9 Cheapest Places to Live in Arizona

Nadia Podrabinek Nadia Podrabinek

Written by Nadia Podrabinek

Arizona cityscape

Arizona offers more than just hot weather and the Grand Canyon. It has become one of the best places to live in the USA, thanks to its rapidly growing economy, beautiful landscapes, and welcoming cities.

Arizona offers a relatively low cost of living compared to other U.S. states due to its affordable housing prices, reasonable taxes, lower utility costs, and inexpensive transportation.

The general cost of goods and services is typically cheaper, including groceries, healthcare, and entertainment compared to New Jersey, Connecticut, Oregon, etc. Additionally, the state’s natural beauty provides numerous low-cost outdoor activities.

However, costs can vary depending on the specific region within the state, with some areas being more expensive than others.

Key takeaways

  • Arizona is a relatively inexpensive state, sitting in the middle of cost of living rankings.
  • Yuma is considered the cheapest place to live in Arizona.
  • Phoenix metro area (Tempe/Mesa) is also pretty cheap.
  • Excluding housing costs, you can have as low as $800 of monthly expenses.
  • Thanks to its economic growth, Arizona offers many job opportunities.
  • Arizona ranks as the 37th least expensive state in the country.

What people say on Reddit

Before you make any decisions, why don’t you check out the water situation (or lack thereof) occurring in Arizona? Especially about how people, even outside of major cities, are having to get water trucked into the neighborhoods and yet the cities continue passing out building permits. It’s also not a new situation about wells and water tables running dry, just one that’s being ignored.


I’m up in north Glendale but am a homeowner so don’t know much about rents. There is a new complex on 101 and 75th ave. Lots of apts around Midwestern. We have been in the area for about 9 years and like it. Not a hotbed for nightlife or restaurants but works for our family. Good luck in your hunt!


I live about 30 miles away from the nearest cities and they’re not very large. I love it here. My nearest neighbor is like a thousand feet away. I’ve never seen someone here uninvited. Don’t write off rural AZ, it’s nice. There’s some great stargazing out here too. Mohave County.


If you are very outdoorsy and not opposed to living outside of a major metro area then you can look at Sedona and Prescott since they are in the mountains and offer year-round recreation. If you aren’t opposed to cold winters then Flagstaff would be great as well. There’s so much public land in this state that it’s hard to go wrong wherever you go.

CityExpat costs / monthFamily costs / month1 br studio / monthDinnerBeerCappuccino
Casa Grande$2,207$4,857$1,160$64.6$5.9$4.72
Yuma$2,004 $4,518$881$40.1$6.00$4.00
Bullhead City$1801$3953$923$50$5.41$4.16
Sierra Vista$1,655$3,971$813$52.9$5.47$5.23
Cost of living in Arizona


Useful Video

Why Arizona?

Arizona is a solid choice for you are seeking a comfortable place to live with lower living expenses, especially for college students or retirees or those preparing for retirement. A few key reasons include:

  • Low taxes (which can increase social security and pension benefits)
  • Excellent weather compared to cold or humid climates
  • Lower cost of living relative to other states
  • Active social scene for those over 55
  • Outdoor activities for exercise and recreation, like hiking, parks, and nature reserves
  • Cultural and entertainment opportunities, including attractions, festivals, and events
  • Access to quality healthcare
  • Relief from seasonal allergies
  • Abundance of golf courses
  • Minimal to no snow shoveling in many parts of the state

Cost of Living in Arizona

Here, for instance, is a simplified breakdown of your average monthly living expenses in cities across Arizona. These figures are averages and are approximately the same for the nine places we will discuss. The average after-tax salary in Arizona is $4,451, which is sufficient to cover living expenses for two months.

Rent (room, 1br apartment)$650-$1,050
Utilities (gas, electricity, water)$300-$350
Grocery & Food (eating out is not included)$400-$500
Miscellaneous Costs$100-$200
Average Cost of Living in Arizona in 2024

Now, let me introduce you to the nine most affordable cities to live in Arizona. They offer budget-friendly housing options, a relaxed lifestyle, and a comparatively low cost of living. This information could be your first stepping stone towards realizing your dream of residing in one of the most scenic states in the U.S. without breaking the bank.

