Have you ever wondered why living in the country is cheaper than living in the city? Do you wonder how much cheaper it is? Rural towns typically have fewer jobs than cities and those jobs are typically lower paying jobs. However, I want to show you how that doesn’t necessarily have as much of an impact as you might think on your finances.
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Buying land in the country versus living in the city…what would you choose? I want to show you just some of the ways that living in the country is cheaper than living in a city.
Reasons Why Living in the Country is Cheaper
1. Land in the country is cheaper.
You may already be aware that an acre of yard in a city is WAY more expensive than an acre of yard in the country. It’s all about supply and demand. There’s only so much land available for purchase in a city so the supply is low. Also, there’s typically a whole lot more people who want to live in a city, so the demand is high. When supply is low and demand is high, the prices are high.
Alternatively, in the country there is a whole lot more land available for purchase and fewer people who want to live in the country far away from city conveniences. When supply is high and demand is low, the prices are low.
In the town we moved from, a half-acre of land in our subdivision was valued at $60,000. There is a lot of variability in land prices throughout a city due to having “good” areas of town and the “not so good” areas of town, but generally speaking, the prices of land in or close to a city is much more expensive than prices in rural areas.
We bought our farm at the end of 2020 and paid a little more than $3,000 per acre. Now it was all in REALLY rough shape so we had to put in a lot of work to get it to where it is today, but this just gives you an idea of how much cheaper land can be in the country.
2. Taxes in the country are cheaper.
It’s related to Reason #1 but taxes in the country are cheaper (excluding Federal and State income taxes).
If you are considering moving to the country, do a Google search for your state and check out the different tax rates in the various counties. You might be surprised what you learn!
Property taxes are the biggest tax any of us will pay for owning a bit of land and those are calculated from the overall property value. Since rural land is valued low, the corresponding property tax (which is a percentage of property value) is also low.
And then there’s the state and local sales tax. Most states in the USA charge a state sales tax whenever you buy anything. But then cities and towns are allowed to charge an additional local sales tax. So whenever you go to the grocery store (unless you live in Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon), your groceries cost more in the city than they do in the country. And everything else you purchase costs more, too!
Our farm is located about 20-25 minutes away from three different towns. Two of the towns charge the same amount of sales tax but the third town charges less. So guess where we do our shopping?!
But also consider the city tax you pay for city services. And while you’re at it, tack on the extra city taxes that seem to get added on to your property taxes every couple of years. We moved out of town after several extra city taxes had been added including extra taxes for the school system and the downtown revitalization project. It adds up to a lot of extra money in taxes just to live in a city!
3. Utilities in the country are cheaper.
Electricity is about the same rate no matter where you live in the state you’re in because it’s calculated on your usage. However, the rates are different across the states. So if you’re considering moving to another state, search for the average electricity rates and consider moving to a cheaper area! States with the highest electricity rates are Hawaii, Alaska, California, and Massachusetts ($0.19 – $0.30 cents per kilowatthour). States with the lowest electricity rates are Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Oklahoma (around $0.08 cents per kilowatthour).
This was a big shock to me but might not be the same everywhere. Water in the city was more expensive than water in the country. I imagine it’s more of the supply and demand economics but it’s still a monthly bill that you have to pay. Unless you go off grid!
Our farm is on county water, which pulls water from the Coosa River. The town we moved out of pulled water from underground aquifers. In town we used an average amount of water for our family. At the farm we use an average amount for our family plus we have county water running to all our pastures that fill water troughs for the cows. So not only are we drinking and using water but the cows and other animals are, too.
We try to use our water resources responsibly and have built ponds to capture rainwater runoff and the animals drink from those also, but we definitely use more water here on the farm than we did in town. The water rates, for whatever reason, are cheaper in the country.
Sewage removal is cheaper in the country. We had an expensive sewer bill every month when we lived in town but there’s no sewer in rural America. The septic tank was here when we bought the farm and it doesn’t cost us anything extra.
Exception: Trash Pickup
We had a monthly bill for trash disposal when we lived in town. Even though it wasn’t astronomically high, it was still a bill every month. When we first moved to the farm, the bill was almost exactly the same as when we lived in town. However, when gas prices shot up, the trash company had to pass on the extra costs to us. So now our trash bill is more expensive than when we lived in town.
4. Child care in the country is cheaper.
We had to pay a hefty daycare bill before the kids were old enough to get into the public school system when we lived in town. It was just as much as a mortgage to have two kids in daycare.
When we found the farm and looked into sending the kids to a private Christian school, I almost hated to ask the school how much the tuition was. It’s a K2-12th grade school, so all four kids could go. But to my surprise, the tuition for four kids was much cheaper than daycare for two kids in town!
5. Other costs you can skip in the country.
There’s no need to hire a landscape crew to perfectly trim and hedge your yard in the country. Chances are, no one can see your house from the road anyways!
You can also skip the professional pest control. If you have free-range chickens, they’ll eat a ton of your outdoor bugs for you and give you a steady supply of fresh eggs in return.
If you’re accustomed to eating out a lot, you’ll be surprised at how much money you save when you start cooking and eating your meals at home since every restaurant is too far to drive to and they don’t deliver!
Why Living in the Country is Cheaper
In the country, it’s common for only one parent to work while the second parent stays at home to manage the house and children. I didn’t know that affordable, small-town America still existed before we moved to the farm. But it’s all possible because of the cheaper cost of living out here. The savings for each family will vary depending on a lot of factors. For us, even with the extra gas we buy now to get places, we easily save at least $20,000 each year.
And if you’re at all interested in growing and producing your own food, that’s another big cost savings. Almost everyone out here in the country has a big garden and keeps chickens at a minimum. How much we spend on food now is less than what we spent on food when we lived in town. (I wrote an entire post on how to raise chickens for cheap, if you’re interested in reading it!)
My hope in writing this post is to show you just some of the ways that living in the country is cheaper. And as for me, I never want to live in a town again. Once you taste pure freedom and start becoming more self-sufficient, you never want to let it go!
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We love living in the country and found that it has been cheaper than living in the city. Not only that, but more peaceful 🙂
Absolutely! The intangible benefits of living in the country is SOOOO worth it!!
What a great post! I live in a California and it’s very expensive. We always talk about moving to the country and your post give lots of good advice and food for thought. Thank you!
I understand! We didn’t live in an expensive state but even just living in the suburbs in a cheap state was so much more expensive than actually living in the country! I thought I had a good handle on how much things cost but I really had no clue that it was so much cheaper in the country. In my area, most of the moms stay home to bring up their children and don’t have a paying job. Yet, with the dads’ working income, the families all thrive and have plenty! I keep trying to convince my family in other states to move to the country or to at least get out of the expensive city they live in. I know how draining it is to work just to be able to afford to live. I simply want to bring attention to the fact that people don’t have to live like that! It’s better in the country!!
So much more fulfilling too! Love country life!
I 100% agree! There’s no way I’m moving back to a town or city after tasting all this freedom and experiencing farm life!!