The Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Saving Money

By David Cusick

While we all know that money doesn’t grow on trees (although we wish it did), saving money is something most people work towards. Paying rent or a mortgage payment, student loan debt, and just everyday bills add up and make it hard to build up your savings. Where you live has an impact on your cost of living, impacting how you save money. 

Learn how the best home warranty can save you money.

With that in mind, House Method did some research to find the best cities in the U.S. for saving money. To do this, we analyzed data for the 100 largest cities and ranked them according to five factors, such as percent of median income to median home mortgage, the average cost of gas, percent of median income to cost of groceries, and more. Read on for the complete rankings and methodology. 

Main Findings

Best Cities for Saving Money

Overall Rank (1 = better)City, StateOverall ScoreYearly Cost of Living RankDaily Cost of Living Rank
1Plano, TX46.5314
2Gilbert, AZ45.32166
3Chandler, AZ44.61273
4Chesapeake, VA43.131364
5Irving, TX42.481430
6Scottsdale, AZ42.331072
7Henderson, NV42745
8Wichita, KS41.3187
9Arlington, TX41.27995
10Anchorage, AK41.214100
11Omaha, NE40.791137
12Oklahoma City, OK40.641563
13Fort Wayne, IN40.59589
14Garland, TX40.521952
15Virginia Beach, VA40.492944
16El Paso, TX40.292154
17Nashville, TN40.081628
18Fort Worth, TX40.042243
19Corpus Christi, TX39.921865
20Laredo, TX39.562088
21Lincoln, NE39.531220
22Austin, TX39.523692
23Boise, ID39.221777
24Lexington, KY39.23246
25St. Petersburg, FL39.012659
26Albuquerque, NM38.912498
27Louisville, KY38.562522
28Raleigh, NC38.522378
29Spokane, WA38.28670
30Madison, WI38.255119
31Saint Paul, MN37.783823
32Colorado Springs, CO37.732797
33Charlotte, NC37.644871
34Kansas City, MO37.593729
35Minneapolis, MN37.494982
36Mesa, AZ37.363026
37Tulsa, OK37.353517
38Lubbock, TX37.084634
39Phoenix, AZ36.883112
40Fremont, CA36.774242
41Seattle, WA36.71343
42San Antonio, TX36.614335
43Columbus, OH36.284096
44Jacksonville, FL36.142841
45Houston, TX36.086127
46Atlanta, GA35.965393
47Indianapolis, IN35.793936
48Washington, DC35.52608
49Glendale, AZ35.453347
50Denver, CO35.395861
51Winston–Salem, NC35.194440
52North Las Vegas, NV35.114784
53Durham, NC34.995681
54Dallas, TX34.986353
55Las Vegas, NV34.685031
56Tampa, FL34.67571
57Tucson, AZ34.4459
58Cincinnati, OH34.335567
59Aurora, CO34.066687
60Greensboro, NC33.955438
61Reno, NV33.714132
62Portland, OR33.535950
63San Jose, CA33.23685
64Pittsburgh, PA33.135216
65Orlando, FL32.97118
66San Francisco, CA31.896756
67St. Louis, MO31.796460
68Richmond, VA31.777810
69Baton Rouge, LA31.646979
70Milwaukee, WI31.497015
71Jersey City, NJ31.478490
72Chicago, IL31.017375
73Chula Vista, CA30.957683
74Norfolk, VA30.877958
75Bakersfield, CA30.56294
76Baltimore, MD30.188086
77Toledo, OH30.096551
78Riverside, CA29.897211
79Memphis, TN29.887525
80Sacramento, CA29.36746
81Irvine, CA27.979039
82Boston, MA27.869185
83San Diego, CA27.58874
84Philadelphia, PA27.447762
85Anaheim, CA27.248899
86Santa Ana, CA26.729274
87Buffalo, NY26.588168
88Fresno, CA26.028276
89Stockton, CA25.8832
90Oakland, CA25.688513
91Honolulu, HI25.548691
92Long Beach, CA23.399324
93Cleveland, OH23.358980
94New York, NY19.89757
95Detroit, MI19.79455
96Los Angeles, CA19.449648
97New Orleans, LA18.349521
98Hialeah, FL18.039849
99Miami, FL14.989933
100Newark, NJ10.2410069

Summary

The top city for saving money is Plano, Texas. Plano ranked well in all five factors, with a low cost of gas and no income tax. The combined factors pushed Plano, TX to the top spot. Coming in in the number two spot is Gilbert, Arizona. Gilbert holds the top spot for percent of median income to median home mortgage and comes in third for the cost of groceries. The other cities that round out the top five are Chandler, AZ, Chesapeake, Virginia, and Irving, TX. 

Read more: Cheapest home warranty

The city that makes it the hardest on you to save money is Newark, New Jersey. Newark scored second to last for the percent of median income to median rent and scored low for the percent of median income to cost of groceries. These combined with other factors make Newark the hardest city to save money in. The other cities rounding out the bottom five are Los Angeles, California, New Orleans, Louisiana, Hialeah, Florida, and Miami.

If your new year’s resolution is to get your finances on track, maybe it’s time you choose a new living location and start watching that savings account grow — Plano, TX might be calling your name!

Methodology

To find the best and worst cities for saving money, we collected data for the 100 largest cities in the United States and analyzed under the following two categories:

  1. Yearly cost of living
  2. Daily cost of living

In all, there were five factors across those two larger categories that are listed below along with their corresponding weights. Each city was graded on an 50-point scale, with a score of 50 representing the ideal city for saving money.

Finally, we calculated each city’s weighted average across all categories to determine its Overall Score and used the results to rank-order our sample.

Yearly cost of living — 30 points

  • Percent of median income to median home mortgage — 1.5 Weight
  • Percent of median income to median rent — 1.5 Weight
  • State income tax burden – Half Weight

Daily cost of living — 20 points

  • Average cost of gasoline — Half Weight
  • Percent of median income to cost of groceries — Full Weight

Sources

  • U.S. Census
  • GasBuddy.com
  • Numbeo
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics

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