Here’s a table presenting the necessary annual income (before and after taxes) to maintain a living wage for a family with two working adults and one child in nine selected cities across Arizona:

CityRequired Annual Income After TaxesRequired Annual Income Before Taxes
Casa Grande$72,179$84,016
Bullhead City$65,804$76,831
Sierra Vista$65,029$75,879

As illustrated in the table, Yuma and Kingman are the most cost-effective cities. Conversely, Florence and Casa Grande, both located in Pinal County, have the highest required incomes.


As Arizona’s second-largest city, Tucson is nestled in the southern part of the state, approximately 111 miles (180 km) south of Phoenix, the state capital. The population of Tucson, including its suburbs, totals about one million residents. Set within the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Tucson is flanked by stunning mountain ranges on all sides. The landscape, surprisingly diverse for a desert, showcases hills, dried riverbeds, rocky canyons, and an array of cacti and other flora, all under an unblemished azure sky.

Close by, you’ll find the iconic Saguaro National Park, a true Arizona treasure. The region boasts a desert climate with long, hot summers. Due to Tucson’s elevation of 2,624 feet (800 meters) above sea level, temperatures here are marginally cooler than in Phoenix.

The average cost of living in Tucson stands at $1,555 per month, which places it 33rd out of 34 cities in Arizona in terms of cost. The average after-tax salary is $4,105, sufficient to cover living expenses for about 2.6 months.


  • Rent for a budget-friendly 1-bedroom apartment runs about $660 per month.
  • Expect to pay roughly $40 for a dinner for two at a restaurant.
  • Internet service is a bargain here, averaging around $45 per month.
  • A monthly transport ticket falls below the state average at just $77

Bullhead City

Bullhead City, one of the most economical places to reside in Arizona, is part of Mohave County. Here, as throughout Arizona, the economy is on an upward trajectory, with both commercial and residential construction booming. The city boasts a population of 39,540 residents.

Situated on the Colorado River, Bullhead City is just 90 miles south of Las Vegas. The city of Laughlin, Nevada lies across the river, attracting Bullhead City residents for employment due to Nevada’s lack of state income tax.

Bullhead City experiences a classic desert climate, marked by low humidity and soaring summer temperatures. Winters are virtually snow-free.

The Colorado River plays a significant role in Bullhead City’s lifestyle, offering a wealth of water-related recreational activities. Residents and visitors can indulge in boating, jet skiing, fishing, or simply enjoying a refreshing swim. The necessary infrastructure and rental facilities are readily available, including special platforms along the riverbank.

Living in Bullhead City is reasonably affordable, with an average cost of living of $1,785, placing it 31st out of 34 cities in Arizona. The median after-tax salary is $3,901, sufficient to cover living expenses for 2.2 months.


  • The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center averages around $929.
  • A dinner for two at a restaurant will typically cost about $45.30.
  • The average monthly cost for internet service is $72.90.
  • A monthly public transportation ticket will set you back $79.30.

Sierra Vista

Nestled in Cochise County, Arizona, Sierra Vista is a charming small city with a population of 45,000 according to the 2020 census, making it the 27th most populous city in the state. Translating to “mountain view” in Spanish, Sierra Vista is located 75 miles southeast of Tucson and serves as the commercial, cultural, and entertainment hub of Cochise County. It’s characterized by a fairly stable climate with low humidity, but the North American Monsoon brings heavy rain in July and August, accounting for almost half the annual rainfall.

The average cost of living in Sierra Vista is $1,652, placing it 32nd out of 34 cheapest places in Arizona. The average after-tax salary of $3,280 can cover two months’ worth of living expenses.


  • Rent for a budget-friendly 1-bedroom apartment is about $720.
  • A dinner for two at a restaurant will cost roughly $52.
  • The average cost of internet service is $106.
  • A monthly transport ticket costs only $58.


Yuma, a city named after its county in Arizona, is home to more than 95,000 people. Its climate is desert-like, with mild winters and scorching summers, making it one of the hottest cities in the state. Temperatures in July can exceed 40°C (104°F), while in January, it rarely falls below 20°C (68°F). Interestingly, Yuma holds the Guinness World Record for the sunniest place on Earth, receiving sunshine for a whopping 93% of the year. The city sees an average annual rainfall of only eight centimeters. These ideal conditions – the absence of fog and clouds – make Yuma the perfect training ground for American military pilots.

