Move to a rural area

By glblguy

Want a great money saving tip? Move to a rural area. I knew when we moved that it would save us money, but honestly it seems to be saving us more than I anticipated as we’ve had some unexpected savings. Here are just a few of the savings we’ve encountered so far:

  • Lower gas prices – Gas prices where we live now are on average about 20 cents less expensive per gallon. While we don’t drive a whole lot, the vehicles we do have don’t get great gas mileage.
  • Lower food prices – While not significantly lower, we have noticed that grocery store food prices overall are less expensive. While not true across the board, staples like meats, cheese, milk and eggs are much lower. Pre-packaged products seem to be about the same and in some cases actually a little more.
  • Less eating out – We’ve found restaurant food prices to actually be more expensive overall, but since we live far enough away we’re far less tempted to eat out. We haven’t eaten out as a family since we moved in. That’s a fairly significant achievement for us as we typically used to eat out 2-3 times a week depending on our kid’s sports and school schedules.
  • Lower entertainment costs –  This won’t apply for everyone, but since we live in the Mountains and particularly in area of NC literally surrounded by National Parks, there are tons of things to do that are free. We were’t big into spending a great deal on entertainment anyway, but now we don’t spend anything. We have 3 acres of our own our kids can explore, literally tens of thousands of acres behind since just a few miles behind us is a National Park. There are old buildings to see, creeks to follow, hills to climb, and trails everywhere to explore.
  • Lower maintenance costs – So far the new house is less expensive to maintain than our old one. We have very little grass, so there isn’t much mowing. The house is landscaped and decorating with all natural materials on the outside, so that’s all low maintenance as well. While not attributable to living remote, our new house has vinyl siding too, so no more outside painting!
  • More content to stay at home – In general since we live on such a beautiful lot, have more land and a larger house, we just seem far more content to stay at home. Not only has that saved us money, but it’s given us time as a family we didn’t take advantage of before.
  • Water bill – This is going to be a big savings for us each month. Since we have a well and septic system, I’ll no longer have a $100.00 + water/sewer bill each month. The well water is great too, nice and soft and tastes literally as good as bottled water.

I’m sure as we’ll continue to find savings, but I would suspect we’ll find areas where we are paying more as well. Just hope the savings outweigh the additional expenses!

How about you? Do you live in a remote or rural area? What cost savings have you seen? Add a comment!

This article is part of an ongoing series called Money Saving Monday. Each Monday, I share tips and techniques you can use to start saving money.

Photo by: shioshvili

19 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Move to a rural area”

  1. Lynnae Says:

    I’m not as rural as you are, but my family also enjoys spending more time at home. I think it has something to do with all the space…life is more enjoyable when we’re not all crammed together in a small space.

    And I agree with you on the well water, too. It’s a big savings, and it tastes much better than city water! I’ll never go back!

  2. dogatemyfinances Says:

    Do you work from home? It seems like a nasty commute would undo all of that in stress and money.

  3. Julie Says:

    Hmmm…we found almost some opposites to be true. We moved back to a small city after living rurally for 3 years. Gas prices were always higher in the rural place, but food costs were lower. Restaurants were cheaper and had larger portions so we could always share and eat cheaper than we could make meals – although we enjoyed staying home and eating. We didn’t work from home, so we both had a commute and eventually moved when my husband found a better paying job and his commute grew to over an hour each way. We also had a hard time finding a church we connected with and commuted to our old church (45 minute drive each way). One thing you may not have encountered yet – any time we had to have work done to our house, we were always able to find a reputable locally owned company that was far cheaper than similar services in the city. That was a plus. The personal property taxes were half as much also, but we had to haul our own trash.

  4. Jodi Says:

    I think it’s all relative, for example gas prices in my experience are higher in rural WA state areas. I grew up in a rural community and though at that time I wasn’t involved in my parents’ finances and bugeting, I know that we hardly ever went out for entertainment, other than church or school outings. Plus my parents are very frugal and with 4 kids, eating out was for special occaisions. I would also be curious, Gibble, to see if your post would change any if you wrote it in, say, a year from now. You make the comment that you’re all more content to be home, but it’s a new house/area, and I’m interested to see if that opinion changes once the “novelty” wears off. Not trying to be negative, just playing a little Devil’s Advocate. :)

  5. Craig Says:

    It definitely will help save costs to move to a more rural area. But depending on you job, age, that might not be the best option. It’s very far from the beach, entertainment, usually better schools, etc. For someone who is looking more to retire this is a great option but a very difficult for a postgrad or young family to do.


