Only once — when in elementary and middle school — did I spend more than four years at one address. While this transitory lifestyle has brought certain hardships along with the moves I’ve made, it’s also brought its share of opportunity as well.
Certain geographic locations or even urban versus rural environments often offer certain distinct advantages not found in other areas. Taking advantage of these offerings sometimes equates to significant savings. Here are some of the things I’ve discovered in places I’ve moved and lived that have helped save me money.
While for many years I didn’t realize it, public transportation can make a huge difference in where you live and the associated cost of living. Taking the Chicago commuter train was the easiest, most relaxing mode of transportation I’ve ever experienced. Not only was it great for getting to and from work, but for taking little ‘entertainment’ excursions as well. It was an affordable way to get to work, relatively stress free, and worked as a great sober driver when my wife and I wanted to go out for a night on the town.
It wasn’t until we moved away that I realized just how great a convenience this system was, and now bear such things in mind when looking for places to live.
The Midwest isn’t really known for its great weather. In Indiana they say, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes,” and Chicago has some of the most extreme weather (from floods and windstorms to blizzards and even a cyclone when I lived there) I’ve ever experienced.
Now that I’m out west, I appreciate just how nice living in a place with relatively normal and consistent weather can be. There is little or no need for air conditioners during the summer where we live since there’s not much humidity and the nights are cool. We live in an arid landscape that makes for reduced yard maintenance, and we don’t have to worry about maintaining a flood control system for keeping our basement dry when it rains hard as we did in Chicago.
Hobbies and Activities
I’m more of an outdoor guy. And while I don’t mind living in a city or town, I like to have outdoor activity options available in close proximity.
In Chicago, this was a bit difficult. Sure, there were outdoor things to do, but even if they were close, the options either weren’t that exciting (a forest preserve or suburban park), they were jammed with people, or they were polluted — or all of the above.
Now that we’re in the state of Washington, I have mountains, hiking, canoeing, rafting, camping, horseback riding, biking, fishing, and all sorts of great options within just a half hour’s drive. This saves time and gas, and is also healthier. And where we might have spent over $100 to take the family to a baseball game in Chicago that we could have watched on television, we can now spend an afternoon canoeing, hiking or whatever, for free or at least for less than $100.
Friends and Family
It’s tough to deny that moving to a place in which you have family and friends can be a great money saving advantage. From them being able to help you get started by introducing you to new people and pointing you in the right direction on stores or places to go to save money, to lending you tools and yard equipment, helping with childcare or pet and house sitting while you’re on vacation, or just having you over for dinner, loved ones can be valuable sources of money saving assistance. Moving to a location in which you already know people can act not only get you closer to those who matter most, but can save you money and provide you peace-of-mind just through knowing that they are there and can help out in a pinch.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.