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These are the top 5 most affordable US cities

Finding an affordable place to live isn't always easy, but some cities make it easier to get by than others. Personal-finance advice website Student Loan Hero conducted a study of 253 urban areas across the United States and identified the most affordable ones.

"We looked at median incomes, housing costs, unemployment rates and poverty levels," the study notes. "Based on data from the Council for Community and Economic Research in the second quarter of 2017, we ranked the [10] cheapest cities to live in based on [its] cost-of-living index score," compared to a national average benchmark of 100.

"We also included population, income and poverty data from the U.S. Census Bureau, unemployment rates from various sources, median home listing prices from Zillow, and median monthly rent costs from Trulia," the study says. "Plus, we broke down cost of living into different categories, including housing, groceries, utilities and health care."

Of their top 10 cheapest cities to live, here are the five most affordable:

Tupelo, Mississippi

Cost-of-living index: 20.8 percent below the national average
City population: 38,842
Median household income: $43,153 (U.S. median: $55,322)
Median home listing price: $169,900 (U.S. median: $259,900)
Median monthly rent: $1,100
Housing costs: 33.1 percent below the national average

Richmond, Indiana

Cost-of-living index: 21.3 percent below the national average
City population: 35,664
Median household income: $30,844 (U.S. median: $55,322)
Median home listing price: $74,500 (U.S. median: $259,900)
Median monthly rent: $800
Housing costs: 39 percent below the national average

Harlingen, Texas

Cost-of-living index: 21.5 percent below the national average
City population: 65,539
Median household income: $35,718 (U.S. median: $55,322)
Median home listing price: $135,000 (U.S. median: $259,900)
Median monthly rent: $1,200
Housing costs: 32.4 percent below the national average

Conway, Arkansas

Cost-of-living index: 22.2 percent below the national average
City population: 65,300
Median household income: $47,190 (U.S. median: $55,322)
Median home listing price: $175,000 (U.S. median: $259,900)
Median monthly rent: $1,000
Housing costs: 37.3 percent below the national average

McAllen, Texas

Cost-of-living index: 24 percent below the national average
City population: 142,212
Median household income: $45,568 (U.S. median: $55,322)
Median home listing price: $208,990 (U.S. median: $259,900)
Median monthly rent: $1,300
Housing costs: 39.7 percent below the national average

As the study points out, the cheapest cities to live in may have the lowest average of combined expenses, but that doesn't mean everything there is cheap, like transportation or groceries. Jobs in these metro areas may be scarce and pay less, too: "Low-income levels can make it hard for residents to get by, and the cheapest cities to live in all have above-average poverty rates."

So, if you're thinking of moving to a new city to save on expenses, be sure you take into account all the factors that go into its cost of living to find the place that's the best fit for you.

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