Connecticut is known as the Land of Steady Habits, the Constitution State, and the Provisions State, which all give it an overall air of responsibility and frugality—particularly the latter. But which of this state’s places are the most responsible when it comes to the least spending? In our latest analysis on the Movoto Real Estate Blog, we’ve discovered just that, and it turns out Greenwich was the winner. Of course, Greenwich didn’t make it to the top of our list without some serious competition from the other places, most of which seem to make it a steady habit to keep their spending down. Here are the 10 most affordable places in Connecticut: 1. Town of Greenwich
2. Town of East Hampton
3. City of Middletown
4. Town of Manchester
5. Town of Clinton
6. Town of Windsor Locks
7. Town of Newington
8. City of Bristol
9. City of Milford
10. City of Torrington
Residents will undoubtedly recognize a bit of a pattern here: four of the 10 places are in Hartford County, while another three are in Middlesex. What’s so great about these counties, and what is so spectacular about Middletown that it made not only this list, but also came in fourth in our Best Places in Connecticut ranking? In the following section, we’ll answer these questions and more. We’ll go over the method of our analysis and just what makes each of these places more affordable than the rest.

How We Found The Most Affordable Places In Connecticut

Just like any of our other rankings, from Most Affordable, Most Exciting, to the Best Places In America, our first step is always to gather a list of places from the Census (2010) on which to base our analysis. In this case, we used the 42 places in Connecticut with populations over 10,000 which had complete data. We then ranked each of these places across the criteria below, with the lowest number being the best:
  • Food costs
  • Utility costs
  • Miscellaneous costs (restaurants, repairs, entertainment, clothing)
  • Median home price
  • Unemployment rank
  • Adjusted median income
From there, we averaged these numbers for an overall Big Deal Score. Greenwich came in on top with the lowest score of them all, making it our winner. The reason this list includes “adjusted median income” rather than simply “median income,” is that we wanted to make sure each place’s cost of living was taken into account. We did this by dividing each place’s median household income by its cost of living, then multiplying that number by 100. The result is a number that reflects the household’s actual earnings, based on the place’s cost of living. To see how all 42 places in our analysis ranked, head down to the bottom of the post for a complete list. Otherwise, keep reading to take a closer look at each of our most affordable places, starting with our winner, Greenwich.

1. Greenwich

Greenwich, CT
Source: Flickr user Doug Kerr
Many times in our lists, our winner places first by just a hair—one extra point here or there, just barely putting them on top of the rest. This was not the case with Greenwich. This Fairfield County town stole the show mostly because it’s a steal of a deal all around. It placed first, not just overall, but in the individual categories of cost of food, cost of utilities, and miscellaneous costs. Also, with an unemployment rate of just 5.7 percent, it was the lowest on our list for that criterion. Plus, with an overall cost of living index of 101 (low for Connecticut standards), and a median household income of $88,899 (high for anywhere), Greenwich came out with the highest adjusted median household income on our list.

2. East Hampton

East Hampton, CT
Source: Flickr user Doug Kerr
It might seem surprising that any place with the word “Hampton” in its name is affordable, but, as our analysis shows, this Middlesex County town (the first of three) is not only affordable but one of the most affordable in the state. Unlike our No. 1 place, which scored well in almost everything; East Hampton came in a bit more scattered. For example, East Hampton ranked really well for its low unemployment rate (just 6.5 percent), low cost of utilities, and low cost of miscellaneous expenses, such as restaurants, entertainment, repairs, and clothing. However, it didn’t rank so well when it came to its cost of food index (121 compared to the national average of 100), or its median home price of $260,300. Of course, $260,300 isn’t exactly expensive for Connecticut (especially for the Hamptons), but it’s certainly no Manchester. We’ll get to that in a moment.

3. Middletown

Middletown, CT
Source: Flickr user Max Nussenbaum
For those of you who read our Best Places in Connecticut post, Middletown might seem familiar. That’s because it ranked No. 4 on our list for its low student to teacher ratio, but moreover, for its low cost of living and low unemployment rate. Just like our previous Middlesex County place, Middletown also had an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent, a utilities cost of 115, and a miscellaneous cost of living of 112. Sure, these are 15 and 12 points higher than the national average respectively; but compared to some places in Connecticut (like Stamford where utilities is 138 and misc., 127), these Middlesex County places look downright cheap.

