Living in a smaller town can often mean a much smaller bill to pay each month. Using research from Gallup to estimate average food expenses for one person ($151 per week), we hunted down markets with an average rental price of $896 or less for a studio or one-bedroom apartment. Check out these five affordable rentals in places that might make you rethink that big-city price tag.
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- Dayton, OH$640/month, Georgetown of Kettering in Dayton, OHThe good life comes at an affordable price in Dayton. But it’s not just the city’s thriving economy and low cost of living that make it such a deal. Dayton also offers so much to do at budget-friendly prices or even for free. Exploring the extensive parks system — all connected by greenways — is a great way to discover the city. You can also load up on culture. A ticket to the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra starts at just $8. That’s a serious bargain considering tickets for the New York Philharmonic start at $44! Apartments here are affordable too. The city’s median rent is a manageable $825, but at Georgetown of Kettering, a 750-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment rents for just $640 per month. The luxury units include balconies and fireplaces, plus an on-site pool and fitness center.
- Birmingham, AL$705/month, Chace Lake Villas in Birmingham, ALData from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey reveal that Birmingham’s median income is on the rise. A recent Trulia report found that housing costs aren’t keeping pace, which means housing is even more affordable here. (The median rental price is only $875 per month.) A one-bedroom, 591-square-foot apartment at Chace Lake Villas sets you back just $720. The community promotes affordable recreation with on-site basketball and tennis courts. And while you may be tempted to splurge at the Riverchase Galleria, the state’s largest shopping mall, affordable shopping and dining options abound.
- Winston-Salem, NC$848/month, Summerlin Ridge in Winston-Salem, NCSitting directly in the center of North Carolina, this community was established by Moravians in the 1700s. The city’s historic streak is strong, but it’s also known for its natural beauty, with 80 parks in the area. You’ll have easy access to one of them, 365-acre Salem Lake, from a one-bedroom, 904-square-foot apartment at Summerlin Ridge. Make the most of the city’s low cost of living by less than the median rent on your large apartment and enjoy charming details like a sunroom, eat-in kitchen, and plantation shutters. When you’re ready to explore, hit up one of Winston-Salem’s many annual festivals, like the Greek Festival, which happens every May. Admission is just $1 (children under 12 are free) to savor traditional music, folk dancing, and lots of stellar Greek food.
- Shreveport, LA$849/month, The Summit of Shreveport in Shreveport, LASouthern culture won’t cost you much in Shreveport. The city is the commercial and cultural center of the Ark-La-Tex region, where Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas meet. Many of the museums and attractions in the tourist-friendly city offer free admission to residents and visitors. Another perk to living here? Access to the beautiful Red River. This one-bedroom, 896-square-foot apartment in the city’s Wildwood South neighborhood is a short drive away from on-the-river recreation. When you’re home, enjoy luxe touches like stainless steel appliances, ceramic tile flooring, and a garden tub in your unit. Best of all, you won’t have to pay extra for some important perks: The community includes a business room, swimming pool with a Jacuzzi, fitness center, and even a tanning salon.
- St. Louis, MO$890/month, The District in St. Louis, MOLife in this affordable, iconic city is even better when you’re tucked in one of its most popular inner-ring neighborhoods. A streetcar suburb from the late 19th century, University City includes the Delmar Loop, an area bursting with entertainment, eateries, and cultural attractions. An apartment at The District puts you right in the middle of it all, including an oversized swimming pool, newly remodeled interiors, plank flooring, and granite countertops, plus easy access to the Inner Belt Expressway. And it’s affordable luxury, since the city’s median rent costs the same as this two-bedroom, 800-square-foot apartment: $890 per month.