Before one embarks upon this journey, the most important thing is research. Analyze different states and cities where you can shift to change your life for the better. It is not only about cost-cutting; it is about identifying similar if the not better infrastructure of the town you plan to shift. Good public services and educational institutions, etc., matter a lot too.
The cost of living can significantly vary from one place to another in the U.S. and other parts of the world. Economics of the place has a huge role to play in it. The cost of living is co-related to the per capita income of people dwelling in the city. The spending value of 1$ can be different from one state to another. In Alabama, one dollar is worth $1.15, whereas a dollar spent in Hawaii is worth 84 cents. The cost-of-living index is based on the U.S. average of 100. Any figure below 100 means that the cost is below the nation’s average, and any figure above 100 indicates that the price is higher than the nation’s average. The lesser the number, the further the dollar goes for the same commodity. Living in most of the states in the south of the U.S. is very cost-effective; the ones with the highest cost of living are the urban clusters located up north.
The Cost-of-Living is based on an index based on the price data collection in the last quarter of 2010. Data is collected on metro level population, household income, the value of apartments and homes, poverty rate, and others as received from the U.S. Census Bureau. The Department of Health and Human Services, in the year 2020, set the federal poverty level at $26,200 for a family of four. That is similar to $12.60 per hour for a full-time worker. Ideally, the Living Wage must be greater than the poverty level. Here is a list of states which can be very favorable for shifting:
Mississippi is a historic centerpiece of the country. Even with inflation, your dollar will have its worth in Mississippi, America’s cheapest state.
The beautiful stretch of its countryside gives natives ample natural beauty to be around. Overall, Mississippi’s average cost of living is almost 15% lower than the national average. The living wage in Mississippi is only $48,537 and has the cheapest personal necessity spending recorded anywhere in the country. A hamburger will cost you 25% less in Hattiesburg than it would in Honolulu. Not just burgers, the bargains go beyond burgers in the Magnolia State, which offers low housing costs, inexpensive energy, and all-around affordable prices. Housing costs are approx. $795 a month, and childcare is the cheapest in the country, i.e., about $2,869 a year. Necessities like food, health care, etc., are the least expensive in the U.S.
The most affordable cities in Mississippi are Hattiesburg, Aberdeen, Clarksdale, Saltillo, Moss Point, Senatobia, Pontotoc, Ripley, Pearl, Brandon, Byram.
Oklahoma is a very budget-friendly state. From raising a family to retirement, this state has affordable housing and is the second least expensive in America.
The cost of housing is one of the lowest in Oklahoma; you can rent a two-bedroom apartment for $ 879 and a house for only $ 124,800. The state also has the lowest gas price in the U.S. Even the grocery and utility bills are way below average, with indexes of 94.1 and 95.8. The gross cost of living in Oklahoma is 15.4% below average.
The most affordable places in Oklahoma are Anadarko, Holdenville, Cushing, Noble, Alva, Blackwell, Ponca City, Seminole, Chickasha.
Arkansas is famous for its great BBQ, fried catfish, highly affordable places to live, and some pretty nice people! The presence of six Fortune 500 companies makes Arkansas below the national unemployment rate at 3.7%. Housing expenses are a third less than the U.S. average. An apartment rental costs $943 a month compared to the national average of $1,215.
Grocery, utilities, healthcare, and transportation are all significantly cheaper, as well. Arkansas’s living wage is $49,970.
The most affordable cities in Arkansas are De Queen, Stuttgart, Conway, Blytheville, Walnut Ridge, Berryville, El Dorado, Wynne, Trumann, Hope, and Marion.
It is ranked amongst the top 50 places to live in the U.S. This fast-growing Midwest state is an excellent place for job opportunities. Affordable housing, top-rated colleges, pro sports events, incredible arts and culture, and of course, some of the best barbecues in America.
Kansas is the fourth-cheapest State in America. The state offers much more than just prairies and farmland. Newcomers will find plenty of cultures, family-friendly cities, and excellent schools in Kansas, an ideal place to live! Thanks to its affordable prices and lesser grocery and transportation costs, Kansas is a very economical place to live.
The best cities in Kansas are Leawood, Prairie Village, Westwood, Fairway, Overland Park, Lenexa, Olathe, Roeland Park, Mission Hills, Shawnee, etc.
Missouri is the fifth-least expensive and 18th most populous state in the country. The state holds top-ranking industries like agriculture, aerospace, technology. It is also home to Anheuser-Busch, the largest producer of beer in the world. Residents benefit from economic opportunities in this state. Missouri’s strong economy, its gold star housing prices, and a modest cost of living make its cities very attractive to settle in. The most affordable cities in Missouri are Joplin, Richmond, Trenton, Bonne Terre, Webb City, St. Ann, Bowling Green, Oak Grove, St. John, Chillicothe, Kennett, etc.
Georgia is an attractive Southern escape with art, period architecture, and trendy boutiques. With an abundance of peaches, this southern state is the sixth-cheapest in America. The state’s famous city Savannah is known for its beautiful coastal landscapes, well-preserved architecture, and rich, vibrant history. You can hop on a quick ride to South Carolina to relish some good BBQ in Bluffton. Hilton Head is a town with a unique boardwalk, and you can witness the beautiful willow trees hanging low along the edges of the beach. You can walk along the idle coast in winters, making a quiet getaway. If you are missing the hustle and bustle of the city, Atlanta is full of nightlife, business, and research institutions like Emory.
