider is the cost of housing. Look at the average rent or home prices in the area and compare them to your budget. Additionally, take into account the cost of groceries, transportation, healthcare, and utilities, as these expenses can vary significantly from one location to another. It’s also essential to consider the local job market and opportunities for career growth, as finding a well-paying job is crucial for maintaining a comfortable lifestyle.

Another factor to consider is the overall safety of the area. While an inexpensive city may seem appealing, it’s important to research crime rates and ensure that you and your loved ones will be living in a secure environment. Additionally, consider the amenities and services available in the area. Look into the quality of schools, access to healthcare facilities, recreational activities, and public transportation options. These factors will contribute to your overall well-being and satisfaction with your chosen location.

The top 5 cheapest cities in the United States

Now that we’ve discussed the factors to consider let’s dive into the top five cheapest cities in the United States:

  1. Memphis, Tennessee: Memphis consistently ranks as one of the most affordable cities in the country. With low housing costs and a reasonable cost of living, it offers great value for your money. The city is known for its rich musical history, vibrant arts scene, and delicious barbeque.
  2. Wichita, Kansas: Wichita is an excellent choice for those seeking an affordable place to call home. The city boasts a low unemployment rate and a cost of living below the national average. With a thriving aviation industry and beautiful parks and museums, Wichita offers a high quality of life at an affordable price.
  3. Birmingham, Alabama: Birmingham is a city that offers a low cost of living coupled with a rich history and culture. The city is known for its world-class healthcare facilities, affordable housing, and diverse culinary scene. With its warm climate and friendly community, Birmingham is an attractive option for those looking for an affordable place to live.
  4. Tulsa, Oklahoma: Tulsa is a hidden gem in the heartland of America. The city offers a low cost of living, affordable housing options, and a growing job market. With its beautiful parks, vibrant arts scene, and friendly residents, Tulsa provides an excellent quality of life for those on a budget.
  5. El Paso, Texas: El Paso is a border city that offers a low cost of living and a unique blend of cultures. With its warm climate, stunning mountain views, and affordable housing, El Paso is an attractive option for those seeking an affordable place to call home. The city is also known for its delicious Tex-Mex cuisine and vibrant festivals.

Cost of living comparison in the top 5 cheapest cities

To truly understand the affordability of these cities, let’s compare the cost of living in each of the top five cheapest cities:

  • Housing: In Memphis, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $700 per month, while in Wichita, it’s even lower at $650. Birmingham offers affordable housing with an average rent of $800, while Tulsa and El Paso come in at $750 and $775, respectively.
  • Groceries: The cost of groceries in these cities is also relatively low. On average, a gallon of milk in Memphis costs $2.50, while in Wichita, it’s slightly cheaper at $2.40. Birmingham and Tulsa have comparable prices at $2.60, and El Paso is the most affordable at $2.30.
  • Transportation: When it comes to transportation, Memphis has an average gas price of $2.40 per gallon, while Wichita and Birmingham are slightly cheaper at $2.30. Tulsa and El Paso offer the most affordable gas prices at $2.20 per gallon.

By comparing these costs, it’s clear that these cities offer an affordable cost of living that can help stretch your budget.

Quality of life in the cheapest cities

concrete building and houses under gray sky

Living in a budget-friendly city doesn’t mean sacrificing your quality of life. Each of the top five cheapest cities in the United States has its own unique charm and attractions that contribute to a fulfilling life. Memphis, for example, is famous for its vibrant music scene, including blues, rock ‘n’ roll, and soul. The city is home to iconic landmarks such as Beale Street and Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley.

Wichita, on the other hand, offers a high quality of life with its abundance of parks, museums, and recreational activities. The city has over 140 parks and green spaces, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its affordable cost of living and friendly community, Wichita provides an excellent environment for individuals and families.

Birmingham, known as the “Magic City,” offers a rich history and culture. The city is home to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which preserves the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Additionally, Birmingham has a thriving arts and culinary scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and restaurants to explore.

Tulsa, often referred to as the “Oil Capital of the World,” offers a unique mix of natural beauty and cultural attractions. The city has an extensive park system, including the iconic Gathering Place, a 66-acre park along the Arkansas River. Tulsa also hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, showcasing its vibrant arts and music scene.

El Paso, located on the border of Mexico and the United States, offers a blend of cultures and traditions. The city is known for its delicious Tex-Mex cuisine, friendly residents, and stunning mountain views. With its warm climate and diverse community, El Paso provides a unique and enriching experience for its residents.

