Best places to Live in Florida 2014 on a Budget 24   Recently updated !


If inexpensive living is what you are looking for when moving to Florida, these places are the Best places to Live in Florida 2014 on a Budget. Whether you’re retiring or looking to keep your home up northbest places to live in florida on a budget beach and buy an affordable second home in Florida, there are areas where you can still take advantage of the disastrous price drop that happened in Florida during the great recession. While there may be other areas that are still cheap, I choose these areas because they are also relatively safe and located close to the beaches and the activities people move to Florida for.

Best places to Live in Florida 2014 on a Budget, East Coast, Brevard County

Brevard County on Florida’s east coast suffered two big hits to it’s economy in the last several years when NASA mothballed the Space Shuttle program and the huge loss of real estate values during the last recession. The bottom for this area has been reached and the economy is slowly improving, but there are still a lot of homes and condos for sale under $100,000.

Besides being affordable, living in Brevard County means your are never that far from some beautiful beaches and golf courses. The Brevard County Manatees offers baseball fans affordable entertainment. Trips to the theme parks in Orlando aren’t difficult either since they’re only about an hour away.

There are about thirty miles of beach in the county. They are uncrowded sections perfect for fishing, collecting shells and just laying in the sun listening to the waves. There are also beaches with more going on that are close to bars an restaurants like you’ll see in this video.

If you will be moving to Florida but plan on driving back north often, Brevard’s location can be ideal. because I-95 runs right through it. It’s a much shorter trip back home than traveling from south Florida or the Gulf coast. For air travel, Melbourne International Airport in Brevard County has two major airlines flying from it. Just an hour away, Orlando can get you anywhere in the world.

If you are looking for a place to move to in Florida in 2014 that offers inexpensive living options in a safe relaxing environment, there are areas in Brevard County that may be just what you are looking for.

Best Places to Live in Florida 2014 on a Budget, West Coast, Charlotte County Florida

Like Brevard County on the east coast of Florida, Charlotte County was hit hard by the last recession and prices fell fast. The bottom has been hit here too and prices are increasing but there are still a lot of condos and homes for sale cheap in the area. There are many areas in Florida where there are still inexpensive properties, but they are mostly located in areas with high levels of crime or located out in the middle of nowhere, and after a few months you’ll be so bored you’ll be shoving sharp objects in your eyes for something to do.

Florida’s Healthiest Most Walkable Towns

Like Brevard County, you’re never that far away from beautiful beaches, golf courses, fishing and all the activities that make people consider Florida when thinking about relocating. Punta Gorda is a nice little town that was a “best places to live” pick many years ago by Money Magazine, when the state of Florida claimed most of the top picks. The town has a large manicured park with tennis courts right on the river waterfront. From the park you can walk to shops and restaurants at Fishermen’s Village. Here’s a video of Fishermen’s Village during the annual Pirate Fest (video was done by a gun advocate he discusses that at the beginning and end of the video, a warning for those who may be upset by that) that shows the village and fest well. On a side note, Florida now has over 1,000,000 people who can legally carry a concealed firearm.

Charlotte County also has a stadium that is the spring training facility for the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball team and the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Charlotte may be a few hours from Orlando but it’s only a little over an hour from Busch Gardens in Tampa. Charlotte also has some nice beaches with clear warm water on the Gulf of Mexico in the Englewood area.

Charlotte County has it’s own small airport with a small number of major airlines offering flight, but the Tampa St Petersburg is probably the closest major airport with lots of flights, about an hour away. While Brevard County may be driven to from points north, a driving to Charlotte County may involve an overnight stay.

Florida isn’t for everyone as the high number of people moving out everyday proves. But if you’re committed to moving to Florida in 2014 and are looking for a place that’s affordable, safe and offers much of what draws people to the state, you will want to consider these two areas. Comments are welcome.

