Financial Pros and Cons of Small Town Living

small town living

Like Kim, I too live in a small town. A few years ago she discussed some of the reasons why she and her family live in a small town, as well as some of the downsides of small town living. Honestly, I think it’s my favorite post of all time from Eyes on the Dollar because I knew exactly what she was talking about in her post.

You see, I live in a small town of 7,000 and although I’ve thought about moving at different times over the past few months since I quit my job to pursue self employment, there are a lot of reasons that I keep coming back to small town living as the best option for me. Of course not all of the aspects of small town living vs big city living have to do with finances, but many of them do.

If you have ever found yourself contemplating moving to a small town to get away from the big city, or vice versa, check out these financial pros and cons of small town living.

Financial Pros of Small Town Living

Small town living saves time.

One of my favorite things about small town living is that I don’t have to waste time being stuck in traffic or commuting. Even when I drove to and from work each week day during “rush hour” there was never a line or a traffic jam of any kind. I definitely took that for granted.

When I recently visiting a friend in a very small city, but still a few steps up in size from my town of 7,000, I found myself annoyed at being stuck in line for several rounds of street lights before I finally able to go. Sigh! Small town living saves a ton of time by not being stuck in traffic, and since time is money, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by not being stuck in traffic, plus you’ll also save gas.

You’ll know your neighbors.

Living in a small town and knowing my neighbors personally has saved me a lot of money over the past few years. I’ve commonly found ways to share equipment for yard and household projects, as well as splitting baskets of fresh produce from the farmer’s market with my neighbor in the summer. Splitting a produce basket saves us both from having to throw away produce that we can’t use up in time and we share the cost of the basket too.

Another benefit of knowing your neighbors is being able to ask them for an occasional favor whenever you travel out of town. For instance, my neighbor is more than willing to come over and take care of my dogs while I’m away for a couple of days and I return the favor when she travels too. This saves us both from having to pay for a pet sitter or boarding house for our pets when we travel.

Lower overall cost of living.

This is something Kim touched on too, but it’s worth repeating. For my $850/month house payment I get a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house. I also have a 2 car garage and nice-sized front and back yards. I have a lot of space for little money compared to those who live in a city. My mortgage payment also includes my annual property taxes, my insurance, plus principal and interest on my loan. That’s a pretty sweet perk of small town living!

Less temptation to spend money.

Not having a Target, a shopping mall, or very many restaurants helps cut down on the temptations to spend money, and I need all the help I can get! 🙂 I have notoriously struggled with both eating out and shopping in the past, so having limited opportunities in my small town for each of those problem areas really helps my budget.

Financial Cons of Small Town Living

Limited choices for cell phone plans.

I sincerely wish I could sign up for a cheaper cell phone plan, like Republic Wireless or Cricket. I’ve looked into both options, as well as any other “nontraditional” cell phone companies and plans I can think of, but they are not available in my rural area. Therefore, I am stuck paying more with one of the “big 3” for my cell phone plan, and even then I do have places where reception is questionable at best.

You may have to drive more.

Although my small town is big enough to have most of the necessities our community needs, we do have to drive to nearby cities for some products and services. For example, we don’t have many “specialists” that come to our rural hospital, so if we have to see a special doctor for some reason, we have to drive 1.5-3 hours one-way to go to an appointment.

We do save gas by having very short daily commutes, unless you live outside of the city limits, but sometimes we have to drive further to access some of the things we need. Luckily, online shopping has cut down on some of these needs because we can order products online these days instead of having to drive to another city to go to an actual store.

Internet is kind of a rip-off.

I’ve compared the price of my monthly internet service with that of some of my bloggers friends and I am definitely overpaying for the limited speed I receive from our local internet provider, but just like with cell phones, there aren’t really any other options to help cheapen the price through competition. Bummer! At least internet is a business expense. 🙂

Overall, I’m pretty happy with living in my small town, at least for now. But it’s also worth noting that there are far more variables to consider about small town living other than just financial ones.

Have you ever considered small town living?

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  1. In my country (The Netherlands) both the phone and internet fees are the same for small towns, so those cons can be taken off your list. A small town is the best to live and work in!

  2. I live in what would be considered the suburb of a large city right now, and it is even too big for me. The city keeps expanding rapidly and is outpouring into the suburb to where it is becoming too large. There is constant construction and growth and it is starting to feel too congested. We can’t move too much farther out though due to my husbands job, so I kind of have to deal. Great break down of the pros and cons, thanks for sharing!

  3. I grew up in a big city but my parents decided to move to a small town when I was high school. And just last week me and my daughter moved to the big city where my hubs is currently working. Living in a small town is really perfect for me, but finding a good work there is such a big problem.

  4. We lived in a small town in Colorado last year and we loved it. We got to know our neighbors well, everyone at restaurants knew us and remembered our orders, and we loved that nothing was ever crowded. We could go hiking near our home and no one would be there, even though the area was amazing!

    The biggest negative was that since the town was so small, flying in or out was extremely expensive. We only had a few visitors, which made us a little homesick.

  5. I lived in a village as a kid.
    As soon as you could have a drivers licence you had one and a car, too.
    There was only one shop in this village where food costed about double the price you paid in a usual supermarket.
    You had to drive everywhere: work, shopping, sports, school, library, doctors …
    I spent so much time on the road.
    You bought in bulk why everybody had big cellars.

    When I moved to a bigger city I could do all my actions with a bike or public transport.
    I just bought food for several days so nearly nothing went bad. I had everything I need in a time range of 15 minutes.
    I sold my car.

    Gasoline will become more expensive every year.
    I won’t become younger.
    I will be able to walk much longer as I age than I will be able to drive responsibly.

    I prefer living in a bigger city.

    Yes, there are more temptations but you can handle them with discipline. But your car doesn’t drive with discipline. It drives with expensive gasoline.

  6. I grew up in a small town of about 2,000 people, where the closest city (which only had about 100,000) was a 3 hour drive away, so I too can relate this too!
    I loved growing up in the small town, and I really think it shaped a lot of my personal finance habits. There was only one or two clothing stores, no fast food places, no movie theaters, etc. so saving money was easy to do. Even though as a teenager I’d save up for trips to the city to buy clothes and such from the mall. But that only happened 2-3 times a year, so my savings account was pretty big for my age.
    I’d love to get back to small-town living one day, but finding a job would be ever harder than it is for me now.

    1. Finding a job can be hard in a small town because there are not very many high paying ones available. I know several friends who have struggled with that in my town.

  7. The low cost of living is the most attractive thing to me when it comes to small town living. I pay more than you for a one bedroom apartment right outside of DC. What I like about living in an urban setting is that I don’t have to drive (I just got my driver’s license and am still a little weary about being on the road).

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