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Work Remotely? Here Are 10 Cheap Places to Live Across the U.S.

A woman works from home as she smiles and waves to a video call on her laptop.

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Remote work has its fair share of benefits. There's no commute, which saves workers 72 minutes per day on average. Schedules tend to be more flexible. And many remote jobs also allow workers to live wherever they want.

If you work remotely with no location restrictions, that can be a huge advantage from a personal finance standpoint. Where you live determines how much many of your bills cost, most notably housing. By choosing an area with a low cost of living, you could spend far less and have more money to save or spend how you like.

To give you an idea of potential options, here are the 10 cheapest cities in the United States, according to research on affordable places to live by The Ascent. Under each one, you'll find its cost-of-living index (lower is cheaper and 100 represents the national average), population, and its grade on Niche. You'll also find some highlights and lowlights based on its Niche ratings.

1. Harlingen, Texas

  • Cost-of-living index: 77.1
  • Population: 71,124
  • Overall grade on Niche: B
  • Highlights: Weather (A-minus), diversity (B-plus)
  • Drawbacks: Outdoor activities (C), crime and safety (C), health and fitness (C)

2. Kalamazoo, Michigan

  • Cost-of-living index: 77.5
  • Population: 74,020
  • Overall grade on Niche: A-minus
  • Highlights: Nightlife (A), diversity (A), outdoor activities (A-minus)
  • Drawbacks: Crime and safety (C-minus), weather (C-minus)

3. Muskogee, Oklahoma

  • Cost-of-living index: 78.2
  • Population: 37,214
  • Overall grade on Niche: B
  • Highlights: Diversity (A-plus), outdoor activities (B-plus)
  • Drawbacks: Crime and safety (C-minus)

4. McAllen, Texas

  • Cost-of-living index: 79.3
  • Population: 141,941
  • Overall grade on Niche: B-plus
  • Highlights: Weather (A), nightlife (B-plus), public schools (B-plus), good for families (B-plus)
  • Drawbacks: Outdoor activities (C)

5. Decatur, Illinois

  • Cost-of-living index: 80.0
  • Population: 71,309
  • Overall grade on Niche: B-minus
  • Highlights: Diversity (A), nightlife (A-minus)
  • Drawbacks: Crime and safety (C-minus)

6. Tupelo, Mississippi

  • Cost-of-living index: 81.4
  • Population: 37,872
  • Overall grade on Niche: A
  • Highlights: Public schools (A), good for families (A), diversity (A)
  • Drawbacks: N/A

7. Joplin, Missouri

  • Cost-of-living index: 82.0
  • Population: 51,539
  • Overall grade on Niche: B
  • Highlights: Nightlife (A-minus), diversity (B-plus)
  • Drawbacks: Crime and safety (C)

8. Ashland, Ohio

  • Cost-of-living index: 82.5
  • Population: 19,544
  • Overall grade on Niche: B-plus
  • Highlights: Outdoor activities (A-minus), good for families (B-plus)
  • Drawbacks: Weather (C-plus)

9. Topeka, Kansas

  • Cost-of-living index: 82.5
  • Population: 126,802
  • Overall grade on Niche: B-plus
  • Highlights: Diversity (A), public schools (B-plus), outdoor activities (B-plus), nightlife (B-plus)
  • Drawbacks: Crime and safety (C-minus)

10. Salina, Kansas

  • Cost-of-living index: 82.7
  • Population: 46,896
  • Overall grade on Niche: B
  • Highlights: Diversity (A-minus), outdoor activities (B-plus)
  • Drawbacks: Crime and safety (C)

Cheap places to live in the rest of the United States

Some parts of the country are much cheaper than others. All of the cities listed above are in the South and Midwest. While the Western and Northeastern United States are more expensive, they do have cities that cost less than the national average, so you're not out of luck if you want to live in either region.

Here are the five cheapest cities in the West and the cost-of-living index for each one:

  1. Great Falls, Montana (87.4)
  2. Casper, Wyoming (90.0)
  3. Bullhead City, Arizona (90.6)
  4. Twin Falls, Idaho (91.3)
  5. Las Cruces, New Mexico (92.0)

Here are the cheapest cities in the Northeast:

  1. Erie, Pennsylvania (89.8)
  2. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (91.2)
  3. Scranton, Pennsylvania (92.8)
  4. Buffalo, New York (95.2)
  5. Vineland, New Jersey (95.6)

Cost of living is far from the only thing to consider when choosing a place to live. Everyone wants to have a good quality of life, and cheap bills don't matter much if you dislike where you live. But if you can work from anywhere and you're open to moving, cost of living is one important factor to consider. Saving money on housing and other bills could make a big difference in your overall financial situation.

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We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Discover Financial Services is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Citigroup is an advertising partner of The Ascent, a Motley Fool company. Lyle Daly has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Discover Financial Services. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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