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Ever thought about going to a rodeo? Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico? Working on an oil rig? If so, Texas might just be the state for you.
Texas, best known as the Lone Star State, is home to the Alamo and many famous historical sites. It is also known for their gorgeous bluebonnet blooms, the Astrodome, and of course, BBQ.
Texas offers a bit of weather to suit everyone. that likes intense heat that is. If you want to live in the desert, Texas has a city for you. If you want to swim through the air because it's so humid, Texas sure has a city for that as well. Whatever you choose, your tans will be epic and you can have a summer lasting twice as long as anywhere else. You can't go to the South without indulging in some good BBQ with a cold beer. You also can't go to the South without noticing something quite different about the people. Namely southern hospitality. States in the southern U.S., especially Texas, are known for being friendly. Who wouldn't want to be surrounded by friendly people.
If you are looking for a warmer climate, both in weather and personality, look no farther.
What else is the South known for? Their affordability. That's right. In Texas, you can have amazing food, crisp beers, nice people, AND not break your bank. Everywhere from Austin to El Paso has a place you can afford.
What's the cheapest place to live in Texas? According to our analysis of cost of living, Progreso is the most affordable place to live in Texas. It must be a good sign when the cheapest city to live in Texas is named Progreso. Perhaps all the residents here aren't so broke they have to live off Progresocanned soup.
Although most of the cheapest cities are in Northern Texas, if you are looking for that beach town, there are a few that won't steal all your money. Interested in how we figured out the top ten cheapest cities in Texas?
Read on to learn about our methodology and just why each of our top ten cheapest cities are so affordable.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Texas and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Texas For 2021
Progreso ranks number 1 on our cheapest cities in Texas list for a reason: you can get an apartment in Progreso for as little as $350/month. Is that possible in many other cities? We didn't think so.
So why else is Progreso so awesome? The cost of living is low, the weather is amazing, and the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico are a quick drive south.
Located in western Texas near the New Mexico border, Muleshoe ranks as the second most affordable city in the state. Muleshoe really shines by having some of the lowest home prices in the state, with a median price tag of a measly $67,000. Combine that with a median income of $51,727, and you've got the fourth best home price to income ratio in Texas. So it's probably best to buy instead of rent in Muleshoe if you want to take full advantage of the city's uber-affordability.
In any case, most of the best things to do in Muleshoe won't cost you a dime.
Pecos is a desert town that won't dry up your bank account. In 2012, it was ranked in Forbes as one of the fastest growing small towns in the U.S., meaning home prices are low, but this town is about to get a massive boom. Because of its affordability, you could even buy a house in this city and know that jobs will keep coming because of the bustling economy.
The temperatures might get a little bit toasty in this town, but why not use that extra cash for a good ice cream or two?
Vernon, located in Northern Texas, is a city ready to make your money last. Vernon is a city for anyone interested in the ranch life, as Vernon houses the largest ranch in Texas. Interestingly, Vernon is home to Tyson's bacon processing plant.
So if you like baked potatoes with all of the fixins, this might be the town for you.
We're heading to Hidalgo County, near the Mexico border, to reach the fifth most affordable place in Texas, Elsa. The cost of living in Elsa is 25% lower than the Texas average, so you'll pay less for things like healthcare, services, and transportation.
But where Elsa stands out is housing costs, which are only 31% of the national average. Elsa has the fifth cheapest homes and fifth cheapest rent anywhere in Texas.
The median home price in Elsa is $53,300, while you can find a place to rent for just $558.
Just because Elsa is cheap, don't think that it skimps on quality. The city is currently investing a bunch of money into a brand new park that will transform an old railroad site.
Located in central Scurry County, Snyder ranks as the sixth most affordable place in Texas. Snyder has the seventh lowest home price to income ratio in the state, so you should have an easy time getting enough money together to buy a home. And if you graduate from Snyder's Western Texas College, you'll have one of the best job placement rates in the state. The two main industries in Snyder are oil and wind energy, so depending on your background, one of these fields may keep you minted for a long time.
It's not easy being green...unless you can save loads of money like you can in Kermit. Earning enough money to buy a home is easy as pie in Kermit, where the home price to income ratio is the second lowest in Texas. Part of that is low ratio is due to the fact that homes in Kermit are among the cheapest statewide, so it's a great place to move if you're arriving with your savings ready.
How cheap are these homes exactly? Well the median home price is $59,600, while the town's median income is $54,267.
Have you ever heard of Gerald M. "Jerry" Tubbs? Yeah, the famous Dallas Cowboys football player? He's hometown ranked eighth in affordability in Texas.
Breckenridge is a city that will make sure your bank account not only stays in the positive, but also builds. Breckenridge used to be a major oil town-- so it knows how to get money.
Situated about 40 minutes north of Lubbock, Plainview ranks as the ninth most affordable place to call home in Texas. In addition to safe streets and a low cost of living, Plainview also has some great local sites.
The singer, actor, and entrepreneur Jimmy Dean was raised in Plainview, and you can see a bunch of his old memorabilia and more at the Jimmy Dean Museum. There's also the Museum of Llano Estacado, a must-see for fans of local history.
Rent in Plainview is nearly 40% cheaper than the statewide average, with a median price of $645. If you decide to move here long term, the median home price in Plainview is $84,400. The median income in Plainview is $48,430, which is high relative to the cost of housing. Plainview residents also enjoy an especially short average commute time, so you'll save even more on gas.
Diboll is a quaint town in Eastern Texas. If you are interested in hot, humid weather and lumber, then this is the town for you. Diboll is cheap because the cost of living in this town is low. Can you imagine paying only $500/month? And these aren't just glamourized shoeboxes, either. That would be a miracle for anyone living in New York City.
How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Lone Star State For 2021
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- 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 Texas 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 353 places in Texas that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in Texas according to the data is Progreso. You can download the data here.
There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Texas Cheapskate
If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in Texas, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Texas for 2021.
Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Texas according to the data:
- Fair Oaks Ranch
- College Station
- Prairie View
For more Texas reading, check out:
The Most Affordable Places To Live In Texas
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