It isn’t always true, of course, but you’ll find that the average cost of living for an area is usually linked (at least in part) to the job prospects in the area. This makes sense. If the people in the area make more money, this generally drives up the cost of real estate in particular. But what if you make your money online and your income really has nothing to do with where you actually live? Wouldn’t it make the most sense to live somewhere that costs the least?
Well, that said, John has lived in some of the highest cost-of-living cities. The median house price in West Vancouver is over $3 million, Bellevue has a cost of living rating of 231.7 (100 is average), and Irvine is hardly the cheapest place to live either. Then again, when money is no object, you may as well live where you actually want to live, right?
If you’re looking to stretch those online dollars as far as they can go, though, and you want to stick to the United States (it’d be cheaper to live in Thailand, for example), here are five US cities with among the lowest cost of living. Part of the key here is that I wanted to balance some semblance of lifestyle, safety and standard of living. There are some cheaper places, but some have high rates of crime or poverty. You still want to live somewhere nice, right? Alright, here we go.
California is known for its stellar weather and terrific lifestyle, but the cost of living in major cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles are among the highest in the country. For something just a little different, you might consider the relatively small town of Bakersfield.
Located halfway between Los Angeles and Fresno (about two hours north of the former), Bakersfield isn’t exactly tiny with a city population of 380,000 and a county population of over 800,000. The local industry largely surrounds agriculture and oil, but you’ll be making your money online anyway. You can expect hot, dry summers and brief, cool winters. Rainfall is minimal, and you’re never all that far away from LA if you’re looking for some big city adventures.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
With a cost of living around 15 percent lower than the rest of the country, Oklahoma City is really attractive with plenty of big city entertainment and attractions. Home prices are consistently about 25 percent lower than the national average too, so you’ll have no trouble finding an affordable place to live whether you choose to buy or rent.
The city is hardly small — there are about 1.4 million people in the metro area — so you’ll find no shortage of good eats and things to do. The Oklahoma City Thunder are there for basketball fans too. The local economy is diverse, getting into information technology, health services, and administration. WalletHub named Oklahoma City as its best large city to start a business too.
If you’re looking to strike a great balance between affordability and big city amenities, you’d be hard pressed to do much better than the Steel City. The city has a younger energy about it with a median age of about 33, the cost of living is about 5 percent below the national average, and Pittsburgh has a bustling arts and culture scene that’ll keep you entertained.
The median home price is just $138,000. And if you’re looking to raise a family, you’ll be pleased to hear that Pittsburgh public schools spend almost double the national average on a per-student basis. Expect to be surrounded by the “working class, blue collar” mentality, in addition to a vibrant upstart community.
When it comes to massive airports in the United States, the hubs don’t get much hubbier than with Dallas Fort Worth. Several connections are made through this airport, so that means that if you’re looking to travel somewhere for business or pleasure, you’ll have a better shot at finding a (cheap) direct flight via the Dallas airport.
But the city itself has a lot going for it too, of course. While the cost of living is just a bit above the national average, the median home price is still under $200,000, and the Dallas Fort Worth greater metropolitan area is filled with amazing restaurants, entertainment, professional sports (Cowboys!)… and there’s no state income taxes.
How do you define the dot com lifestyle? It means have the time and location freedom to do the things you want to do, when you want to do them. It means living out those retirement dreams while you’re actually still young enough to enjoy them. And if you have dreams of playing golf all day (while busting out blog posts and affiliate marketing campaigns too, of course), then Arizona could be the state for you.
There’s a good reason why so many people choose to retire here, and there’s a good reason why so many people take golfing vacations here too. It’s hot, sunny and dry year round, there are plenty of cool restaurants serving everything from Vietnamese to Cuban to Ukrainian), and the Grand Canyon is only a road trip away.