Choosing the perfect city extends beyond housing; it’s about a community that fulfils your safety and financial requirements. This guide reveals unique American cities where you can enjoy both an ample “discretionary income” and low crime rates. What’s discretionary income? Simply put, it’s the leftover money after paying all necessary bills—taxes, housing, groceries, and utilities. This cushion gives you the freedom to relish getaways, dine out, or invest in your family’s future. Imagine residing in a neighborhood where you can feel safe walking at night and have the financial breathing space to do more than just get by. If this sounds like your ideal life, keep reading for an in-depth look at cities that can offer you this balance.

Murrieta, California

Population: 110,949
Safety rank: 23rd (overall crime), 31st (violent crime)
Discretionary income rank: 23rd (best-fit for couples without children, ranked 15th)
Safest and cheapest neighborhood: Mapleton

Murrieta can be found roughly 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles in Southern California. If you’re eyeing a commute to LA, be prepared for a 2-hour journey via public transportation during those peak hours.

Murrieta provides a varied selection of job opportunities. Though it’s not a bustling tech or financial hub, the healthcare and education sectors shine here. Prominent employers like Loma Linda University Medical Center and the Murrieta Valley Unified School District make this city engaging to kick-start or advance your career.

Safety is one of Murrieta’s standout qualities. The city ranks consistently among California’s safest, partly thanks to its effective community policing. Within Murrieta, you’ll find several neighborhoods that are paragons of safety. Copper Canyon is a family-friendly community known for its excellent schools. Bear Creek presents an exclusive lifestyle in a gated community with customized homes and stringent security measures. Greer Ranch, also gated, particularly appeals to professionals searching for tranquility. Alta Murrieta exudes a traditional suburban ambiance, featuring single-family homes and a welcoming neighborhood spirit. These areas boast low crime rates and community programs that enhance safety. Murrieta achieves an even balance in terms of affordability.

While salaries are stable, they’re not extravagant. California’s state taxes take a bite out of your paycheck, but the cost of living here is moderate compared to the rest of the state. Think of your discretionary income in this city as a well-balanced meal that is fulfilling but not excessive. You can still indulge in evenings out, retail therapy, or spontaneous weekend adventures through prudent budgeting.

Mapleton emerges as a strong contender for those searching for safety and affordability. Situated within Murrieta, this area delivers a touch of financial comfort without compromising the strong community atmosphere that the city is known for. A mix of families and young professionals inhabit this suburban locale, drawn to its diverse housing options and public parks. Although public transportation isn’t as frequent, a car ride to the city center takes 15 minutes. In Mapleton, you’ll find a community that provides safety and economic feasibility in a satisfying lifestyle package.

Bellevue, Washington

Population: 151,854
Safety rank: 37th (overall crime), 14th (violent crime)
Discretionary income rank: 7th (best-fit for singles, ranked 2nd)
Safest and cheapest neighborhood: East Bellevue

Bellevue is just 10 miles east of Seattle, across scenic Lake Washington. If you work in downtown Seattle, plan a 30-to-45-minute commute during rush hour, which is best handled by public transportation.

Bellevue is a tech industry powerhouse, often dubbed the “mini Silicon Valley” of the Northwest. Titans like Microsoft, Amazon, and T-Mobile have planted their flags here, creating many job opportunities ranging from software engineering to project management.

Safety in Bellevue is more than just a selling point; it’s a way of life. The city has low crime rates and a proactive police force, giving residents peace of mind. Safety is a constant, whether you’re a young professional eyeing the vibrant Downtown Bellevue or envisioning a plush life in the secure confines of West Bellevue. Factoria wins hearts with its family-friendly atmosphere and well-kept public spaces. At the same time, Crossroads fosters cultural diversity while maintaining a commitment to safety. Eastgate further enriches the list with its outstanding safety record and high-quality schools, offering a selection of residential options that range from modest apartments to grand homes.

The cost of living in Bellevue does tilt towards the higher end, mainly due to Washington’s sales tax. However, enjoying a quality life here is possible with strategic financial planning. While expenses like rent and groceries may surpass the national average, salaries—especially in tech and managerial roles—help counterbalance the scale. It’s all about setting priorities, whether that’s a weekend getaway, a gym membership, or a few extra cups of your favorite latte.

