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The 10 Most (And Least) Expensive States In America

The 10 Most (And Least) Expensive States In America

2017 cost-of-living index figures by C2ER (Council for Community and Economic Research) are fresh out of the oven. Well, despite continued widespread recovery tactics, where you live in America has a great deal of impact on what economic challenges you face. No country is immune from economic slumps but higher than average state autonomy in America means economic growth varies by state. While one might expect to see California and New York on the list of most expensive states in America, shifting economic landscapes make several unexpected states more expensive as well. Complicated economic factors, as well as public officials struggling to meet the challenges of the future, make these ten states the most expensive and most affordable in America.

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    Most Expensive States

    1. Hawaii

    Take palm-fringed, sandy beaches, sizzling cultural melt, and add incredibly beautiful flora and fauna – and that’s the ‘magical’ allure of Hawaii. All these goodies, however, come with a steep price. Looking to buy a home in Hawaii? That’ll set you back a whopping $1 million on average. And that isn’t all – it’ll cost you nearly$3000 to rent a two-bedroom apartment and the monthly energy bill is estimated at $455.51, a figure that’s about 3 times what you’d shed in some leafy suburbs of California. But you live in Hawaii, the Aloha State!

    2. New York

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    Chiming at the second place is the Empire State. That in and of itself isn’t surprising at all in a state where the average home goes for $1.6 million (yes, you read that right). Looking to rent? Forget about it; a cozy two-bedroom apartment averages $4200 in monthly rent. Of course, New York is vast and uneven recovery/growth is partly to blame. Despite the improvement in unemployment rates since the end recession, New York continues to battle with aging infrastructure and starkly different growth rates. But there are areas like Rochester (average home price is $287000) where life is surprisingly easier than Manhattan. Nonetheless, you will still shed more than $160 for monthly energy bill there.

    3. California

    Not surprisingly, California is also one of the most expensive states in America. High housing costs in this state have long made it one of the pricier states, but population growth is another concern. At around $1 million, the average price of a home in metro San Francisco is the 3rd highest nationwide. California is also the number one state for poverty, reportedly carrying $1.6 billion in debt. While the state holds only 12% of the American population, nearly 33% of all welfare recipients are Californian.

    4. Massachusetts

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    It’s official – it’s now more expensive to live in Massachusetts than Alaska! The cost of groceries is through the roof, with 24-ounce T-bone steak going for more than $62! While the average price of a home is $634,233, expect to pay 3 or even 5 more times in most Newton, Framingham, and Cambridge neighborhoods. At $2668, the average rent for a sweet two-bedroom apartment in Boston is the 4th highest in the US. And the energy bill of $287.63 is close to $100 more than would be in Anchorage.

    5. Alaska

    A newcomer to this list, Alaska – the moose state – offers unsurpassed natural beauty and close-knit culture you’ll never find elsewhere. With only 760 farms, it’s no surprise that most produce and food items are hauled from different states. And that trickles down to tons of other costs. A loaf of bread which goes for a mere $1.79 in Iowa will set you back $4.68 in Anchorage. But again, this is Alaska – the land of amazing wildlife. Paying utility bills ($201.39 for energy) and healthcare isn’t a walk in the park either.

    Least Expensive States

    1. Mississippi

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    One of the less densely populated states, Mississippi is one of the least expensive states to live in. With low per capita income, the state’s housing costs remain correspondingly low as well (the average home price of $199,028), making the cost of living affordable. Mississippi previously relied mainly on cotton production to drive the economy. In the last two decades or so, however, Mississippi has diversified agricultural and livestock industries, ensuring economic growth. Now focusing on producing rice, soybeans, chicken, and catfish, Mississippi continues to pursue diversification to enrich its economy, a strategy which has been successful so far.

    2. Indiana

    Next up, is Indiana, a state famous for the Indianapolis 500 and low-cost homes (averaged at $270,204). At the Crossroads of America, you can expect rock-bottom prices for groceries and other basic food items. A head of lettuce goes for a paltry $1.04 while a pound of coffee and ground beef will set you back just $4.43 and $3.74 respectively. A boom in the local economy has pushed prices up a teensy bit, but you can still pick up a check at dinner.

    3. Michigan

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    The Great Lakes State, much like Mississippi and Arkansas, offer low-cost housing (averaged at $274,355) for consumers, yet it’s consistently ranked in the top ten for best states to do business. After all, this is the home of the American auto industry. The average gas price in Detroit was about $2.04 when it hit more than $3 in most parts of the country. The auto industry has bounced back, healthcare is thriving and high-tech jobs are supplanting manufacturing, helping this state become more competitive to prospective employers, keeping the economy working for Michigan citizens.

    4. Arkansas

    Like Mississippi, Arkansas is a more rural state, offering consumers low housing costs. Arkansas also boasts incredibly low costs for doing business, attracting six Fortune 500 companies to the state. Rent for a two-bedroom apartment is just $700 a month and the monthly energy bill is $145.79, roughly half of what you’d pay in Massachusetts. In short, Arkansas’ low cost of living is balanced by a lower household income than average but still remains a top state for the economic climate.

    5. Oklahoma

    Rounding up our list is the Sooner State, the home of undulating wheat fields. And the cost of groceries, including a loaf of wheat bread for less than $3, is appropriately cheap. Well, that isn’t all – a grand 2,400 square-foot home will only chip off around $300K from your bank account. With a sub-$150 monthly energy bill and low-cost health care, Oklahoma is certainly one of the best places you’d be lucky to call home.

    Featured photo credit: US Department of Interior via om.wikipedia.org

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    Published on July 4, 2018

    Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

    Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

    Don’t want to overspend your budget, swipe your credit card too many times, and feel like a financial mess? Instead of beating yourself up for the bad financial decisions you’ve ever made, create a new plan!

