There's more to Wisconsin than cheese curds. Sure, there's a lot of farms, and yes, there's a lot of cows. But there's also gorgeous landscapes, sprawling metropolises, and a lot of very friendly folk who know how to get the most out of their paycheck. Because people from Wisconsin are savvy. They know which places are going to cost them the earth, and which places aren't. If you want to get in on their secret, stay tuned as we count down the 10 cheapest places to live in Wisconsin.
Shawano likes to keep things on the small side. Its population of 8,974 is petite, its average home value of $98,900 is tiny, and its median rental cost of a little under $600 is practically minuscule. Unfortunately, its median income of $45,630 is equally diminutive, resulting in a slightly less favorable home price-to-income ratio than some of our other entries. Still, when the cost of living is as low as it is here, most of us would be prepared to take the hit to our salaries.
9. Richland Center
With a population of just 5,019, Richland Center is a long way from being big. But who cares how big it is when it's got prices this small? If you stick to renting, you'll have no problem finding somewhere for around $579 a month. Just to give you an idea of how good a price that is, the average for Wisconsin is more than twice that amount. Buying a property will obviously set you back a lot more than $579, but with a median home value of just 100,600, it's still very reasonable.
Waupun is a small, family-friendly community of 11,276 people with some great schools, great amenities, and even greater prices. Those on a budget will be pleased to know they can snap up a home for around $120,000. Those who like to squirrel away their savings will be equally delighted to think of how much they can set aside on an income of $56,587. With one of the best home price-to-income ratios in the state and easy access to big cities like Milwaukee and Green Bay, Waupun is a very attractive place to call home.
If you're working on a tight budget, you might want to add Antigo to your home-finding itinerary. A home in this part of the Dairy State will cost you a very considerable 51 percent less than it would in other parts of the country. Goods and services are equally affordable, with groceries, haircuts, movie tickets, and beers all costing around 18 percent less than the national average.
Why give up so much of your salary to greedy landlords when you could cut out the middleman and buy your own place? Considering the ever-increasing cost of housing, that's not always a viable option, but in Rothschild, it most definitely is. This little town of 5287 folk has some of the most affordable housing options in the state. Providing you're good for around $144,000, you'll have no problem in finding something to suit. Just as attractive as the low property prices is the high median incomes: with the average household pulling in a very healthy $70,925, Rothschild has the distinct privilege of being both cheap and rich.
The average cost of living in Wisconsin is lower than the national average, but in some places, it's lower than others. In the town of Marinette, for example, the cost of living is a full 15 percent lower than the national average, and 19 percent lower than the Wisconsin average. According to Area Vibes, the difference between the cost of property in Marinette and most of the States is even more significant, with a three-bedroom single-family home costing a whopping 48 percent less than the US median. Even when you factor in the fact that Wisconsin's state income tax is 62% higher than the national average, Marinette still offers great value.
According to Sapling, Madison ranks as one of the most affordable places to live in Wisconsin and represents a great option for people who don't want to spend a fortune on a house but don't want to sacrifice their lifestyle either. With a sizeable population of 200,000, the city offers plenty of attractions to keep the whole family entertained. The public school system is excellent, and, thanks to having the University of Wisconsin on its doorstep, it has a vibrant, youthful vibe that makes it as attractive a proposition to single professionals as it is to families.
According to Home Snacks, if you want to live in one of the cheapest place's in America's Dairyland, you'd do well to consider Merrill. Known affectionately as the 'City of Parks,' Merrill is a pretty, low-key little place packed with great housing options. Although there's plenty of options on the higher end of the pricing spectrum, you won't struggle to find a good range of homes at just a little over $85,000. The median income of $48,159 might not be great shakes when compared to the national average, but considering how little you'll be spending on your mortgage, you'll still have plenty of spending power.
2. Prairie du Chien
Prairie du Chien is a small town of 6000 residents situated on the shores of the Mississippi River in western Wisconsin. The real draw for people on a budget is the property prices, which hover somewhere around the $100,000 mark. If you're tired of flushing your money down the drain on overpriced rentals, the chance to get a foot on the property ladder for such an affordable price is undeniably attractive.
If you want to live in a small town where your dollar will stretch just as far as you need it to, look no further than Waupaca. Located around 75 miles west of Green Bay, this little community has a lot going for it, including a good range of housing options that rarely exceed the $100,000 mark. Despite the low cost of accommodation, the median income is a relatively respectable $52,590, resulting in one of the best home price-to-income ratios in the state.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson