10 States With the Lowest Cost of Living in 2016

An open house in California, where the cost of living is typically far and above average

An open house in California, where the cost of living is typically far and above average | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

We all want life to be a little bit cheaper. For those of us living in expensive cities, it’s typical to feel uneasy as the screws continue to tighten — rent’s going up, wages have only recently started to grow, and all matter of other expenses have yet to relent as well. Even in rural areas, expenses are on the rise. The question is, where can a family go for a thriftier existence?

There are cities out there. But as with everything, it’s a question of supply and demand. The more people want to live in a certain place, the more expensive it’s going to be to live there. So, where can you still find happiness, without going broke? These 10 towns are the ideal fit, particularly if you’re looking to move within the next year.

Our data comes via the 2015 annual Cost of Living Index, compiled by The Council For Community and Economic Research.

To calculate the Index, the CCER does the following:

[The study] measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering almost 60 different items for which prices are collected three times a year by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations or university applied economic centers in each participating urban area.

To sum it up, “the composite index is based on six components: housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services.”

Using the data from the 2015 annual Cost of Living Index, here are the 10 cities in America with the lowest cost of living for 2016.

10. Tupelo, Mississippi

Downtown Tupelo, MS

Downtown Tupelo, Mississippi | Community Development Foundation

Mississippi has a rough reputation (ever hear the phrase “Thank God for Mississippi”?). It’s not exactly an economic powerhouse, and for that reason, a lot of people have moved to other areas. But it’s still rich in culture and tradition, and has a very low cost of living. It scored an 84.2 on the index.

9. Idaho Falls, Idaho

idaho falls

Idaho Falls, Idaho | City of Idaho Falls via Facebook

The only western city to crack the top 10 this year, Idaho Falls, Idaho scored 83.2 on the Cost of Living Index. Located in eastern Idaho, to the west of the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, Idaho Falls is a small, rural city that’s very affordable.

8. Hattiesburg, Mississippi

A tourism ad for Hattiesburg, MS

A tourism ad for Hattiesburg, MS | Visit Hattiesburg via Facebook

Swinging back on down to Mississippi, Hattiesburg makes the list at number eight. Hattiesburg’s cost of living score landed at 83.2, making it another highly affordable option for those of you looking to relocate to Mississippi or the South.

7. Jackson, Mississippi

jackson City Hall in Jackson, MS

City Hall in Jackson, Mississippi | City of Jackson via Facebook

Don’t count out Mississippi’s capital city, Jackson. It tied Hattiesburg in terms of cost of living, also landing an 83.2 score on the index. Jackson is Mississippi’s largest city and is located at the crossroads of Interstates 20 and 55. There’s also enough history to keep any buff entertained for quite some time.

6. Youngstown, Ohio

Friends walk the streets of Youngstown, OH

Friends walk the streets of Youngstown, Ohio | John Moore/Getty Images

The eastern Ohio city of Youngstown landed at No. 6 on this year’s index, with a score of 82.8. Youngstown is located roughly halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and nearly straddles the Pennsylvania border.

5. Ashland, Ohio

Downtown Ashland, Ohio

Downtown Ashland, Ohio | Ashland Main Street via Facebook

Staying in Ohio, the fifth spot on the index goes to the small town of Ashland. Ashland is situated just off of Interstate 71 between Cleveland and Columbus. It received a cost of living score of 82.3 this year.

4. Norman, Oklahoma

U of O in Norman, Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma | The University of Oklahoma via Facebook

You’ll find Norman just south of Oklahoma City, off of Interstate 35. It’s most well-known for being the home of the University of Oklahoma, so, for starving college students, you may want to keep that in mind when deciding where you want to study. Norman received an index score of 81.5.

3. Richmond, Indiana

A park in Richmond, Indiana

A park in Richmond, Indiana | City of Richmond, Indiana via Facebook

Back to the Rust Belt! Richmond, Indiana landed at No. 3 with an index score of 81.2. Richmond is a small town located off of Interstate 70, and nudges up agains the Indiana-Ohio border.

2. Harlingen, Texas

Downtown Harlingen, Texas

Downtown Harlingen, Texas | Downtown Harlingen via Facebook

Our final two cities are both located in Texas, with Harlingen landing in second place. Harlingen is situated in extreme southern Texas, right near the Mexican border, on Interstate 2. It received an Index score of 79.7 — bested only by a neighboring city.

1. McAllen, Texas

The McAllen, Texas welcome sign

The McAllen, Texas welcome sign | McAllen, TX via Facebook

America’s cheapest town, according to the 2015 Cost of Living Index, is McAllen, Texas. McAllen is located literally right down the road from Harlingen, and received an index score of 78.3 to take this year’s top spot.

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