    The solution is simple, save more and spend less. But, we all know it’s easier said than done.

    One problem is finding quality apps that save you time and money, and aren’t just hype.

    Luckily, there’re many great money management apps available at your fingertips. Here are 10 reliable money management apps that can help you save money, and crush debt.

    1. Personal Capital

      When was the last time you’ve tracked your net worth? Probably months ago or maybe never. Personal Capital allows you to easily track your net worth and plan for retirement.

      Here are some of its main features:

      • Sync many investment accounts, and expenses (mortgage, credit cards, etc.) in one place
      • Discover hidden fees and how much they’re affecting your retirement plan
      • Wealth management for investors requiring a long-term strategy

      With Personal you’re free to track your expenses and net worth.

      Available for: iOS and Android

      2. Mint

        If your smartphone could only install a few apps, Mint would be one of them. Why? Because Mint tracks all your balances and bills in one place.

        Here are some of its main features:

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        • Effortlessly track all your bills and balances in one dashboard
        • Categorized expenses to understand where you spend your money
        • Uncover hidden fees, and determine your investment style with sophisticated retirement tools.

        Feel at ease with managing your money by a reputable company that isn’t going anywhere.

        Available for: iOS and Android

        3. YNAB

          Everyone needs a budget, there’s no way around it. YNAB (You Need A Budget) is an easy to use app that will change the way you think about money. Their motto is to “give every dollar a job”, and you’ll quickly discover why.

          Here are some of its main features:

          • Easily sync all bank accounts in one place
          • Visually see your debt paying progress with eye-catching charts and notifications
          • Customized categories setting saving goals

          The best part about YNAB is the community that comes along with it. You can hop on the YNAB forum to receive support, listen to the YNAB Podcast or stay tuned for their weekly videos.

          Available for: iOS and Android

          4. Wealthfront

            Albert Einstein once said “compound interest is the eight wonder in the world”, and for a very good reason. The problem is, most people are scared or unwilling to learn the basics of investing. This is why Wealthfront is the perfect solution for the hands-off investors.

            Here are some of its main features:

            • Variety of investment account options including IRA, Roth IRA, and more
            • Your portfolio composed of 7 different asset classes
            • Automatically rebalanced portfolio
            • Daily tax loss harvesting

            Wealthfront is perfect for people requiring investment guidance, or prefer a hands-off solution.

            Available for: iOS and Android

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            5. Clarity Money

              If you’re staying on top of your budget but want to take your finances to the next level, Clarity Money can help you. Clarity Money helps you stay under budget and build a personalized savings plan.

              Here are some of its main features:

              • Easily cancel subscriptions with one click
              • Synchronize bank accounts fast
              • Transfer money effortlessly between different accounts

              Clarity Money isn’t an app that does it all. But, it does make transferring money and canceling subscriptions fast and efficient.

              Available for: iOS and Android

              6. Acorns

                What if there was a way to quickly gain confidence in investing your money, without too much risk? There is, and Acorns is your solution. With Acorns’s technology, you’re able to make investments as small as $5.

                Here are some of its main features:

                • Automatic contribution option
                • Customized portfolio tailored to your needs
                • Low management fees ranging from $1-$2 per month

                Stop wasting dollars on expensive coffee. Instead, invest them towards a brighter financial future.

                Available for: iOS and Android

                7. Albert

                  Do you budget by only subtracting your expenses from your income? If so, how would you discover any overpayments or extra money you could save? This is where Albert shines, and it does it all free.

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                  Here are some of its main features:

                  • Receive notifications for overpayments, hidden fees, and low balances
                  • An Automatic budget that’s built around your spending and income
                  • Easily track debt and set new financial goals

                  While Albert does offer a paid option, most of its core features are FREE. So, what better option to save?

                  Available for: iOS

                  8. Prism

                    Have you recently forgot to pay a bill because life got in the way? Prism automatically tracks your bills and syncs your bank accounts in one place.

                    Here are some of its main features:

                    • View all your account balances in one glance
                    • Bill due dates are automatically pulled and tracked
                    • Receive early reminders for upcoming bills

                    If your budget is on “fleek” but can’t seem to stay on top of your bills, Prism is your go-to app.

                    Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Amazon

                    9. Mvelopes

                      Remember hearing about people using envelopes to budget their money? Well, Mvelopes is the new envelope system for this generation. Easily create monthly budgets and track your saving goals.

                      Here are some of its main features:

                      • Connect unlimited bank accounts
                      • Real-time budgeting with auto transaction syncing
                      • Low monthly $4 fee or $40 annual

                      Mvelopes can help you crush debt, save more, and help you stop overspending. With its low monthly fee, it’s worth a try.

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                      Available for: iOS and Android

                      10. Wallaby

                        Most people don’t have time to track their credit card’s changing rewards and interest rates. Because of this, you need help reaping the most of your credit card’s rewards. Wallaby is the app that will help you do just that.

                        Here are some of its main features:

                        • Automatic recommendations for the best credit card to use for each transaction
                        • A friendly user interface, displaying credit cards with their corresponding images
                        • Free to use

                        If you’re using the same credit card to make your purchases, you may be leaving money on the table. Give Wallaby a try if you’re ready to maximize your credit card’s rewards.

                        Available for: iOS and Android

                        Take control of your finances and experience financial freedom

                        Picture yourself staying on budget and saving more money than you’d ever imagined.

                        It took hard work and dedication but you’d finally learned how to manage your money. You have to start taking control of your spending and saving habits.

                        You now have a list of reliable apps that can help you build better money habits, what are you waiting for?

                        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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