10 Best Southern Cities To Retire on a Budget of $1,500 a Month

Sweet tea meets sweet deals in these top 10 budget-friendly Southern retirement cities.
Updated May 15, 2024
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Senior couple reviewing bills using tablet

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Retirees on a fixed income who carefully watch their budget would probably love to find a place with low housing costs, relatively affordable health care, and an inviting climate.

Fortunately, several places in the South fit the bill. These are pockets of affordability that also happen to offer a good quality of life for seniors.

In some of these cities, you might have to supplement your income to live more frugally, but if you do, you could retire on just $1,500 a month in these 10 Southern cities.

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Odessa, Texas

Kristina/Adobe texas skyline from wadley barron park

This classic town in western Texas is full of history, adventure, and outdoor activities. That makes it perfect for active retirees looking for a budget-friendly way to spend their golden years.

You can find one-bedroom apartments in Odessa for around $1,248. So, as you prepare for retirement, consider visiting Odessa to see if it’s a candidate to be your new home during your golden years.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Larry/Adobe eureka springs and north arkansas railroad

It’s not often you’ll find both a charming historic town and an affordable cost of living, but Eureka Springs is an exception to that rule.

According to Best Places, the city offers Victorian homes, natural springs, a walkable downtown, and a cost of living that’s 76.3% of the national average.

There are museums, art galleries, and restaurants, as well as parks and outdoor recreation. Just bear in mind that median home prices can be a bit higher here, at $399,000.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Kevin Ruck/Adobe chattanooga tennessee skyline

If you are looking for a bustling, medium-sized city, Chattanooga can be a good choice. It has a historic downtown, art, restaurants, and access to the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.

There’s also the Tennessee River for those who can’t imagine retiring far from the water.

Redfin says the median home price here is $316,000, so you might have to search for a bargain—or make a sizeable down payment—to make homeownership affordable. However, it is possible to get a one-bedroom apartment for around $1,300.

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Lake Charles, Louisiana

jacob/Adobe lake charles town in eastern louisiana

If you love great Cajun food, hunting, fishing, and the pull of the bayou, then look to Lake Charles for an affordable retirement.

You can find a one-bedroom apartment for well under $1,000 and a small home for around $123,000.

Tallahassee, Florida

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe tallahassee florida usa with purple sky

Tallahassee can be a good choice if you want all the perks of a Florida retirement — no income tax, palm trees, warm weather year-round — without the expensive price tag you’ll find in many other cities throughout the Sunshine State.

Redfin says the median home price in Tallahassee is $289,950, and bargain hunters can likely score an even better deal.

Lynchburg, Virginia

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe lynchburg virginia downtown city skyline

Lynchburg is a historic mountain town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Its access to beautiful neighborhoods and hiking trails makes it a favorite of retirees.

Redfin says the median price for a home in Lynchburg is $253,450. That makes Lynchburg a great place to find an affordable lifestyle with all the amenities of a medium-sized city.

Lubbock, Texas

Patricia E. Thomas/Adobe downtown lubbock texas at sunset

Lubbock can be a delightful place for retirees to settle down. It’s a smaller, more navigable city than Houston or Dallas, yet it’s home to a major university, Texas Tech.

You can easily find apartments here for around $1,024, according to Redfin.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Kevin Ruck/Adobe downtown winston-salem north carolina skyline

Winston-Salem is another medium-sized city where you will find culture, access to a major research hospital, and a walkable downtown.

Despite all those perks, homes cost a median of just $265,000, and you likely can do even better. That means you’ll be able to comfortably retire on a fixed income, yet you’ll still have access to the vibrant quality of life you get from a bigger city.

Ocala, Florida

HJ/Adobe historical fire bell in downtown ocala

If your retirement dreams include spending sunny days on the golf course, head to Ocala and hit the links.

Moving to Ocala can be your key to a classic retirement in the Sunshine State, complete with zero state income tax.

According to Redfin, the median home price is $262,000.

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Shreveport, Louisiana

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe shreveport louisiana usa

Shreveport's warm weather can make it enticing for retirees. The city also offers Cajun culture and a low cost of living.

The median home price here is just $200,000, which can really help you get ahead financially

That makes Shreveport a great place to enjoy entertainment and music, incredible Southern food, and access to critical health care during your golden years.

Bottom line

Prostock-studio/Adobe senior couple reviewing bills using laptop

The average Social Security check is more than $1,700, meaning a budget of $1,500 a month might even leave you with extra money to sock away or spend on the grandkids.

Retiring to one of the affordable cities on this list can help boost your fortunes during your golden years, especially if you retire early with a modest nest egg that requires you to live frugally.

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Author Details

Heather Bien Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.

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