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San Francisco named most frugal city in America

Despite high costs of living, residents still find ways to save money

The Coupons.com Savings Index listed San Francisco as 2014’s most frugal city in America. The nation’s capital, Washington D.C., took second place, while two Florida cities (Orlando and Tampa) followed closely behind. Several other cities in the South, such as Charlotte, Atlanta, Nashville, and Virginia Beach, made the Top 10 alongside Cleveland and Denver.

San Francisco’s notoriety for its skyrocketing cost of living could be the reason why it reached the top spot for frugality. According to one report, one would have to earn almost $30 a hour — over four times the federal minimum wage and almost triple the local minimum wage — to afford a one-bedroom apartment in the city. Many people in the city take in roommates or live with their partners in order to alleviate the cost of housing (and living in general).

“The top 10 frugal cities collectively saved more than $252 million by using Coupons.com, which demonstrates the powerful savings coupons can offer shoppers who are looking for ways to be financially smart,” said Jeanette Pavini, Coupons.com Savings Expert.

“Perhaps the biggest surprise of this year’s list is San Francisco — known for wealthy tech entrepreneurs and off-the-chart housing prices — as being the capital of couponing,” Pavini added. “We also saw that San Franciscans were three times more likely to use coupons than residents from other U.S. Metros.” A notable exclusion from the list was New York City — even though the Big Apple features its own high cost of living.

Of course, San Francisco is also known for its high cost of doing business. To stay profitable, businesses often pass costs onto the consumer, such as in 2012 when Subway discontinued $5 footlongs in San Francisco. However, San Francisco residents also enjoy an average household income of $75,604, beating all cities in the Top 10 by almost $10,000. This could give San Franciscans more disposable income to buy products and services, though they clearly prefer to use coupons for them as well.