If you’re looking for the best places to retire in the U.S. on a budget, we’ve researched the best places so you can select the perfect frugal-friendly U.S. retirement location for you! We compiled a list of 22 of the best places to retire on a budget—complete with data on the cost of living and a glimpse into each city’s culture, so you can find a city on this list that will be perfect for your future retirement goals.
When you’re considering where to retire on a budget, it’s important to think through how it will impact the rest of your life. You’ll want to think about things like:
To help you find the best place to retire in the U.S. on a budget, we’ve picked 22 different cities all over the U.S. to help you get an idea of what’s possible—especially when you’re searching for a frugal-friendly place to call home.
We’ve also compiled data on the cost of living, the weather, the population that’s over the age of 65, and tax rates you might encounter if you lived here. As you consider each of the following options, refer back to your own list of “must-haves” and see what city matches your expectations and which ones fall short.
So, where is the best place to retire on a budget in the U.S.? Below is number 1, followed by another 21 places.
San Antonio offers many ways to make the most of your retirement income.
Not only is the city’s overall cost of living lower than the national average, but Texas residents don’t have to pay income tax and the state doesn’t tax retirees’ Social Security income—which makes it a very budget-friendly option for many seniors looking for the best place to retire on a budget in the U.S. It’s number one on our list of the best places to retire in the U.S. on a budget for this reason alone—but wait, there’s more! San Antonio is full of healthcare options, opportunities to enjoy arts and culture, parks, and a plethora of recreation options for active seniors. This area in particular is also known for its 15-mile long River Walk and its hot, sunny weather year-round.
What are you waiting for? Now is the time to move to San Antonio!
One of the big perks of Albuquerque for seniors looking for where to retire in the U.S. on a budget is that the cost of living is significantly cheaper than the national average. Located near central New Mexico, Albuquerque is a high-desert climate—and an absolutely prime location for those who dislike rain or snow.
Plus, Albuquerque has a well-developed cultural scene if you enjoy arts, music, and more. You can enjoy museums, a vibrant performing arts community, the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and the New Mexico Philharmonic—just to name a few. The heart of their cultural events is the International Balloon Fiesta, a yearly hot air balloon festival that takes place in October.
Albuquerque is located next to the Sandia Mountains, making the outdoor locations and activities almost limitless. You’ll never run out of trails for hiking, running, walking, or biking. This could be a really great place for someone looking for where to retire on a limited budget in the USA that has hot summers and moderate winters—but without the dampness native to tropical climates.
If you’re looking to stretch your retirement income, a move to Indiana may be right for you!
We’d say it’s one of the best places to retire in the USA on a budget because it’s a slow-paced Midwestern town with a small-town feel, minimal traffic, and friendly culture. Fort Wayne is a mostly suburban area with parks, coffee shops, restaurants, and seasonal outdoor activities. It’s a wonderful place to build a quiet life in your later years.
One big bonus of Fort Wayne is that compared to other cities, you’ll get way more house for your purchase—and you’ll also be situated in a friendly Midwestern city that’s home to one of the best botanical gardens around: the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, an indoor tropical, desert, and showcase gardens.
Harrisonburg, Virginia has a reputation for being known as “The Friendly City.” So if you’re looking for a friendly, kind-hearted place to retire on a budget in the USA, take a closer look at Harrisonburg. Located just 30 minutes east of the Blue Ridge Mountains—and 30 minutes west of the Allegheny Mountains to the west—you will have a large assortment of hiking trails and outdoor recreation opportunities to fill your spare time.
Downtown Harrisonburg is a vibrant scene filled with farmer’s markets, events, museums, and much more. There are also plenty of historic sites nearby commemorating the Civil War—so if you’re a history buff, Harrisonburg, VA should be at the top of your list of where to retire on a tight budget in the U.S.
Plus, this location is less than 150 miles from Washington, D.C., making it easy to hop a train and go visit our nation’s capital. With a highly walkable community, and a handful of biking trails you won’t have a problem getting around or staying busy with friends.
Savannah is home to fairly mild winters and is relatively close to popular coastal cities and beaches, including the wonderful Hilton Head Island!
With housing prices well within the realm of being affordable, Savannah is one of the best places to retire on a limited budget! In addition to being a tax-friendly state and having a low cost of living, this area is filled with historic homes, world-class golf courses, endless shopping options, and a handful of culturally rich museums.
And, with two nationally-recognized health care centers, you can sleep well at night knowing you are taken care of no matter what. With the generous tax rules, you can enjoy Savannah if you’re living on Social Security or another form of retirement income.
With fewer than 150,000 residents, Metairie is the perfect mix of a big city and classic suburban living. This Louisiana town is 15-minutes away from New Orleans, so your nightlife options are almost limitless—and you have easy access to lots of affordable health care professionals.
If you’re looking for a smaller city without having to sacrifice the perks of a more sizable city, Metairie could be a great fit! This area is filled with parks, classic restaurants, walking trails, and more. And, with a large population of retirees, you’ll have plenty of group workout classes, book clubs, hiking groups, and golfing buddies to help you pass the time and enjoy your hard-earned retirement.
