10 Best Cities for Cheapskates

Next time someone calls you a "cheapskate," take it as a compliment.

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Next time someone calls you a "cheapskate," take it as a compliment. After all, frugality is the new black in these post–Great Recession times. Even the super-rich pinch pennies to help them stay that way. And bargain-hunting is practically a televised sport (see Extreme Couponing on TLC or news coverage of Walmart on Black Friday for proof).

So, if now is prime time to be a cheapskate, where is the best place to be one? We scoured the country for cities where living costs are well below average and incomes are higher than average. The unique combination of prosperity and affordability should appeal to cheapskates and spendthrifts alike.

Plus, to guarantee an abundance of low-cost activities, we looked for places with plenty of public libraries and museums — primo purveyors of interesting free (or nearly free) things to do, from concerts and films to lectures and performances. And for thrifty shopping options, we counted up all the Dollar General stores, a cheapskate favorite, in a ten-mile radius of each city.

The slideshow of our ten picks begins by clicking the navigation bar above.


Population and income data courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau. Cost-of-living data provided by the Council for Community and Economic Research, which tracks living expenses nationwide. The Institute of Museum and Library Services tallies public libraries and museums across the U.S.

Stacy Rapacon
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Rapacon joined Kiplinger in October 2007 as a reporter with Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and became an online editor for Kiplinger.com in June 2010. She previously served as editor of the "Starting Out" column, focusing on personal finance advice for people in their twenties and thirties.

Before joining Kiplinger, Rapacon worked as a senior research associate at b2b publishing house Judy Diamond Associates. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the George Washington University.