When you’re barely scraping by on an entry-level salary, cutting back on Netflix subscriptions and eliminating Starbucks runs can only help so much. To give you more cushion in your budget and improve your financial situation, you need to make bigger changes.
One of the largest expenses you have is housing. Renting an apartment can eat up 30 percent or more of your income, leaving little left over for building an emergency fund or paying off debt. In fact, the median rent nationwide is $1,001.
In some areas, cheaper rent might not be an option. However, if you’re willing to relocate, you could save hundreds each month. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in these five cities is under $750.
1. Columbus, OH: $740
If you want to live in a city that is actually affordable, check out Columbus. The median rent is just $740, and you have access to nightlife, craft breweries, an incredible food scene and gorgeous parks nearby. If you love the arts, Columbus is also home to a newly expanded art museum.
Several big-name employers are also in the area. While the University of Ohio is the biggest employer with nearly 30,000 staff members, insurance and healthcare companies also employ thousands of people.
2. St Louis, MO: $730
The Greater St. Louis area has a population of nearly three million people, making it the biggest metropolitan area in Missouri. The city has a great deal of culture and history and has incredible architectural landmarks. You can visit the Gateway Arch, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
The median rent in St. Louis is $730, and employment opportunities abound. BJC Healthcare, WalMart and Boeing are just a few of the region’s biggest employers.
3. Rochester, NY: $740
If you work in academia, Rochester might be the perfect city for you. Both the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology are within the city, and each is renowned for its research programs. It is often voted as one of the best places to live or raise a family in the country, but the median rent is just $740.
4. Lexington, KY: $680
Lexington is known as the horse capital of the world. Keeneland Race Track and the Kentucky Horse Park are in the city, but it also has a number of universities and colleges.
With a median rent of just $680, you might be surprised to find out that Lexington is tenth in the nation when it comes to the college education rate. Nearly 40 percent of Lexington citizens have at least a bachelor’s degree. Even better, the city has a much lower cost of living than other metropolitan areas.
For example, if you lived in Philadelphia and made a salary of $50,000, you’d need to earn just $39,610 in Lexington to maintain your standard of living. Groceries, housing, utilities and healthcare are all significantly cheaper.
5. Memphis, TN: $700
With over 600,000 people, Memphis is the second largest city in Tennessee. And this vibrant city is a musical mecca; genres like gospel and rock n’roll were created here. Musicians like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Aretha Franklin all got their start in Memphis.
For the median rent of $700, you get a lot for your money. There are dozens of museums, sports tea and famous gardens for you to enjoy. Five Fortune 1000 companies are based in Memphis, including FedEx and AutoZone.
Relocating to a New City
If you moved from a city where you rented an apartment for $1,000 to a city where the rent was just $750, you’d save $250 a month. In one year, you’d save $3,000. While that savings can be significant, make sure you consider other factors, like the cost of living and employment opportunities, before making a decision.
For example, if you move from New York City to Lexington, you might save money on rent, but you’ll face other expenses. In New York, you have an extensive public transit system and can walk to where you need to go. In Lexington, you’ll likely need a car to get around, which means you’ll have to cover the cost of a new vehicle and other transportation costs.
Doing your homework about what to expect in terms of salary and taxes can help ensure that relocating to a new city makes sense financially. If you choose correctly, moving to a more affordable place can help you meet your goals faster so you can live the life you want.
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