Would Rural Living Cost You More or Less than City Life?


It’s one of the great ironies of life that people who live in the city often dream of a rural home while country folk often plan on moving to the city.

There are many things to take into account when deciding where to live but what about the financial side of things? Clearly the cost will depend upon where you live and the kind of lifestyle you are after. However, there are a few basic points to get us started.

Grow Your Own Food

One of the most intriguing possibilities of living in the countryside is the greater chance of growing your own food. Sure, you can do this in the city as well but it seems fair to say that there is more chance of you doing this if you move to the country. My friend did just this a few years ago and within months he was cultivating raspberries and onions in his garden. You might even consider having a few animals like chickens about the place as well.

Shopping Options

This point was undoubtedly a bigger issue in the past than it is now. The growth of online shopping has definitely made it easier to get a good range of low cost goods even if you live in a rural location. However, it can be more expensive to buy everyday groceries such as bread and milk, while selection is also likely to be a lot more limited. On the other hand, if you are a compulsive shopper then living far from the big shopping centres should mean that you have far fewer opportunities to spend money.

Transport Issues

One of the big potential expenses for country dwellers is around transport. If you are in a remote location then you are almost certain to want to have a car. If you are tied to a job in the city then all that commuting could turn out to be pretty expensive each month. Transport in the city can still be expensive, of course. When I lived in London I didn’t own a car but paid a small fortune to travel on the Tube every day. Having said that, transport costs should cost you less in the city than in the countryside in most cases. Maybe this would be a good time to take up cycling or to start working from home?

Live a Simpler Life

Perhaps the strongest point in favour of country living is the idea of living a simpler life. My friend that I mentioned earlier was never an international playboy but when he moved to the country I was surprised by how much of a lower key, simpler life he decided to live. Perhaps it is the fact that he spends less time with other people that makes him happier to spend less on clothes and things like that, or maybe it is just because he has found other interests that take up more of his time and attention. Living a simpler life and spending less on non-essential items certainly seems easier to do in the country than it is in the city.


As I said at the beginning, the cost of living is going to depend to a large degree on exactly where you choose to live and how you want to live. However, I think that most of us would probably find that rural living is cheaper than life in the city. The higher transport costs and lack of grocery shopping options could be tough to take but the ability to grow your own food and live more simply should more than make up for that.

Do you think that you would spend less if you moved from the city to the countryside or vice versa?

17 Responses to Would Rural Living Cost You More or Less than City Life?

  1. Scott says:

    You missed a big one: housing costs. Unless you’re buying acreage your housing costs are almost always substantially lower living outside of the city.

    • Robert Bell says:

      I wasn’t sure about this one Scott, as it seems as though country properties can be more expensive in some places. This is probably more to do with the areas being highly sought after, like the Cotswolds in England. In most other cases I would agree that the country is cheaper

  2. Even Steven says:

    I think for us living in the city now and moving to the country/suburbs not much would change for costs. Transportation would rise, since we would be further away from grocery, transportation, etc. I’m not sure where else this would rise, I think some of the this depends on the overall cost of living in that area. Moving from Chicago to the country would a larger change in cost of living, but moving to the suburbs it would only be a mild change.

  3. Alexis says:

    I think growing your own garden should be required for all people. There is so much money being saved when there’s a grocery store in a backyard. Transportation costs are cut as well.

  4. Besides transportation, country living is definitely less expensive, but it also doesn’t have as many opportunities as the city – when it comes to jobs. The ideal situation would be to have city pay and live and work in the country.

    • Robert Bell says:

      That’s the kind of idea I like Aldo. Working in a decent job in the city and then a relatively shorty commute to my country home would be just fine

  5. Typically, the cost of living is lower in rural areas. Costs–from rent (especially rent!) and property costs, to food, to taxes–are often much lower in rural areas.

    The flip side is that there are typically fewer job opportunities, and certainly fewer high-paying job opportunities, in rural areas than in urban areas.

    I’ve found that suburbs often tend to be a nice combination of the advantages of both.

    • Robert Bell says:

      That’s a good point FS. In some cities the suburbs can give you a very nice combination city and rural life

      • I grew up in the suburbs, and now I live in a rural area while studying to get a PhD. I very much appreciate the cost of living in the rural area, and the fact that I’m in a college town keeps life from being boring 🙂

        But, everyone has different preferences and different experiences–so you just have to pick what works best for you, I suppose!

  6. I can totally say that it’s much lesser to live in a rural area compared to a city. In our current place, we can plant vegetables, raise animals like chicken and pig and of course a lower minimum fare.

  7. I think I would probably spend more on transportation, since it would be a longer commute. I can’t work from home with my current job.

    It would be a further drive to see my friends and family, thus costing me time and gas money. However, overall it probably would cost less to live in rural areas. It would just cost you more time to get to certain places, if everyone and everything else was in the suburbs and/or city.

    I’m not sure if I could do a rural life. It would be nice to have a lot of land and privacy,

    • Robert Bell says:

      Thanks for the comments MtB. I think that a traditional rural life of working the land wouldn’t suit me but I can imagine living in the country with a nice bit of land and all my modern home comforts

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