Suggest to me a new city or town.

I’m considering a move to another part of the US. My current hometown is just ridiculously expensive. I’ve been messing around with this website, and apparently, with the same salary, I could have twice as much buying power because the living expenses are half as much in other places, mainly because of housing. For example, Las Vegas would be 43% cheaper to live because housing is 83% cheaper.

So, I’m not familiar with the smaller towns and cities, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want to live in a big city like Los Angeles or New York.

My questions are:

  1. What factors of city life should I be considering? The Sperling site has hundreds of things I could compare. The top of my list right now is housing cost and crime, but I might not be paying attention to important things I am now taking for granted like clean water.
  2. What lesser-known city could I be considering? I’m thinking about a town near Pittsburgh, but I don’t know their names. Also, I would like to check out places in Nevada and Florida for the 0% state tax.

In Nevada to take advantage of the cheap housing which is the result of the real estate bubble bursting you will probably have to have reliable transportation and fuel is expensive. Climate control in the summer can cause some nasty utility bills. Water in most areas is quite expensive (If you *must *have a lawn you are probably in for a shock).

Otherwise, my experience with 30 years in Nevada has been quite inexpensive. For example, in the suburbs we can still finagle a 99 cent breakfast and occasionally a free beer.

Here, for what it’s worth, are 361 metropolitan areas sorted by Cost of Living Index.

In terms of cost you can’t beat Chicago. Ignore those online calculators as they are all way off. They always group in the ridiculously expensive Gold Coast/Streaterville with the regular neighborhoods to skew the average.

You don’t need a car in Chicago, and the flats are cheap if you look. I live in a $500/month studio all utlilities paid, less than five minutes from the subway.

Because of the car thing, I have never found any place as cheap as Chicago to live.

In terms of friendliness I loved Nashville, everyone there seemed to be so nice. Pittsburgh was a nice place I lived too.

I’d suggest looking closely at property taxes if you will be buying a home. They can vary wildly.

For instance, Texas and Florida have no state income tax, but the property taxes for Texas are much higher than in Florida. Where I am now in Alabama, there is a state income tax, but the property taxes on a $200,000 house can be less than a thousand dollars per year in town and even less if you live out in the country.

Actually, I should just say to look closely at **all **of the taxes in the areas you’re interested in.

apparently, with the same salary, I could have twice as much buying power because the living expenses are half as much in other places

The next question is, in which of these cheaper cities or towns can you get the same salary, or near enough to it so that you come out well ahead by moving there?

I know a lot of places that are cheap to live in, but there are no jobs there anymore, which is why they’re cheap. What line of work are you in, how easy or hard is it to get a new job in that field these days, and are there jobs like yours available pretty much everywhere, or just in certain places?

Excellent point. Smaller/cheaper towns often have smaller/cheaper employers. The OP may find it pretty hard to get a NYC salary living in Bugtussle.

Exactly. OP, do you have any rationale for assuming that your salary size would be as portable as any of your personal belongings?

Well, just by doing the math, I could make 40% less and have the same buying power, but the housing would still be 80% cheaper.

This is how ridiculous the situation is: I could be making half as much and own a house, while here, with the money I make, I have to pay 200k for a 1 bedroom condo.

My current rent is the same as a 300k mortgage, which we almost did just before the crash on a 1 bedroom condo. The crash brought those down to 200k.

And then, if our mortgage was 1300/month, we would still have to pay 300-500/month for maintenance fees.

I always recommend Albuquerque, New Mexico. During my time there, I absolutely loved it, and a part of me will always regret having left.

Multicultural. Low living costs. Lots of sunshine. Fairly mild winters. The beauty of the Southwest. The sight of a huge mountain, Sandia towering over the edge of the city. Two major highways, Interstates 25 and 40, pass right through the middle, facilitating road trips. Santa Fe, always a cool place to hang out, is only an hour away, so you can spend a lot of time there without paying the horredous rents. Nice forest areas are close by. Mexico is a stone’s throw away.

The book ‘who’s your city’ by Richard Florida was kindof interesting, but I felt not as good as it was made out to be on NPR.

It is supposed to match personality with cities, but I felt it came up short. Either way, it is worth looking at.

As far as city life, traffic and public transit is going to be a concern as in some places the public transit sucks but you want to avoid driving from 2-6pm on weekdays. And crime varies by neighborhoods within a city so as long as you avoid the bad areas, you should be mostly fine.