Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

May 21, 2013

Where to get the best deal on beer, haircuts, movies

Looking for a good deal on a six-pack of beer? Try Charlotte. A haircut that won't burn a hole in your wallet? Harlingen, Texas, is your best bet. A trip to the movies? Hilo, Hawaii, is supposed to be nice this time of year.

That's according to the latest cost-of-living index, released last week by the Council for Community and Economic Research, which takes into account the average price of everything from a bottle of shampoo to a mortgage in more than 300 urban areas.

The areas ranked as the most expensive places to live in the first quarter included most of the usual suspects, with New York's Manhattan and Brooklyn boroughs taking the top two slots on the list. And for the third year in a row, Washington snagged a spot in the top 10, driven by the region's high-priced housing market and relative immunity from the economic downturn.

"Since the beginning of the Great Recession, Washington has catapulted itself into the top 10 based on the housing market," said Dean Frutiger, project manager for the Cost of Living Index at the council. Washington, which took ninth place in the first quarter, had traditionally remained just shy of the top 10 high-cost urban areas, often swapping places with Boston, Frutiger said.

Overall, the Washington area was about 42 percent more expensive compared with the national average.

Housing in the region was more than twice as expensive as in the rest of the country. Groceries were about 13 percent more expensive, while health care was 1.6 percent more expensive. The region's cost of living dropped slightly from the same time last year but was higher than in 2011.

For the third consecutive year, the city with the lowest cost of living was Harlingen, Texas. On average, a haircut there costs $7.38, compared with $16.17 in Washington. A movie ticket in Hilo will set you back only $5.68. In Manhattan, it's $13.50.

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CNHI/Southeast Iowa
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Poll

The Iowegian wants readers to think about the 2014 Appanoose County Fair. It starts Monday and wraps up on Saturday with a demolition derby at 8 p.m. So, the question of the week is, "How many days do you plan to go to the Appanoose County Fair?

A. I plan to attend all six days.
B. I plan to attend five days.
C. I plan to attend four days.
D. I plan to attend three days.
E. I plan to attend two days.
F. I plan to attend one day.
G. I do not plan to go to the fair this year.
     View Results
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