Across the United States, the cost of living can vary greatly. But as it turns out, the state you live in can have a huge effect on your saving success — for reasons beyond high rent or gas prices.
Here’s what a new survey found about the way people spend money in different states.
Where do People Save the Most Money?
Personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly ranked states along a spectrum from stingy to spendy, based on four key statistics:
- Bank deposits per capita
- Average household credit card debt
- Highest state marginal income tax rate
- Number of coupons printed from Coupons.com
As you can see, the study focused less on the cost of living and more on differences in behavior — which populations get themselves into more debt or take the time to clip more coupons. While these data points can be related to excessive living costs, they also shed new light on the money ethics of different areas.
Using these metrics, Get Rich Slowly compiled some surprising data. Some states not stereotypically seen as “frugal” ranked higher than you’d expect.
For instance, New York is ranked #26 due to its high annual deposit rate ($65,490) — but neighboring New Jersey is in the bottom 10, with a tax rate of almost 9% and average household debt totalling over $7,000.
You can check out all the data over at Get Rich Slowly, but here are the top and bottom three states for savers.
States Where People Save the Most Money
Which states are most financially savvy?
1. South and North Dakota
I cheated a little and threw these neighbors together. But with high deposits, low income tax rates and credit card debt, and over $1 million in coupon savings per state, the Dakotas are prime real estate for savvy spenders.
2. North Carolina
Although their income tax rate is average at 5.8%, North Carolinians clip more coupons than almost any other state; saving up to $26 million annually!
If you’re looking for neighbors who don’t think you’re crazy when you head to the store with a pocket full of clippings, consider North Carolina as a potential home.
You might be surprised to learn the casino capital ranks so highly. But its status as one of the seven states with zero income tax, as well as annual per-capita deposits of more than $50,000, make Nevada a safe bet (pun intended) for savers.
States Where People Save the Least Money
On the other hand, if you live in one of the following three states, you’ll find your effort to save a bit more challenging:
A combination of low deposits (only $15,000 annually) and an income tax rate of almost 10% make this hipster haven a risky venture for the 20-somethings who flock there.
With the second-highest income tax rate in the nation — 11%, topped only by California’s 13.3% — Hawaiians have trouble saving.
In fact, they have an average $6,906 in debt — almost a thousand dollars more than the national average.
Even though Alaska enjoys a non-existent state income tax and is notorious for its relocation incentives, its citizens don’t seem very concerned with saving: Each household carries $7,609 of debt on average, and the state ranked dead last in coupon-clipping.
Savings Start at Home — No Matter Where That Is!
Regardless of where you live, behavioral changes are the key to saving money. A little bit of effort can take you a long way toward your savings goals.
Your Turn: Where does your state stand on this spectrum of savings? Would you be willing to move to a thriftier state?
Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a native Floridian. She’s passionate about learning, literature, chocolate and finding ways to live the good life as cost-effectively as possible.