Is Moving to the Country Really Cheaper?
It’s the classic dilemma: City life or country life, which is better? While there are merits to both, for many people, the final decision ultimately boils down to cost.
It’s a common belief that living in the country is far cheaper than living in the city, but people who make this generalization really only take into consideration one main expense. You guessed it: Housing. However, for many people, lifestyle preferences account for the vast majority of spending, and when they examine those, they often find that there is no clear winner between the two. If you’re thinking about becoming a Country Mouse based on cost-savings alone, consider your unique lifestyle and break down the cost of both city and country life accordingly.
When Moving to the Country Is Cheaper
The country life is cheaper, in many ways, than the city life. You are almost bound to find this is true when it pertains to following expenses:
• Housing: As of 2019, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in 15 of America’s
major cities was just over $1,200. However, while the prices vary considerably across the
nation for country apartments and rental homes, you’re unlikely to spend more than $1,000
for a unit that offers far more space than a city apartment. $1,000 is pushing it, as many
people who relocated to the country boast rent prices as low as $350.
Not interested in renting? Don’t worry — you will still enjoy massive savings by buying a country home rather than a city one.
• Childcare: Childcare costs are also less expensive in rural areas, with one woman citing a
35% savings after her family moved. Many rural childcare providers will also not charge for
days the children do not attend.
• Groceries: Groceries are typically cheaper in the country than they are in the city, for
various reasons. However, to really notice a difference in price, you need to relocate to an
area where many of the goods are readily available (i.e. not imported). In doing so, you can
save anywhere between 10-20%.
• Frivolous Spending: Aside from housing, you will probably discover that the most savings
come from not having many spending opportunities. In the city, you may casually spend
money on things like cappuccinos, takeout, boutique items you admired while window
shopping and more. Because the country doesn’t offer opportunities to buy at every corner,
you’re likely to see significant savings within the first few weeks of moving.
When Staying in the City Is Cheaper
In the grand scheme of things, moving the country is, invariably, going to be cheaper. However, it may not feel that way initially when you’re forced to make the following concessions:
• Buy a Car: City life is great in that you can walk everywhere and therefore do not have to
buy a car and pay for all the expenses that come with it (insurance, gas, repairs, etc.). The
same cannot be said for living in the country. If you don’t want to become a recluse, you will
need four wheels.
• Invest In Furniture: In the city, your one couch, love seat and dining may create a space
that some might call cozy. In the country, you will need to buy significantly more furniture to
create the same effect.
• Pay Full Price: The city has much more competition than the country, meaning it’s easier to
hunt down a bargain or wheel and dell to success. In the country, where competition is
fierce, you may have to pay full price for most items.
Though the total cost of living boils down to where you live and your particular lifestyle, life in the country is almost always cheaper than life in the city. However, crunch your numbers before making the move based on price alone, as this may not be the case for you.