Here's the thing. It may sound glamorous to live in a big city even if your paycheck doesn't match your lifestyle. But if you're brunching beyond your means, you probably aren't saving — and that's a problem.
The good news is that a number of towns across the country offer good living for cheap, and can help build your financial security — namely, the ability to actually save money instead of wondering where it went at the end of each month (what a world!).
In Spokane, Washington, a family can pad their savings — $83,400 over the course of a year, to be exact — most effectively. That's a pretty compelling argument for heading out West.
The numbers were crunched by HowMuch.net, based on a three-person household in which two parents work: one as a web developer and one as a post-secondary school teacher. The analysis also assumes the family rents a 1,750-square-foot home and eats on a moderate-cost food plan based on U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines.
Other areas across Nevada round out the top five places where families can fill their piggybanks most easily.
Cities Where Families Can Save the Most Money
1. Spokane, Washington: +$83,400
2. Henderson, Nevada: +$59,100
3. North Las Vegas: +$56,600
4. Las Vegas: +$55,900
5. Reno, Nevada: +$48,800
The analysis points out that areas with booming chemical, oil and gas industries fall near the top of the savings list (Indiana, North Carolina, Texas and the Central South). On the flip-side, major metros, especially along the coasts, were more likely to mean negative savings thanks to salaries that don't match up to high costs of living.
Cities Where Families Can Lose the Most Money
1. San Francisco: -$62,300
2. New York: -$54,100
3. Boston: -$34,000
4. Washington: -$22,200
5. Philadelphia: -$9,100
Based on the site's analysis, this fictional family can live in most major cities across the U.S. and still be able to pocket an average of $10K to $40K a year to fund their savings goals. But if you think settling down far from a coast will help you come out ahead, know that one Midwestern city came away with a savings deficit: Minneapolis, where families were projected to lose $3,300 in savings.
That said, no matter where you live, taking the time to negotiate your housing costs or trimming major budget items you don't use can make a huge dent in your savings goals. It may also be worthwhile to spend the time angling for a raise or starting a side gig to up your incoming cash flow. And once you get to a good place, the opportunities to save for future goals abound.