9 Cheapest Places to Live in Texas Right Now

I’ve discovered the most economical places to live in Texas, featuring low crime rates and an abundance of recreational activities.

Texas offers a diverse range of experiences, and identifying the finest places to establish your residence is not overly challenging when proper research is conducted.

Cheapest Places to Live in Texas

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In order to compile the lists of the least expensive Texas areas and secure locales for living, I aim to focus on your well-being and a better standard of living.

I want to maintain transparency to boost your confidence in the integrity of the search. Hence, here is the list of the 9 cheapest places to live in Texas, United States. 

Factors Influencing Affordability

First, I’ve taken into account the housing, cost of utilities, and food cost which is the basic amount of expenses you need to incur. I firmly believe that a stress-free home is a cornerstone for one’s optimal productivity and efficiency, hence I’ve carefully taken this as a prime factor.

Moving on, the distance and cost of transportation also play a pivotal role in assessing the livability of a particular area. The proximity of your residence to recreational facilities, schools, and workplaces not only affects commuting costs but also the time spent in transit.

Lastly, the healthcare sector stands as a determining factor, as sound health underpins all aspects of life. After all, a robust state of well-being forms the bedrock upon which the rest of your experiences are built. So, let’s begin.

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Cheapest Places to Live in Texas

1. Pflugerville

  • Population: 68,763
  • Cost of living index: 113.2 (US average of 100)
  • Crime rate:  15.70 (per 1,000 residents)

Here I bring one of Texas’s fastest-growing cities, Pflugerville, often referred to as Austin’s baby sister. 

This affordable Texan city is a part of the Austin-Round-Rock-San Marcos area, situated within Travis County, with a smaller section extending into Williamson County. 

Its economic affordability, which is 3% lower than the national average, is incredibly appealing, attracting numerous families and retirees looking to settle down. Even utility prices stand 3% below the national average.  

Did you know that the Pflugerville Independent School District is at the forefront of environmental conservation? They’ve taken steps such as installing solar panels to promote a green ethos. For those interested in purchasing homes, the budget-friendly Old Town East neighborhood is worth exploring.  

This place is just 15 miles away from Austin, where the median house value reaches around $557,292. In contrast, in Pflugerville, the median house value is approximately $219,500. 

This makes it an exceptional option in Texas for relishing the charms of a small town while adhering to a budget.  

However, concerning job opportunities, Pflugerville lags behind. Its economy is relatively small and heavily reliant on the tourism and hospitality sectors. 

Consequently, during the tourist season, throngs of travelers seeking affordability inundate the streets. Apart from that, the place is perfect to call home.

Fun things to do in Pflugerville:

  • Beat the summer heat by dipping at Tidal Wave Bay or enjoying the breeze at Lazy T River
  • Learn the interesting history of Pflugerville’s past at Heritage House Museum
  • Shake your hips, legs, and hands at Mavericks Dance Hall dancing to the finest DJs
  • Stroll around the Downtown seeing the crafts, buying clothes and other things
Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park
Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park

2. Galveston

  • Population: 52,622
  • Cost of living index: 93.7 (US average of 100)
  • Crime rate:  32 (per 1,000 residents)

A mere 50 miles distant from Houston, Galveston stands as a sun-drenched paradise that holds a prominent position for people looking for the cheapest place to live in Texas. 

The presence of secure neighborhoods coupled with a wealth of coveted amenities renders Galveston an exceptionally appealing locale for both young professionals and families.

While the prevailing lifestyle is dominated by a laid-back beach vibe, the notable presence of major oil companies conducting business in the Gulf opens up substantial work opportunities for residents. 

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Additionally, the city’s significance as a vital American port, alongside its flourishing tourism industry, underscores the backbone of its economy. 

Remarkably, the local economy has surged with a 3.1% increase in job opportunities over the past year alone, contributing a substantial $2.3 billion to the Lone Star State’s prosperity.

