If you've tired of spending two thirds of your income on mortgage payments, or maybe just sick of being short on cash, there's plenty you can do to help. Number one - move to Texas. The Lone Star State may be vast, but its cost of living is tiny - so tiny, in fact, that it consistently ranks as one of the cheapest states in the US. Obviously, when you're dealing with an area this huge, you're going to run into some places that will strip you of your spending power quicker than you can count to three. But you'll also find no shortage of places where you can keep your savings intact. Without further ado, here are the 20 cheapest places to live in Texas.
Lamesa doesn't have the best of records when it comes to crime. With 417 offenses reported per 100 thousand residents, its crime rate is 76.80% higher than the national average. It's not exactly doing that well for itself when it comes to jobs either, with most households earning just $40,913. But what it lacks in desirability it makes up for in affordability. Prospective home owners can expect to nab a new home for the outstandingly reasonable price of just $65,300. Living costs are just as low, with groceries, transportation, and health care costing anything between 10 -40% less than in other US cities.
19. Rio Grande City
With a population of around 14000, Rio Grande City is ideal for people who want to live in a city without losing out on small town charm. Amenities are plentiful, schools are decent, and the crime rate is nothing to kick up a fuss about. Where it really shines, though, is on cost of living. Whether we're talking transportation, health care, entertainment, or food, nothing's going to blow a hole in your budget. And your mortgage payments won't wipe you out, either - most homes sell for the amazingly low price of just $71,200, giving you plenty left to play with after payday.
If you want cheap, cheap is exactly what you'll find in the small town of Kermit. With the average property coming in at just $62,000, it's paradise for first time home owners struggling to get their first step on the ladder. Rental properties aren't quite so budget friendly, but still manage to come in at around $100 a month less than the US average. And it's not just property prices that make it such a steal - the overall cost of living is kept fabulously low thanks to superbly affordable transportation, healthcare, and groceries.
Make the short hop, skip, and a jump that separate Dallas and Frisco, and you'll find a city brimming with possibilities. With almost 9 million square feet of retail and dining space, there's certainly no shortage of places for Frisco's residents to spend their money - even if their bank account balances tell a different story. With the average family home coming in at a fraction of the US average at just $100,000, residents have plenty of pocket money left over after paying bills to enjoy the delights of the city.
Up next is the fabulously named Muleshoe, a small city in Bailey County that's tiny population is equaled only by its tiny prices. According to bestplaces.net, new homebuyers can expect to get a foot on the property ladder for the fantastically reasonable price of just $79,400, over $100,000 less than they'd have to spend in most other cities to do the same. The overall cost of living also makes reassuring reading, sitting 28.8% lower than the US average.
15. Seth Ward
Seth Ward might not have the biggest population, the best night life, or an army of amenities, but what it does have in abundance is low, low prices. Move to this tiny corner of Hale County and you can expect to pick up a family home for the absurdly low price of just $37,300. In fairness, the average income isn't exactly a selling point (most households are living just above the poverty line on $35,598), but if you value low house prices over well-paid jobs, you'll struggle to find better.
If you want to live somewhere cheap, you're going to have to face facts. Affordability rarely accompanies desirability. Case in point: Premont. With a high crime rate, a dearth of well-paid job opportunities, high poverty levels, and the kind of schools you'd rather avoid than attend, it's not the kind of place many people would consider a 'hot destination'. But it's not all bad news. With an average property price of $51,600 and an outstandingly low cost of living, it's one of the cheapest places to live in Texas.
Located in the lower part of the Southwestern Tablelands, Snyder is a smallish town of around 11000 people that boasts clement weather, good job prospects, and some very affordable prices. Despite the higher than average median income of $56,585, prospective home owners can expect to pick up a house for a steal - at just $84,300, a single-family home costs over $100,000 less here than it does in other parts of the US. The median rental price of $766 is similarly attractive.
12. Mila Doce
If you're wondering why we've included Mila Doce among our top twenty cheapest places to live in Texas, a brief glance at the stats should be enough to stop you scratching your head. As areavibes.com notes, the cost of living in Mila Doce is 25% lower than the Texas average and 32% lower than the national average. Mila Doce housing, meanwhile, is 65% lower than the national average. A haircut will cost you just $6.50 (compared to the $17.49 it'll cost in most other cities), while a tube of toothpaste will set you back $1.17 (as opposed to the $2.32 it would cost you elsewhere). A visit to the optometrist will cost you 41.2% less than in most places, while a dentist appointment will leave you with 21.8 % more money in your pocket than if you went out of town. In fact, one of the only things that costs more in Mila Doce than it does in most US cities is a trip to the movies- although with a difference of just 3 cents, it's not exactly noteworthy.
