|The Savings of a Cheaper Area|
Earlier this year we decided to move from Chicago to Olympia, Washington for a job opportunity. Our move is temporary, and we’re unsure about where we’ll go next. The hardest thing about the move has been being far away from our family and friends. However, there have been a lot of perks to living in a lower-cost-of-living area.
Benefits of Living in a Low-Cost-Of-Living Area
1. Lower Cost of Housing. Houses are just way cheaper here, and they’re a lot nicer. Because we are living in Washington temporarily, we decided to rent a home instead of buying. That helped us save even more money on housing-related expenses.
2. Property tax savings. In addition to paying less for a mortgage, property taxes in lower cost of living areas are much more manageable. Although we don’t own our home, if we did, our property taxes would be one sixth the amount we paid for our previous home. In fact, the amount we pay in rent right now is less than what we were paying monthly for property taxes.
3. Fewer spending opportunities. Our old home was just blocks away from a nice mall with a Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Marc Jacobs, Coach, and Tiffany store. Now the closest store to our home is a Wal-Mart. If I want to go to a Nordstrom, I’ll have to drive at least thirty miles to get there.
4. Less pressure to spend. “Keeping up with the Joneses” is a completely different animal in a lower cost of living area. Our old neighbors drove BMWs and Audis. Our new neighbors drive Hyundais, Toyotas, and Chryslers.
5. Lower Cost of Transportation. Gas is cheaper, and we don’t have to drive as far to get to work. This translates to big savings on transportation costs. I don’t think I’ve paid for parking once since we moved to Washington.
6. Lower Cost of Insurance. Our car insurance costs went way down when we moved. Because we are renting, we aren’t paying nearly as much as we were before for homeowners insurance.
7. Less Traffic. This may vary, depending on where you’re moving from and to, but for us, the decrease in traffic has been fantastic.
8. Cheaper Utilities. Our heating and cooling bills in Chicago were astronomical. In Washington, they’re so much less. We don’t have to run the heater and air conditioner nearly as much as we had to in Chicago.
9. Lower Entertainment Costs. We used to spend huge amounts on taxis, tips, and drinks for a night out on the town. Now, we get together with friends in our homes. If we do go out to socialize, everything is less expensive. Even the taxis.
10. More Opportunity to Build Savings. Because we are able to save on a lot of our expenses, we’ve been able to put more money towards savings and investments.
Ideally, we’d like to move back to the Midwest in a year or so, but move to another lower-cost-of-living area like Indianapolis. We really miss our families and friends, and the benefits above don’t outweigh being close to them. We are planning for a move to Indianapolis or another Midwestern city so we can continue to save while being closer to “home.”
Interested in learning more about living in a low-cost-of-living area? Here are some resources to help you in your research: