With prices of everything going up in 2023, it makes sense to look for the cheapest (yet nicest) places to live in the US. Of course, you can choose to live in an even cheaper foreign country, but for those who don’t want to leave the United States, I am here to help.
I have created this list of the top 10 cheapest cities in the US. These are cities that offer a low cost of living, but also great amenities and things to do in and around them.
The 10 Cheapest & Nicest cities to live in the US this year are (read on for the full details):
- Brownsville, Texas
- Conway, Arkansas
- Wichita, Kansas
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Edmond, Oklahoma
- Missoula, Montana
- Austin, Texas
- St. Paul, Minnesota
- Des Moines, Iowa
- Virginia Beach, Virginia
Now that remote work is more popular than ever, why pay a premium to be in a city that won’t really offer a lot more than these cheaper options below? So check them out – I am sure you will find one you’ll absolutely love.
1. Brownsville, Texas
If you’re looking for a cheap place to live, Brownsville is my surprising, yet understandable first choice pick.
The cost of living in Brownsville is around 20% lower than the national average and despite that, there’s still plenty to do around.
Add to that the fact that the weather is overall great all year long (without getting scorching hot in the summer) and you have some solid reasons to consider it.
Located in the southern tip of Texas, it offers you some amazing beaches, delicious Mexican food and a vibrant community. And with a median rent price of just around $950/month for a decent place, it’s easy to see why it’s on top of my list of cheap but nice places in the US.
Related: If being in the US is not really a must, make sure to check out this list of the cheapest countries you can live in at the moment.
2. Conway, Arkansas
Conway is a charming little city in central Arkansas that offers a great quality of life for those on a budget – expect the cost of living to be around 15% lower than the national average.
It’s a very safe city too, which is always an important factor when deciding where to live.
It’s also good if you like fishing and water sports (or even hunting) as there’s a lot of space for these activities around the city.
And with a median rent price of around $850/month, you will be able to live here comfortably on a budget that’s a lot smaller than what you’d spend in most other cities in the country.
There are also some great educational institutions in the area, like the University of Central Arkansas and Hendrix College, so if you’re moving with your family, you’ve got education covered too.
3. Wichita, Kansas
Wichita is another great place to live in if you’re on a tight budget or just looking to optimize spending and reduce costs.
You should expect to spend around 12% less than the national average while living here. And it will be living in a nice weather year-round, although it’s not as warm here as in my top recommendation.
Temperatures do drop close to freezing levels during the coldest moths of the winter, so heating costs should be considered. But overall, it’s still cheap to live here and the weather is not too bad.
In fact, Wichita has one of the lowest median rent prices in the country at just $720/month. So if you’re looking for a place to live on the cheap, Wichita should definitely be at the top of your list.
Have in mind that since 2010, the population of Wichita keeps increasing, meaning that more and more people move here for all the advantages – so make sure not to delay your move too long in order to be able to find a cheap place to buy or rent (and maybe even make some nice profits in the future.)
4. Indianapolis, Indiana
Indianapolis is called ‘the crossroads of America’ because so many different roads meet here. This is because it’s a major transportation hub – but that also means that there are lots of opportunities for you to find work here.
The cost of living in Indianapolis is around 11% lower than the national average, and with its large population (over two million people) this city offers plenty of activities for those who love culture and prefer livelier places to the smaller ones I am mostly recommending here on this list.
This is by far the largest city on our list, so if you still wouldn’t feel comfortable moving to a smaller place, then this one would be your top pick.
The median rent price in Indianapolis is a bit higher than in other cities on this list at around $940/month, but with such a large population the city will be able to support you even if your job isn’t based here (for example, maybe you could work remotely like most of us do nowadays).
Related reading: Make sure to check out the safest countries in the world this year. They’re usually a bit more expensive, but you can’t really put a price on safety and peace of mind.
5. Edmond, Oklahoma
If you’re looking for a smaller city to live in that still has plenty of amenities and opportunities, like the larger ones, then Edmond, Oklahoma is a great option.
The cost of living here is around 11% lower than the national average, and there are plenty of things to do in this vibrant community, with plenty of green spaces and a nice aqua park.
The median rent price is also pretty reasonable at around $850/month, and there are some great educational institutions like the University of Central Oklahoma that you can take advantage of if you’re moving with your family.
