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9 Cities With Low Cost of Living in California
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9 Cities With Low Cost of Living in California

California is up there in terms of high cost of living. But look no further: here are 9 cities with a low cost of living in California.

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5 min read

January 11, 2022

California is definitely not the lowest cost state to live in, but that doesn’t mean that it’s devoid of economically sound places to reside. As California’s housing market, rent, and living prices collectively and steadily rise, living by certain cities’ standards simply becomes a far-fetched dream for many. Therefore, to snag a comparable bargain to Bay Area’s housing market prices and Los Angeles’s recreational costs, you have to look at cities that often get overlooked. 

Don’t expect the cities with low costs of living in California to be perfectly cheaper alternatives to your favorite metropolises. But, do be prepared to get positively surprised. These hidden gems are your best chance to reside near big cities with low costs of living, and you should keep them on your radar.

These Are The Best Place To Live With A Low Cost of Living

Chico is the most populous city in Butte County. Median home cost is the biggest factor in the cost of living difference.

1. Chico

Median home price: $456,150
Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $1,010

Tucked away amidst beautifully blooming landscapes two hours north of Sacramento, Chico is a top contender for places with a low cost of living in California. Boasting great weather, plenty of spots for outdoor recreation, and very attractive downtown, this fast-growing city is a fine choice for those relocating with a budget. While it’s best known for being home to Chico State University (which has one of the lowest annual tuition fees in the state), this inexpensive college town in California also hosts a booming healthcare industry with plenty of job opportunities.

2. Sacramento

Median home price: $468,660
Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $1,600

The state capital remains one of the best cities with a low cost of living in California. Full of diversity, natural beauty, and job opportunities, Sacramento is a great destination to consider if you’re moving further up north. Not only is it one of the best cities with a low cost of living, but it also allows its residents to experience the best of California. By staying in Sactown, you’ll be within driving distance of San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the beaches of the Pacific Coast—how cool is that? 

Fresno is one of the cheapest cities to live in California. What makes this Central Valley city the best in the state is its cost of living index.

3. Fresno

Median home price: $343,980
Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $1,460

Located in California’s Central Valley region is Fresno, one of the best cities with a low cost of living. With a population of more than half a million, Fresno provides you with the best of big-city life and small-town charm. Not only is it a significant agricultural hub, but it is also filled with streets lined with restaurants, boutiques, and businesses for your every need.

Living in Eureka offers residents a sparse suburban feel; most residents (many of which are young professionals) rent their homes.

4. Eureka

Median home price: $401,415
Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $800

Did you expect to find a beach town on the list of cities with low costs of living? If not, you might have forgotten about Eureka. While we love the fact that one of California’s cities with the lowest cost of living is by the beach, Eureka’s natural wonders aren’t concluded by that. Redwood Highway, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Azalea State Natural Reserve, and Little River State Beach are all nearby and offer plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and camping.

5. Clovis

Median home price: $467,455
Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $1,29

Adjacent to Fresno is Clovis, a city that’s been steadily improving to be one of the best places to live with a low cost of living in California. Residents of Clovis enjoy being a short drive away from beaches, mountains, forests, and other big cities—they also benefit from the city’s great public school system, cleanliness, and diversity. On top of that, this low cost of living area has an adorable lively downtown with great restaurants and varied community events you can partake in.

Oxnard is a very good place to visit or live in. As a suburb, it offers a mix of city life with less traffic and people.

6. Oxnard

Median home price: $669,815
Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $2,070

Ventura is the land of surf, sand, sun… and apparently beach cities with the lowest cost of living in California—just look at Oxnard! While rent here is significantly higher than most of the other entries on the list, the amenities, location, and activities of Oxnard make its living costs seem like a total steal. Located directly on the Pacific, this city with low costs of living has 20 miles of coastline and offers fun year-round activities like the best kayaking in California, surfing, and whale watching. Plus, Oxnard is just about an hour north of Los Angeles; talk about a sweet deal. 

7. Vacaville

Median home price: $600,920
Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $2,070

Despite a significant hike in real estate costs in Vacaville—with home prices going up about 20 percent and rent going up approximately 30 percent—it still remains as one of the cities with the lowest cost of living in California. Home to ranchers, farmers, miners, and those looking for a quiet family-friendly community, this city is an affordable way to be close to the Bay Area. Shopaholics will be happy to know that not only is there a historic downtown full of cool boutiques here, but there’s also an outlet mall with 120 premium stores.

Since Temecula is an inland city and not a coastal town, housing and cost of living are very affordable, especially for California.

8. Temecula

Median home price: $687,220
Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $2,145

This gorgeous city between Los Angeles and San Diego is a paradise for leisure seekers. But don’t pigeonhole Temecula as merely a tourist destination just yet. Besides multiple golf courses, two weekly farmers markets, and a historic downtown area, this place with a low cost of living offers its residents great diversity, weather, outdoor activities, and public schools.

9. Redlands

Median home price: $569,150
Average one-bedroom monthly rent: $1,395

Redland’s small-town charm, reasonable housing prices, and proximity to L.A. make it one of the best SoCal cities to move to if you’re on a budget. Priding itself on its tight-knit community and family-oriented nature, Redlands is a great place to live for its favorable amenities, exceptional education system, and low crime rates. If you’d like to live in a low cost of living area where residents work together to uphold the high standards, you’ll love this impressive up and coming locale.

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