Cost of Living Index: 87.5
City Population: 229,617
Median Household Income: $41,483 (U.S. median: $51,914)
Average Home Price: $199,118 (U.S. average: $283,529)
Winston-Salem is far and away the most budget-friendly big city in the Tar Heel State, with Raleigh a distant second. The average home sells for under $200,000, and a typical apartment rents for just $590 a month. Cheap housing is offset somewhat by the highest grocery and health-care expenses of our cheapest 10 cities. Wake Forest University and cigarette maker Reynolds American are among the area's biggest employers.