East Bellevue is an appealing option for those weighing both safety and affordability. A balanced mixture of professionals and families populates this quieter suburb, where the cost of living dips slightly compared to the rest of the city. Housing varies from older apartments to townhouses, and the area is known for its parks, making it an ideal setting for families. A typical rush-hour commute to downtown Bellevue by public bus lasts about 20–25 minutes. In East Bellevue, you’re not sacrificing affordability for safety; you’re enjoying an equalized lifestyle that respects both.

Pearland, Texas

Population: 125,828
Safety rank: 25th (overall crime), 37th (violent crime)
Discretionary income rank: 18th (best-fit for single parents, ranked 16th)
Safest and cheapest neighborhood: Bellavita at Green Tee

Pearland finds its home about 17 miles south of Houston, Texas. Should you plan to venture into downtown Houston; factor in a 30-to-45-minute drive during peak hour traffic.

Known for its burgeoning job market, Pearland is a magnet for professionals seeking careers in healthcare, engineering, and retail management. Notable employers like Kelsey-Seybold Clinic and Pearland Medical Center have solidified the city’s status as a prime location for job seekers seeking substantial roles.

Safety is a hallmark of life in Pearland, a city that consistently ranks among the safest in Texas. The local police department’s active engagement with the community has led to effective neighborhood watch programs. From the family-friendly vibes of Shadow Creek Ranch and its modern homes to the low crime and classic elegance of Silverlake, safety is a given. Pearland Park Estates welcomes families with its inviting array of single-family homes, while West Oaks appeals to young professionals due to its convenient access to dining and shopping. Southern Trails stands out with its enticing housing options and outdoor activity access, making each neighborhood a sanctuary in its own right.

Financially speaking, Pearland offers a fascinating package. Salaries in healthcare and engineering are notably high, and Texas’ lack of state income tax can be a game-changer for your monthly budget. While the cost of living here sits a notch above the national average, it pales in comparison to many other U.S. cities. The resulting discretionary income can comfortably fund weekend explorations—whether it’s a day in Pearland’s parks, a culinary journey in its diverse food scene, or perhaps that yoga class you’ve had on your wish list.

For those seeking the best of both worlds—safety and affordability—Bellavita at Green Tee is worth your attention. Retirees predominantly inhabit this peaceful enclave, although it’s increasingly drawing younger families. Housing choices range from single-family homes to town homes, all set amid green spaces and golf courses. Commutes to the central business district typically take around 35-to-45-minutes during peak hours, making it a convenient choice for those reliant on cars given the limited public transportation options. In Bellavita at Green Tee, you’re not just buying a home but investing in a lifestyle where safety and affordability coexist.

Carmel, Indiana

Population: 99,757
Safety rank: 14th (overall crime), 30th (violent crime)
Discretionary income rank: 22nd (best-fit for single parents, ranked 15th)
Safest and cheapest neighborhood: Divvy

Carmel is comfortably situated in Hamilton County, Indiana, a mere 15 miles north of Indianapolis. In rush-hour traffic, you can expect a 25-to-35-minute drive to reach the heart of Indy.

Carmel is a job market powerhouse, mainly if your career falls into the medical, tech, or financial services arenas. With major employers like CNO Financial and Allegion calling this city home, Carmel offers real opportunities for career advancement. The workplace is more than a place to punch a clock; it’s also an opportunity to grow professionally.

Safety in Carmel is more than a feature; it’s part of the city’s culture. It’s the kind of place where residents still feel secure, leaving their doors unlocked. Community policing and vigilant neighborhood watches contribute to this sense of well-being. Whether you’re an artist dreaming of the Carmel Arts and Design District, a family looking at the top-tier schools and parks in West Clay, or a professional drawn to Home Place’s modern town homes and convenience, you’ll find peace of mind. The Lakes at Hazel Dell are perfect for water lovers, and Smokey Knoll is an enduring favorite among retirees. These neighborhoods share a low crime rate, and housing ranges from quaint bungalows to expansive family residences.

In Carmel, your dollar goes a long way. Competitive salaries make for a financially comfortable lifestyle, especially in the city’s key sectors. With Indiana’s state income tax of about 3.25%, you’ll keep more of your hard-earned money. When you factor in a cost of living slightly higher than the national average, you’ll be in a comfortable financial position.

