It's not rocket science. Some cities are more expensive to live in than others. The typical thinking is the bigger the city, the more expensive daily living costs will be.
Looking at the 100 most populated metro areas, GoBankingRates.com recently released a report featuring the best cities to save money in. It might seem cheap to live in a rural town of 1,000 people, but you won't find that on this list. The report calculated the affordability rates by looking at cities with low taxes, high yields on saving accounts, a strong job market, affordable homes and higher incomes.
Don't mind the traffic?
Atlanta residents might be able to suffer through some if its notoriously bad traffic a bit easier - the city consistently ranks among the country's worst road congested areas - knowing they're living in one of the most affordable cities.
Pushing Atlanta to the top of the list was it's median household income of $56,024 and and it's median home value of $101,300. Those two components, alongside a low unemployment rate of 6.8 percent, make it easy for the city's residents to save cash.
Atlanta also had the best yield on a savings account with an average rate at 1.4 percent annual yield. Sales tax was also fairly low, coming in at eight percent.
Where else is affordable?
Jacksonville, Fla., came in second thanks to a seven percent sales tax and an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent. Jacksonville was the runner-up because it trailed Atlanta in median home value, household income and the annual percent yield on savings accounts.
Honolulu, Hawaii, came in third on the list. Honolulu is affordable due to sales tax being 4.5 percent and having one of the best unemployment rates in the country at just 3.8 percent. Where Honolulu fell behind was the average median home value of $627,900.
Good luck saving in these cities
Four of the top 10 worst cities to save money were found in California. The three most expensive cities were Mesa, Ariz., Riverside, Calif., and Long Beach, Calif.
Chicago was the 76th least affordable city and New York came in 44th.
Shelly Selin, a volunteer tax preparer, told the New York Post she can't even consider saving money ‡ living on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Selin, 80, spends $2,500 a month on her mortgage payment. She said she is living mostly on her investments, annuities and Social Security.
"Bank interest rates are at less than one percent, and I've heard stories of people saying, 'I thought I had enough money in CDs, and now I don't.,'" Selin said. "They forget these CDs don't pay any interest."
Don't take it to heart
The list shouldn't necessarily sway you from one market to the next if you're hoping to watch your bank account swell. Cleveland, Ohio, for example, came in at No. 72 on the list out of 100, but ABC News cited a report from HSH.com that said Cleveland is affordable, as someone could reasonably acquire a loan with a yearly salary of less than $20,000.
HSH.com and GoBankingRates.com didn't see eye-to-eye on San Francisco, either. The former stated San Francisco residents required ‡ a large salary to safely buy a home, needing more than $115,000 to make a comfortable purchase. Meanwhile, GoBankingRates.com had San Francisco at No. 66 on its list - beating out Cleveland, the most affordable on HSH.com's list. It should be noted, the sources used different criteria to figure the results.