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, State

Overall Score

Yearly Cost of Living Rank

Daily Cost of Living Rank

1

Plano, TX

46.5

3

14

2

Gilbert, AZ

45.32

1

66

3

Chandler, AZ

44.61

2

73

4

Chesapeake, VA

43.13

13

64

5

Irving, TX

42.48

14

30

6

Scottsdale, AZ

42.33

10

72

7

Henderson, NV

42

7

45

8

Wichita, KS

41.31

8

7

9

Arlington, TX

41.27

9

95

10

Anchorage, AK

41.21

4

100

11

Omaha, NE

40.79

11

37

12

Oklahoma City, OK

40.64

15

63

13

Fort Wayne, IN

40.59

5

89

14

Garland, TX

40.52

19

52

15

Virginia Beach, VA

40.49

29

44

16

El Paso, TX

40.29

21

54

17

Nashville, TN

40.08

16

28

18

Fort Worth, TX

40.04

22

43

19

Corpus Christi, TX

39.92

18

65

20

Laredo, TX

39.56

20

88

21

Lincoln, NE

39.53

12

20

22

Austin, TX

39.52

36

92

23

Boise, ID

39.22

17

77

24

Lexington, KY

39.2

32

46

25

St. Petersburg, FL

39.01

26

59

26

Albuquerque, NM

38.91

24

98

27

Louisville, KY

38.56

25

22

28

Raleigh, NC

38.52

23

78

29

Spokane, WA

38.28

6

70

30

Madison, WI

38.25

51

19

31

Saint Paul, MN

37.78

38

23

32

Colorado Springs, CO

37.73

27

97

33

Charlotte, NC

37.64

48

71

34

Kansas City, MO

37.59

37

29

35

Minneapolis, MN

37.49

49

82

36

Mesa, AZ

37.36

30

26

37

Tulsa, OK

37.35

35

17

38

Lubbock, TX

37.08

46

34

39

Phoenix, AZ

36.88

31

12

40

Fremont, CA

36.77

42

42

41

Seattle, WA

36.71

34

3

42

San Antonio, TX

36.61

43

35

43

Columbus, OH

36.28

40

96

44

Jacksonville, FL

36.14

28

41

45

Houston, TX

36.08

61

27

46

Atlanta, GA

35.96

53

93

47

Indianapolis, IN

35.79

39

36

48

Washington, DC

35.52

60

8

49

Glendale, AZ

35.45

33

47

50

Denver, CO

35.39

58

61

51

Winston–Salem, NC

35.19

44

40

52

North Las Vegas, NV

35.11

47

84

53

Durham, NC

34.99

56

81

54

Dallas, TX

34.98

63

53

55

Las Vegas, NV

34.68

50

31

56

Tampa, FL

34.67

57

1

57

Tucson, AZ

34.4

45

9

58

Cincinnati, OH

34.33

55

67

59

Aurora, CO

34.06

66

87

60

Greensboro, NC

33.95

54

38

61

Reno, NV

33.71

41

32

62

Portland, OR

33.53

59

50

63

San Jose, CA

33.23

68

5

64

Pittsburgh, PA

33.13

52

16

65

Orlando, FL

32.9

71

18

66

San Francisco, CA

31.89

67

56

67

St. Louis, MO

31.79

64

60

68

Richmond, VA

31.77

78

10

69

Baton Rouge, LA

31.64

69

79

70

Milwaukee, WI

31.49

70

15

71

Jersey City, NJ

31.47

84

90

72

Chicago, IL

31.01

73

75

73

Chula Vista, CA

30.95

76

83

74

Norfolk, VA

30.87

79

58

75

Bakersfield, CA

30.5

62

94

76

Baltimore, MD

30.18

80

86

77

Toledo, OH

30.09

65

51

78

Riverside, CA

29.89

72

11

79

Memphis, TN

29.88

75

25

80

Sacramento, CA

29.36

74

6

81

Irvine, CA

27.97

90

39

82

Boston, MA

27.86

91

85

83

San Diego, CA

27.58

87

4

84

Philadelphia, PA

27.44

77

62

85

Anaheim, CA

27.24

88

99

86

Santa Ana, CA

26.72

92

74

87

Buffalo, NY

26.58

81

68

88

Fresno, CA

26.02

82

76

89

Stockton, CA

25.8

83

2

90

Oakland, CA

25.68

85

13

91

Honolulu, HI

25.54

86

91

92

Long Beach, CA

23.39

93

24

93

Cleveland, OH

23.35

89

80

94

New York, NY

19.8

97

57

95

Detroit, MI

19.7

94

55

96

Los Angeles, CA

19.44

96

48

97

New Orleans, LA

18.34

95

21

98

Hialeah, FL

18.03

98

49

99

Miami, FL

14.98

99

33

100

Newark, NJ

10.24

100

69

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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