UPDATE: While most of Brevard and Charlotte Counties are still relatively cheap for Florida, but you must see:

The 5 Safest Most Affordable Places to Live or Retire in Florida in 2015

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24 thoughts on “Best places to Live in Florida 2014 on a Budget

  • Penny

    My husband and I are moving to Florida by the end of summer. We live in Dsm Iowa now. We’re trying to decide where we want to live there. Need something affordable as we live on a fixed income and we’d love something away from high crime areas and definately by the beach!! The beach is a must have. Apartment living isn’t for us as we have kitties that will be making the move with us.
    If you could send me some ideas and maybe some pics of homes including prices I’d really appreciate it. Can’t really learn that much on my computer. Houses, duplex, condos is what we’re looking for but preferably a house.
    Thank you,
    Sincerely,
    Penny & Bart Adkins

    • Ron Post author

      Hello Penny and Bart,
      I’m sorry but this blog isn’t a real estate services website, so I can’t send you homes, prices, etc. Before you do contact a Realtor, I suggest you decide on what area(s) you are interested in considering first, because 1) an agent will only be able to help in one specific area. 2) asking an agent what area is best won’t work because the answer you will get is the area that they sell homes in (that’s their job, they get paid for selling).

      An agent will tell you the area they sell in is best because they will make thousands of dollars if you buy there, from them. It may not be the best area for you, in fact it may be one of the worst. If it turns out to be an area you hate, the agent may win again if you list the home for sale with them. Happens all the time in Florida.

      Please do yourself a favor and thoroughly research any move. There are lots of people who move BACK to the mid-west from Florida. As far as what area in Florida, please read the post on this website about the “best places to retire in Florida in 2014″, I think between that and a re-read of this post “best places to live on a budget”, you may be able to narrow it down. If you could locate a Realtor in the area you want to move, that is originally from Iowa, that connection may be very beneficial. I hope you find a good and especially honest agent that is truly interested in helping you, as much as they are interested in cashing a commission check. Good luck.

    • betty

      Hi Penny,
      Did you find any info yet? My husband and I also on a fixed income, retired are looking for an apt to rent that is affordable. we live in Chicagoland and cant seem to find anything.
      I was wondering about where in Florida to research.
      Thanks and good luck to you.

      • Anonymous

        Port St. Lucie Florida is one of the cheapest with a central location. Not far from interstate 95 are large houses far below under 200k. Definitely exit Chicago. My villa in Deerfield Beach goes for more than a 4 bedroom home out there. I’m getting ready to dodge.

    • stacyehatessouthflorida

      DO NOT MOVE TO FLORIDA. ESPECIALLY SOUTH FLORIDA. … UNLESS U R OLD & RETIRING WITH LOTS OF MONEY OR U R RICH. I HAVE 2 CHILDREN & I AM A CERTIFIED MEDICAL ASSISTANT. STILL CANT FIND PROPER WORK & MOST OF THE PEOPLE ARE JUST PLAIN NASTY. I WISH I STAYED IN N.Y. THE ONLY THING THAT MEANS ANY WORTH TO ME MOVING HERE 11 YEARS AGO WAS MEETING MY NOW HUSBAND & HAVING OUR TWO KIDS. OTHERWISE I HAVE NEVER HAD SUCH A HARD TIME FINING WORK. EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE SO INCONSIDERATE & NASTY. SUCKS IN SOUTH FLORIDA STAY UP NORTH. MOST PEOPLE SEEM ABOUT COMMUNITY…NOT DOWN HERE. THERE IS NO SUCH THING.

      • Pat

        Stacy… I agree with you from start to finish.. I moved to Florida ‘from’ New York 20 yrs ago & still dislike the state.. There are 67 counties in Florida & so far I have lived in 7 of them turned into a gypsy since I moved here which is definitely not like me at all.. Florida is a nice place to visit but I will never call it ‘home'; and to anyone that thinks living here is cheap forget that it’s not your grandma’s Florida anymore.. Owned a home here too & sold that as soon as I could & apartment rentals are not cheap & poorly managed.. Good luck to all that want to move here just do your research visiting a state is never the same as living in it especially during snowbird season when prices go ^…. Sleepless in Florida ..

    • Pat

      Penny, I am a senior living alone & also on a fixed income & I will tell you it is a struggle every month.. Just when you think you’ve mastered the art of living in Florida on a budget along comes reality.. It is not easy here in Florida the way the travel & tourism people make you think it is.. The only people that can afford to live in Florida are real estate agents..

    • carol b.

