In my lifetime, I’ve had the pleasure of living in several different sized towns. I grew up 10 miles from the big city of Fresno, California. I’ve lived in several other big cities since then; Seattle, Los Angeles, Dallas and Nashville, to name a few. I’ve lived in medium sized cities and small towns. Now, I live in a tiny town with a population of 3,800. It’s my qualified opinion that small town living can save you money.
Let’s start with small town banks. We’re all aware of the problems that large, corporate banks are having. Our small town banks don’t seem to be having those problems. I’m talking about banks with 4 or 5 local branches. These banks didn’t make the same mistakes as the big time boys because they couldn’t afford to. Instead, they focused on lending to people in the communities that they knew and grew up with. They focused on how they could best serve their community. My local bank offers 4.87% interest on my checking account with no monthly fees. All I have to do is use direct deposit and use my debit card 10 times a month. I’m saving money and making money. Plus, when I get ready to take out a home mortgage, I’ll be old friends with the person who approves the loans because I’ve made small talk with them on a weekly basis.
Property is cheaper in a small town. This has always been true, it seems the smaller and more rural the town, the cheaper the cost of any property. I live an hour away from a big city and our cost per acre is one-fourth of theirs. Property taxes are also less than larger cities. Rent is less expensive and you get more for your money. I rent a 3 bedroom house for cheaper than I used to rent a tiny one bedroom apartment in Seattle.
Groceries are cheaper and fresh locally grown produce is available all over town. Local farmers often set up impromptu fruit stands or sell out of the back of their trucks. Small town, locally owned grocery stores are cheaper than big name food chains.
You can get good deals just by talking to your neighbors in a small town. If you let your neighbor know that you’re in the market for a second car, he’ll tell you about his friend or relative that either has a car for sale or knows someone that has a car for sale. Small town folks are good at networking.
Transportation is cheaper in a small town. No, the price of gas isn’t likely to be cheaper, but you spend a lot less time waiting in traffic or driving around. Plus, you can walk more places and not be afraid of getting run over.
In general, places like barber shops, beauty salons, local coffee shops and restaurants, are all less expensive. This is because they have less overhead and pass the savings on to their customers.
You save money on entertainment costs. To be fair, this is mostly because there isn’t much to do in a small town. But going to the local high school football games and participating in the church choir can be fun.
You don’t have to spend as much to keep up with the Joneses. Small towners don’t tend to be as pretentious or showy. Most of them are middle to lower middle class. Smaller towns have not been as affected by the economic problems that our nation is facing. They tend to be more self-supporting and will pull together as a community to help each other out in difficult times.
Small towns are not for everyone. Some people enjoy the amenities of big city life too much to give it up for the perks of a small town. Aside from the obvious reasons to live in a small town, such as lower crime and friendlier folks, saving money is a great reason to move to a small town.