Located right next to the Tennessee River, Decatur offers a multitude of inexpensive outdoor recreational activities—including the state’s best bass fishing on Wheeler Lake. With a lower cost of living than most places, stunning natural scenery, excellent healthcare, big-city amenities, and friendly people, Decatur is certainly one of the best places to retire in the USA on a budget.
With great summers and mild winters, you’ll find people on the water enjoying the fun in early spring and late into the fall. If there’s nothing you love more than spending time on the water, then this could be the spot for you.
Kentucky, historically known as the Bluegrass State, has a lot to offer for both bourbon and horse lovers. Home to some of the world’s very best bourbon, if you love sipping on a delicious whiskey, Kentucky has a number of incredible distilleries that have perfected the craft. Combine that with a love of Thoroughbred racing and you can spend your afternoons at the local racetracks: Churchill Downs and Keeneland are both historic tracks that offer plenty of fun.
If you’re more excited about outdoor activities, Lexington is home to over 100 parks, a handful of public golf courses, and a massive nature preserve with over 10 miles of hiking trails. For a more artistic experience, check out local galleries, theaters, and even the Lexington Opera House. If you’re looking for somewhere to retire on a tight budget, Lexington is a great option.
Tulsa is a vibrant, growing city with many amenities associated with big city life—but paired with the cost of living that accompanies life in a small town. Oklahoma brings four seasons, which might be a little bit more extreme than you’d like for life in retirement: Hot summers transition to cold winters.
With 23 public golf courses, 50 miles of biking and running trails, 135 tennis courts, and access to well-maintained hiking trails on Turkey Mountain, Tulsa is just the place for active individuals looking to get out and enjoy their surroundings. For those who prefer to stay indoors, Tulsa has lots of dining options, galleries, museums, and theaters.
The city of Knoxville has warm summers, mild winters, and a low cost of living—making it one of the best places to retire in the USA on a budget. This “semi-southern” state is located just an hour away from the Great Smoky Mountains, so you can stay active and in touch with nature with plenty of outdoor hiking, biking, and walking trails.
Knoxville also has an innovative and well-known medical system, including the University of Tennessee’s Medical Center. Rest assured that you’ll be able to find any healthcare support you need here. And if you’re looking to continue your education and stay a lifelong learner, try the University of Tennessee’s free classes for seniors—keep your brain sharp while you expand your horizons.
With hot summers and mild winters, Hot Springs is a retirement hotspot—plus, for a place that’s known as “The American Spa,” your retirement will be relaxing and meditative. Hot Springs National Park is home to 47 different natural hot springs, which naturally maintain an average temperature of around 143 degrees. The healing mineral waters are an incredible natural treasure.
Hot Springs is a city built for relaxation. With a number of professionally ranked golf courses and local spaces for fishing and boating, you can enjoy other leisure sports in the area. It’s also home to a number of hiking and biking trails through the mountains so you can enjoy the local flora and fauna.
Why is Durham one of the best places to retire in the U.S. on a budget? A low cost of living in a thriving market. The Raleigh Durham area is home to record-low unemployment rates and an average cost of living that’s well below the national average.
Durham is also home to many prestigious medical centers, making it a global hub for the most advanced healthcare you can find. But beyond your health and well-being, Durham is home to delicious restaurants and a growing nightlife scene.
If you’re looking for opportunities to get outside, there are 22 miles of trails in Durham perfect for biking, hiking, and running, with lots more just 10 minutes away. If you want to soak in the beauty of the world around you, you should frequent the Duke Gardens to explore their 55 acres of flowers and botanical gardens.
Mesa attracts a large population of snowbirds, due to its wonderful weather and plenty of outdoor activities. In Mesa, you can go golfing, hiking, horseback riding, running, and so much more. Just a short drive to Phoenix, you can enjoy the smaller town feel with easy access to bigger city amenities.
Mesa is also a lovely place to consider because of the Banner Desert Medical Center, one of the most comprehensive healthcare facilities in Arizona.
If you’re looking to move someplace warm, Mesa should make your list. With average housing costs and a lower cost of living than some places, you can soak in the sunshine year-round either in your own place—or in one of the many resort-style 55+ communities that make it easy to enjoy the perks of retirement.
Spokane is located 300 miles east of Seattle right between the Cascade and the Rocky Mountains. It’s a great choice for those looking to retire into a nature retreat. With its extensive hiking, biking, and walking trails through both mountains, you’ll never run out of outdoor activities. Plus, Spokane is home to 76 lakes and rivers to enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, and more!
When you’re not enjoying the great outdoors, Spokane has numerous wineries, breweries, and distilleries perfect for you to visit after a hike. Although Spokane is cheaper than most cities in Washington, it’s right on par with the cost of living in most places across the country—making it one of the more expensive places to call home during your retirement years (but still a budget option that’s worth checking out).
South Dakota was recently ranked one of the best states for retirees—so it’s not surprising that Sioux Falls is a great spot to settle down.
