With inflation rates increasing rapidly, prices are higher than they used to be, you want to make the most out of your income. However, it can be difficult to make ends meet these days with the ever-rising cost of living.
One way to make your dollar go further is to seek out states with a lower cost of living. Here are the 15 states that make you stretch your budget the most.
It’s no surprise this island nation, with its idyllic weather and breathtaking scenery, is the country’s most expensive state. The cost of living index is 189.9, with the most expensive housing double the national average. It’s not just housing: groceries are 50% higher than the national average — that goes for transportation and utilities too!
2. Washington, DC
Washington DC is a district, not a state but it makes our list with a living expense index of 154.5. An acre in Washington, DC, is worth over a million dollars, so it’s no surprise everything costs more in this city-state.
Massachusetts is the third most expensive state to live in. The cost of housing in Massachusetts drives this cost of living. In fact, the state has a living expense index of 147.9.
California has a cost of living index of 139.8. The cost of housing and transportation are major drivers of the high cost of living in the state. The prices of groceries and utilities are also high. The cost of living tends to be most expensive in coastal urban regions like the Bay Area and Southern California.
Hot Tip: If you feel like you can’t keep up with your expenses, check out our article on what you can cut from your budget.
5. New York
It’s no surprise that New York is high on this list. This state has a cost of living index of 136.8., with housing being the fifth most expensive in the country. Keep in mind that much of this due to the outsize influence of New York City — many other parts of the state are quite affordable.
Basically everything in Alaska is costly except for housing. In fact, accommodation in Alaska is relatively cheap while the cost of every other thing is extremely high. Alaska has a living cost index of 126.7, with healthcare and utilities being the highest in the country, followed by groceries. In addition, over half of the total revenue in Alaska comes from the government as an aid for the state. It ranks as the fifth most dependent state on the federal government.
Healthcare in Maryland is very cheap. However, the cost of housing negates this benefit, leaving it with a living cost index of 125.1. The silver lining here is wages are high in Maryland and poverty is low.
Located in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon has a cost of living index of 120.6. The cost of housing in Oregon is high and transportation even higher because of gas taxes.
9. New Jersey
New York’s neighbor New Jersey unsurprisingly shares a high cost of living. Housing drives the COL rate, as the Garden State has a living expense of 118.6.
43% of the total revenue in Maine comes from the federal government; it’s one of the most dependent states on the federal government. The cost of living here is still somewhat high. Maine has a cost of living index of 116.9, with housing and transportation being the driving factors.
Vermont has a living expense index of 116.7. Like most states on the list, housing is primarily responsible for the high cost of living. Utilities and transportation are also driving factors in the Granite State. Only 15% of residents can afford a home in Vermont due to low wages in the state.
Utilities in Connecticut are more costly than in other states. Housing is also a significant factor, contributing to its living expense index of 116.7.
Washington has a cost of living index of 113.9, with housing again being the primary driver here. Healthcare also contributes to the expensive living cost in Washington.
14. Rhode Island
Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country but definitely not the cheapest! The cost of housing in Rhode Island is 20% above the national average. Utilities are also high here, factoring in a living expense index of 113.8. Fortunately, residents of Rhode Island can balance the high cost of living with high wages.
15. New Hampshire
Living in New England is quite expensive. New Hampshire is another state from the region with a high cost of living. Its COL index comes in at 113.2. Unlike most states on the list, health care is the leading factor for the high cost of living in New Hampshire.