The average cost of living in Yuma is $1,552, which places it in the top 28% of the most expensive cities worldwide. It ranks 34th out of 34 in Arizona, with a median after-tax salary of $2,796, enough to cover 1.8 months’ living expenses.


  • Rent for a budget-friendly 1-bedroom apartment is about $725.
  • A dinner for two at a restaurant will cost roughly $40.
  • The average cost of internet service is $75.
  • A monthly transport ticket costs only $57.


Kingman, the capital of Mojave County in northwestern Arizona, is the closest city to the Grand Canyon. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 28,068. Named after Lewis Kingman, the engineer behind the Atlantic-Pacific Railroad (later Santa Fe), it lies at the heart of Arizona’s Highway 66. Here begins the remnants of the historic route that traversed the United States from west to east.

As such, the city is rich with tourist attractions, murals, and graffiti dedicated to the iconic Route 66. At an altitude of about 1,000 meters (3,300 feet), Kingman enjoys temperate weather all year round. It’s not only a great place for tourists to explore but also an affordable choice for comfortable living in Arizona.

The average cost of living in Kingman is $1,982, ranking 26th out of 34 in Arizona. The median after-tax salary of $3,896 can cover two months’ living expenses.


  • Rent for a budget-friendly 1-bedroom apartment is about $1,054.
  • A dinner for two at a restaurant will cost roughly $30.
  • The average cost of internet service is $109.
  • A monthly transport ticket costs only $58.

Casa Grande

Situated in Pinal County, Arizona, Casa Grande boasts a population of 53,658 as per the 2020 census. Lying roughly halfway between Phoenix (48 miles southeast) and Tucson (69 miles northwest), the city bears a hot desert climate typical of the Sonoran Desert. With long, scorching summers and brief, mild winters, Casa Grande is steeped in history. Its name originates from the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument; in Spanish, “Casa Grande” translates to “big house.” Known for the Francisco Grande Hotel and golf resort, the city and its surrounding area offer diverse local entertainment, top-notch restaurants, and golf courses. Combined with its proximity to both Phoenix and Tucson, Casa Grande serves as a fantastic spot for relaxation and affordable living relative to larger neighboring cities. The average cost of living in Casa Grande is $2,008, placing it in the top 18% of the most expensive cities globally and ranking it 25th out of 34 in Arizona. The median after-tax salary of $3,904 covers living expenses for about 1.9 months.


  • Rent for a budget-friendly 1-bedroom apartment costs around $1,040.
  • Dinner for two at a restaurant costs about $60.
  • The average internet bill is $68.
  • A monthly transport ticket costs approximately $57.60.

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Just 77 miles north of Tucson and 61 miles southeast of Phoenix lies Florence, nestled in Pinal County, Arizona. As of the 2020 census, the population stands at 26,785. Its desert climate guarantees sweltering summers and mild winters. Florence serves as Pinal County’s administrative center, making it one of the oldest cities in the county and a recognized National Historic District. Over 25 of its buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can tour the beautiful Greek Orthodox Monastery of St. Anthony, an active monastery nestled in the Sonoran desert near Florence, founded in 1995.

The average cost of living in Florence is $2,015, placing it 22nd out of 34 in Arizona. The median after-tax salary is $3,872, sufficient for about 1.9 months’ living expenses.


  • Rent for a budget-friendly 1-bedroom apartment costs around $1,045.
  • Dinner for two at a restaurant costs about $60.40.
  • The average internet bill is $67.90.
  • A monthly transport ticket costs approximately $57.60.


Glendale, Arizona, home to 226,721 people, is situated just 16 kilometers northwest of Phoenix. As one of Arizona’s most developed cities in terms of living infrastructure, it houses the Westgate Entertainment District, the go-to destination in the West Valley for dining, nightlife, shopping, community events, concerts, sporting events, and celebrations of all kinds.

The Desert Diamond West Valley Casino, nestled within the Westgate Entertainment District, and one of the Tanger Outlets featuring more than 90 leading brands and designer outlet stores, add to Glendale’s charm.

The average cost of living in Glendale is $2,088, ranking it 522nd globally, 412th in the United States, and 10th out of 34 in Arizona. The median after-tax salary of $3,478 covers about 1.7 months’ living expenses.


  • Rent for a budget-friendly 1-bedroom apartment costs around $1,047.
  • Dinner for two at a restaurant costs about $32.40.
  • The average internet bill is $113.
  • A monthly transport ticket costs approximately $59.10.


Located in Maricopa County, Arizona, the city of Surprise has a population of 143,148, as per the 2020 census. Situated between 20 and 30 miles northwest of Phoenix, it was founded in 1938 by Flora May Statler, who ironically named it “Surprise,” doubting the city would ever grow significantly. Yet, the city has septupled in size since the 1990s and 2000s when thousands of retirees flocked to the age-restricted resort community of Sun City Grand. Its residents, who greatly enjoy sports and outdoor activities, are also proud hosts of spring training for baseball teams “Kansas City Royals” and “Texas Rangers.” As a result, Surprise has emerged as a modern and affordable place to live in Arizona.

The average cost of living in Surprise is $2,278 with the the median after-tax salary of $3,391 covers living expenses for approximately 1.5 months.


  • Rent for a budget-friendly 1-bedroom apartment costs around $1,277.
  • Dinner for two at a restaurant costs about $63.30.
  • The average internet bill is $81.30.
  • A monthly transport ticket costs approximately $61.80.

Saving Money in Arizona

One way to save money in Arizona is to combine your cable, phone, and internet services. Providers like Cox Communications offer options for bundled services which can reduce your overall bill.

Switching from a large brand to an independent, low-cost operator can often yield additional savings. Alternatively, consider canceling your cable TV subscription altogether. Using an antenna can provide access to major channels, and the internet can fill in the rest of your entertainment needs.

Also, keep an eye on your thermostat. Adjusting it by just a few degrees can significantly impact your monthly heating and cooling costs.

Another option to live on a budget in Arizona is to limit your water consumption, especially hot water. After heating and cooling, hot water usage is the second largest energy expense in most homes. Only run your dishwasher when it’s fully loaded and, if possible, wash your clothes in cold water.

Conserve energy by turning off your computer at night and installing energy-efficient LED bulbs. Choose the most beneficial electricity consumption rate for your lifestyle.

Try bundling your insurance policies to take advantage of any available discounts.

Consider mortgage refinancing. If the rates have changed, you could potentially save on your monthly payments.

Places to Retire

When considering the cost of living, the cities I mentioned can be ranked from the most affordable to the least as follows, with a special recommendation for cities with a population of less than 100,000:

  1. Yuma
  2. Tucson
  3. Sierra Vista
  4. Kingman
  5. Casa Grande
  6. Florence
  7. Glendale
  8. Surprise
  9. Mesa
  10. Phoenix


How much money do I need to live comfortably in Arizona?

While this depends on your personal lifestyle and habits, an average of $2,200 per month should be sufficient for a single person. Family budgets, especially those with children, will require more detailed consideration.

What is the safest place to live in Arizona?

The City of San Luis has been recognized as the safest city in Arizona for 2023 by SafeWise. San Luis has held a spot on this list since 2016.

What are good grocery stores in Arizona?

Target is for basics like cereal, yogurt, pastas. Fry’s, Bashas (expensive), Safeway, and Sprouts are best for local produce. Walmart is for household items and pantry.

Is Phoenix expensive?

No. Phoenix boasts a cost of living that is only slightly above the national average, making it a more affordable option than coastal cities like San Francisco, San Diego, or NYC. Phoenix’s cost of living is 3% lower than the state average and just four percent higher than the national average. This compares favorably to cities like San Francisco, where the cost of living is a whopping 94% above the national average. Also, Phoenix is particularly appealing for individuals living on a fixed income, such as retirees. According to the Living Wage Calculator by MIT, a family of four, with two working parents, would need to earn approximately $24 per hour per adult to live comfortably in the Phoenix metropolitan area. This equates to an annual income of $100,131 before taxes.

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