Hidden Gems: America’s Most Affordable Cities (Infographic)

Click on the image to view the full infographic.

Click on the image to view the full infographic.

Big-city living isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Not only will you find plenty of small-town charm if you live in a less populated town; you’ll also save money. Apartment Guide found the top 10 cities with the least expensive median rent prices, and we dug up a few cool facts about these hidden gems as well.

1. FlorenceMuscle Shoals, AL

Median rent: $395

Named after the city in Italy, the northwestern Alabama town of Florence not only boasts the cheapest rent in the nation; it’s also the home of the University of North Alabama. Music lovers are in luck; artists from all over the country come to Florence each summer for the W.C. Handy Music Festival. It originally focused on blues and jazz, but now includes rock, gospel, country and more.

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Craigslist vs. eBay: Where Should You Sell Your Stuff?

There’s no way around it – you need extra cash. While selling blood plasma may have crossed your mind, there are easier ways to pad your bank account. Have you thought about selling stuff that you no longer want or need online?

Need Extra Cash? Selling on Craigslist or eBay Could Bring Big Bucks

From furniture to textbooks and even the most random knick knacks, you’d be surprised what people are willing to pay for the stuff you’ve long neglected. The hard part may be determining the best vehicle for getting your stuff into a buyer’s hands. Craigslist and eBay are two notoriously popular options, but which one is right for you? Apartment Guide explains the good and the bad of each.

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New Year, New Budget! How to Stay Financially Fit in 2014 (Infographic)

Click the image to view the full infographic.

Click the image to view the full infographic!

It’s the kind of cliche that exists for a reason: are you already planning to do a better job following a budget in the New Year?

If your credit card bills are telling you that you overspent during the holidays, take a look at our tips for getting – and staying! – financially fit in 2014.

Apartment Guide has teamed up with LearnVest, an award-winning financial planning company, to share some useful budgeting tips on how to spend less and save more this year.

We’ve also dug through our data to find the top 10 most budget-friendly metros for affordable apartment living in 2014.

Our recent budget survey found that a majority of people who are moving opt to do the work themselves — without hiring a moving company – and they are spending less than $1,000 on the entire move. One in three renters plan to spend more on entertainment at home in their apartments this year, however. (Maybe that’s where the moving money is going?)

On that subject, LearnVest notes that the average American spends over $900 a year on cable. You might consider a less-expensive option to get access to your favorite shows, like HuluPlus or Netflix, instead.

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Sweep Away Bad Budgeting Habits With a Saving Plan

We won't claim that saving is fun, but here are a few tips that jsut might help make it a little less painful! Here's to saving in 2014!

We won’t claim that saving is fun, but here are a few tips that  might make it a little less painful. Here’s to saving in 2014!

It’s far too easy to blow your budget over the holiday season.

Between the presents, the parties and the travel, all of your merry-making can leave you seeing red in the new year.

But there’s good news: the start of a new year is also a great time to get your savings goals back on track.

Here are a few easy, fairly painless ways you can get a new saving plan started in 2014!

Lose the “latte factor”
Financial expert David Bach, author of the best-selling Finish Rich books, advises everyone to determine their “latte factor.” Your personal “latte factor” refers to the small, seemingly insignificant items you purchase on a regular basis, such as a daily coffee from Starbucks. These items may have small price tags, but when purchased periodically they really add up. You could buy café lattes five days at $3.50 a pop, or you could choose to save that money — which adds up to over $900 a year — in an interest-bearing account. Saving money is the same thing as making money, so it’s a good idea to look at where you’re bleeding extra cash — such as daily coffees, cigarettes, unused gym memberships, etc. — to consider what you might be able to cut out.

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Rent Going Up? 5 Ways to Save Money So You Don’t Feel the Pinch

If your used clothing is in good shape, consider selling a few items to make some extra cash.

If your used clothing is in good shape, consider selling a few items to make some extra cash.

It’s practically inevitable: Live in an apartment for a while, and your rent is likely to go up at some point. And hey, we feel your pain. No one likes to pay more per month for the same thing. But c’est la vie, life isn’t fair, you can’t always get what you want, etc.

The National Association of Realtors predicts average apartment rates will rise 4.3 percent in 2014. That could sting a little – unless you’re prepared to budget for a rent hike. We’ve got some ideas to adjust your spending habits so it won’t hurt as much to give your landlord a little extra money every month.

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Christmas Shopping Apps: Technology to Make Your Christmas Shopping Easier

Santa Claus, perusing the "naughty or nice" app on his cell phone -- indispensable!

Santa Claus, perusing the “Naughty or Nice” app on his smartphone. His review: 5 stars, “indispensable!”

Feeling overwhelmed by all the Christmas shopping you still have left to do?

Why not put your smartphone to work… and relax!

There’s a wealth of fun and convenient shopping apps that will help you get your holiday shopping done faster, easier — and on budget!

Shop smart this season with a few of our favorite apps.

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How Can I Keep Debt Down Around the Holidays?

Give yourself the gift of good credit for the holidays! Check out these tips for budgeting during the holiday season.

Give yourself the gift of good credit for the holidays! Check out these tips for keeping debt down this holiday season.

By Ellen Henderson Sirull

The holidays can be packed with extra spending – from trips to visit the fam to getting your best friend the jacket you know she’ll love.

There are a few ways you can try to keep the fun and giving up while keep costs down.

Here are three things you may want to pay attention to in order to keep your debt down around the holidays.

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5 Economic Factors that Favor the Perma-Renter

The new trend in long-term renting serves many apartment dwellers well. Check out the economics behind the phenomenon here.

The new trend in long-term renting serves many apartment dwellers well. Check out the economics behind the phenomenon here.

If you see yourself living in your apartment for the foreseeable future, you are not alone. Chances are, you may fall into a category labeled “perma-renter.”

For perma-renters, apartment living isn’t a temporary situation; it’s a preferred way of life.

The number of perma-renters is on the rise. In the wake of the recession, the housing bust and a stagnant job market, perma-renters have no interest in becoming homeowners. They’re content to stay put, seeing apartment life as a more convenient and affordable alternative to buying a home.

Here’s a look at some of the economic factors helping to create the current perma-renter boom.

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Ask These Questions as You Budget to Move

Will you hire professional movers or do the hauling yourself? That's one question to consider when you're planning to move.

Will you hire professional movers or do the hauling yourself? That’s one question to consider when you’re planning to move.

Moving involves a number of steps, and getting a firm grip on the details can really help. You can likely lower the cost of a move, for instance, when you seek out reliable information. After all, a little intel goes a long way.

To get a handle on how much a move might cost, keep these six key questions in mind.

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Rent for Control of Your Personal Economics

When you add up all that apartment living has to offer, renting can play a key role in your personal economy.

When you add up all that apartment living has to offer, renting can play a key role in your personal economy.

Watch your rent budget. 

Invest in stocks. 

Save for the future. 

Pay attention to the market.

Find your perfect apartment now!

It seems we’re constantly bombarded with information about how we should manage our financial futures.

It can be tough to sort through all of those messages to figure out exactly how it all applies to our individual financial needs.

That’s where personal economics comes in.

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