4. Manchester

Manchester, CT
Source: Flickr user Doug Kerr
Depending on your tastes, this Hartford County city may be best known for its shopping or for its many museums, including the Lutz Children’s Museum and the Cheney Homestead Museum, just to name a couple. Either way, with a low miscellaneous cost of living of 116, which covers things like shopping and entertainment, Manchester is an affordable place to treat yourself. Manchester also ranked well for its low cost of utilities index (118) and the lowest median home price in our top 10: $185,500. Compare that to Westport and Darien, where the median home price is over $1 million, and it’s pretty clear why Manchester made the cut.

5. Clinton

Clinton, CT
Source: Flickr user Doug Kerr
Clinton, the third and final place in Middlesex County, made our top 10 for the same reasons as the previous two: a utilities cost index of just 115, a miscellaneous cost index of just 112, and an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent. Overall, the cost of living index here was a 127, which may sound a bit steep compared to the national average of 100, but compared to the 306 of Darien, this is a steal. Clinton’s unemployment rate was also lower than Darien’s 7 percent. Sure, it’s only by half a percent, but every little bit counts—especially when you’re competing with a place whose median household income is almost $176,000.

6. Windsor Locks

Windsor Locks, CT
Source: Flickr user Doug Kerr
This Hartford County town may not exactly have had the lowest cost of food index, scoring a 123 compared to the national average of 100. Still, it more than made up for that with its low median home price of $213,500, its cost of utilities, and its low cost of miscellaneous items, which included things like shopping and restaurants. Perhaps the overall price of produce is more expensive in Windsor Locks, but if you’re looking to dine out or entertain yourself, you won’t be spending nearly as much as you would be in, say, Bridgeport or Stamford, where the miscellaneous cost of living index is 27 points above the national average. Also, with Windsor Lock dining options like Pho 75 and Gathering Ground’s brunch, the lower miscellaneous price truly is a blessing.

7. Newington

Newington, CT
Source: Flickr user Doug Kerr
Newington may be best known locally as home to the smallest natural waterfall in the United States, smack dab in the center of town in Mill Pond Park. Newington residents celebrate this little waterfall each year with a festival, but, according to our analysis, it looks like they have something else worth celebrating: one of the higher adjusted median household incomes in our ranking. With an overall cost of living index of 121, the median household income of just over $69,000 adjusts to be $57,095, the 10th highest in the state. Newington can also celebrate some of the lowest prices for miscellaneous goods and utilities, coming in fifth in both of these categories.

8. Bristol

Bristol, CT
Source: Flickr user Tim Taylor
There aren’t many places in the U.S., let alone in Connecticut, that wear as many hats as Bristol. This Hartford suburb is known to sports lovers as the headquarters of ESPN. To families, it’s known as as the home to the U.S.’s oldest amusement park, Lake Compounce. It’s known as both Bell City for its history of manufacturing doorbells and Mum City, for its chrysanthemum production and annual festival. But lately, its biggest claim to fame was being named Hartford Magazine’s “Best Bang for the Buck,” and while we can’t exactly speak to the city’s mums, we can certainly confirm the latter. Bristol ranked well in both its miscellaneous and utilities costs, plus, with a median home price of just $218,900, it ranked the 11th most affordable in terms of real estate.

9. Milford

Milford, CT
Source: Wikipedia user Crocodilicus
This New Haven County city is located smack dab in between two of the most expensive cities on our list, New Haven (40th place on our list) and Bridgeport (36th), making Milford the obvious affordable solution for the area. Just look at the difference in prices: Milford had one of the lowest food costs of living on our list, at 115, where many cities, New Haven included, are at least 118 to 123. Milford also had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, at 6.10 percent, plus, one of the highest adjusted median household incomes. That’s because Milford’s relatively low cost of living of 125 (Connecticut low, that is) and its high median household income of $77,147 ended up equalling an adjusted income of $61,718; the sixth highest on our list.

10. Torrington

Torrington, CT
Source: Flickr user Doug Kerr
The final place on our list, Torrington, has a rustic charm that can’t be beat. From its Warner Theater and historic downtown to its old timey prices—especially when it comes to its homes— this place is a throwback in the best sense of the word. In Torrington, the median home price is $189,800—37 percent lower than Connecticut. Torrington also seems to have maintained an old school work ethic, as the unemployment rate here is a low 7.1 percent. To put that into perspective, take a look at places like North Haven and Waterbury, where it’s 8.7 percent.

The Least Affordable Places in the State

We’ve told you all about the most affordable places in Connecticut, but we wouldn’t be giving you the full story if we didn’t at least mention a few of the most expensive. Those would be, in descending order: Stonington, Ansonia, New Haven, Derby, and Stamford So, if you happen to find yourself in one of these places, wondering why Connecticut is so very expensive, well, maybe you’re just in the wrong city. Most Featured Image Source: Flickr user peasap Like This Post? You’ll Definitely Love These: