By Jerold Leslie, The Street, June 4, 2012
Cheapskates of the world unite -- you have nothing to lose but your spare change!
The 10 cities below offer the lowest cost-of-living levels of some 300 communities surveyed each quarter by the Council for Community and Economic Research.
"These are parts of the country that are incredibly inexpensive," the council's Dean Frutiger says. "Prices there are a lot less than [No.1 cost-of-living area] Manhattan."
The council volunteers help compile cost-of-living figures for various cities by checking local prices every three months on some 60 goods and services, from doctor's visits to T-bone steaks.
The group then runs the numbers through a weighting system to give more prominence to things such as rent and mortgage bills.
There's also a heavily weighted "miscellaneous" category that serves as a catch-all for everything from bowling prices to dry-cleaning costs.
If your idea of the perfect date is using a two-for-one coupon at a Sunday matinee, click below to see the U.S. communities that offer the nation's lowest cost-of-living levels. (There are three Texas entries, which are grouped.)
Each city's score reflects how its living costs compares with the national average. For instance, a score of 90 means a community's cost of living is 90% of the overall U.S. average.
All local property prices are from Realtor.com -- the National Association of Realtors' official property-listing site -- and exclude mobile homes.
6) Temple, TX
Cost of living index: 85.7
The Lone Star State hosts three of America's 10 cheapest cities.
Temple, Texas -- in the central part of the state roughly between Dallas and San Antonio -- has below-average prices in all six categories researchers measured.
For openers, the city boasts the nation's fourth-cheapest groceries (18.1% below average) and 12th-least-expensive housing (28.3% less than average).
You'll also save money on transportation (8.2% below average), miscellaneous goods (7.9% less than average), health care (7% under the average) and utilities (0.1% below average).
If you want to take advantage of the city's low prices, Realtor.com has some 560 Temple homes listed for sale, from $20,000 three-bedroom house to a $1.4 million French-style farmhouse.