      I am looking for a place to I can afford. My husband and I need a Florida house or maybe an apartment. We now live in Maryland would love help to find a place please. Like to move in APRIL 2015 or sooner. Thank You. PLEASE HELP US FIND A PLACE APRIL 2015

      • Ron Post author

        Hello Carol,
        I am currently busy working on finishing another book, but I’m putting together a new team that will help people like you find the best area, agent and properties, in Florida or and almost anywhere else. The service will be free and should be available by January 1rst, 2015. The website address is in the back of the “Florida Move Guide” already in the resource section and a link will posted on this site when we start taking on new people again.

        I you want help sooner, choose an area you think is best. Unfortunately, crime is an issue. It has made finding cities and towns that are both affordable and safe (not just a sales pitch but verified by crime rate statistics) to recommend, harder to find every year. Safe but expensive is easier to find. Once you decide on an area, call and talk to different people until you find someone you’re comfortable with and feel you can trust.

        Selling, buying and moving many states away is a life changing event. I wouldn’t work with someone who treats it like just another commission check to cash. Florida is different. So if it were me, I would only work with an agent who has practiced real estate in Florida for many years, so they know the area, homes and issues unique to Florida well.

        Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • FloridaNative

    Living in Florida on a fixed income is nearly impossible. The cost of living is outrageous and things continue to get more expensive. Sure, we don’t have a state income tax, but those revenues are made up by taxing other everyday necessities. The crime rate is rising, the entire state is full of illegals, drugs and gangs are rampant. The immigrants come and jump behind the wheel of the nearest car, not bothering to get a license, much less insurance. No one speaks English in stores like Wal-Mart (employees AND customers) especially in South Florida, and everyone is extremely rude. Florida is known as a transient state: Watch America’s Most Wanted and COPS. Florida is mentioned at least once an episode as where a criminal has either committed a crime, fled to, or lives/lived in. You know you’re in the wrong place when COPS regularly rides along with the Sheriff’s department in the county in which you live (Palm Beach)

    If you like no change of season; hot muggy summers (all year round) and about three days of comfortable temperatures in the “winter”, bugs that spread tropical diseases and grow to the size of small house cats, then come to Florida. There are much more affordable, hospitable, safe states to move to. Unless you are uber-wealthy, then Florida is for you. I’ve lived here more than 50 years, and I’m moving north (out of the state) as soon as I can save up enough money to do so.

    Do yourselves a favor-DO SOME MAJOR RESEARCH!! I used to own a mortgage company. Research on the internet, don’t depend on someone who is looking to make money on whether or not you move to Florida (or any place for that matter) The place you decide to move to is where you’ll be calling home. Don’t leave anything to chance.

    • Ron Post author

      Comments from people who have lived in Florida long enough to know what it’s really like are always welcome. Thanks for making the effort to explain what your experience has been and the area you live in. Most people moving to Florida usually only come across websites that sell dreams (myths) so they can increase their bank account. While there are some areas that are more expensive than others, even towns that have lower home prices aren’t as inexpensive as some other states. Running the AC in Florida almost all year is expensive. I wouldn’t recommend southeast Florida for full-time Florida living. Thanks again for writing “FloridaNative”

  • sharon

    I have lived in the panhandle of Florida for the last 30 years, between Pensacola and Panama city. Due to the military in the area if you aren’t employed by the Dept. Of Defense or retired military prepare for low wages and no benefits or Choose a different area.

  • chris

    Hi Penny; don’t let the downers deter you from what you are looking for in Florida. I have lived, worked and run a business in Florida many years. I own an acre there near Crystal River. As far as new Yorkers go, they do not seem to fit in Florida because most, not all have an attitude of me first and are some what pushy. So no they don’t go over well with neighbors ect. I suggest you look at sites for repo’s, short sales on the web. Maybe there you can see a place you might like. otherwise take a vacation there and see if you like bugs, humidity, and the people you meet there/natives… I am currently in Tennessee and miss living in Florida. I hope to build there soon. There is nothing better then clean fresh sea air and relaxing there in whatever lifestyle you prefer. Just always remember to be prepared for stormy weather possibilities at least 6 months a year. Know that insurance for storms is very expensive so plan for that in you purchasing of a home. I wish you luck and also do not buy in any flood zone to help keep insurance costs down. hope you find what you are looking for and will be happy.

