The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Arizona For 2021


We used data and science to determine which places in Arizona go easy on your wallet.

HomeSnacks is reader-supported. When you click through real estate links on our site, we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

When we think of the future, some key things probably come to mind: good health, a nice family, and a bit more money.

Eventually, you begin to realize that you probably shouldn’t still be eating ramen out of Tupperware when you get home at night. So how do you make that transition from being completely broke to eating something that costs more than a quarter per pack? How do you save money when you start out in your career?

Easy: live in a super cheap place in Arizona. Lower your cost of living and you will find you have more than a few pennies to your name at the end of the month.

When you live in one of the desert states, you will probably find that everything is dry, but hopefully, your bank is not. Arizona is a state full of amazing sights and can be expensive at times; however, there are plenty of cities in Arizona that won’t dry up your account like the Arizona sun dries your clothes.

So where are the cheapest places in Arizona? Let us walk you through the cities that will allow you to ditch the ramen forever.

The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In Arizona

  1. Holbrook
  2. Coolidge
  3. Guadalupe
  4. Winslow
  5. Safford
  6. Apache Junction
  7. Douglas
  8. Globe
  9. Eloy
  10. Thatcher

What is the cheapest place to live in Arizona? After cranking the numbers for the 57 largest cities in Arizona to find the cheapest city in Arizona for 2021 we came up with a clear winner: Holbrook. This cheap city is packed with Native American culture and history and is near the Petrified Forest National Park. Yes, you read that right–a national park filled with petrified wood.

If very old mummified wood isn’t your kind of fun afternoon out, check out Snowflake, Arizona. If you think you will get some snowy winters here, think again. However, Snowflake does have some alleged alien activity.

If mummified wood and aliens don’t sound like amazing pastimes to you, just remember the best part about these Arizona cities: they are dirt cheap.

Interested in learning more quirks about these top ten cheapest cities in Arizona? Read on to learn more about our methodology and these bank-savers.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Arizona and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Arizona For 2021

Holbrook, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,037
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 64.6x (23rd cheapest)
More On Holbrook: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

You don’t have to stay at a Holiday Inn to know what a good deal looks like. The good people of our number one most affordable city in Arizona for 2021, Holbrook, know that it’s not rocket science, it’s just common sense.

Holbrook has been The Grand Canyon State’s most affordable city three years in a row. Located in the northeast corner of Arizona, agriculture, tourism, and retail have been keeping this city booming. The median income for Holbrook is close to $46,679. This allowed Holbrook to also grab the first spot for most affordable city in Arizona in terms of home price to income ratio.

Coolidge, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 12,685
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.3x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 58.5x (56th cheapest)
More On Coolidge: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

We’re pretty sure everyone has heard of Coolidge, Arizona by now. Not only are they our second most affordable city in Arizona for 2021, but they also made our best places to live in Arizona for 2021 list.

Once home to the Pueblo People, this city in Pinal County is now home to Central Arizona College. CAC has been supplying employees to C-towns strong economy for over 50 years. And you know what else C-town’s residents know? Apparently a good deal when they see it, because they are the second most affordable city for home price to income ratio.

Guadalupe, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,482
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 9)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.6x (48th cheapest)
More On Guadalupe: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Guadalupe, Arizona, is a small town with a big cultural footprint. With just 6,482 inhabitants, it advertises itself as the place “where three cultures flourish.” This includes influences from the native Yaquis Indians, Mexicans, and farmer/settlers. Along with these deep roots, it also counts as the number 3 most inexpensive place in Arizona to raise a family.

The community is located just outside of Phoenix, the state’s largest city. A 20-minute drive will take you to the city center. Despite this big-city influence, though, Guadalupe remains affordable.

True, wages are low in town, with a median income of just $38,125. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is 9.01%. But the funds earned by Guadalupe’s residents go a long way. The median home price stands at $100,100. At the same time, the median rent comes in at $640. The overall cost of living is about 80% of the U.S. standard.

