The Top Cities for Saving, Giving, and Smiling

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Whether saving, giving, or earning money is most important to you, there's a city for you. Or, just check out where your hometown ranks on three recent polls.

When it comes to online coupons, the South knows how to save.

For the second consecutive year, Atlanta (No. 1) and Tampa (No. 2) topped’s Most Frugal U.S. Cities list. Atlanta-based users printed an average of $1,000 in savings last year – up from $531 in 2009 – while Tampa residents averaged $863.

In fact, half of the 10 top-ranked cities are in the Southern United States, with Charlotte (No. 6), Nashville (No. 7), and Raleigh (No. 10) also making the cut. The Buckeye State bucked the southern trend, however: Ohio turned out to be the best-saving state, with Cincinnati earning the No. 3 spot and Cleveland also making the top 10, which are…

  1. Atlanta, Ga.
  2. Tampa, Fla.
  3. Cincinnati, Ohio
  4. St. Louis, Mo.
  5. Minneapolis, Minn.
  6. Charlotte, N.C.
  7. Nashville, Tenn.
  8. Cleveland, Ohio
  9. Pittsburgh, Pa.
  10. Raleigh, N.C.

If you’re wondering why no small towns made the list, it’s not necessarily because their residents don’t print as many coupons.  This list – which ranks cities based on how many coupons residents printed relative to the population size – doesn’t include cities with populations under 300,000.

If the list is making you feel a little left out of all the savings, be sure to try out our Money Talks Deals page (I recently used it to buy $100 worth of gift cards to a local sushi joint for $8 via

Cities that give…

If, on the other hand, all the savings is making you feel generous, you may be part of another growing online trend: giving.

“Donors, volunteers, advocates and other constituents of all generations are using the Internet, social, mobile and digital technologies in their daily lives,” says Gene Austin, CEO of Convio, which helps nonprofits with marketing and fund-raising. “That is reflected in the dramatic increase in the amount of dollars raised online – from an estimated $1 billion across the entire sector 5 years ago, to Convio’s more than 1,300 clients alone raising more than $1.3 billion online this past year.”

In fact, Convio’s numbers show that cities like St. Louis and Minnesota aren’t just good at using the Internet to save money but also to donate it. Both states made the top 10 in Convio’s latest Most Generous Online Cities list…

  1. Alexandria, Va.
  2. Cambridge, Mass.
  3. Arlington, Va.
  4. Seattle, Wash.
  5. Washington, D.C.
  6. Berkeley, Calif.
  7. St. Louis, Mo.
  8. San Francisco, Calif.
  9. Ann Arbor, Mich.
  10. Minneapolis, Minn.

For this list, Convio ranked cities (with populations over 100,000) by per capita giving based on the $1.3 billion in donations their site generated in 2010. The biggest movers from 2009 were San Francisco, which jumped five spots, and Minneapolis, which fell five spots (perhaps residents got too busy printing coupons last year).

If you’re considering giving to a charity, be sure to read 4 Things to Know Before Donating first.

Cities that smile…

If you’re more interested in simply earning money than you are in saving or giving it, check out a third set of city rankings,’s Happiest and Unhappiest Cities to Work list.

The website, an online community whose name explains its goal, based the rankings on more than 200,000 independent company reviews and evaluated eight factors that they believe affect “work happiness”: growth opportunities, compensation, benefits, work-life balance, career advancement, senior management, job security, and whether the employee would recommend the company to others.

According to their research, the happiest employees live in San Jose (pictured). “A field that often yields happy employees is information technology,” explains CareerBliss CEO Matt Miller, “and San Jose is home to Silicon Valley, a technology hub, where tech jobs provide growth opportunities, advancement and good compensation.”

Or perhaps California just yields happy employees. Almost half of the top 10 cities for work happiness are in the Golden State…

  1. San Jose, Calif.
  2. San Francisco, Calif.
  3. Jacksonville, Fla.
  4. Miami, Fla.
  5. Washington, D.C.
  6. Memphis, Tenn.
  7. El Paso, Texas
  8. Los Angeles, Calif.
  9. San Diego, Calif.
  10. Birmingham, Ala.
Stacy Johnson

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