Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Frugal Cities

How would you go about identifying the most frugal cities in the US?  One study did so based on couponing.  That would not have been my first choice.

Last week a news story hit listing the 10 most "frugal" cities in the US.  Do you agree:
  • Houston
  • Chicago
  • San Antonio
  • Columbus
  • Indianapolis
  • New York
  • Miami
  • Dallas
  • Jacksonville
  • Las Vegas
If I had been asked to develop criteria for what makes a city frugal, it would not be the frequency of coupon use of its residents.  That just tells me that the shoppers there like to save money, and use those nifty new apps on Smart Phones.  Here are a few ideas I'd offer for ranking truly frugal cities and its inhabitants, they would include:
  • excellent public transportation that is used at a high rate by locals (which is low-cost);
  • plentiful bike lanes and routes that are well funded and traveled (inexpensive way to commute);
  • quality public schools (avoid the cost of private education);
  •  local farmers, frequency, and use (buy directly, or near direct, from the source);
  • low average cost of housing (price per square foot);
  • numerous credit unions  (which offer lower cost banking services); and
  • density of thrift and second hand stores.
Funny, based on that I think my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin would crack the top 10 if not lead the pack.  What about you -- how would you define a frugal city?


Image taken by author, Melinda Gustafson Gervasi, at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison -- a FREE zoo.

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