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Old 08-28-2012, 06:22 AM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
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I'm a very thrifty type, and I am in the midst of retirement planning. I would really like to live in a more rural area, but I'm not sure of the cost difference. I'm assuming that housing might be less, but even if its more, I don't care. I'd rather have some land between me and my neighbors. (Barking dogs in neighbors back yard make one long for open spaces.) But I always assume that living in rural area will be more expensive. You use more gas to get where you're going, and this also adds wear and tear on the car. You often have to travel to the big city to buy things you can't buy in the small town.

Tell me I'm wrong or right. Any aspects of living cheaper in a rural area?
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:32 AM
 
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It all depends upon so many factors that your question is impossible to answer.

If barking dogs (or other noise) is an issue for you, you need to consider what/where rural will be satisfactory to you, and how much acreage. I live in a rural area where we measure the land area in sections or portions of a section, not acres ... and I can hear the barking dogs of neighbors 1-2 miles away from my house because we're out on the prairie.

Much of Texas rural land can be like that, too. Rural land values vary tremendously across the USA, and then there's the climate to consider, access to recreation, medical, shopping, entertainment ... so many factors to consider beyond just having a place to live in.

Perhaps you might contact some of the rural land real estate companies in areas that interest you and visit the properties they have to get a baseline of acquisition costs, living costs, and values for what you are seeking?
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Western Nebraskansas
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All things being equal, urban is more expensive than rural. The value of housing, taxes, etc.
However, all things aren't equal and you're right. You'll probably make it up on the cost of vehicle maintenance and fuel.
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:02 PM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
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I don't doubt you can hear dogs barking from a mile away in the country, but that's a lot better than when its 50 ft. away in the city.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:47 PM
 
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Depends on your lifestyle.

I know a couple who go to town 1x/month.

For them the cost of gas is a nonissue.

They garden, raise animals, and enjoy the lower taxes and cost of land.

If they ran to town2x a day... It would be different.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prairieparson View Post
I don't doubt you can hear dogs barking from a mile away in the country, but that's a lot better than when its 50 ft. away in the city.
Oh, indeed you can hear the mutts from a long distance. Here in Asswipe, U.S.A. everyone's got at least two. But you get used to it.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:02 AM
 
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Yes, you can, unfortunately, hear dogs barking at a mile. The upside is, they tip you off to when some idgits are trespassing on your place and the dogs are chasing your livestock.

In general, rural living is considered more expensive because of the travel costs. But, the articles I've read stating that are figuring in costs of commuting to work or ferrying kids back and forth to extra-curricular activities. I'm a once a month shopper/appointment person, so my costs are much lower. I have a couple friends who only shop twice a year and both have sizeable families whose children attend nearby rural school.

The caution I think of is that of health. If your health is good, and stays good, rural living is great. If you develop an illness you will most likely have long distances to drive frequently to get care. Where I live, I've seen people retire to their dream spot only to have to sell shortly because they are too far from a specialist that one or the other needs. It's at least two hours to the nearest full service hospital.
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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We have 150 acres of forest with 1/4 mile of river frontage. Our annual taxes run less than $1k.

I am on pension, I drive into the city maybe weekly. It is 25 miles. My Dw commutes, she does not consider her 25 mile commute to be a big expense though. She recently got a prius so her fuel expense is much lower than it has been.

We grow much of our food and all of our own meat. I sell our surplus produce [which is when I drive into town].

We traveled a lot during my career. Every place where we lived had a much higher Cost-Of-Living then what we see here.

Our electric bill is higher. When urban we paid for municipal water/sewer and we had a lower electric bill. Now we have a well, which causes our electric bill to be higher. If you compared our urban electric plus the water/sewer bill; to our electric bill now, they are about the same. I am putting in an off-grid solar power system this year, so we plan to be off-grid soon. No electric bill.

Our first home, we bought in the early 80's was rural, and it was cheaper then this place [but really that was the 80's, so a valid comparison is hard]. Since then we have owned three other homes before moving here. Each of them were urban. Each of them were more expensive to buy, then our current home. And each of them had much higher taxes [say 3X to 5X higher taxes]. Granted I bought bare land, and I built the house myself. This home is much larger than any of our previous homes, the total expense for land and home, is still much less then the previous urban homes.

Our food bill is 'less' We still buy groceries in town, but we also grow some of our own veggies and I sell some. We produce our own meats [poultry and pork].

We have lived 'North' before [Washington, Ct, UK], now in Maine we find that our winter heating expenses are lower than they were in those other Northern climate homes. Those other homes used oil or gas as fuel, whereas now we use wood.

Our experience has been that rural living has a much lower Cost-Of-Living.
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Old 08-29-2012, 12:03 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
23,470 posts, read 41,064,757 times
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I have to put my desire for peace and quiet above any minimal cost savings of urban. (quality of life...)

We have great neighbors and no / few dogs. Plenty of coyotes but they don't bark all night like dogs do.

There are many ways to mitigate the extra cost of rural. (Barter and 'ridesharing') We often pick up stuff for neighbors while running errands, and you will find plenty of produce, meat, and fish in your freezer when you are nice to your neighbors.

I have an urban area within 30 minutes, Safeway 6 minutes, but I am in a sparsely populated National Scenic Area (no new neighbors allowed).

For lower transportation costs, I drive a $35 car that gets 50 mpg on free cooking oil (or Brew your own Bio-diesel). MOm and pop Chinese and Mexican food places can keep you supplied (~10 gal each / week). Burger joints NO... too much transfat. I have a local joint that is busy and insists on FRESH oil (for tempura). 25 gal / week.

Tires from junk yard $5 each. often new and in pairs and sets (have my own tire machine from Craigslist)
Have all the same engine, so spare water pumps, tie rod ends, ball joints, belts, hoses (~$3 - $12 each) on hand.

Few 80+ mpg Motorcycles for fun and cheap transportation. Some weeks its nice to hunker down and stay home. It is highly possible as an 'active' retiree, that you could do a 'provisioner' service a couple times / week by running errands for others who are farmers and workerbees and gladly pay you to run some errands and pick up supplies in town. I would choose NEAR a small town, yet within an hr of a metro. Mild weather for reduced utilities expense.
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Old 08-29-2012, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,537 posts, read 55,453,855 times
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Rural can be far cheaper, but as was pointed out, it is a lifestyle change. Pay close attention to that post about health issues. If you can find a place within 15 or 20 min of a hospital, you won't regret it.

My style of shopping fits the rural lifestyle. We keep a stocked pantry, and I shop only when items are on sale if possible. We have no water or sewer bill, taxes are MUCH lower, car insurance is less, and so on. However, each trip to town costs about $12 to $15 once you start figuring out gas, oil, depreciation, maintenance -but... because the van is going for long enough to fully warm up and at speeds around 55mph, the wear on it is probably LESS than multiple small trips in a city. Unless you live in a cheap apartment and walk to stores, city life will get you with all sorts of little added costs.
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