Breaking Down Business Insider’s 10 Cities Where You Can Survive On A $40K Salary

Breaking Down Business Insider's 10 Cities Where You Can Survive On A $40K Salary

What is this? Yet another list telling everyone to move to Nashville, Austin, and San Francisco? Not today, my friends. While that may be fine for the tech entrepreneurs and real estate developers in the crowd, if you’re still making copies and going on coffee runs, it’s time to be realistic. Thankfully, I’m here to help and let you know which cities you can actually afford to live in and not overdraft at happy hour.

Business Insider just released the top 10 cities where your measly $40K will stretch the farthest. Honestly, they’re all incredibly disappointing, but I really don’t know what you expected. Additionally, survey results were delivered by the AARP magazine. Will these cities be full of retirees? Maybe. But honestly, if your entry-level salary is the same as the retirement being drawn by a 70-year-old, maybe lights out at 10 p.m. wouldn’t be so bad. Without any further ado, here are the top ten cities where you can actually afford to live but almost certainly don’t want to.

10. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
You know what’s sexy? A hot date to stare at some dead Presidents’ faces carved into a rock. But hey, at least it’s free, right? Go ahead and cancel that $9.99 monthly Netflix fee, because entertainment is clearly abundant here.

9. Rochester, New York
What, you thought you were getting San Francisco on slightly over a receptionist’s salary? Wrong. I mean, sure, it’s one of the poorest cities in the nation, but at least you won’t be paying those upper east side rents, amiright?

8. Cañon City, Colorado
Do I know where this is? Absolutely not. Do I think my Bachelor’s degree makes me more than 97 percent of the residents here? Yeah, probably. Sign me up for a transfer already.

7. Cheyenne City, Wyoming
You know what’s in Wyoming? A whole lot of buffalo. You know what else is in Wyoming? A lot of people poorer than you. If you live here, congratulations. It may not feel like it, but you have somehow won.

6. Bristol, Virginia AND Tennessee
You know what’s better than paying one state income tax? Paying two state income taxes because your city couldn’t decide which state it wanted its boundaries to be in. Anyway, since you’ll be getting most of your lunches from walk-up barbecue joints that let you pay in Monopoly money and hog’s feet, your finances will be just fine.

5. Abilene, Texas
I really don’t know anything about what’s in Abilene, but hey, at least I’m not telling you to move to Austin again. They don’t even have Uber. At least Abilene wins one.

4. Fort Walton Beach, Florida
No, you’re not going to be turning up in Miami, but you’ll have plenty of access to outlet malls and retiree golf courses. On the bright side, you might be one of the hottest players there.

3. Cleveland, Ohio
Hahaha. All of these towns for retirees made the top ten, and here’s Cleveland. Cleveland sucks. Don’t move there.

2. Eugene, Oregon
Town named after an 89-year-old? Count me in. Apparently, Eugene is coined as an “outdoor lover’s paradise,” which sounds a whole lot like my own personal hell. But hey, who needs to spend $35 to see a movie when you can walk on a fucking trail?

1. Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Do I know how to pronounce the name of this place? No. Do you care when you actually have a decent amount of money left over in your checking account at the end of the month? Nope. Apparently, Sheboygan is an hour outside of Lake Michigan, which offers tons of free lakeside events, if you don’t mind driving 60 minutes to reach any semblance of society. But hey, low rents and an annual Brat Festival? I mean, honestly, what more could a girl ask for?

[via Business Insider]

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Steph W.

Steph W. is a new Master's degree graduate with an intern's salary and six-figure taste. She realizes her expectations far exceed reality, so she spends her days pinning away Loubs she pretends are in her physical closet instead of her virtual one. Her hobbies include attempting to trapping her boyfriend into marriage before he finds out how insane she is and pretending that Black Box wine tastes as good as the kind she could afford when she was gainfully employed. Send her tips for getting out of student debt at

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