For those seeking budget-friendly housing within a relaxed and family-centric neighborhood, the East End Historic District offers an ideal solution. Here the home costs around $170,100. 

Furthermore, residing in Galveston bestows the privilege of being part of a community characterized by its warmth and friendliness. 

This combination of affordable housing and exceptional amenities is a rarity that Galveston uniquely provides within Texas.

However, a caveat accompanies homeownership, as utility costs tend to be 11% higher than the national average. On average, a single adult’s expenses are around $36,176, slightly surpassing Texas’s annual cost of living.

Fun things to do in Galveston:

  • Engaging in family fun at Moody Gardens
  • Embarking on a one-hour water and land excursion with Galveston Duck Tours
  • Exploring the opulent Victorian-style Bishop Palace, a haven for history enthusiasts
  • Experiencing an overnight fishing adventure at Seawolf Park
  • Indulging in bird-watching and nature appreciation at Laffite’s Cove
Moody Gardens
Moody Gardens

3. Odessa

  • Population: 107, 891
  • Cost of living index: 84.2 (US average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 31.90 (per 1,000 residents)

Along the edge of the Llano Estacado in west Texas sits Odessa which was initially known as a mere railroad stop and now dominating the oil field.

Odessa attracts a young population as they are well employed in oil, gas, energy, manufacturing, and transportation jobs like Anthem Oil & Gas, Chevron, Haliburton, Champion and so many more.

You can also buy houses, around Bounce, Rocky Lane Road, State Loop, and Warfield as the median house price is around $149, 900, which is over $204, 900 less than national median house values.

This economical place to live in Texas is a new love for families as they want their child to go to Harmony Science Academy, which is considered one of the best schools in the state. Moreover, there are also many alternatives you can go for.

University of Texas Permian Basin and Odessa College are the premium colleges for students looking for higher studies.

Additionally, E-Z Rider, the city’s bus system is also a major draw for residents, older people, and physically handicapped, saving a lot on the fuel. 

Fun things to do in Odessa:

  • Take a photo beside the 8-foot tall statue, Permian Basin Stonehenge the world’s largest jackrabbit
  • Music fans come to Wagner Noel Performing Art Center
  • Enjoy some horse shows at the Sandhills Stock
  • Spend time with your family over a picnic at McKinney Park Sprayground
Stonehenge Replica
Stonehenge Replica

4. Bryan 

  • Population: 89, 017
  • Cost of living index: 80.7 (US average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 25.40 (per 1,000 residents)

In the Brazos Valley region of Texas sits a minor college town that shares a border with the city of College Station, which is another major college town. Moving here means you’re moving to one of the fastest-growing cities in America, full of opportunities.  

Texas A&M University influences the local environment, keeping people always busy with cultural celebrations, ceremonies, and functions. Locals say they have the Nation’s Happiest College Campus, where students live, breathe, and everything in between.  

Forbes ranked Bryan as the #2 Best Small Place for Business and Careers. Also, it has been ranked the 5th lowest property tax rate in Texas, which is an added advantage. I guarantee you won’t find such a high-value town in Texas in terms of education as well as job opportunities.

The cost of living for one person in Bryan is around $720, with utility and rent expenses totaling around $1088, making it quite affordable. The northeast part of the city is a good place to live, as there is only a 1 in 59 chance of becoming a victim. 

In terms of hospitals, there is no shortage of great care. 

Furthermore, there are amazing opportunities to lead an active lifestyle with amenities like swimming pools, parks, and diverse lakes. Hence, it is one of the best value places to live for retirees in Texas too.

