7 Affordable Cities for Remote Workers

By MakeMyMove Staff • Apr 13, 2022
Downtown Topeka, Kansas

By living in one of the most affordable cities in the country, your money can go further as a remote worker. You have endless income potential that is not dependent on where you live, while you can keep your cost of living low by choosing your hometown/city wisely.

We put together this shortlist of seven affordable cities, particularly with remote workers in mind. What makes a good spot for these workers in particular? Overall, we sought out the right balance of a low cost of living with a high quality of life, which comes down to factors like good schools, transportation, family-friendly activities, natural areas, and other amenities.

Topeka, KS

Topeka puts you within a range of numerous universities as well as festivals, arts, culture, kid-friendly activities, lots of walking trails, and a mixture of historic and modern homes. The city offers a slower way of life and prides itself on being a very pet-friendly city. Plus, you find a lot of opportunities to immerse yourself in history in this capital city. This is one of the best cost of living cities on our list, as the overall cost to live here is 10 percent less than the national city average and the median home value for a 3/2 in the city is $130,740.

Bloomington, IN

Just outside Indianapolis, you'll find the city of Bloomington, which is included in the list of best affordable cities in the U.S. for remote workers. It’s given its highest score for education. While its lowest score is for demographics, this city is described as very educated, diverse, and socially conscious. Resident Andi Weidenbenner returned to the Midwest from a stint in California, and says, “I chose Bloomington for its progressive, forward-thinking, and inclusive community. I also love its proximity to outdoor recreation and its many great restaurants!” That sounds like a great quality of life to us! The median home value you can expect here is higher than some other spots on our list but still affordable at $257,344.

Stillwater, OK

Stillwater is a college town with a great music scene focused on its unique Red Dirt country music. People who live here comment on its mixture of city excitement with a small-town feel. Local business owner Mohammad Mahmoud says, “I love it. It’s a small town, but you have everything in it while keeping a small community feeling. That’s the best part of Stillwater." The median home value is $184,371, making it one of the most affordable places to live and own a home.

Local business owner Mohammad Mahmoud loves the small-town feel of Stillwater along with its big city amenities.

Tulsa, OK

Tulsa is a bustling city with a wide variety of things to do. While this is a major city, it offers a great quality of life with outdoor spaces like parks and nature preserves, family-friendly activities like the zoo, and various arts and culture opportunities like visiting gardens or the local performing arts center. Resident Joel Meine moved here and says, “You get all the perks of a big city with upscale restaurants and events, but without all the crowds of a usual big city.” He also noted the financial benefits of living here compared to his previous home state of Texas. “The overall tax impact is a lot less as well as the general cost of living.” He says he takes advantage of an Oklahoma state tax credit for qualified software employees. This city offers affordable housing, with a median home value of $137,740.

Rochester, NY

Rochester is one of the most affordable places to live on the East Coast with remote work in mind. It’s found near the Great Lakes and gives you a wonderful mixture of city life and small-town experiences. The Greater Rochester area is known for its top-notch food, wine, and beer. Plus, it offers an array of things to do, including minor league sports, endless festivals, art galleries, orchestras, and more. One person who came here said, “Rochester has given me the ability to find the space to be myself.” In the Rochester area, the median home value is $200,453.

Ruston, LA

For one of the best places cost of living-wise in Louisiana, consider Ruston. This spot offers a college-town environment with two nearby universities, as well as lots to do in the area, including arts, outdoor activities, a main street with shopping and a great restaurant scene, and events. In this small city, you can wander and enjoy the area’s many historic buildings, while knowing that the city puts a focus on preservation-based economic development. This is an ideal spot for nature lovers who enjoy mountain biking, fishing, kayaking, and parks. The median home value here is $182,377.

West Lafayette, IN

Near Indianapolis but just far enough away from the big city, you’ll find West Lafayette. This is a college town that offers a great scene with coffee shops, restaurants, arts, shopping, outdoor activities, and more. It's also not far from the sights and opportunities of Chicago. People who move here comment on “everything within walking distance,” “tons of wildlife,” “an intellectually stimulating environment” and that “the community here is diverse.” Also, the cost of living is good. Purdue grad Monique McClain says, “The housing market was pretty good here. I can actually afford a house and I don’t even need a faculty salary to do that.” The median home value is $251,602.

Purdue grad Monique McClain loves the affordability of homes in the West Lafayette area.

Choose Your Favorite From the Best Affordable Places to Live

If you’re considering a move abroad for the best affordable places to live, you can consider this list of best European cities for remote workers. Otherwise, the U.S. includes the numerous cities on this list and others that offer affordable living, while also giving you amenities and activities that make them great places to live. In addition to the places on this list being some of the lowest cost of living cities, you can also get incentives to move there, putting more money back in your pocket.

Note: We did not include the most affordable places to live on the West Coast. Many West Coast areas have become oversaturated with a high cost of living, whereas Midwest areas are now some of the best options for that perfect balance of low cost of living with a high quality of life that remote workers can take advantage of. The Midwest offers up-and-coming places that are now putting a lot of focus on the quality of life, while they also remain affordable. That’s why our list focuses mostly on this region, with an East Coast option in the mix.

Did you like the sound of any of the cities on this list? Consider how your life could possibly change by moving from a saturated market with high costs of real estate and goods to one of these lowest cost of living cities.

Ready to Find Legitimate Remote Job Offers?

We recently put together a list of over 100 companies offering remote work positions, and we hope it helps you on your job search!

Once you have your new remote work position, you’re ready to live and work anywhere! Some places are paying remote workers to live there. So if you’re ready to make a move, these communities are ready for you.

About MakeMyMove

Remote work has freed millions of Americans to live where they want, and many are making the move to places that better match their lifestyle. In turn, cities and towns across the country are offering incentives like cash, perks and programming to remote workers who move and work from their communities. At MakeMyMove, you can explore all the places, get personalized help to find the one that’s right for you, connect with locals, and access support to make your move a piece of cake.