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Ogden, Salt Lake City are a cheapskate's paradise, Kiplinger says

Published August 26, 2013 4:05 pm

Kiplinger ranking • Cities make top 10 list of best places for penny-pinchers.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ogden, a great town for frugal shoppers, has two Dollar Stores near downtown, and it's blessed with household incomes that are more than 18 percent above the U.S. median.

Salt Lake City may not have any Dollar Stores close to downtown, but it's still one of the best places in the U.S. for penny-pinchers to live, thanks to living costs that are well under the national average.

The two Utah cities are on a list personal finance website Kiplinger.com devised of the 10 best cities for cheapskates. Ogden was ranked No. 2. Salt Lake City landed at No. 7.

Kiplinger sifted through more than 900 cities to create the list. To be considered, city candidates had to have at least 250,000 residents. Household income had to be larger than the U.S. median. The website also looked for cities with lots of museums and libraries, as well as plenty of things to do that are cheap or free. And it counted up all the Dollar Stores within a 10-mile radius of the city's heart.

"We wanted to point out places where it's really affordable to live, and not just live but enjoy life," Stacy Rapacon, a Kiplinger online editor, said Monday.

And that Utah was one of three states with two cities on the list, "speaks to the state and how affordable it is there," Rapacon said.

Ogden's population of 537,603 has a median household income of $62,340 — well above the U.S. median of $52,762 and higher than other cities on the list. The cost of living in Ogden is 10 percent below the national average. There are 66 public libraries and museums in and around the city. And health care costs are the most affordable, at 8.8 percent below average.

"Low costs plus fat paychecks can add up to big savings in Ogden," according to Kiplinger.

Further south and lower on the list, the Salt Lake metro population of 1.1 million enjoys a cost of living that is 7.3 percent below average. The median household income of $59,930 is almost 15 percent above the U.S. median.

Utah's capital has 134 libraries and museums. And while it doesn't have any Dollar Stores downtown, there are 12 Dollar Trees within 10 miles.

Housing and utilities are the biggest budget-savers, 15.9 percent and 13.7 percent below average, according to Kiplinger.

"Let Mother Nature be your guide for economical entertainment. Nestled in the valley between the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountains, the city provides easy access to trails and slopes for every season's outdoor enthusiast," the site said. —

Kiplinger's 10 top cities for skinflints

1 • Omaha, Neb.

2 • Ogden

3 • Des Moines, Iowa

4 • Columbus, Ohio

5 • Raleigh, N.C.

6 • Cincinnati

7 • Salt Lake City

8 • Austin, Texas

9 • St. Louis

10 • Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Source: Kiplinger.com