    • Lou

      You can’t learn what a waste of time sweltering swamp florida is from a vacation. I took lots of vacations here, that’s why I moved. Then every month I discovered something else I can’t stand. People here are grumpy and rude, not just from NY. It’s humid all the time. I’m taking a loss but I’m getting out of here as soon as my house sells. There are good reasons for all the downers, be wise and listen.

      • James

        Florida is definitely a different experience than what I was expecting. I do have to say that moving here was ultimately a regret of mine. The economy still suffers and real estate prices are continuing to increase – including rent.

        Orlando seems to be undergoing some remodeling, which is herding the less fortunate around town looking for reasonable rental rates. I live on a fixed income, only added to by work that I struggle to find, and I can tell you the previous poster who said it’s impossible was correct: it’s impractical.

        Unless you have 1000+ for 1 bed or 1300 for 2, don’t bother. Another poster mentioned some issues with the Mexican population. I will confirm that there is a large Mexican, Haitian, and Puerto Rican population here…that’s why the state is frequently dubbed a “melting pot”. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that their ethnicity is the problem. I do, however, feel that cultural differences as well as the choices of few to pedal their wares might be off-putting depending on how and where you have lived. Remember: crime is a colorless employer.

        All in all, if anyone is thinking of moving here I’d say think twice. There are better states with better employment laws (FL is a right-to-work, at will state that makes being an employer a walk in the park, while conversely employees can struggle and do nothing more than get a second job.

        We operate on or near the federal minimum wage, which is BS considering the rent bubble and the cost of living in the first place.

        The money saved on state income tax, as mentioned above, get spent on other government taxes, including utility, that Rick Scott jacked up on us.

        Good luck, but I’d stay put if I was considering moving here.

    • LM

      I disagree. I’ve been in the Orlando area since 2002 and I can’t say I have one close friend. Upon leaving NY, I was longing for the Southern hospitality and friendliness. It does not exist. People here are phony and cold. I’d take a solid straight shooting New Yorker over any one of these people, at least you can take them for who they really are. Unless you are moving with a large family, be prepared to be lonely and sad. Work is hard to find, even with a master degree and experience. Pay is beyond criminal. Drivers are uninsured and will crash into you. I’ve been hit four times in a decade compared to never in 35 years of living in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens! Neighbors and neighborhoods change over night. It’s not so much the Spanish speaking that is a problem, it’s the inconsiderate “cultural” behaviors that are appalling. The native red necks are no better. Lots of ghetto areas spread all throughout the state. Tread carefully before moving to Florida.

  • Roy

    I am a native Floridian as well and say honestly that the prices here are ridiculously high. I live in Broward county where yes, everybody here seems to be extremely rude. The weather is humid, but I prefer that to the snow myself. Spanish is a must to find decent employment. Driving is tremendously stressful as it seems that people here are just too busy to set their alarm clocks 5 minutes earlier so they don’t speed around you and if they do hit you, many do not have insurance. People here also think they are in such high demand and so important to the world that they can not put their cell phones down to drive properly and safely. My mother is in the process of moving to Tennessee due to the fact that after she retired, she can’t find an apartment for her budget, even in the transient areas. Unless of course, you would like to move to North Miami. Maybe in North Florida it is better. Miami has a phenomenal amount of crime as does much of South Florida. I can’t comment on the cost of living nor the politeness of people as I only been on vacation in those areas. Good luck on your search but my recommendation is, stay out of South Florida!

    • Hank

      I have to agree with everything said. I lived in South Florida from 1972 to 2007 and just moved back 3 months ago. It was a great place to grow up. However, if you are just moving here, you need to have a lot of money to live decently. The rents are outrageous and housing prices are also ridiculous. There are a lot of nice people, but the nasty ones stand out way more. I am so sad that I moved back here and can’t wait till I have the opportunity to leave. If you have a choice, stay where you are. Escaping winter weather only brings a whole new set of problems! I really miss the Southern hospitality I had the seven years I lived in Kentucky. My mellow has been soured in a short time. Good luck in whatever decision you make. Just remember, most of these posts show a lot of negativity, and for good reason =-]