Edmond has a very large Indian population too which creates a nice cultural environment – especially since they celebrate all their religious festivals as well.
If you want some small-town charm but still want to live in a vibrant community with plenty of opportunities, then Edmond might be the place for you.
6. Missoula, Montana
If you’re looking for a place that’s great to live in, but also a bit on the colder side, then Missoula, MT might be just what you need.
This city has plenty of amazing activities and places to see – but it also has one of the lowest costs of living on our list at around 16% lower than the national average.
There are some top-notch educational institutions here like the University of Montana, so Missoula is also a great place to raise a family. It’s safe, surrounded by nature and with good people around.
The only downside to living in this city is that it does tend to get quite cold in winter – but then again, you can’t beat those clear, starry nights.
Missoula offers really affordable rental opportunities – and relatively cheap housing also – while also being a beautiful city, with the Clark Fork River going through the middle and some amazing parks and natural areas nearby. A perfect choice for those who prefer living closer to nature.
7. Austin, Texas
Austin is a wonderful place to live in – it has plenty of activities and places to visit, but the cost of living here is also way below the national average at around 10% lower.
There are some great educational institutions like Austin Community College or Concordia University Texas.
The median rent price might be on the higher side though, at least when compared to other cities on this list, at around $920/month.
But with all that Austin has to offer, it’s still a great bargain. And judging from the fact that it’s also a larger city, it comes as a great alternative for those who, for whatever reason, don’t want to make Indianapolis their new home.
Austin is the perfect place for those who love the outdoors – there are plenty of hiking and biking trails, as well as great places to kayak or canoe on the Colorado River.
And if you’re into music, then you’ll feel right at home here – Austin is the live music capital of the world.
8. St. Paul, Minnesota
Another city that offers a great combination of affordable living and plenty to do is St. Paul, Minnesota. This vibrant community is also much cheaper than the national average when it comes to the cost of living.
There are some top-notch educational institutions here like Macalester College or University of Northwestern – St. Paul, plus lots of great museums and theaters.
The median rent price is also quite reasonable at around $950/month, so it’s a fairly affordable place to live in compared to other US cities. And you can still find some amazingly lower deals on rent too.
St. Paul might not be the most exciting of places in the US – but there are some beautiful parks here like Phalen Park or Battle Creek Regional Park that offer plenty of recreational activities in the summer.
If you’re looking for a safe and quiet city to live in, then St Paul is just what you need!
9. Des Moines, Iowa
Another cheap US city that’s great to live in and still offers plenty of things to do is Des Moines, Iowa.
This midwestern gem also has some amazing educational institutions like Drake University or Grand View University – plus it’s close to plenty of beautiful outdoor spaces.
The only downside might be its slightly higher median rent at around $940/month, but it’s still very affordable compared to other major US cities.
Des Moines is a city of great contrasts – from the beautiful lakes and rivers nearby to some amazing urban parks like Ewing Park or Gray’s Lake Park, there are plenty of green spaces for you to explore.
If you’re looking for a city with plenty of job opportunities, then Des Moines is a great choice – it’s the financial and insurance capital of Iowa and maybe that of the Nation soon.
10. Virginia Beach, Virginia
The final city on our list is Virginia Beach, Virginia. This coastal city is a great place to live in – it has plenty of activities and places to visit, but the cost of living here is also way below the national average at around.
There are some great educational institutions like Austin Community College or Concordia University Texas, plus plenty of job opportunities even if you’re not already working remotely and have that settled out.
The median rent price is lower than the national average, with great deals coming relatively often (but also getting snatched just as quickly). But with all that Virginia Beach has to offer, it’s still a great bargain.
Virginia Beach is popularly known for the great restaurants and bars to choose from, as well as plenty of fun activities like kite surfing or kayaking. Perfect for sun and beach lovers.
If you’re into the outdoors, then Virginia Beach is a great place for that too. From biking trails to hiking trails – it’s all there waiting for you.
So there you have it, our top ten cheapest but nicest cities in the US that you can live in.
All of these cities offer great job opportunities, plenty of activities to keep you busy, and a cost of living that’s below the national average. So what are you waiting for? Pick your favorite and go ahead and make the move!
Or just let us all know about other amazing cities you might be aware of – US cities that still haven’t been affected (or at least not that bad) by this massive property price or rental price hike, and they’re still cheap and nice to live in.