The most affordable places in Georgia are Eatonton, Toccoa, Camilla, Jesup, Eastman, Glennville, Morrow, Riverdale, Sandersville, Commerce, etc.
Alabama stands seventh in the cost of living. The state is home to Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, the USS Alabama (Mobile), and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (Huntsville), and the “Heart of Dixie” is also home to some of the most charming cities in the country.
Alabama has pretty high taxes and utilities (cost index of 103.3). However, it makes up for cost-effective housing. The rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Alabama is $698, and the value of a house is $129,300. The Living Wage in Alabama is $50,585. It is lower than some other states ranked above it.
The most affordable places in Alabama are Attalla, Russellville, Roanoke, Lincoln, Pinson, Valley, Clay, Southside, Daleville, Hamilton, Anniston, Florence, Mobile, etc.
8. New Mexico
Value of one dollar: $ 1.07
Cost of Living Index: 89.6
Grocery Cost Index: 99.0
Housing Cost Index: 80.4
Transportation Cost Index: 93.0
Half gallon of milk: $2.10
Monthly energy bill: $155.29
New Mexico ranks as the eighth-cheapest state in the U.S. Groceries in the state match the national average. Utilities and housing here are much lower than the national average. With beautiful high desert vistas, delicious Southwestern cuisine, and some of the friendliest people in the country, it’s no wonder folks are flocking to New Mexico. The 47th state also offers highly affordable living. To discover which area presents the most value for your bucks, we used specific data points in transportation, housing, food, and utilities to find out the cheapest cities and those that offered the best quality of life.
The most affordable places in New Mexico are Grants, Lovington, Carlsbad, Hobbs, Roswell, Gallup, Santa Fe, Bloomfield, Alamogordo, Raton, Socorro.
Value of one dollar: $ 1.11
Cost of Living Index: 90.2
Grocery Cost Index: 94.5
Housing Cost Index: 82.6
Transportation Cost Index: 87.7
Half gallon of milk: $1.92
Monthly energy bill: $141.46
Tennessee is the ninth-cheapest State in America. The state has loads to offer to all income levels. There are some stunning cities to live in, which will make your banker happy. The unemployment rate in Arkansas is 3.7%, way below the national average. Enjoy some Tennessee Whiskey with a slice of pecan pie. If you ask any Tennessean, they will say that their corner of the country capital of the world is the best.
Tennessee’s housing index is only 82.6, and taxes are meager. With no state income tax, food is exceptionally reasonable too. According to the Cost-of-Living Index, the city is exceptionally affordable for everything from food to transportation. Cities like Morristown have an average cost of living, 13% below the national average. You can also check out one of the three Tennessee cities, Knoxville and its greater metro area, for cost-effective living.
The most affordable places in Tennessee are Jackson Milan, Memphis, Lewisburg, Manchester, Munford, Dunlap, Portland, Henderson, Rockwood, Atoka, Dyersburg,
Value of one dollar: $ 1.02
Cost of Living Index: 90.4
Grocery Cost Index: 92.3
Housing Cost Index: 76.5
Transportation Cost Index: 99.4
Indiana has abundant attractions and amenities which draw visitors to this Midwest state. There’s something for everyone, from the top-rated Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to the Indiana Dunes National Park. Driving through this state which takes you to the crossroads of America, is an enjoyable trip. Gas prices in Indiana are as low as 30% than the national average. Adding to the pleasure is you will spend only half the rent you would pay in Chicago.
Indiana sums up to be the 10th most cost-effective state in the U.S. The apartment rents are as low as $750 a month, and average homes cost $ 169,150 approx.
The most affordable places in Indiana are New Whiteland, Wabash, Rushville, North Vernon, Elwood, Princeton, North Manchester, Huntington, Rochester, Peru.
Living wage refers to an income level that allows individuals or families to afford adequate shelter, food, and other necessities. A living wage aims to enable people to earn income to a satisfactory standard of living and prevent them from falling into poverty.
Paying a living wage creates an economy that works for everyone. It increases workers’ morale and quality of service. Living wages help the lower turnover rate of employees. Economic research shows that higher salaries aid in job creation and support small businesses.
How do you calculate the Cost-of-living of a particular state?
Cost of living indexes is a tool to compare the expenses an average person can expect to incur to acquire food, shelter, transportation, energy, clothing, education, healthcare, childcare, and entertainment in different regions. A cost of living index tracks the rise of basic expenses over a period.
Although there is no official cost of a living index created or reported by the U.S. government, few organizations track living costs in different regions.
Cost of living indexes is meant to compare the expenses from one town or geographic region to another.
Cost of living indexes includes food, shelter, transportation, energy, clothing, healthcare, and childcare.
A cost of living index is a tool that helps track the rise of basic expenses over a period.
Charlotte, North Carolina, is the cheapest city, thanks to affordable housing, a moderate cost of living, and high-paying jobs. It has a vibrant community and year-round mild weather. The State of North Carolina swept the list, with three cities in the top five spots. Raleigh ranks number two, while Greensboro comes in at number five. Charlotte has fewer days of extreme weather than most cities on the list, only 46 days above 90º and only 63 freezing days below 32º.
There are some general advantages of picking up and trying out a new country corner. The move will allow you to experience someplace new. Trying out a different city could lead to many professional opportunities and new social bonds. Sometimes you might want to move to alter the pace of your social or professional life. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of a metro city could get very tiring, and you might want to seek respite shifting to a quaint little town with the countryside. Whatever your purpose might be, make sure you carefully plan and analyze each step. Move with positive thoughts and a big smile!
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.