One of the best places to retire on a budget in the U.S., Sioux Falls has a booming economy, great hospitals, and a low unemployment rate. With lots of organized community events in the summer, you can enjoy company on morning walks and play a few games of pinochle while you’re at it. With the housing costs in Sioux Falls being so cheap, you can enjoy a relaxing retirement, allowing you the time you need to lean into your hobbies and finally get through your book list (you could even start a book club with your spare time!).
Plus, with the numerous tax benefits that come with living in South Dakota, Sioux Falls should certainly be at the top of your list of places to consider living on a budget in retirement.
If you love nature and plenty of open space, Wyoming is the perfect place for you to retire on a budget in the U.S. With a population density of about 6 people per square mile, Wyoming offers plenty of space for you to reconnect with nature, spend quiet time at home, and explore downtown Cheyenne.
With activities to keep you busy for years, Cheyenne is home to a number of fun attractions, including the world’s largest steam engine and the world’s largest outdoor rodeo every summer. A ten-day event, the rodeo is a memorable and exciting event you won’t want to miss—enjoy your favorite rodeo sports, Western celebrations, and Frontier Days.
With all the open space in Wyoming, there is plenty of room to hike, bike, go horseback riding, fishing, boating, birding, and so much more! No doubt—Wyoming is one of the best places to retire in the U.S. on a budget.
Mississippi is the place to retire on a budget if you’re a history buff on the Civil War, a blues zealot, or a ballet enthusiast.
With its low cost of living and friendly tax policies, Jackson is one of the best places to retire in the U.S. on a budget. One of the most exciting activities in the area is the USA International Ballet Competition, which occurs once every four years, and dancers from around the world flock to Jackson for the chance to win medals, scholarships, and exclusive spots in ballet companies.
If you’re not into the dance scene, have no fear! With a handful of museums, art exhibits, a zoo, and the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, you will have no problem staying busy. What makes Jackson a great place to retire is the affordability of the great healthcare—with an abundance of nurses, orthopedic surgeons, caregiving options, nurse practitioners, and even a large assortment of geriatric facilities, you’ll be well taken care of in the Magnolia State.
Greenville is a quiet town a short distance away from Cincinnati, located on the Western Border of Pennsylvania in Mercer County. With a low cost of housing, Greenville is a diamond in the rough—and certainly one of the best places to retire in the U.S. if you’re on a budget.
With a population of just under 6,000, the community is tight-knit and well-connected. Greenville is home to a quaint assortment of art galleries, museums, local restaurants, breweries, and so much more to explore. This town was built on manufacturing and healthcare, making it one of the best places to retire in the U.S.A on a budget.
With the great summers and mild winters, Myrtle Beach is a popular retirement destination—and a popular vacation destination for individuals of all ages. You can enjoy endless rounds of golf, read all the books you can dream of on the beach, and fully embrace whatever level of water sports you enjoy.
With 60 miles of beaches, you can boat, float, fish, surf, kayak, scuba dive, or simply sit back and watch the dolphins frolic in the waves. With a large population of retirees who call Myrtle Beach home, you’ll have access to a number of community events, walking groups, book clubs, golf clubs, and more. Myrtle Beach is one of the cheaper beach towns to live in South Carolina, making it one of the best places in the U.S. to retire on a budget.
New Castle, Delaware is home to all four seasons, making it a breathtakingly gorgeous location all year round. You’ll enjoy stunning blooms in spring, lots of sunshine and flowers in the summer, crisp autumn air with changing fall colors, and you’ll get to see it all tucked in for the winter in a blanket of snow.
Not only is the area picturesque for 365 days out of the year, but it’s also rich in history and culture. Enjoy cobblestone streets and historic sites of this riverfront community—and with close proximity to downtown Wilmington, you can enjoy a bigger city just a few minutes away. New Castle also has a large population of retirees making it an option to consider when you’re looking for that perfect place to retire in the U.S. on a budget.
If you’re looking for a variety of fun activities accessible from your neighborhood, consider Franklin, Tennessee. This township has a deeply-rooted historical background with a number of fun events and places to explore. Downtown Franklin is lush with local arts, musical venues, and fun restaurants to indulge all of your interests.
One of the things we love most about Franklin is its proximity to the rest of the state’s treasures. Nashville is just 30 minutes away—so you can head to our nation’s musical center and enjoy incredible music and culture. Or, opt for a weekend trip to Gatlinburg, the Blue Ridge Mountains, or even the Great Smoky Mountains. Take advantage of this perfect location and enjoy all that Tennessee has to offer: a thriving music scene, plenty of outdoor activities, and of course, Nashville-style hot chicken.
Located directly across the Mississippi River just west of Memphis, Tennessee, West Memphis combines small-town charm with easy access to big-city amenities. One of the area’s most popular attractions is the Big River Crossing, a mile-long public pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi River—which also serves as the country’s longest active rail, bicycle, and pedestrian bridge.
If you prefer staying active, consider visiting Big River Trail—a 7-mile loop through the flood plains near the Mississippi. The trail features stunning vistas overlooking the river, natural woodlands, and so much more. Plus, it’s a paved trail—so it’s easy to navigate with no worries about uncertain terrain.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Everdays encourages individuals to seek advice from their own investment or tax advisor or legal counsel.