Best Inexpensive Places to Live in the U.S.

Suburban homes
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When you're looking for the cheapest places to live in the U.S., you don't necessarily only want the cheapest city. It is no good if the housing is affordable, and the cost of living low, but there are high crime rates and high unemployment. But equally important are factors relative to your position in life. What is your sweet spot and what can you afford, given your present income? Your pursuit of the best places to live cheaply should also include the use of some of these tools and tips to find the perfect place for you and your family.

The experts from Forbes came up with the following list after looking first at housing affordability indices, and then also at the cost of living. But they also took into account violent crime rate, with stats coming from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Next, they looked at the unemployment rate and investigated the quality of education and schools in the cities.

And the following are the top five cities considered the best places to live cheaply:

Bay City, Michigan

Bay City, Michigan makes the top five of Forbes' list mainly because of the low median price of housing in the city. At $73,000, the average-priced home is within reach of most residents.

Kokomo, Indiana

While the unemployment rate of 9.6 percent is slightly higher than the national average of 8.8 percent, Kokomo is still an inexpensive place to live with relatively affordable housing. The median home price is $88,000.

Cumberland, Maryland

Coming in at Number 3 is Cumberland, a city with a population of just over 20,000, though if you include the metropolitan area, that swells to over 100,000. Median household income is $52,200, and the median home price is low at $81,000.

Monroe, Michigan

Another Michigan city, Monroe comes in at Number 2 on Forbes' list. With a median household income of $69,000 compared with the median home price of $101,000, Monroe is a place that is very attractive to young families looking to start out in life. Jobs that pay well are abundant, mainly because of the manufacturing businesses in the area. Add low unemployment and crime rates, and a low cost of living, and you have a city worth a closer look.

Sandusky, Ohio

With a violent crime rate sitting at a low 247 per 100,000 residents, half the national average, Sandusky claims the top spot on the Forbes list. Good schools, affordable housing, low unemployment as well as the cost of living are the other reasons this city is Forbes' top choice. And if these reasons are not enough to tempt you to move there, there's also Cedar Point Amusement Park. See if the kids will let you say "no" to that!

So if living cheaply appeals to you, these five cities should be at or near the top of your list of places to move to next. But we always encourage doing some research to find the best place for you, because only you can decide the best place for you. Personal choice and circumstance can make your best place quite different from someone else's. Our 10 steps for finding the best place for you can help you decide your perfect location.