Ruidoso, New Mexico
Cost-of-Living: Below the national average
Ruidoso, New Mexico (population 9,000) is a ski resort town perched to boom, but today it is still an affordable destination where the cost-of-living is actually less than the national average, although this may not last for long. This is a laid-back Western spot nestled among Pinon pine trees at almost 7,000 feet, high above the desert floor, in New Mexico’s rugged Sacramento Mountains.
Summers are mild, moderated by the elevation, and are characterized by warm days, cool nights and plenty of sunshine. Daytime temperatures average around 80 degrees. Indian summer often lingers through October, with temperatures in the 70s. Mild winter weather is the norm but snow does cover the nearby mountaintops, and temperatures can dip into the 20s. Spring and autumn are usually dry and cool, and the area receives 12 to 15 inches of precipitation per year.