Please take a moment to picture yourself enjoying lunch at Divvy, one of Carmel’s culinary gems, or going on a weekend hike in a neighboring state park without worrying about how much it would cost. The neighborhood of Carmel Meadows is a compelling choice for balancing budgets and safety, and appeals to a diverse demographic, from families to singles to older adults. Housing is versatile, featuring both single-family homes and apartment living. The business district is just a 20-minute drive away, easing those workday commutes. Factor in local parks and grocery stores, and you’ll find that Carmel Meadows melds affordability with peace of mind.

McKinney, Texas

Population: 195,308
Safety rank: 15th (overall crime), 28th (violent crime)
Discretionary income rank: 4th (best-fit for families, ranked 3rd)
Safest and cheapest neighborhood: Westridge

McKinney sits in Collin County, Texas, roughly 32 miles north of Dallas. Expect a 45-to-60-minute car ride to Dallas while traveling during rush hour.

McKinney stands out for its robust job market, particularly in healthcare, education, and technology. Leading employers like Raytheon and Medical City, McKinney, make this city interesting for professionals in these sectors. Imagine growing your career in an environment where innovation meets community spirit.

Safety is a cornerstone of life in McKinney. A proactive police force, robust community engagement, and vigilant residents make this city one of the safer options in Texas. Stonebridge Ranch is a family favorite with its excellent schools and low crime rates. Craig Ranch is a magnet for young professionals, offering upscale amenities like spas and fitness centers. Eldorado Heights provides a peaceful environment with serene parks for those considering retirement. Tucker Hill and Trinity Falls attract a mixed demographic and feature amenities like walking trails and playgrounds. Each neighborhood has a unique charm, but all share a common thread; a strong sense of security.

Financially speaking, McKinney offers a touch of breathing room. Salaries often sit comfortably above the national average, especially in specialized sectors like healthcare and tech. Texas’s absence of state income tax provides a welcome relief, although you should brace for property taxes. The cost of living leans toward the higher end, but it’s not astronomical. Consider weekend trips to the McKinney Performing Arts Center or relaxing at the Craig Ranch spa. You’ll have the financial flexibility to indulge in cultural and leisure activities without emptying your wallet.

Westridge could be the solution for individuals trying to balance cost and security. This neighborhood houses around 5,000 residents and features a variety of housing options, from apartments to single-family homes. With abundant green spaces, it’s perfect for families and those who enjoy the outdoors. Getting to the city center is smooth, usually requiring just 20 to 30 minutes during peak traffic. Safety and affordability coexist perfectly, making for a pleasant and functional way of life.

Allen, Texas

Population: 104,627
Safety rank: 3rd (overall crime), 7th (violent crime)
Discretionary income rank: 9th (best-fit for single parents, ranked 8th)
Safest and cheapest neighborhood: Cottonwood Bend

Allen is conveniently situated in Collin County, Texas, just 26 miles north of Dallas. It will take 45–60 minutes to reach your destination in Dallas during rush hour.

Technology and service-based industries are growing in Allen. Companies like Experian and PFSweb are notable employers in the city, making it a compelling destination for those in the tech or customer service fields. Depict yourself thriving in an environment that blends small-town charm with big-city opportunities.

Allen has an outstanding reputation for security. With a highly visible police force and active community programs, the city enjoys low crime rates. Families often find their haven in Beacon Hill, renowned for its well-kept parks and communal vibe. Twin Creeks offers a blend of housing options and attracts a diverse demographic with its safety record. Watters Crossing draws a lot of young professionals due to its convenient amenities and robust security measures. For those leaning towards a bit of luxury, Star Creek provides a range of high-end amenities while focusing on safety. Montgomery Farms is the go-to for expansive properties and a rustic yet secure atmosphere. Whether it’s the leafy tranquility of Montgomery Farms or the community parks in Beacon Hill, each neighborhood displays its unique brand of safety and lifestyle.

Compared to larger cities like Dallas, Allen’s cost of living is far more manageable. The average salary is higher than the national average, and, in addition, as Texas has no state income tax, your money goes further. This gives you the leeway to dine at some of Allen’s finest eateries or enroll in a local arts and crafts course. Even if you can’t afford private jets to far-flung destinations, you’ll comfortably afford those minor luxuries that make life enjoyable.

Cottonwood Bend is worth a second look for individuals concerned about security and pricing. Located a short distance from Allen’s city center, this neighborhood presents a blend of single-family homes and townhouses. With a demographic that ranges from young families to older couples, Cottonwood Bend has a close-knit community feel. The commute to the business district is also reasonable—around 35 minutes during rush hour. Cottonwood Bend might be your ideal match if you’re searching for a locale that checks the boxes for safety and affordability.