  • Bay area native

    I live in St. Petersburg, basically the tri-county area south from Clearwater and West from Tampa. I’m going to start out with a list of pros
    Pros: Beautiful scenery. If you don’t like St. Pete.. go for a drive to Clearwater! We are also a city surrounded by beaches considering we are a peninsula on top of the state being a peninsula. There are tons of malls and a completely life filled downtown area with bars, clubs, restaurants and many more. There are always events nearby and we have good roads. Our gas prices are fairly lower than most places I’ve been to (in and out of florida.) We have the best sunsets and are sunny year round. It’s a very populated city. If you like a metropolitan city without the stress and chaos then this is for you.
    Cons: Very hot and humid during summer. It can rain for days at a time. We have a winter that lasts about 3-5 days a year, and by winter it is a low of 45F. It can be expensive when it comes to homes and living on the water triples the price of the average home. We have a very ghetto area, but what city doesn’t? Our walmart associates aren’t very friendly. You have to pay for just about everything (events, tolls, parking, etc.) and the worst of it is the bugs. Very bad mosquitos and roaches for how tropical of climate we have.
    If you plan on moving here, bring all the bug spray you can.

  • Melissa Smith

    A lot of negativity posted on here. I lived in Destin, FL for 5 years and loved it! Cost of living was more expensive but the increase in pay I made in that area verses North AL was well worth it. I still have a home there and plan to move back in the next four years. I left FL to take care of my ailing grandparents. You find rude, abnoxious people everywhere as well as illegals and some of the other things mentioned…They don’t dictate your happiness you do!

    • Ron Post author

      Hello Melissa,
      I respectfully disagree. Your surroundings, in part, do dictate your happiness. If they didn’t, people would flock to war zones to live, but the opposite is true, they flee them. Also, rude obnoxious people may be common in some states, but not in others like Vermont, South Dakota or Wyoming just to name a few. Illegal aliens? Experts estimate there are about 1,000,000 illegal aliens living in Florida right now. That’s more than the entire population of Vermont, South Dakota or Wyoming.

      According to Gallup polling, 61% of Alabama residents said Alabama was not the best, or even one of the best states to live in. 54% of Floridians felt that way about Florida. So moving from Alabama to Florida may be an slight improvement. Where people go wrong, is moving from a state like New Hampshire where an overwhelming majority think their state is the best, or at least one of the best to live in. Then move to Florida where only 46% feel that way, and expect to improve their life. Moving from a state with a higher quality of life to Florida could explain why 10,000,000 people and growing have moved to Florida only to move out.

      The research I did for my new book “How to Retire Happier” (available this month) shows that states with better quality of life statistics like lower crime rates, higher quality health care, lower total cost of living, etc. have higher resident satisfaction rates. Yet every day people flock to Florida from states with a better quality of life and happier people. 100% of them think that Florida is the best state to live in, but sadly 54% of them will find that isn’t true for them.

      That Gallup poll was done in 2013, after a record number of years without a direct hit by a major hurricane on Florida. So in my opinion, Florida’s residents poor satisfaction level was higher than what it normally would be. When the lucky streak ends and hurricanes start to hit Florida again, my guess is that resident satisfaction will only get worse.

      Bottom line? Florida is far from the best state to live in, but Alabama is even farther from it, and that’s according to people that live in those states. So a move to FL may be a good one for you, but a bad one for others. That could explain all the negative comments from readers who have moved Florida only to realize they didn’t “marry up” like they thought. Thank you for reading the blog and taking the time to comment.

      Oh, you may find this article interesting Why the South is the worst place to live in the U.S. — in 10 charts

      • Kim

        In a blog like this, you will only hear from people who don’t like a place. Its a rare thing for people to post about some place they love to live in and have lived for several years. They aren’t surfing for sites like this. They don’t need to. Only the people who hate a place will look for these sites and post their discontent.

        No state is perfect. I would hate to live in New Hampshire. Why?? Its toooo stinkin’ cold up there, plus with my arthritis, the constant barometric pressure changes would kill me, since the NE is one of the highest in the nation (short of north-central US) for BP changes a year.

