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Which Sates Offer the Lowest Cost-of-Living

Thinking about relocating? There are solid reasons to move to a different state. Another state might have better job opportunities, or maybe you want to be closer to family or need a change of scenery. Regardless of the reason, do your due diligence before uprooting your life.

If you’re currently living in an area with a higher cost-of-living, most of your income may go toward housing, food and transportation. Sometimes, the only practical alternative for lowering expenses is relocating to a cheaper area. But where? 

An infographic prepared by the Tax Foundation compiled a list of states offering the most bang for your buck. The survey examined each state to evaluate how far $100 goes in comparison to the national average. It probably comes as no surprise that Washington, DC ($84.67), Hawaii ($85.62) and New York ($86.43) top the list for states with the highest cost-of-living. 

According to the survey, the states with the lowest cost-of-living are Mississippi ($115.34), Arkansas ($114.29) and Alabama ($113.90). This is compatible with a cost-of-living survey compiled by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, which ranked the cheapest states for 2016 based on the cost-of-living index.


• Cost of living: 86

• Grocery index: 94.1

• Housing index: 68.4


• Cost of living: 88.5

• Grocery index: 92.7

• Housing index: 77.7


• Cost of living: 91.2

• Grocery index: 97.7

• Housing index: 74

Relocating to an area with a lower cost-of-living has undeniable benefits. Cheaper home prices reduce your housing expense, resulting in more house for your money. And when home values are lower, you pay less property taxes. As a bonus, a lower cost-of-living doesn't only affect housing—just about everything in the city or state is cheaper. This includes insurance, recreation, food and gas. It's an opportunity to stretch your dollars and reach other financial goals, such as paying off debt, building an emergency fund or saving for retirement.

Bottom Line

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, or if you can’t afford to buy a home in your local market, maybe it is time to compare job markets elsewhere and research real estate information. Cheaper home prices can make it easier to qualify for a mortgage loan.