30 Best Cities to Retire on the Cheap
As you already know, saving for retirement can be a drag. In fact, some studies show nearly half of Americans have nothing saved for the golden years at all. Nada. Zip.
Right now is a great time to start saving, but what if you’re nearing retirement and thinking it might be too late to hope for a major savings windfall?
Well for one, it’s never, ever too late to start saving. And two, thanks to insights from a recent GoBankingRates study, there are definitely affordable cities you should consider retiring in.
GoBankingRates used a measure of livability from city and neighborhood ranking site AreaVibes, and cost-of-living data from Sperling’s BestPlaces to rank the 30 best cities where you can retire for less than $1,000 a month.
We do have to note one big caveat: The study assumes you own (or will own) your home and have already paid off the mortgage at the time of retirement. That means your only housing expenses would be taxes and maintenance.
The 30 Best Cities to Retire on $1,000 a Month or Less
Thanks to its low taxes, Texas has seven cities listed in the top 10 places to retire for under $1,000 a month. So you should probably practice your “yeehaws” and the chorus to “Deep in the Heart of Texas” if you want to retire on a budget.
The study also broke out grocery, health care and utilities spending.
For the cheapest groceries, your best bet is Corpus Christi, Texas, where you can expect to spend about $241 a month at the store. Birmingham, Alabama, wins out in monthly health care spending, while you’d pay the least for utilities in Tucson, Arizona.
Here are the 30 best cities to retire for less than $1,000 a month, weighted for their livability and cost of living. The number is the estimated total monthly expenditures for a potential retiree — but remember, that’s only if you’ve already paid off your mortgage.
- El Paso, Texas, $893.25
- Brownsville, Texas, $812.03
- Fort Wayne, Indiana, $822.17
- Pasadena, Texas, $892.87
- Amarillo, Texas, $860.40
- Corpus Christi, Texas, $945.38
- Laredo, Texas, $899.16
- Montgomery, Alabama, $878.92
- Lexington, Kentucky, $996.91
- Lubbock, Texas, $846.91
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, $928.67
- Columbus, Georgia, $880.61
- Omaha, Nebraska, $965.34
- Winston-Salem, North Carolina, $928.39
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, $933.61
- Greensboro, North Carolina, $975.66
- Mobile, Alabama, $940.13
- Louisville, Kentucky, $944.98
- Beaumont, Texas, $876.10
- Fayetteville, North Carolina, $963.01
- Tulsa, Oklahoma, $882.57
- Columbus, Ohio, $922.90
- Akron, Ohio, $824.28
- Birmingham, Alabama, $786.77
- Augusta-Richmond County, Georgia, $829.24
- Des Moines, Iowa, $891.55
- Macon, Georgia, $922.85
- Wichita, Kansas, $904.95
- Huntsville, Alabama, $999.56
- Shreveport, Louisiana, $863.91
Some Slick Ways to Save More for Retirement
Now you have an idea of some retiree-friendly communities with a low cost of living. But that doesn’t mean you should start spending cash like a drunken sailor. Here at Codetic, we know that every penny counts.
Here are five ways to pad your savings so when you do move to El Paso, Texas, you’ll have plenty of money left over for the good life.
1. Rent Out That RV
With RVshare, you can make some extra retirement savings by renting out your recreational vehicle to someone else. Come on, you’ll have plenty of time in the golden years for cross-country trips.
2. Pad Your 401(k) With Higher Contribution Limits
In 2018, the U.S. government will increase the maximum contribution to a 401(k) by $500 to $18,500. That’s an extra, untaxed $500 for you to spend on Arnold Palmers on the links in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
3. Get Into Investing — if You Haven’t Already
Make your money work for you. Apps like Stash or Acorns can get you onto Wall Street for as little as $1 per month.
4. Check Out Roth IRAs
A Roth IRA, a type of individual retirement account, is a good companion to the classic 401(k).
5. Determine How Much You’ll Need in Retirement to Get You Motivated
SmartAsset has a retirement calculator that will help you put your financial future in perspective without a bunch of spreadsheets. It’s just a starting point, but it could help motivate you to shoot for more than living on less than $1,000 a month.
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. We’re letting you know because it’s what Honest Abe would do. After all, he is on our favorite coin.
Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at Codetic. He’s currently breathing into a paper bag after thinking about retirement savings.