Fun things to do in Bryan:

  • Dip your toe and enjoy the air around Lake Bryan
  • You should be at Historic Downtown Bryan on the first Friday of each month with your family experiencing the unique culture
  • Attend winery Torus or Wine & Roses Festival in the spring at Messina Hof
professional salsa lessons on Wednesdays at the Village
Have professional salsa lessons on Wednesdays at the Village

5. Midland

  • Population: 128, 579
  • Cost of living index: 91.7 (US average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 21.84 (per 1,000 residents)
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If you’re seeking a city in Texas with an affordable cost of living that also maintains a strong sense of community, Midland is the oasis you’ve been looking for amidst the desert’s rolling plains and clear skies.  

Midland is situated in the petroleum-rich Permian Basin, already renowned in the oil production industry. Education-wise, there are various campuses of the Midland Independent School District where you can enroll, with a significant number of people pursuing studies in medicine.  

According to reports, Midland is a popular destination for young professionals due to its 12.6% lower-than-average grocery prices, 22.9% below-national-average housing costs, and a booming economy with employment opportunities spanning mining, quarrying, oil, gas extraction, retail trade, and healthcare. 

The town boasts incredible restaurants such as Wall Street Bar & Grill and Clear Spring Café, as well as sports bars like Tall City Brewing Co. and vibrant nightlife spots. It’s evident that you’ll have a plethora of activities to enjoy, ensuring your weekend nights are spent outside of your home.

Fun things to do in Midland:

  • Discover the history at the Museum of the Southwest
  • Spend the evening at Sibley Nature Center to learn about flora and fauna
  • You can go on a hike at Hogan Park
  • In the evening go on a bike ride on the Chaparral trail
Hogan Park
Hogan Park

6. Harlingen

  • Population: 72,169
  • Cost of living index: 70.7 (US average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 34.13 (per 1,000 residents)

If you dream of moving to one of the most affordable neighborhoods in South Texas, Harlingen is your destination. Situated on the northern edge of the Rio Grande Valley, it enjoys proximity to McAllen and Brownsville. 

Harlingen is an ideal place to live because it is home to the Valley International Airport, and the Valley View Mall, and having agriculture and tourism as its main economic drivers. Upon that, its housing market is much more affordable which 24.4 % below average in the country is.

The average home price is around $182, 500, where you’ll find apartments, single-family homes, and townhomes with a number of tax breaks. Additionally, the warm weather, good schools, and the beach are cherry on top for the residents.

Residents enjoy the perks of spending time at the parks to stay active and healthy lifestyle. Also, on weekends you can go on drive to Matamoros, Reynosa, and Progreso where you can enjoy diverse culture and incredible dining options.

Additionally, Harlingen is considered 8% safer in the US neighborhood making it one of the top places under the radar of the cheapest and safest place to live in Texas. This quite pleasant town is the dream of many!

Fun things to do in Harlingen:

  • Relax and catch your breath at Pendelton Park
  • Try wall climbing or rope courses at Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park
  • Click pictures at Harlingen’s downtown with the murals
  • Explore the trail of Wander Rangerville Park
Arroyo Park
Arroyo Park

7. Wichita Falls 

  • Population: 103, 687
  • Cost of living index: 75.7 (US average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 37.40 (per 1,000 residents)

Blessed with pleasant weather and small-town charm, Wichita Falls is a true gem situated in North-Central Texas. You’ll be graced with a green environment, calm air to breathe, and the chance to unwind from the busy city life, all while enjoying a comfortable lifestyle.  

Natural attractions like Lake Wichita, Possum Kingdom Lake, and Lake Arrowhead, along with activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming, are enough to keep residents feeling active and healthy. 

Additionally, the city is just a few hours away from Dallas. A few days ago, Realtor.com published news that left me shocked. In Faith Village, you can find a two-bedroom house for just $89,000 and a three-bedroom home for $129,900. 

If I weren’t moving to California, I would definitely consider making a move here. California is so expensive! Wichita Falls’ economy is dominated by manufacturing companies, government programs, and the oil and gas industry.

Students are also fortunate to enroll in programs offered by Vernon College and Midwestern State University, making it a blessing for those seeking great job opportunities.

