The best states to live in to save money

With telecommuting at an all-time high, the option to relocate has never been more realistic. Moving to an inexpensive state, and at the same time keeping your expensive salary, is certainly an appealing proposition. The savings of living in a cheaper state could add up to tens of thousands of dollars each year.

We have ranked the best states to save money across a number of categories such as housing costs, cost of living, average income, income tax and more. The results are actually somewhat surprising and some of the states that looked like they might be a good deal, may not be as good as they seem when everything is taken into account.

Methodology

Income tax

We looked at people making $50,000 a year when calculating how much income tax would be owed. We didn’t find a huge ranking variance by switching the income levels. As you dive deeper, you can use this state tax calculator to get the exact values you would owe on state taxes, based on your actual income.

Data provided by Tax foundation’s “State Individual Income Tax Rates and Brackets

Housing cost

We took into account the housing cost for each state. Homeownership is strongly associated with wealth building and for many, having a house will be the largest portion of their net worth.

Data provided by Balancing Everything’s “Property Tax and Median Housing Cost.”

Cost of living

We factored in the cost of living for the state in the areas of groceries, utilities, transportation and health.

Data provided by Missouri Economic Research and Information Center’s “Cost of Living Data Series.”

Average income

We included the average income, in our ranking, to account for the earning potential each state provided.

Data provided by World Population Review’s “Average Income By State.”

Happiness and wellbeing

This did not factor into the ranking, but it was included to help create a better picture of the state and how well its residents are doing. After all, what’s the point of saving money if you are going to be miserable? We included three dimensions.

Emotional and physical well-being – Includes career happiness, physical health, adverse childhood experiences, depression, social well-being, alcohol abuse, sleep, sports-participation, feeling active and productive, illness and disability, life expectancy, suicide rate and food-insecurity.

Work environment – Includes work hours, commute time, household income, feelings of worry about money, unemployment rates, job security, job satisfaction, income-growth, economic-confidence and credit score.

Community and environment – Volunteer rate, ideal weather, leisure time, divorce rates and safety.

Data provided by Wallethub’s “Happiest States in American” ranking.

Politics

Politics did not factor into our ranking, but we also included it to help give a more detailed picture of the state. Depending on your political views, you might rethink the value of your money savings if your son marries a Hillary Clinton or your daughter marries a Donald Trump. Kids adapt to the environments they are raised in.

Data provided by World Population Review’s “Most Republican States.”

Weather

It did not get factored into the ranking, but we also included if the state had good weather or severe winters.

Data provided by Current Result’s “Top 10 US States with the Best Weather All Year Round” and Thrillist’s “Every State, Ranked by How Miserable Its Winters Are.”

Top ranked states by category

There were no states from the East Coast or West Coast in the top five

Best states to live in to save money

  1. Texas
  2. Tennessee
  3. Indiana
  4. Kansas
  5. Michigan
Only two of the 0% income tax states made it in the top five for saving money

States with 0% income tax

  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • Florida
  • Washington
  • Nevada
  • Alaska
These could be the best states to live if you prioritize having a big house

States with the lowest cost housing

  1. Mississippi
  2. West Virginia
  3. Arkansas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Kentucky
In many cases, the benefits of having a lower cost of living was offset by a lower income potential

States with the lowest cost of living

  1. Mississippi
  2. Kansas
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Alabama
  5. Tennessee
For many of the higher income states, you needed the money to pay for higher than average expenses

States with highest average income

  1. New Jersey
  2. Connecticut
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Maryland
  5. California

Individually ranked states

What follows is a breakdown of each of the individual states, ranked from the hardest states to save down to the easiest.

50. Hawaii

Pros

  • Ranks 6th in median salary
  • Ranked 2nd for good weather
  • Ranks 2nd in emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranks 3rd in community and environment

Cons

  • Ranked 1st for high housing costs
  • Ranked 1st for high cost of living
  • High cost of food

Politics

  • Blue state

49. Oregon

Pros

  • Oregon did not have any areas where it scored above average.