        I grew up in Florida and loved it. But of course, times have changed and you are right–the illegals and immigrants have pretty much taken over the state compared to when I lived there. And yes, the humidity is high down there and there are palmetto bugs and round stink bugs that have a tendency to drop off your ceiling and onto your tummy while you’re sleeping (happened to my brother.) But I was young and I still loved it down there. Kids are resilient. :) I loved the beaches and sand. I’ve been there several times for vaca over the past couple of years and been all over central and NE Florida and can’t remember one rude soul that I ran into. Guess its only rude-on-rude native behavior…and I’m typically a smiley, friendly type, anyways ?

        I’m thinking of relocating down in Florida because of my arthritis, since they have very little in the way of BP changes; their rainy weather isn’t caused by BP changes, but from other factors, similar to island-living. Its either that, or maybe southern AZ. The crime rate in AZ is outrageous, too. But, at least the BP changes are low and the air is dry…

        Illegals and immigrants are taking over the country, period; they come from warmer climates and settle in mostly warmer climates, which is why the numbers arent quite as bad in the northern US. But give it 10 years…. ha! The problem with that, of course, is they’re mostly poor, uneducated, and pack several families in one house and sleep out in your front yard…true experience of mine while living in Maryland. They’re slowly taking over Maryland, btw.

        Right now, I live in West Virginia, which is just south of the moon. Even in the more, ah….progressive areas of the state, they’re still about 20 years behind everyone else in the US, and have the poorest education system in the country, and if you think unemployment opportunities are bad in Florida, just come to West “by-God” Virginia. They’re ranked about 45 or 48th, near the bottom of the barrel; total embarrassment. You’re taxed to death and all the money goes to support the 20-generation welfare clans that cover the state. Huge brain-drain of young people–they leave because they can’t find work, here. But hey, the people are nice and we have plenty of rocks to climb.

        Again, there are no perfect places to live. Just places that might fit you and your needs. Looking for a place to live is like looking for a pet dog. Some like bull dogs, some can live with labs; others need a little poodle. Just depends. My 2 cents.

      • Ron Post author

        Hello Kim,
        “In a blog like this, you will only hear from people who don’t like a place”
        According to the search terms used to get to this site, it’s mostly visited by people who are thinking of moving to Florida. For instance, “people who don’t like the place” don’t search for “The Best Places to Live in Florida”. This site gets about 70,000 pages views a month (and growing). So after millions of page views over the years, comments still only number in the hundreds. The only people who comment are the ones who have lived in Florida and absolutely don’t like, real estate agents and others that will make money when people move to Florida and absolutely want people to move here, and people who have never lived in Florida but are 100% convinced that it’s the best state to live in because of vacations and it’s “warm”. Many of them will move out when they learn living in Florida is different than vacations and it’s too hot.

        “Again, there are no perfect places to live.”
        You’re right Kim, there are no perfect states to live in. But national polls show residents of some states rate their state far higher that others. There are states where 77% of the residents say it’s one of the best to live in. Those same states are ranked near the top in quality of life factors because they enjoy things like low crime rates and higher quality of health care. So while they may not be perfect, they must be better places to live than the one state where only 19% of the population like where they live. It’s not rocket science, you’re just more likely to be happier if you move to a state where 77% of residents approve, compared to state where only 19% do.

        My research shows there’s a direct correlation between quality of life factors as measured and ranked by government and non-profits, and whether most residents love or hate that state. You show me a state that has higher violent crime, higher property crime, higher overall tax burden, higher overall cost of living, lower quality health care facilities, lower well-being scores, etc., and I’ll show you a state with low citizen satisfaction.

        Bankrate.com did an excellent job of looking at all quality of life factors and ranking states. They ranked Florida as the 39th best state to retire in. Gallup polls found that only 11% of Floridians think Florida is the best state to live in, 89% don’t. The problem is, 100% of the people moving to Florida today believe it is the best state to live in. Unfortunately, their move to Florida is based on vacations and myths, not research. So the longer they live in Florida the more likely they are to join the 89% of residents who don’t think Florida is the best state to live in. That’s where the negative comments come from.

        Yes Kim, different people like different kinds of pets. But when it comes to a place to live, we all want more of some things and less of other things. If offered an all expenses paid move to eastern Ukraine, how many of us would take it? People move to Florida for many different reasons. They move out because of the things they didn’t know before the move, but would have if they read the Florida Move Guide. Thanks for your two cents.