Winslow, AZ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

2
/10

Population: 9,476
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.5x (49th cheapest)
More On Winslow: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

We can all agree that Winslow, Arizona is “such a fine sight to see,” but did you know that it’s also extremely affordable? So much, that It is our fourth most affordable city in Arizona for 2021. Once a railroad community, Winslow’s residents now find themselves working in education, transportation, and public service to offset their cost of living. We know why you scored an 8/10 on our snackability scale for affordability, Winslow. It shouldn’t be difficult to meet your cost of living head on with the median income hanging close to $37,756.

So do yourself and your wallet a favor, and get-a-movin’ to this affordable Navajo County city.

Safford, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,749
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (17th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.5x (19th cheapest)
More On Safford: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

At the base of the San Carlos Reservation, on the Arizona/ New Mexico border, is our fifth most affordable Arizona city for 2021: Safford. This Southern Arizona border town is home to the greatest percentage of young folks concentrated into one city on our list. And if we’ve learned anything about Millenials, they know a good deal.

So what’s drawing the ‘youngins’? Probably copper and gold. The largest employers in Safford are in the mining industry and education. Safford is home to the largest copper and gold mining facility in the country. This might explain why Safford has one of the highest median household incomes on our list: $50,255/year.

Apache Junction, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 40,592
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.3x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.1x (45th cheapest)
More On Apache Junction: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Apache Junction takes the sixth spot on our list of the cheapest places to live in Arizona. It’s a welcome site for the town of 40,592 to make it up this high this year. It has both affordable homes and rents for places like it in Arizona. If you’re looking to move to a place where your dollar goes further, seriously consider Apache Junction.

Home to attractions like Lost Dutchman State Park and a ghost town or two, there’s plenty to do that won’t break your wallet, nevermind the bank.

Douglas, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 16,307
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (11th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 58.0x (55th cheapest)
More On Douglas: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

For a city to be truly hip, it needs to be affordable. So it goes for our seventh most affordable city in Arizona for 2021: Douglas. Located on the Arizona/Mexico border, this city scored a 6/10 for affordability and an 8.5/10 for diversity. We think that makes Douglas pretty hip.

When Douglas residents aren’t busy preparing for their annual cool, super hip, Cochise County Fair, they can be found earning the dream with jobs in public administration and education. Kudos to Douglas for keeping their townies employed, their economy strong, and their city super hip!

Globe, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 7,348
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.5x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.7x (29th cheapest)
More On Globe: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

You don’t have to couch surf to be able to live in our eighth most affordable city in Arizona: Globe. This city in Gila County is not only one of the most affordable on our list, but they scored a 9/10 for diversity and a 10/10 for commute times on our snackability scale.

The Tonto National Forest-burb knows how to make the dolla’ holla’ with jobs in mining, tourism, and retail. So if you are looking for an affordable Arizona city with small town charm and big city hospitality, hurry on over to Globe.

Eloy, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 18,666
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.5x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.5x (52nd cheapest)
More On Eloy: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Where the 10 meets the 8 in Southern Arizona, is our ninth most affordable city in The Copper State: Eloy.

This little ray of Arizona sunshine is fifth when it comes to home price to income ratio. They are, however, only 34th when it comes to income to rent ratio. We’re not surprised it’s so affordable, but we’re pretty sure they want you to buy a home and stay awhile.

And if you’re the daredevil type, skydiving operations in Eloy employ the second largest number of residents. So, if not your hustle, maybe your side hustle? Either way, good luck!

Thatcher, AZ

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,047
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (12th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 67.5x (37th cheapest)
More On Thatcher: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Located in the southeast part of the state, close to Mt. Graham, Thatcher, Arizona, was originally founded by Mormon settlers in the 1880s. Given that it was the late 19th century, things were probably pretty cheap back then. Costs are obviously higher these days, but the community can still boast one of the most affordable living standards in the state.

The residents of Thatcher enjoy a median income of $61,106. This buys a lot within the city limits. Home prices sit at a median level of $173,700. Even if you aren’t looking to buy property, you can find affordable rents. The median level for that stands at $905 per month. All told, the overall cost of living sits at 95% the U.S. norm.

Thatcher has other attributes that contribute to a high quality of life in the area. Schools are descent and crime is under control. In fact, the community boasts a crime rate about 10% below the national average.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Grand Canyon State For 2021

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Arizona
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2015-2019 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Arizona to figure out which is the least expensive.

What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 57 places in Arizona that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Arizona according to the data is Holbrook. You can download the data here.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Arizona Cheapskate

If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Arizona, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Arizona for 2021.

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Arizona according to the data:

  1. Sedona
  2. Flagstaff
  3. Litchfield Park

For more Arizona reading, check out:

The Most Affordable Places To Live In Arizona

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Holbrook 5.0 5,037 2.1x 64.6x
2 Coolidge 10.67 12,685 2.3x 58.5x
3 Guadalupe 10.83 6,482 2.6x 59.6x
4 Winslow 11.0 9,476 2.4x 57.5x
5 Safford 12.67 9,749 3.0x 70.5x
6 Apache Junction 13.0 40,592 2.3x 56.1x
7 Douglas 13.67 16,307 2.8x 58.0x
8 Globe 14.33 7,348 2.5x 57.7x
9 Eloy 14.5 18,666 2.5x 55.5x
10 Thatcher 14.67 5,047 2.8x 67.5x
11 Sierra Vista 17.33 43,398 2.9x 63.5x
12 Florence 18.33 26,420 3.1x 60.1x
13 Snowflake 20.0 5,811 3.5x 65.8x
14 Marana 20.0 45,279 2.9x 70.8x
15 San Luis 20.67 32,985 3.2x 55.5x
16 Sahuarita 21.33 29,905 2.7x 57.8x
17 Casa Grande 21.33 55,653 2.8x 55.2x
18 Kingman 22.33 29,726 3.1x 56.0x
19 Yuma 23.0 96,349 3.0x 53.9x
20 Maricopa 26.0 48,629 2.7x 53.8x
21 Bullhead City 26.33 40,252 3.4x 52.9x
22 Queen Creek 26.67 43,129 3.3x 66.5x
23 Somerton 27.0 16,146 3.3x 51.1x
24 South Tucson 27.33 5,667 3.4x 39.6x
25 El Mirage 28.0 35,333 2.8x 47.4x
26 Wickenburg 28.67 7,495 4.7x 78.0x
27 Gilbert 28.67 243,254 3.4x 63.8x
28 Oro Valley 29.33 44,630 3.7x 67.4x
29 Goodyear 29.67 80,371 3.5x 61.0x
30 Chandler 30.67 252,692 3.6x 63.2x
31 Peoria 31.0 168,196 3.5x 60.0x
32 Tucson 32.0 541,482 3.6x 51.3x
33 Nogales 33.67 20,201 4.1x 49.7x
34 Bisbee 34.0 5,203 3.8x 48.9x
35 Avondale 35.0 84,736 3.5x 52.2x
36 Show Low 35.33 11,130 3.7x 49.8x
37 Tolleson 35.33 7,246 3.8x 51.6x
38 Mesa 35.33 499,720 3.9x 55.7x
39 Fountain Hills 35.67 24,729 4.7x 67.7x
40 Glendale 36.0 247,813 3.9x 55.2x
41 Chino Valley 37.0 11,670 4.6x 56.7x
42 Camp Verde 37.0 11,196 4.9x 55.9x
43 Lake Havasu City 37.0 54,495 4.6x 58.3x
44 Surprise 37.33 135,450 3.5x 51.2x
45 Paradise Valley 38.0 14,362 7.2x 83.0x
46 Youn 38.0 6,802 3.8x 42.6x
47 Scottsdale 38.67 250,602 5.4x 64.6x
48 Phoenix 39.0 1,633,017 4.1x 54.6x
49 Prescott 40.33 42,785 6.2x 62.4x
50 Prescott Valley 40.33 44,311 4.4x 52.3x
51 Cave Creek 41.0 5,670 5.8x 62.8x
52 Payson 41.33 15,545 4.6x 53.1x
53 Cottonwood 42.33 11,959 4.5x 45.6x
54 Tempe 46.67 187,454 4.7x 49.8x
55 Litchfield Park 47.0 6,073 3.8x 45.5x
56 Flagstaff 53.33 72,402 6.0x 46.4x
57 Sedona 55.33 10,322 8.3x 47.3x

How Is The Area In ?

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the cheapest places to live in Arizona.

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.