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Where to find the highest pay, lowest cost of living

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We often hear people say things like, “I’d be able to save more, if I lived in a cheaper city.”

But a lower cost of living usually means lower paying jobs, too.

So here’s the question you should be asking yourself: Which cities have the best balance of high pay and low cost of living?

National Public Radio recently put out a really cool interactive chart that answers that question.

It lets you see how far the typical paycheck really goes in 365 U.S. cities.

In Chicago, for example, the median annual income is $32,491. But it feels like you’re only bringing home $28,907 after being adjusted for the relatively high cost of living.

Conversely, the median annual income in Nashville is $30,375, but it feels like you’re making $245 more than that because lots of stuff is cheaper there.

So what’s the highest median income after the cost of living is taken into account?

$36,279.

Where can you find that?

In Rochester, Minn., which is about 80 miles southeast of Minneapolis-St. Paul. It consistently makes Money magazine’s lists of best places to live and the Mayo Clinic is the biggest employer.

Ready to call the moving trucks?

And what town has the lowest median income after taking cost of living into account?

Bloomington, Ind., at a paltry $18,309 a year.

Not what we would have expected from a college town where the University of Indiana is the largest employer.

Follow Mitch Strohm on Google Plus.

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