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Affordable cities in the United States

Updated on July 21, 2011

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Affordable cities in the United States

I have been dreaming about retirement and analyzing where we might want to live. I want to live in a warmer climate so California and Florida look like great places. Unfortunately we are not in a position where we can afford to move wherever we want. Our move will be dictated by what we can afford.

I began researching the cost of living for many cities that are in a warmer climate than Indiana. I used the Sperling's Best Places website to get my figures.

My first thought was to simply move to a place that has no state income tax. That would mean Nevada, Texas, Tennessee or Florida. Upon further research, Nevada and Florida are too expensive. I also looked at the list of the top tax friendly states listed on the site. The top five on that list are Alaska, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Delaware and Alabama. Alaska and New Hampshire are obviously too cold for my taste. Delaware is also a little too cold.

I discovered that the best states are Texas, Alabama and Tennessee. there are some more expensive cities in Texas but if you do some research, you can find some pretty affordable cities. Austin, Laredo and San Antonio are all pretty low cost cities. In my research, San Antonio had the lowest cost of living in Texas. I think Texas is a little too hot and humid for my wife so it is not on our list.

Alabama is another good state for low costs. Huntsville and Gadsden are the two cities that caught my attention but, like Texas, there are several affordable cities in Alabama.

In my research, Tennessee seems to be the most affordable state. You can go just about anywhere in the state and find a fairly low cost of living. This includes the large cities of Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga. If you go into the northeast corner of the state you will find Johnson City. Johnson City along with Elizabethton and Greeneville make up what is called the tri-cities area. All three cities have a very low cost of living.

The home run city that I found is Cookeville, Tennessee. Cookeville is far and away the most affordable city that I found. Cookeville is located about 100 miles from Knoxville, 80 miles from Nashville and 80 mile from Chattanooga. Cookeville itself is a city of about 25,000 people and is home to Tennessee Tech University. So far this is the best choice for us to move when we retire. There are, however, some problems with Cookeville as far as matching up with us. For me it is still a little too cold. Cookeville does have all of the necessities but my wife is a big city girl and Cookeville is too far from any of Tennessee's larger cities.

While Cookeville is our current top choice, for financial reasons, we have an attainable goal of getting to Cleveland, Tennessee. Cleveland is about as warm as you can get living in Tennessee so that will be okay for me. Cleveland is a decent sized city of about 35,000 people and is also only about 20-30 minutes from Chattanooga so my wife will be happy to be close to a larger city.

If you are looking to relocate to a more affordable city in the United States, I suggest that you look at Texas, Alabama or Tennessee.


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