The transportation cost is 34.2% cheaper than the national average. The public bus service serves its purpose reliably, safely, and affordably. The city’s small, charming vibe is the reason you should choose Wichita Falls as your home!

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Fun things to do in Wichita Falls:

  • You can explore Downtown Wichita Falls watching the miniature skyscrapers, eateries, and other shops
  • Come to Depot Square Historic District to see the historic buildings
  • Art lovers must come to Kemp Center for the Arts to learn much about the sculpture garden and other events
  • Walk around Lucy Park enjoying the view of waterfalls, flowers, garden
Firehouse Subs
Dinner at Firehouse Subs

8. Waco

  • Population: 142, 241
  • Cost of living index: 78.9 (US average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 41.90 (per 1,000 residents)

In McLennan County, along the Brazos River between Dallas and Austin, at the heart of Texas, sits Waco – an affordable urban area for young professionals seeking a budget-friendly life near bustling cities and an airport. 

You must watch the famous TV show “Fixer Upper,” which offers great insights into the locals of Waco, who are affectionately known as “Waco Waco.” Tourists adore Waco for its convenient location, excellent dining options, old-world charm, and lack of congestion.

Families are drawn to investing in homes in the North Side, specifically Brookview, for its amazing community, green spaces, parks, and sports facilities.

The median home value is around $116,600, with an average annual cost of living for an individual being approximately $30,341. Although the cost of living is below average, the high property taxes might feel burdensome on your wallet.

You’ll discover numerous schools and universities in Waco that place equal emphasis on education and extracurricular activities. The locals are very friendly, and supermarkets are within walking distance. However, the increasing crime rates are certainly a cause for concern.

Fun things to do in Waco:

  • Hang out with your friends at Magnolia Market at the Silos. Do not forget to put pictures on your social media handle from this place
  • Enlighten your knowledge on America’s oldest soft drink at Dr. Pepper Museum
  • Go for 15 miles of hiking at Cameron Park
  • At night come to Waco Suspension Bridge, the city’s landmark structure and oldest suspension bridge
 Magnolia Market
Magnolia Market

9. Laredo

  • Population: 257, 795
  • Cost of living index: 82.0 (US average of 100)
  • Crime rate: 15.52 (per 1,000 residents)

A typical renter in Laredo is likely to spend only $826 per month on housing. According to a survey by ValuePenguin, Laredo is an affordable city in Texas and is indeed one of the cheaper cities in Texas to reside in.  

This economical town serves as an inland port on the USA-Mexico border, situated on the banks of the Rio Grande River in South Texas. The city exudes a village vibe where many locals practice subsistence farming. 

However, its population is not solely dependent on farming; it also boasts a thriving business environment. For education, students can easily walk to Texas A&M and Laredo Community College for admissions.

Additionally, according to US News & World Report, United High School is ranked as the best high school in the country.

Fun things to do in Laredo:

  • You can taste the best Authentic Mexican food
  • Explore the birding trail, Las Palmas Nature Trail
  • Campers can pinch their tent at Casa Blanca State Park & Lake 
  • Go for quite scenic kayaking on the Rio Grande
Lake Casa Blanca International State Park
Lake Casa Blanca International State Park

Read More:

FAQ: Cheapest Places to Live in Texas

1. Are there any college towns in Texas that offer affordable living?

A. In Central Texas, Waco stands as the most affordable college town, where the cost of living is 11% lower than the national average. The average household income here is around $51,737.

2. What are the pros and cons of living in Texas? 

A. The cost of living in Texas is lower compared to other places in the USA. Many remote workers opt for Texas over other locations. However, certain areas have high property taxes, which residents have to bear, making it slightly costlier.

3. Where is the cheapest place to retire in Texas?

A. Laredo, a small town near Mexico on the Rio Grande, is one of the great places to retire due to its diversity, green spaces, good hospitals, and numerous recreational activities to partake in.

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