Hint: Avoid the west coast and head to middle America.

If you’re trying to save money, pass on California and head to Texas or Arizona.

A study done by the financial news website GoBankingRates shows the best and worst cities to live in for people trying to be frugal. Of the 15 worst places, cities in California take up 11 of the spots.

The researchers looked at the 60 most populated cities and crunched median household income, home list price, rent price, average gas price, monthly cost of groceries, unemployment rate and sales tax for each to determine which allowed for the most saving.

Best for saving

The best place for saving is Virginia Beach, which reported a higher than average median household income at $66,634 and lower cost of living with a median monthly rent of $1,600, median home price at $279,900, and average monthly cost of groceries just below $300.

But if you want options, Arizona and Texas had three cities each on the list.

In Texas, San Antonio came in second, followed by Arlington and El Paso at fifth and ninth respectively. All three showed cheap gas prices and low cost of living as big saving opportunities.

Out west, Tucson came in at eighth, with Phoenix in the 10th spot and Mesa at 12th.

While Tucson has a low average income, around $37,000, other factors balance it out. The cheap gas at $2.20 and low average home price just over $184,000 puts it higher on the list than other cities in the state.

Phoenix averaged a higher average income and higher cost of living than Tucson, but it still provides more opportunities for saving than other cities of its size, like Dallas, and San Diego, which is rated as one of the toughest cities to save in.

Mesa showed similar statistics to Phoenix, but with a slightly lower average income and cost of living, putting it lower on the list.

None of these appeal? Other great places to save include:

  • Oklahoma City (Third)
  • Omaha, Nebraska (Fourth)
  • Kansas City, Missouri (Sixth)
  • Wichita, Kansas (Seventh)
  • Colorado Springs (11th)
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma (13th)
  • Portland, Oregon (14th)
  • Raleigh, North Carolina (15th)

Worst for saving

If you like the sunshine, you’re going to have to pay for it. California hosts 11 of the 15 worst cities for saving.

Topping the list is San Francisco. Despite its high average income just over $81,000, the average cost of living is the most expensive, with rent at an average $4,500 a month, average home price close to $1.2 million, and the average gallon of gas costing $3.16.

Los Angeles comes next, with rent and gas prices close to those in San Francisco — but with much lower average income, around $50,000, and average price for a house closer to $725,000. Oakland, California comes in third with a higher average income and cheaper housing prices.

Fourth on the list is New York City. It has an average income lower than the national average, around $53,000, while gas, grocery and home prices in the biggest U.S. city are among the highest of all the cities surveyed.

Coming in at number seven is Seattle with the highest sales tax rate of the top 15 worst places to save. It also has some of the highest average costs for groceries and a high median house price at almost $620,000.

Miami ranks 11th on the list for worst places to save, citing the lowest average income of both lists at $31,000. It also has a higher than average housing price and rent at $439,000 and $2,500 respectively.

Everything costs more when you’re living on an island. So it makes sense that Honolulu made the list in the 15th spot. It has the most expensive groceries out of all cities surveyed, and some of the highest prices for houses and rent. The bright side is that the area has one of the highest average incomes and the lowest unemployment rate of both lists.

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Meet the Author

Gregory Cox

Gregory Cox


Cox is a freelance writer for Debt.com.


homebuyers, income, real estate, save money

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Article last modified on September 17, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: 15 Best and Worst Places to Live If You're Trying to Save Money - AMP.