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Top 20 U.S. Cities to Live Well on $1,500 a Month

By Jake Beardslee · March 12, 2024

Bloomington, Illinois

With a 17.1% lower cost of living than the U.S. average, Bloomington combines affordable healthcare, rent, and groceries with a vibrant local culture of jazz, art galleries, and museums.  Aaron Shafer/Unsplash

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

A gem in the Midwest, offering a cost of living 18.4% below the national average, bolstered by affordable groceries and housing amidst a backdrop of parks, museums, and cultural districts.  Joel Drzycimski/Unsplash

Lynchburg, Virginia

Where history meets affordability, with living costs 17.1% lower than the U.S. average, enriched by historic sites, riverfront concerts, and stunning mountain views.  Lukas Souza/Unsplash

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Boasting a cost of living 11.8% below the national average, this city offers affordable groceries and plenty of activities, including live music and outdoor adventures.  Jason Rojas/Unsplash

Lubbock, Texas

A city where your dollar stretches further, featuring grocery and healthcare costs below the national average, alongside music festivals, amusement parks, and a rich art scene.  Matthew T Rader,

Akron, Ohio

An affordability hotspot with a living cost 30.5% below the U.S. average, complemented by diverse cultural attractions like museums, theaters, and sports events.  benjaminm lehman/Unsplash

Minot, North Dakota

Slightly under the national average in overall living costs but offers a rich quality of life with its zoo, air museum, and abundant outdoor activities.  WeaponizingArchitecture/Wikimedia

Terre Haute, Indiana

A city where expenses can easily be kept under $1,500 a month, thanks to a 25.7% lower cost of living, offering college-town amenities, museums, and a vibrant arts scene.  Brady Wilson/Unsplash

Abilene, Texas

Affordability meets culture, with housing costs nearly half the national average and a surprising array of arts, museums, and golf courses.  David Banning/Unsplash

Erie, Pennsylvania

Offers a cost of living 25.4% lower than the national average, alongside attractions like Presque Isle State Park, professional sports, and casinos.  Lera Kogan/Unsplash

Tulsa, Oklahoma

An attractive cost of living 16.8% below the national average, with low grocery costs and numerous festivals, museums, and public golf courses to enjoy.  Grant Beirute/Unsplash

Waterloo, Iowa

Despite higher healthcare costs, Waterloo offers a significantly affordable living with groceries 7.1% lower than the national average and housing costs 59.3% lower, complemented by botanical gardens, museums, and extensive bike trails.  WeaponizingArchitecture/Wikimedia

Lake Charles, Louisiana

This city offers a blend of affordability, with lower costs for groceries and healthcare, alongside a rich cultural scene featuring music, casinos, parks, and a historic district, making it an ideal spot for enthusiasts of the arts and outdoor activities.  Mark Holloway/Wikimedia

Amarillo, Texas

With a nearly 20% lower cost of living than the national average, Amarillo balances slightly higher healthcare costs with lower grocery costs and affordable rent, offering a unique "cow town" experience with museums, performing arts, and nearby outdoor adventures.  Who What Where Nguyen Why a/k/a Anonymous Cow/Wikimedia

Muncie, Indiana

Boasting a 28.1% lower cost of living than the national average, Muncie is a college town offering vibrant arts and cultural scenes, affordable healthcare and grocery costs, and significantly low housing costs.  Emmmmh/Wikimedia

Prescott, Arizona

Known for its below-average living costs, Prescott offers an active cultural scene, outdoor activities like golfing and hiking, and a community that supports a comfortable and engaging retirement lifestyle.  Mike McBey/Wikimedia

Hot Springs, Arkansas

A retiree's haven with living costs 7.5% below the U.S. average, offering relaxation in its natural hot springs, affordable healthcare, and housing, and a variety of outdoor and leisure activities.  

Grand Junction, Colorado

Offers a cost of living 4.4% below the national average, with a plethora of free outdoor activities, tax benefits for retirees, and cultural offerings from Colorado Mesa University.  Rennett Stowe from USA/Wikimedia

Punta Gorda, Florida

A retirement paradise with a cost of living 5.2% below the U.S. average, nearly half the population over 65, and amenities catering to a senior lifestyle, including waterfront sites, golfing, and an extensive network of bike trails and pathways.  PCHS-NJROTC/Wikimedia

Sandy Springs, Georgia

Offers a cost of living for retirees 5.1% below the U.S. average, with access to Atlanta's attractions, outdoor activities along the Chattahoochee River, and a developing walkable city center for arts and leisure.  Thomson200/Wikimedia