Alamo doesn't have a great track record when it comes to crime. Violent crime is almost double the US average, with 655.2 incidents per 100,000 residents (compared to a US average of 368.9 per 100,000). It's also not doing great on poverty or unemployment rates either, with unemployment sitting at 8% and poverty at 26.7%. Unsurprisingly, the average household can expect to live on around $15000 less than most US families, thanks to a median income of just $39,275. But there's good news in there somewhere. While it's in no danger of topping the list of most desirable places to live in Texas, it's almost guaranteed to make an appearance on every list of the cheapest places to live. The reason? An average property price of just $70,600, a median rent of just $545, and cheap as chips entertainment, food, and services.
10. La Villa
La Villa is a small, rural town with a charmingly friendly community, an amazingly low crime rate, and best of all, one of the lowest cost of living in the state. A good-sized family home will cost you in the region of $50,000 - a giant $130000 less than the national average. Chose to rent rather than own, and you can expect to get by on a monthly rent of $443. The low living costs are somewhat offset by the fact most people are living on the minimum wage, but when you're spending so little on your mortgage payments, a median income of $31,123 seems a lot more doable.
Monahans is a tiny city that, despite its pettiness, somehow manages to extend across two counties: Ward County and Winkler County. Regardless of which county your house happens to fall in, you can be sure you're paying a lot less for it than most people are paying for theirs: at just $88,200, a single-family home in this part of the world costs over $100,000 less than the US national average. And while low living costs are generally associated with low income levels, here, the reverse is true. With a strong local economy and easy commuting distance into the surrounding areas, most households are bringing home the very healthy median salary of $68,125.
If you want to get as much bang for your buck as humanly possible, you might want to do yourself and your bank account a favor by making the move to Vernon. As one of homesnacks.com's most affordable places to live in Texas, it boasts low property prices (expect to nab a family home for the bargain-bucket price of just $67,500), affordable rental options ($640 will get you a very decent apartment), and an unfeasibly low cost of living. On the downside, crime is relatively high, the median income is relatively low, and the poverty rate sits at an uncomfortable 19%. But if you value low living costs, it's still worthy of a second glance.
If you're sick of renting but are struggling to come up with a deposit for a home of your own, there's one place in Texas in particular that might appeal - Raymondville. With the average family home in this neck of the woods retailing for the fabulously affordable price of just $47,600, you won't have to worry about that deposit any longer - or the mortgage payments, for that matter. Even if you'd prefer to keep renting, you'll find you have a lot more pocket money than you used to thanks to an average rental price of just $482 (almost $500 less than the national average). Even if we leave the fantastically affordable housing to one side, this is still an incredibly cheap place to live - expect to pay around 25% less for goods and services that you would elsewhere in the US.
Back in 2019, marketwatch.com named Odessa as one of the most affordable places to live in Texas. A lot may have happened in the world since then, but the cost of living in this west Texas city has stayed remarkably consistent. Famed for its cowboy culture, high-school football, second-largest meteor crater in the U.S., and, strangely enough, it's very exacting replica of Stonehenge, it's got plenty of sporting and cultural attractions to keep you entertained. It's also got the kind of low property prices that will put a very large grin on the faces of budget-conscious families.
Onqfinancial.com considers Progreso one of the ten most affordable places to live in Texas. We can understand why. The median home price is just a fraction over $50,000 while the median rent is around $550 per month, leaving residents with plenty of pocket money come payday. With endless sunshine, great job opportunities and a convenient location near the Rio Grande and the Progreso Lakes, it's little wonder it's become such a hotspot for bargain seekers.
The average household in Muniz may only be drawing an income of $35,912 (around $20000 less than most US households) but considering the fantastically low cost of living, they're unlikely to be feeling the strain too much. Most single-family homes retail for just a little under $60,000 (about $120000 less than the US average) while rental properties can be found for just over $500 per month (over $400 less than the national average). Food, transportation, and even health care are all equally affordable.
If you want culture, excitement, sunshine, and a lot more money in your pocket than you'd have otherwise, consider heading to Brownsville. Ranked by TheTravel as one of the most affordable cities in Texas, it's got plenty to say for itself, including oceanfront living, a vibrant Mexican influence, and a ton of very affordable living options. If beach life, tortillas, and extra spending power sound like your cup of tea, it's ideal.
If you want to live within spitting distance of the big city but would rather it didn't come with sky high living costs and inflated property prices, the McAllen suburb of Heidelburg has your name written all over it. Niche has gone so far as to name it the most affordable suburb in Texas -with a median home price of $35,500, an average rental cost of $447, and some of the cheapest goods and services you'll find in the country, it's easy to see why.
If high living costs are getting you down, the small city of Elsa could well be your savior. With a population of just over 5000, it's by no means big, but then again, neither are the prices. Set up camp here, and you can expect to have around 32% more spending power than you would in other parts of the US. Good and services are around 23% less expensive here than they are elsewhere, while property prices are a whopping 69% lower. With the average family home selling for a tiny $47,000 (which, just to put into perspective, is a massive $137,700 less than the national average), it's a great place for first time buyers to get their foot on the property ladder.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn