Should you move to a rural area to save money?
What if you HATE living in town, surrounded by noises, traffic and a constant state of busyness?
I grew up in a small, rural town. There was one high school, and we all got excited when they finally put in the one restaurant, a Golden Corral. We had officially moved up in the world! No more driving half an hour to go out to eat after church on Sunday.
As much as I thought I would never miss that small town, I missed the memories we made as children. We played in the yard for hours, we knew everyone in town, and if you didn’t have a farm, you knew someone who did.
Our move to suburbia
As we moved into adulthood, we had to do what many young adults have to do. We had to get jobs.
Those jobs were not sexy and didn’t pay well. We were entry-level, and with that came an entry-level paycheck. The most affordable housing was in the city, either in an apartment or a house in an OK (let’s be honest, not OK) neighborhood.
The rent and mortgage were cheap though! At least initially.
Then, as we moved up in our careers, we wanted to be near work. That meant a big, fine house in suburbia.
We were living the American dream and loving every second of it. We were working long hours, our kids were in daycare, and we were tired, but we sure loved our picture-perfect life.
Simple living means you need less
We stopped buying things to stuff our big ole’ house, and we realized maybe we didn’t need to work so hard to buy an even bigger house so we could stuff more stuff inside of it!
Related post: Reasons Why Less Stuff Will Make You Happier
Can you change how you live?
This change in our lifestyle opened up more conversations in our home:
- Did we need as much money coming in every month?
- What if we didn’t have to pay for childcare or before and after school care?
- What if we could get a house in a neighborhood that didn’t cost as much?
- What if we could afford to buy land?
- What if we could afford to live on one income?
Related post: Want to quit your job mama?
At first, we thought moving out of our perfect suburbia neighborhood was an insane idea.
I mean, it truly was perfect. Other small towns around our community made fun of us for being so “elite” in our community style. We had four recreation centers that were included for free to us, just because we lived in that zip code. The community hosted events with free concerts and ice cream. There were parks with amazing playgrounds on every corner.
Who would consider leaving such a “utopia”? Well…us. Even with all it’s resort type perks, it wasn’t us. It wasn’t the lifestyle we envisioned for our family. We were scared though.
Change is scary.
Evaluate your dream lifestyle
My husband and I both grew up in small towns. We wanted our children to experience playing on their own land, not the neighborhood playground.
We wanted to forge trails on our own property, not seek out sidewalks through parks.
Moving to the country was a dream we thought was unattainable. It was too far from work. The commute would be impossible. The land would be unaffordable. Our kids would hate us for moving them.
These were all self-limiting thoughts we had about moving to a rural area. Yet, something told us we should seriously consider going for it.
Talk openly with your family about your dream lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be a dream.
Would moving to a rural area, away from the city, drastically change your lives?
What would your free time look like? What would your home look like? Would you need as much as you have now
Discuss the realities of a move to a rural area
- What areas could you possibly live in?
- Would you move zip codes or states?
- Would you keep your same job?
- Would you transition from two incomes to one income?
- What is the cost of living in the area you would consider moving to?
- How would your quality of life change if you moved to a rural area?
- What are the schools like?
- What kind of recreational activities could you do?
Consider your new commute if you move to a rural area
The commute was the initial reason we didn’t want to move to a rural area. It seemed like it would be so far.
Then, we realized if I quit my job, that was one commute no longer necessary.
My husband only commutes to work a couple times a week, so adding in an extra 20-30 minutes also wasn’t a big deal for him, for the exchange in quality of life.
The type of commute my husband experienced also changed.
Even though the commute got longer, it is now through the mountains and on the outskirts of town. Previously, he had to commute straight through downtown, often in rush hour traffic. He happily welcomed the longer, but prettier change in scenery.
Crunch the numbers
Crunch the numbers. Moving to a rural area may be more attainable than you think.
Do you have a budget?
What would your budget look like with the lifestyle changes you would make with a new home in a new area?
I know once we got rid of childcare, eating out at restaurants (hard to do when you live in a rural area), and other convenience type expenses (like having a Target two miles from your house!), then you start to see your household income get a bit of a raise.
Even with the loss of my corporate world career and the income that came with it, we weren’t losing that much for me to transition from working outside of the home full time to staying home full time. I honestly couldn’t believe it the first time we looked into it.
Be better prepared for retirement
By moving to a rural area, we were saving an insane amount of money. Our cost of living went down, which in turn allowed us to save more money for retirement than when we had two incomes!
We also live in a home that we love, and we would consider raising our children here all of their lives. We never felt so attached to our home in suburbia.
Moving to a rural area isn’t for everyone
Moving to the middle of no where with a bunch of land isn’t for everyone. I get it.
Even with our move to the rural mountains, I still like having neighbors within eyesight and smaller conveniences. I also like that we are within an hour drive of “the city”.
Some people thrive in suburbia. That’s ok. Embrace it if that’s you. However, if you are looking to get out of the faster-paced life of the city or suburbia, consider a move to a rural area. It may be more attainable than you think.