  6. Bekki Says:

    It really depends on where you live.

    We live in rural NY, but we’re only about 2 hours away from NYC. A few years ago, some of the rich city folk figured out how beautiful it is up here and they began an infection that spreads faster than cancer.

    Many of the homes in this area are NYC people weekend mansions. With all the money they brought up here, local businesses adjusted everything for them – now everything is ridiculously expensive.

    Local retail stores and restaurants charge prices similar to what you would find in Manhattan. You can’t find a house with 4 walls and a roof for less than $300k and the taxes? Forget about it. Retirees who paid off their homes long ago are forced to sell and leav the area because they can’t afford the $12,000/year school tax bill on their 4 bedroom house.

    Then again, there are some rural areas upstate that are much more affordable. They’re right when they say “Location, location, location!”

  7. Frugal Dad Says:

    It seems you have found a great spot to raise a family! Our areas are very similar, except our town is extremely flat and lacking anything fun to do outdoors. Relocating to a similar spot in the mountains is on our 5-year plan, and we are looking to you for inspiration.

  8. No Debt Plan Says:

    Interesting point about the water well. I’m not familiar with how that works — could you ever run out?

  9. jeflin Says:

    I am going rural too, have to get used to the day when the world has no oil and everything goes back to Stone Age.

  10. nonesuch Says:

    If you haven’t done so already, I recommend you do a little reading on septic tank and well maintenance. You may want to create a well/septic savings account and put some money in it for when the day comes that you need to get work done on either. I’m not saying it’ll happen in one year or 15 years but you never know and those are some big ticket items that can drain your bank account very fast.

  11. Matt @ My Financial Says:

    I moved back home to rural VT not too long ago. Costs are down but I always forget how far away everything can be as well. Gas prices are not much lower if at all and a lot of the stores I go to are over in NH. I just try to limit trips to save on gas (plus I work from home, bonus).
    I think that if I was single I would see the savings really add up. Adjusting to living with my girlfriend and two kids makes it seem more expensive to me than Denver was.

  12. Nicki Says:

    I also live in a rural area and find the same thing … we spend less money here. We used to live just outside a larger city and we were constantly spending money on entertainment or just going shopping for something to do. Our life here is simpler, quieter and yes … less expensive. Thanks for the insight :)

  13. Matt @ SF Says:

    I found gas and food expenses to be higher in rural areas. I would estimate this is due to a lower number of selling volume, but I suppose it’s all dependent upon where you moved from and where you ended up.

  14. credit crunched Says:

    That’s my dream, to live somewhere away from the city. Just got to stay in the rat race long enough till I’ve got enough saved to make the move.

  15. Bethany Says:

    I know this is an old post but I just found it… I have to agree! We recently moved to a rural area and my husband has a heftier commute (takes him an hour each way) but the commute is beautiful, and he thought it would be a lot more pleasant to live his day-to-day life out here. It really is… I am able to do more out here that saves money like gardening, foraging, and then of course going less places with the kids. For us, gas is more expensive at the nearest gas station but is less so at the closest good size town (our town has only about 600 people). Rent is significantly cheaper though, we pay about half of what we’d pay for this place in the suburbs. We end up driving less, and our woodstove keeps us nice and toasty so we don’t even need to use the furnace. There’s all kinds of money saving benefits to living rurally. Naturally, it’s best if you can work remotely or have a job close in, but even if you don’t, it can be worth it.

  16. Diane Says:

    I have recently moved to a beautiful rural area. However, acceptance from the locals has been slow. I have even found some discrimination as far as gaining employment. I was very successful in larger cities, but will most likely have to move in order to find rewarding employment.

    In addition, the area where I live is isolated by hills and rivers. The gas is at least 10 cents higher than surrounding areas. We have to drive 30 minutes to avoid high markups on food. We do eat in much more often as the tempting restaurants in the community an hour away is too time consuming to make the trip.

    Though the scenery is beautiful, I prefer the conveniences of living in a more urban area.