Pros and cons of living in the cheapest cities

While the top five cheapest cities in the United States offer numerous advantages, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons before making a decision. Here are some pros and cons of living in these affordable cities:


  • Affordable housing: The low cost of housing in these cities allows you to save money or allocate your budget towards other expenses or investments.
  • Cost of living: The overall cost of living in these cities is significantly lower than the national average, making it easier to manage your budget and achieve financial goals.
  • Job opportunities: Despite being affordable, these cities still offer job opportunities in various industries, allowing you to maintain a stable income.
  • Quality of life: Each of these cities has its own unique attractions and amenities that contribute to a high quality of life, such as parks, museums, cultural events, and outdoor activities.


  • Limited job market: While these cities offer job opportunities, they may not have the same level of career options compared to larger metropolitan areas.
  • Limited amenities: Some of these cities may have limited amenities and services compared to larger cities, which may impact certain aspects of your lifestyle.
  • Extreme weather: Depending on the city you choose, extreme weather conditions such as tornadoes or hot summers may be a consideration.

It’s important to weigh these pros and cons and consider your personal preferences and priorities before making a decision.

Additional considerations when choosing a place to live on a budget

In addition to the factors mentioned earlier, there are a few more considerations to keep in mind when choosing a place to live on a budget:

  • Community: Consider the community and the people you will be living among. Look for a place that aligns with your values and offers a sense of belonging.
  • Education: If you have children or plan to start a family, research the quality of schools in the area. Look for districts with high graduation rates and positive reviews from parents and students.
  • Healthcare: Access to quality healthcare is essential. Research the availability of hospitals, clinics, and specialists in the area to ensure you will receive the care you need.
  • Commute: Consider the commute to work or other daily destinations. Factor in transportation costs and the time spent traveling to determine if the location is suitable for your lifestyle.

By considering these additional factors, you can make a well-rounded decision that aligns with your budget and personal preferences.

Tips for saving money while living in a budget-friendly city

Living in an affordable city provides an excellent opportunity to save money and improve your financial situation. Here are some tips for saving money while living in a budget-friendly city:

  1. Create a budget: Establish a budget that outlines your income and expenses. Track your spending and identify areas where you can cut back to save money.
  2. Cook at home: Eating out can quickly add up, so try cooking at home more often. Plan your meals, buy groceries in bulk, and prepare your lunches for work.
  3. Use public transportation: If available, take advantage of public transportation to save on gas and parking fees. Consider biking or walking for short distances.
  4. Look for free or inexpensive entertainment: Explore the local parks, museums, and community events that offer free or low-cost entertainment options.
  5. Shop smart: Compare prices, use coupons, and take advantage of sales to save money on groceries and other essential items.
  6. Save on utilities: Conserve energy by turning off lights when not in use, using energy-efficient appliances, and adjusting your thermostat to save on heating and cooling costs.
  7. Take advantage of discounts and loyalty programs: Look for discounts and loyalty programs offered by local businesses and take advantage of them whenever possible.

By implementing these tips, you can maximize your savings and make the most of your budget-friendly lifestyle.

Resources for finding affordable housing in the United States

Person with keys for real estate

Finding affordable housing can be a challenge, but there are resources available to help you in your search. Here are a few resources for finding affordable housing in the United States:

  • Housing and Urban Development (HUD): HUD offers various programs and resources to help individuals and families find affordable housing. Visit their website or contact your local HUD office for more information.
  • Affordable Housing Online: Affordable Housing Online is a website that provides a database of affordable housing options across the country. You can search for housing based on your location and specific needs.
  • Local housing authorities: Contact your local housing authority to inquire about affordable housing options in your area. They can provide information about subsidized housing programs and rental assistance.
  • Non-profit organizations: Many non-profit organizations work to provide affordable housing options. Research local non-profits and see if they can assist you in finding affordable housing.
  • Online rental platforms: Websites such as Zillow,, and offer search filters to help you find affordable rentals in your desired location.

Remember to start your housing search early and be persistent. Affordable housing options may have waiting lists, so it’s essential to plan ahead and explore multiple avenues.


Living on a budget doesn’t mean compromising your quality of life. By exploring the top five cheapest cities in the United States, considering the cost of living, quality of life, and additional factors, you can find an affordable place to call home. Whether it’s the rich musical history of Memphis, the abundance of parks in Wichita, the vibrant culture of Birmingham, the natural beauty of Tulsa, or the unique blend of cultures in El Paso, these cities offer a budget-friendly lifestyle without sacrificing your well-being. With the right planning, budgeting, and resource utilization, you can make the most of your budget-friendly city and thrive financially. So, start your search and find the perfect affordable place to call home in the United States.

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