Liam Norris—Getty Images
By Tanza Loudenback/Business Insider
September 24, 2017

You don’t always have to earn six figures to live well.

In fact, in 31 cities across the US, it’s possible to cover your necessities, and still splurge and save money while bringing home a $50,000 annual paycheck — or less.

That’s according to a recent study by GOBankingRates, which gathered data for the 270 most populous US cities to find out where a single person could live according to the 50/30/20 plan— a budget that allots 50% of your take-home pay toward necessities, 30% for discretionary spending, and 20% for saving.

The plan ensures you cover all your financial bases, while still leaving room for flexibility.

To find out where you could live by the 50/30/20 plan on $50,000 or less a year — that’s take-home pay, not pre-tax income — GOBankingRates examined the following monthly expenses for a single person in 270 cities:

  • Housing: the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in each city, sourced from Zillow’s June 2017 rental index
  • Groceries: the recommended amount reported by cost-of-living database for each city
  • Utilities: the average bill for a 915-square-foot apartment in each city, according to estimates from
  • Transportation: costs according to the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator for each city or its nearest metropolitan area
  • Health insurance: premiums as estimated at the state level for 2017 by the Department of Health and Human Services

GOBankingRates multiplied the total monthly cost of necessities for each city by 12 to get the annual cost. To live by the 50/30/20 plan, a person would need to earn twice as much as their fixed expenses, so GOBankingRates doubled the total cost of necessities to arrive at the total recommended take-home pay for each city.

Below, check out the 31 places where you can live on $50,000 or less a year. For each city, we included the annual after-tax income needed to live comfortably and how a 50/30/20 plan would break down monthly for a single person.

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