The Most Affordable and Most Expensive Places to Live in America

Moving to a new city can be an exciting adventure, but it might not be so grand if you can’t afford your rent. That’s why it’s important to research the cost of living to find a city where you can pay your bills and still get out and enjoy all your new city has to offer. The following are some of the cheapest and most expensive places to live in America.

The 3 Most Expensive

These three cities might offer a lot of lifestyle perks, but they’ll also leave you pinching pennies in order to enjoy them.

1. New York, NY
Manhattan and Brooklyn consistently rank among the most expensive cities in the United States. A lot of people living there think the high prices are worth the rewards. “TimeOut” claims New York is perfect for those looking for a bustling nightlife, musicals, arts and the best drinks in the country – the Manhattan was invented there, after all. New Yorkers also live an average of two years longer than residents in the rest of the country.

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On the other hand, the average rent in and around the city is a whopping $3,129/month. You’ve probably heard about some of the apartments being about the size of Harry Potter’s bedroom and yet it takes a big portion of your savings each month to live in that tiny closet. But the people there don’t seem to mind. After all, the city is home to over eight million residents.

2. Honolulu, HI
Hawaii is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s also home to some of the most expensive grocery lists. Honolulu in particular has a higher cost of living than average, but mostly in terms of how much it costs to do anything. The rent is fairly affordable compared to other large cities, with the average rent of a one bedroom around $1,500 a month.

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The weather there might just make the price of living worthwhile. Honolulu has an average temperature of over 77 degrees, meaning you can hit the beaches year-round. If you’re into outdoor activities Honolulu boasts endless miles of beaches, surfing, fishing and other water-related fun. It rains a lot, but only in short bursts that come and go quickly.

3. San Francisco, CA
Rent in San Francisco varies widely depending on where you choose to live. If you’re a downtown kind of person, expect to shell out around $3,000/month for a one bedroom. Residing in the outskirts can save you about a $1,000 a month. However, the mild year-round weather will save you in utilities, with the average hovering around $100 each month no matter where you live.

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San Francisco has an extensive public transit system, so you could easily get by there without a car. You can also walk or bike around town. As the heart of Silicon Valley, it’s also at the forefront of most technological advances. You’ll need to be happy with foggy mornings and evenings, particularly during the summer.

The 3 Most Affordable

These cities might not have as much in the way of excitement to offer as some of their larger peers, but what they lack in flair they make up for in comfort and affordability.

1. McAllen, TX
McAllen is a southern town located near the Mexican border and is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the state. The city boasts over 130,000 residents and a strong educational system with multiple higher learning facilities in the area. It’s also in what’s known as the Texas Tropics and has an annual average temperature of 84.7 degrees.

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Groceries and activities are remarkably affordable and you can find three bedroom apartments throughout the city for under $1,000/month. With such low rent you’ll have plenty of money left over to enjoy all of the year-round activities the city puts on. McAllen also boasts a lively nightlife and the 17th St Entertainment District plays hosts to some of the most popular musical acts around. You’re also just a hop away from the popular beaches of South Padre Island and many of Mexico’s popular border towns, just in case you’re in the mood for a little adventure.

2. Ashland, OH
If affordability is your primary goal, it doesn’t get much cheaper than Ashland, OH. The Midwestern town is in the northern part of the state close to the Great Lakes. It offers up a quaint, small town setting and rent costs in the $300 to $650/month range. If you’re looking to buy, a home in Ashland goes for just over $100,000. The town of only 20,000 people also has a low unemployment rate of 5.40 percent.

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Ashland is also a college town, home to Ashland University, so it has a diverse arts community with musical performances and museums abound. There are also seven parks in the city limits and an endless playground of nature surrounding the city. Ashland is just an hour away from Cleveland, so it’s the perfect location for anyone looking for quiet, small-town living with the option for a little city adventure just down the road. The people here also bill the town as “The World Headquarters of Nice People,” so it has that going for it too.

3. Martinsville-Henry County, VA
Martinsville-Henry County in Virginia is an outdoor playground with activities like kayaking, hiking and whitewater rafting are around every corner. It’s also an extremely affordable place to call home. The median home value in the county is an astonishingly low $94,600.

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The southern Virginia county is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and close to surrounding cities like Roanoke, Virginia Beach and Greensboro, NC. The area has a strong historical presence and is home to many museums and Civil War Era sites for you to enjoy.

Whether you’re looking for the excitement of the big city or a something a little more relaxed, the cities on this list all have something great going for them. When choosing your next place to call home, remember to find the place that offers all the conveniences you’re looking for at a price you can afford.

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