The advantages and disadvantages of city versus rural living are endlessly debatable. Arguably, city living offers more action with more things to do, while rural life provides less stress with the ability to spend more quality time with friends and family. Whatever the argument, it’s hard to debate the wide gap in expense costs; rural living is just plain less expensive. It’s evident that both rent and real estate values are lower when compared to the city, but there are numerous other savings easily overlooked.
Here are 13 reasons why cheap rural living may be a better deal than you realize.
City parking can be downright frustrating; not only challenging to find but exceptionally expensive too. From paid parking lots to metered street parking – it’s tough to run an errand or attend an appointment without having to pay. Not only facing fees when running errands, but those who commute to jobs in a city might also require a monthly parking permit – and, in some cases paying a few hundred dollars a month to have one. And, beyond the frustration of repeatedly spending for city parking, strict time restrictions must be adhered to avoid substantial fines. Not only is parking abundant in rural centers, but you’ll also have less need to reach for your wallet when visiting a friend or running an errand, not to mention avoiding the pressure of running back to plug a meter before the time expires.
Lower city taxes
Municipal property taxes are calculated using two primary factors – a millage rate and a home’s assessed property value. The millage rate results from the municipal funding required for things like emergency services, community colleges, schools, park maintenance, transit, etc. As rural centers have fewer offered services – perhaps having no transit system and few or no parks – the millage rate is typically lower too. In rural centers, both the millage rate and property assessments (due to lower real estate values) are lower, resulting in lower property taxes.
Less money spent on entertainment
City dwellers love being immersed in the city itself – after all, there’s so much to do. From coffee shops, movie theaters, museums, galleries, restaurants, live theatre, and concerts – there is less time spent at home when compared to those living in the country. And, these frequent city outings are really expensive. In contrast, rural communities are more inclined to entertain at home – perhaps due to expansive home and less choice for restaurant, coffee shops and the like. Entertainment costs in a rural center are insignificant if not, non-existent.
Increased opportunity to travel
Where city life can absorb all of one’s income sources, the additional savings possible from rural living can make personal goals, like travelling, a reality. Rural living is more likely to fast-track savings, making travel a more regular occurrence when compared to those living in cities. Although, travel to major airports may be required, rural dwellers have an increased likelihood of freeing up the cash required to travel – not the mention the time off from work necessary to get away.
Costly, imported foods fill the aisles of city grocery stores. Imported food can be expensive as there are fees associated with transportation. Also, as individuals in cities become more health conscious, there is a trend towards organic goods – to ensure healthy food – resulting in an even higher food costs. Rural centers, in contrast, are nearly self-sufficient with livestock for meat and dairy, and plenty of lands to produce fruits and vegetables. Residents can purchase food directly from farmers and markets, or learn to create food on their own. For many individuals in the country, the production and acquisition of food becomes their passion.
Fewer paid activities
Most urban settings have a natural playground outside. Whether hiking, kayaking, hunting, archery, or fishing, those living in urban settings may need to purchase equipment upfront but don’t face the same ongoing activity costs that those in the city experience. City dwellers pay memberships for yoga, fitness centers, rock climbing gyms, costly ski hill passes, etc. A simple walk out the front door of an urban home offers a low-cost natural activity center.
Less need to hire tradespeople
When something breaks down in a vehicle or home in a city – there’s often an easy, yet costly, call to a professional who can help. In urban settings, however, it could be more challenging to find a designated professional to help. For this reason, those living in the country become more self-sufficient; they are more likely to call a neighbor to help ahead of looking to hire someone.
Better overall health resulting in a higher quality of life
Arguably, those in rural areas experience better overall health because they don’t have the stress of commuting to work, are surrounded by less pollution, have fresh food, and, are more active. Rural residents will have less need for doctor’s appointments, medications, and downtime due to sickness. In addition, country living is ideal for raising children. From a natural outdoor playground and less stress, children will thrive in the calming environment of rural life. The reduced pressure for long hours at work leave families free to spend quality time together while existing in a healthier environment.
Since overhead costs like rent are less in the country – these savings are passed to consumers in the form of gas. Also, because cities face emissions requirements like the requirement to sell low-emissions types of gasoline (to reduce pollution), the cost of gas is still higher.
Those living in the City face subtle pressures to keep on-trend with fashion. Requiring clothes for the gym, for work, casual wear and formal wear. In contrast, those residing in the country dress more casually in addition to having limited options for shopping. They shop less in terms of clothes and household items too.
Emergency savings are possible
While many individuals know the importance of having an emergency fund, those living in cities often struggle to free up enough cash to save for one. Those residing in rural communities can make emergency funds a reality primarily because their living expenses are so much less in comparison. The presence of an emergency fund will reduce the likelihood of growing (or creating) debt. In addition, an emergency fund will ensure that other savings – like that for retirement – remain untouched.
City transportation costs can be astronomical. Those with cars face high car insurance rates – due to an increased likelihood of accidents. They face bridge tolls in large centers. Even for those without vehicles, transit costs (for sky trains, subways, bus systems, etc.) isn’t cheap either. While those in the country might require a car – the overall cost to operate it is less than a city.
Rich with time
If it’s true that time is money, than those from rural centers are rich with time. Those living in cities often need to work more just to fund their city life, not to mention the hours lost getting to and from work. It’s not uncommon for city dwellers to commute an hour each direction (from suburbia to work, then home again). Those living in an urban setting may need to work less to fund their lifestyle in addition to gaining hours otherwise lost to commuting. Those in rural communities have more time to enjoy their hobbies and to spend time with their loved ones.
The bottom line
Rural living includes a calm, simplistic lifestyle. There is the potential to live off the land resulting in less dependence on others. Fewer expenses provide less pressure to work leaving more time to develop deep, meaningful relationships with neighbors and family while connecting with nature.
So, not only does rural living provide time for relationships and nature, it provides the opportunity to save money.