Price differences are common throughout the U.S., where cities like San Francisco and New York cost way more than the national average. In fact, the total cost of living in San Francisco is 62.6 percent higher than the rest of the country.
If you’re looking to save money, moving to a cheaper place could be one of the best financial decisions. Find out how moving to a more affordable city could have a huge effect on your budget.
1. Moving could lower your cost of living
The cost of living between different states and cities in the U.S. varies tremendously. Cost of living refers to how much you spend each month on expenses such as rent, groceries, transportation, and taxes.
The Council for Community and Economic Research crunched the data with its Cost of Living Index (COLI). It found that New York City, Honolulu, and San Francisco have the highest cost of living in the U.S. The average price of a home in Manhattan, for instance, is $1.36 million. And a trip to the salon will set you back $68.
Compare these stats to some of the most affordable places to live in the country, including Harlingen, Texas, Pueblo, Colorado, and Memphis, Tennessee. In Memphis, for instance, the average house costs $208,000. And a trip to the salon costs about $25.
The same salary could afford you a vastly different quality of life depending on where you live. In a more affordable city, you could buy a house with the same income that would leave you struggling to pay rent somewhere else.
Of course, there are other factors that impact where you want to live, such as culture, climate, and job opportunities. Some cities may offer the industries that match up with your career goals, while others do not.
But if you have some job flexibility — or even the choice to work from anywhere — you could lower your cost of living by choosing one of the cheapest places to live. With the money you save, you could pay off your student loans faster or set aside a greater amount for retirement.
2. You could pay a lot less in rent every month
While rent factors into general living costs, it also deserves its own category. The old rule of thumb says you shouldn’t spend more than 30 percent of your income on housing. Spending even less will free up more of your paycheck, too — if you can swing it.
But in expensive cities like San Francisco and New York, some spend far more than 30 percent of their income on rent. After all the required expenses are taken care of, they don’t have much for fun stuff like travel and going out to eat. Even worse, that leaves them with a lot less to accomplish their financial goals.
According to the COLI, the average rent for an apartment is $3,783 in Manhattan and $2,493 in Brooklyn. In Memphis, rent is just about $709 a month. In Harlingen, Texas, it goes down to just $628. If you’re looking to save money, reducing your rent could be an effective place to start. Especially if you can reduce it by $1,000 or more.
3. You could say goodbye to state income tax
Another major factor to consider is state income tax. Most states charge an average effective tax rate of 4.05%; Oregon has the highest income tax at 7.75%. But there are seven states with no income tax at all:
- South Dakota
Plus, New Hampshire and Tennessee don’t tax wages.
Based on national averages for income and state taxes, the average American would save $1,977 a year by moving to a state with no income tax. In fact, Student Loan Hero CEO Andrew Josuweit moved from New York to Texas and saved about $15,640 per year. His move was largely financially motivated, and it helped him tackle $107,000 in student loan debt.
But before packing your bags, consider other potential costs of living in a state with no income tax. To gain additional revenue, some of these states charge higher sales and other taxes. Tennessee, for instance, has one of the highest sales taxes in the country at 9.45%.
So before renting the U-Haul, make sure you won’t be spending more of your income on other expenses than you’ll be saving in income tax.
Should you move to save money?
When you relocate, many often think about all the costs associated with moving. You might rent a truck, pay for movers, and handle fees associated with changing states.
But aside from the immediate costs, moving to one of the cheapest places to live could save you a lot of money in the long run. If you can significantly lower your cost of living, you’ll free up a big chunk of your monthly income. And if you eliminate state income tax, you could have thousands of extra dollars in your pocket each year.
Of course, there are other factors to consider outside of personal finances. Finding a job in your field is an obvious priority, and you may prefer to stay close to friends and family. And sometimes a high cost of living is worth it if you love the culture and vibe of a city.
But if you’re struggling to get by in an expensive place, consider how much you could save by relocating. If you find a new place you love, you could experience a vastly different quality of life with the same income you have now.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|