Cons

  • High cost of groceries
  • Ranked 5th for high cost of living
  • Ranked 9th for high housing cost
  • High income taxes
  • Low emotional and physical well-being rank

Politics

  • Blue state

48. California

Pros

  • Ranked 5th for median income
  • Ranked 1st for good weather
  • Ranked 7th for emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked 3rd for community and environment

Cons

  • Ranked 2nd for high housing costs
  • High income tax
  • Ranked 3rd for high cost of living
  • High cost of groceries

Politics

  • Blue state

47. New York

Pros

  • Ranked 6th for emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked 7th for median salary

Cons

  • 2nd most expensive state for cost of living
  • Ranked 8th for high housing costs
  • Ranked poorly for work environment
  • Ranked poorly for community and environment
  • Cold winters

Politics

  • Blue state

46. Vermont

Pros

  • Ranked 6th in community and environment

Cons

  • Can have cold winters
  • High income tax
  • Higher property cost
  • High cost of living
  • High cost of groceries

Politics

  • Blue state

45. Massachusetts

Pros

  • Ranked 3rd for high median income
  • Ranked 8th for emotional and physical well-being

Cons

  • Ranked 3rd for high housing costs
  • Ranked poorly for community and environment
  • Ranked 4th for high-cost groceries
  • Ranked 4th for high cost of living
  • Ranked 10th for cold winters

Politics

  • Blue state
montana

44. Montana

Pros

  • Scored high for work environment

Cons

  • High income tax
  • Scored low for emotional and physical well-being
  • Scored low for community and environment
  • Low median income
  • Ranked 9th for cold winters

Politics

  • Red state

43. Maine

Pros

  • Scored high for work environment

Cons

  • High income tax
  • Ranked 10th for high cost of living
  • Lower median income
  • Ranked 5th for cold winters

Politics

  • Blue state

42. Delaware

Pros

  • Ranked 8th for good weather
  • Ranks high for emotional and physical well-being

Cons

  • Higher cost of housing
  • High cost of groceries
  • Ranked low on work environment

Politics

  • Blue state

41. Maryland

Pros

  • Ranked 3rd for emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked 9th for community and well-being
  • Ranked 4th for median income

Cons

  • Ranked 7th for high housing costs
  • Ranked 7th for high cost of living
  • High cost of groceries

Politics

  • Blue state

40. New Jersey

Pros

  • Ranked 1st for income
  • Ranked 1st for emotional and physical well-being

Cons

  • Above average income tax
  • Ranked 4th for high housing costs
  • Higher cost of living
  • Higher cost of groceries
  • Ranked below average for work environment

Politics

  • Blue state

39. Rhode Island

Pros

  • Lower than average income tax
  • Above average income

Cons

  • Ranked 9th for high cost of living
  • Higher cost of groceries
  • Higher than average housing prices
  • Lower than average community and environment rank

Politics

  • Blue state

38. Minnesota

Pros

  • Above average income
  • Ranked 4th for emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked 4th for work environment
  • Ranked 10th for community and environment

Cons

  • Higher than average income tax
  • Above average cost of living
  • Above average cost of groceries
  • Above average housing cost
  • Ranked 1st for cold winters

Politics

  • Purple state

37. Alaska

Pros

  • 0% income tax
  • Above average income

Cons

  • Higher than average housing cost
  • Ranked 6th for high cost of living
  • 2nd most expensive state for cost of groceries
  • Ranked low for emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked low for work environment
  • Ranked low for community and environment
  • Ranked 3rd for cold winters

Politics

  • Red state

36. Connecticut

Pros

  • Ranked 2nd for income
  • Ranked 5th in emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked above average in community and environment

Cons

  • Ranked 10th for high housing cost
  • Ranked 8th for high cost of living
  • Higher than average cost of groceries
  • Ranked low in work environment

Politics

  • Blue state

35. Colorado

Pros

  • Lower than average income tax
  • Higher than average income
  • Ranked 9th in work environment
  • Above average rank in emotional and physical well-being

Cons

  • Ranked 5th for high housing cost
  • Higher than average cost of living
  • Ranked low in community and environment

Politics

  • Purple state

34. South Carolina

Pros

  • Lower than average housing costs
  • Lower than average cost of living
  • Ranked 7th for good weather

Cons

  • High income tax
  • Higher than average grocery cost
  • Lower than average income
  • Ranked lower than average for emotional and physical well-being

Politics

  • Red state

33. Nevada

Pros

  • 0% income tax
  • Ranked 5th in community and environment

Cons

  • Higher than average housing cost
  • Higher than average cost of living
  • High grocery costs

Politics

  • Purple state

32. Idaho

Pros

  • Ranked 3rd for low-cost groceries
  • Ranked 2nd for work environment
  • Ranked 2nd for community and environment

Cons

  • Above average income tax
  • Below average income
  • Lower than average emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked 8th for cold winters

Politics

  • Red state

31. Pennsylvania

Pros

  • Low income tax
  • Above average income

Cons

  • Above average cost of living
  • Above average cost of groceries
  • Ranks low on work environment
  • Ranks below average on community and environment

Politics

  • Purple state

30. New Hampshire

Pros

  • Ranked 9th for income
  • Ranks above average for work environment

Cons

  • Above average housing cost
  • Cold winters
  • Ranks below average for community and environment
  • Ranks below average for cost of living

Politics

  • Purple state

29. Arizona

Pros

  • Below average income tax
  • Ranked 4th for good weather
  • Above average rank in emotional and physical well-being

Cons

  • Below average rank in community and environment
  • Above average cost of living

Politics

  • Purple state

28. Washington

Pros

  • 0% income tax rate.
  • It’s ranked 4th in median salary
  • Ranks well for having good work environments

Cons

  • You might have to be in the tech space to benefit from the higher median salary.
  • Ranked 6th for high housing cost
  • High cost of food

Politics

  • Blue state

27. Wisconsin

Pros

  • Above average work environment
  • Above average community and environment

Cons

  • Higher than average income tax
  • Ranked 7th for cold winters

Politics

  • Purple state

26. Utah

Pros

  • Below average income tax
  • Ranked 1st for work environment
  • Ranked 1st for community and environment
  • Above average emotional and physical well-being
  • Below average cost of groceries
  • Above average income

Cons

  • Above average housing cost
  • Colder winters

Politics

  • Red state

25. Virginia

Pros

  • Ranked 8th for average income
  • Below average cost of housing
  • Ranks above average in emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranks above average for work environment
  • Below average cost of groceries

Cons

  • Above average income tax
  • Ranks below average for community and environment
  • Above average cost of living

Politics

  • Purple state

24. Florida

Pros

  • 0% income tax
  • Ranked 5th for good weather
  • Ranked above average for emotional and physical well-being

Cons

  • Ranked below average for work environment
  • Ranked low for community and environment
  • Above average cost of groceries

Politics

  • Purple state

23. North Carolina

Pros

  • Below average housing costs
  • Below average grocery cost
  • Ranked 9th for good weather

Cons

  • Ranked low for community and environment
  • Below average household income

Politics

  • Purple state

22. West Virginia

Pros

  • Ranked 2nd for affordable housing
  • Below average cost of living

Cons

  • Ranked last for emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked low for work environment
  • Ranked below average for community and environment
  • Ranked low for median income

Politics

  • Red state

21. Nebraska

Pros

  • Lower than average housing prices
  • Ranked 9th in emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked 8th for work environment
  • Lower than average cost of living

Cons

  • Higher than average income tax
  • Below average rank for community and environment

Politics

  • Red state

20. New Mexico

Pros

  • Ranked 8th for community and environment
  • Below average cost of living
  • Below average cost of groceries

Cons

  • Ranks low for emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranks low for work environment
  • Low household income

Politics

  • Red state

19. North Dakota

Pros

  • Low income tax
  • Above average rank in emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked 3rd in work environment
  • Ranked 7th in community and environment
  • Higher than average household income

Cons

  • Higher than average grocery cost
  • Ranked 4th for cold winters

Politics

  • Red state

18. Louisiana

Pros

  • Lower than average income tax
  • Lower than average property tax
  • Lower than average cost of living
  • Lower than average groceries cost
  • Ranked 10th for good weather

Cons

  • Low emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked the worst for work environment
  • Ranked low for household income

Politics

  • Red state

17. Wyoming

Pros

  • 0% income tax
  • Ranked 4th for affordable housing

Cons

  • Cold winters
  • Ranked below average for emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked low for community and environment

Politics

  • Red state

16. Kentucky

Pros

  • Ranked 5th for affordable housing
  • Ranked 9th for affordable groceries

Cons

  • Ranked low for emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked below average for work environment
  • Ranked low for average income

Politics

  • Red state

15. South Dakota

Pros

  • 0% income tax
  • Above average affordable housing
  • Ranked 10th in work environment
  • Ranked 4th in community and environment

Cons

  • Lower than average median income
  • Ranked 6th for cold winters

Politics

  • Red state

14. Alabama

Pros

  • Ranked 7th for low-cost housing
  • Above average rank for community and environment
  • Ranked 4th for low cost of living

Cons

  • Ranked low for emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked 4th for lowest median income

Politics

  • Red state

13. Iowa

Pros

  • Ranked 9th in affordable housing
  • Above average emotional and physical well-being rank
  • Ranked 6th in work environment
  • Ranked high in community and environment
  • Ranked 9th for affordable housing
  • Ranked 9th for low cost of living

Cons

  • Higher than average income tax
  • Cold winters
  • Lower than average median income

Politics

  • Purple state

12. Illinois

Pros

  • Above average rank in emotional and well-being
  • Lower than average grocery cost
  • Above average household income

Cons

  • Cold winters
  • Below average work environment
  • Below average community and environment

Politics

  • Blue state

11. Missouri

Pros

  • Lower than average housing cost
  • Ranks high in community and environment
  • Ranked 10th for low expenses
  • Below average cost of groceries

Cons

  • Ranks low in emotional and physical well-being
  • Below average income

Politics

  • Red state

10. Georgia

Pros

  • Ranked 6th for good weather
  • Ranked 7th for low-cost of living
  • Lower than average grocery cost

Cons

  • Georgia manages to score average or above in all categories, so no cons here!

Politics

  • Purple state

9. Arkansas

Pros

  • Ranked 3rd for low-cost housing
  • Ranked 6th for low-cost of living
  • Ranked 5th for low-cost groceries

Cons

  • 2nd worst for emotional and physical wellbeing
  • Ranks low for work environment

Politics

  • Red state

8. Ohio

Pros

  • Below average income tax
  • Ranked 8th for low-cost housing
  • Ranked 12th for low-cost of living

Cons

  • Colder winters
  • Ranks low for work environment

Politics

  • Purple state

7. Mississippi

Pros

  • Ranked 1st for low-cost housing
  • Ranked 8th for low-cost groceries
  • Above average community and environment rank

Cons

  • Ranked low for emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked low for work environment
  • Ranked last for average median income

Politics

  • Red state

6. Oklahoma

Pros

  • Ranked 4th for low-cost housing
  • Ranked 3rd for low-cost of living
  • Ranked 10th for low-cost groceries

Cons

  • Ranked poorly for emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked low for work environment
  • Ranked low for average income

Politics

  • Red state

5. Michigan

Pros

  • Lower than average income tax
  • Ranked 11th for low-cost housing
  • Below average cost of living
  • Ranked 1st for low-cost groceries

Cons

  • Ranked below average in emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranked below average in work environment
  • Below average household income
  • Ranked 2nd for cold winters

Politics

  • Purple state

4. Kansas

Pros

  • Ranked 10th for low-cost properties
  • Ranked 2nd for lost cost of living
  • Ranked 6th for low-cost groceries

Cons

  • Above average income tax
  • Below average emotional and physical well-being
  • Below average community and environment
  • Lower median income

Politics

  • Red state

3. Indiana

Pros

  • Below average income tax
  • Ranked 8th for low cost of living
  • Ranked 4th for cheapest grocery bills
  • Better than average weather
  • Ranked 6th for inexpensive property

Cons

  • Below average emotional and physical well-being
  • Below average community and environment
  • More severe winters
  • Below average household income

Politics

  • Red state
Tennessee is one of the cheaper states to live

2. Tennessee

Pros

  • 0% income tax rate.
  • High median salary
  • Low cost of groceries
  • Lost cost of living
  • Above average weather

Cons

  • Above average property prices
  • Above average cost of food
  • Ranks low on emotional and physical well-being
  • Ranks low on community and environment

Politics

  • Red state
Texas the cheapest state to live

1. Texas

Pros

  • 0% income tax
  • Below average property cost
  • Ranked 2nd for most inexpensive groceries
  • Below average cost of living
  • Above average household income
  • Ranked 3rd for nice weather
  • Ranked 10th for emotional and physical well-being

Cons

  • Scores low on emotional and physical well-being
  • Scores low on community and environment
  • Ranked last for community and environment

Politics

  • Red state