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The share of renters spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing (the traditional measure of affordability) has risen 12 percent in the last decade, according to a December report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies.

High rental rates—combined with a high cost of living—create the perfect storm for an ultra-tight budget, but the 10 metros below can provide renters some refuge.

Apartment Guide has compared its internal listing data to third quarter 2013 Cost of Living Index scores from The Council for Community and Economic research to identify which metros have the lowest average rental rate, as well as the lowest cost of living.

Top 10 Budget Metros:

  1. Tulsa, Okla.
    Average rent: $550/month
  2. Augusta, Ga.
    Average rent: $606/month
  3. Memphis, Tenn.
    Average rent: $632/month
  4. Columbus, Ohio
    Average rent: $635/month
  5. Birmingham, Ala.
    Average rent: $653/month
  6. Dayton, Ohio
    Average rent: $583/month
  7. Indianapolis, Ind.
    Average rent: $594/month
  8. Louisville, Ky.
    Average rent: $606/month
  9. Oklahoma City, Okla.
    Average rent: $606/month
  10. Cincinnati, Ohio
    Average rent: $624/month

SOURCE:  Apartment Guide, The Council for Community and Economic Research