Naperville, Illinois

Population: 149,540
Safety rank: 6th (overall crime), 3rd (violent crime)
Discretionary income rank: 6th (best-fit for couples without children, ranked 3rd)
Safest and cheapest neighborhood: West Highlands

Naperville is only 30 miles west of Chicago, making it a convenient suburb. Even during rush hour, commuters can take a train and get into downtown Chicago within 40–50 minutes.

Naperville has a reputation for its blooming corporate campuses, making it a hotspot for job seekers in healthcare and technology. Major employers like Edward-Elmhurst Health and Nokia have set up shop here, creating a work environment that’s both dynamic and rewarding. Envision yourself in a place where suburban peace coexists with career-building opportunities that you’d usually associate with big cities. Naperville’s thriving business community and proximity to Chicago have resulted in competitive salaries with the rest of the country. However, residents of other states should remember that Illinois has higher state income taxes than the national average. Property taxes in Naperville can also pack a punch. Living here leaves room for more than covering the basics despite these costs. Picture yourself savoring artisanal coffee at a chic local café or attending an acoustic concert at Wentz Concert Hall. You might even find that you have a little extra to take up painting at the Naperville Art League.

Safety is the hallmark of Naperville. It’s consistently listed as one of the safest cities in the United States. Neighborhoods like Saybrook attract families for their exemplary schools and safety records. Downtown Naperville, with its myriad of shops and dining spots, is a magnet for young professionals looking for a safe yet happening place to live. Ashbury is flush with suburban allure and community-driven safety initiatives like Neighborhood Watch. Huntington Estates is another safe bet, offering plenty of recreational areas, while River Run is a sanctuary for a mature crowd that values community and exclusivity.

The West Highlands neighborhood is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a safe community without straining your wallet. This area offers a more affordable living experience without compromising on safety. Home to around 6,000–8,000 residents, you’ll find a selection of ranch-style homes and classic townhouses. The neighborhood’s local parks are ideal for families with kids, and the commute to the central business district is a manageable 40-minute bus ride during peak hours. It may not have the glitz and glamour of Downtown Naperville, but West Highlands delivers on both safety and affordability, giving you peace of mind without depleting your funds.

Sugar Land, Texas

Population: 111,026
Safety rank: 9th (overall crime), 4th (violent crime)
Discretionary income rank: 2nd (best-fit for single parents, families and couples without children, ranked 2nd)
Safest and cheapest neighborhood: Settlers Park

Sugar Land, 20 miles southwest of Houston, offers a break from the city bustle while keeping you connected. The distance can be easily traversed in one hour via public transportation during rush hour, making daily commuting an option.

The job market in Sugar Land is flourishing, notably in the fields of healthcare and energy. Powerhouses like Schlumberger and Fluor Corporation anchor the local economy, with job opportunities extending from engineering to project management.

Sugar Land has committed to prioritizing safety, not just as an item on a list. Avalon provides a serene, gated environment with waterside vistas—perfect for family living. Sugar Creek is a golfer’s paradise, attracting retirees with its manicured greens. New Territory caters to diverse families, offering everything from tennis courts to pools. Professionals will appreciate Telfair’s contemporary vibe, which is rich in dining and café options. If it’s resort-style living you’re after, Riverstone boasts a secure yet opulent environment. Architectural flavors range from the Victorian homes in Sugar Creek to the sleek apartments in Telfair, offering an aesthetic fit for just about anyone.

Sugar Land has no state income tax, though property taxes can be higher. The cost of living might not be on the minimum, but it’s more manageable than in larger metropolitan areas. The result is a discretionary income that allows you greater freedom to explore life beyond the basics. Picture yourself dining at gourmet restaurants, signing up for that upscale gym membership, or even enrolling in the pottery classes you’ve been contemplating.

Settlers Park is an excellent option for individuals looking for low prices and a safe community. This neighborhood blends modestly priced townhouses and single-family homes, with about 5,000 residents enjoying its parks and recreational areas. A 45-minute bus ride during peak times will get you to the business district. While it may lack the glitz of more upscale neighborhoods, Settlers Park provides a cozy, community atmosphere that’s easy on the wallet.

Frisco, Texas

Population: 200,509
Safety rank: 8th (overall crime), 4th (violent crime)
Discretionary income rank: 1st (ranked best in America for singles, single parents, couples without children, and families)
Safest and cheapest neighborhood: Meadow Hill Estates

Frisco, Texas, a suburb 28 miles north of Dallas, grants a peaceful retreat for city dwellers. Public transportation to Dallas is an accessible daily option, but the trip can take up to 60 minutes during rush hour.

Frisco shines as a hub for professionals in the healthcare and technology sectors. Leading companies like T-Mobile and Conifer Health Solutions have set up shop here, creating varied employment roles from software development to healthcare administration.

Frisco’s residents can feel secure while going about their daily lives, from commuting to enjoying a day trip. Starwood’s gated community and expansive green spaces make it a family haven. Grayhawk draws young professionals with its trendy townhomes and low crime rates. Stonebriar provides a secure environment teeming with recreational activities for singles and couples. Newman Village raises the bar with its robust community patrols, suitable for all demographics. Then there’s The Trails, loved for its safe trails and strong sense of community.

Salary opportunities make Frisco attractive, especially in the technology and healthcare industries. Texas gives the bonus of having no state income tax, easing the burden on your wallet. Although the city’s overall cost of living is higher than the U.S. average, your salary will go far beyond covering basic needs. Plan on eating at neighborhood restaurants and going to concerts on the weekend while staying within your financial means.

For those striving to find the optimal blend of safety and affordability, Meadow Hill Estates is worth considering. This older neighborhood has relatively moderate housing costs and is home to 5,000–7,000 residents. Filled with parks and easily accessible public transport, you’ll find yourself at the heart of the city’s business core within 50 minutes during peak hours. Meadow Hill Estates provides a backdrop where your peace of mind and savings account can flourish.

Cary, North Carolina

Population: 174,721
Safety rank: 1st (overall crime), 1st (violent crime)
Discretionary income rank: 5th (best-fit for single parents, families, and couples without children)
Safest and cheapest neighborhood: Amberly

Cary is situated between Raleigh and the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. Public transportation from Cary to Raleigh takes between 35 and 45 minutes along the 12-mile distance during rush hour.

Known as a nexus for innovation and career opportunities, Cary has a job market intricately linked to the Research Triangle Park. This puts it at the forefront of the tech, pharmaceutical, and healthcare industries. With industry giants like SAS Institute and MetLife, many career avenues exist, whether in data science or insurance analytics.

Cary’s secure environment is a significant selling point for the city. The city has a police force that is community-focused and boasts low crime rates. If you’re looking for family-friendly neighborhoods, look no further than Preston, with its expansive lawns and secure play spaces. Carpenter Village displays a unique mix of homes to suit varied lifestyles. Due to its closeness to Research Triangle Park, West Cary has become a hotspot for professionals. For those who adore a green lifestyle, Green Hope and Highcroft stand out with their community gardens and outdoor amenities. Cary delivers some encouraging financial news.

Salaries in this city are on the higher end, especially in the booming tech and healthcare sectors. North Carolina’s moderate state income tax rate of about 5.0% adds another layer of appeal. Although the cost of living exceeds the national average, compensation packages often compensate for it. In Cary, your paycheck goes beyond the bare necessities—you’ll have enough left for life’s little extras.

Amberly stands out as a great option if you’re looking for an affordable, low-crime area. This community is home to approximately 6,000–8,000 residents and offers various housing options, from townhomes to detached houses. Lush walking trails and tranquil ponds contribute to Amberly’s family-friendly environment. The bus ride to the city’s financial district takes only half an hour, even in peak traffic. Amberly makes for an excellent addition to your Cary shortlist.

Our journey has whisked us through an array of cities, from the tech-infused surroundings of Bellevue, Washington, to the family-centric community vibes of Cary, North Carolina. These places don’t merely offer promising job markets; they allow you to retain a significant portion of your earnings. Imagine perfecting your golf swing in the sunny expanses of Frisco, Texas, savoring locally produced wines near Naperville, Illinois, or soaking up live music in the vibrant atmosphere of Sugar Land, Texas. A sizable discretionary income is what makes all of this possible. These cities have also honed their strategies to ensure residents’ safety, whether through active community policing in McKinney, Texas, or the tranquil, gated communities of Carmel, Indiana. Whether you’re embarking on a life journey alone or setting the stage for a family, these cities promise more than just a geographic location—they offer a comprehensive lifestyle that is safe, prosperous, and rich in opportunities.