3 best cities to live on a budget of $4,000 per month

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Americans may disagree on a lot of things these days, but there is one thing most of us agree on: the cost of living has gotten very expensive. Politicians toss around the word “inflation” like it’s inevitable or can’t be helped, but it all translates into more money being spent on the same essential things we’ve always paid for.

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In October 2021, the inflation rate was 6.2%. In June 2022, it had reached an astonishing high of 9.1% – and it is still at 8.2%. Trying to find ways to cut back can be difficult. While there are no immediate solutions to lowering the cost of living, one strategy is instead to find cities where you can live comfortably on a budget of $4,000 or less. Depending on where you currently live, this may mean geographic relocation, as some of the most affordable cities are in the south and southwest.

To find the best cities to live on under $4,000 a month, GOBankingRates gathered data from ApartmentList, Sperling’s Best, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey, and AreaVibes. Here are the first three.

Abilene, Texas

  • Rent 2022 1 bedroom: $759.78

  • Monthly expenses: $3,853.67

The city of Abilene, Texas, founded in 1881, exists because of the T&M Railroad, which needed a place for trains to stop along its route. Since then, this historic part of Texas, with a livability score of 75, has come a long way with arts, culture, and entertainment.

Not only can you afford to live in Abilene for less than $4,000 a month, but you can enjoy attractions such as its downtown cultural district – a procession of live music, museums, arts centers entertainment, shops, restaurants and storybook sculptures, according to the visitors bureau. It’s also a great place for outdoor enthusiasts, with trails for biking, walking, horseback riding, and beautiful places to bird watch, fish, and enjoy nature in general.

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Midland, TX

  • Rent 2022 1 bedroom: $736.89

  • Monthly expenses: $3,705.26

Texas dominates this short list, with a second city, Midland, offering affordability and more. The city is conveniently located on Interstate 20, between Fort Worth and El Paso, and has a livability score of 72 due to its decent amenities and attractions, parks, restaurants, arts and culture. culture.

According to VisitMidland.com, you should check out Summer Mummers, a one-of-a-kind art experience, search for Midland’s unique murals all over town, or take a day trip to nearby Big Bend National Park.

Lake Charles, Louisiana

  • Rent 2022 1 bedroom: $696.33

  • Monthly expenses: $3,764.39

You’ll pay the least rent in Lake Charles, Louisiana, which has a livability score of 70, and the lowest overall monthly expenses as well. But don’t think that means there’s nothing to see or do here.

VisitLakeCharles.org describes the town as having “a Cajun personality with a Texas twist.” Being actually lakeside also lends itself to plenty of marine activities at Bord du Lac Marina, Prien Lake Park or the scenic North Beach. Casinos, bars and restaurants, such as Panoramic Music House, offer many quality concerts. The city is also home to many festivals, such as the Smoke & Barrel, Whiskey & BBQ events and the spooky Lost Hollows Tour.

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Methodology: To find the best cities to live on under $4,000 per month, GOBankingRates first used data from ApartmentList to find (1) average one-bedroom rents in 2022. GOBanking Rates then used Sperling’s Best to find the (2) overall cost of living index for each selected city. Next, GOBankingRates used (3) data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey to find annual spending amounts to determine how much a person might spend monthly to live in each city. GOBankingRates then added the monthly costs together. For a place to qualify for the study, it had to (4) have a livability score of 75 or higher, according to AreaVibes. All data was collected and updated as of October 12, 2022.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 3 Best Cities to Live on a Budget of $4,000 a Month

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