Whether you live in the country or a big city, sticking to your budget becomes an important part of financial management. You’d want to live below your means so you won’t be in debt.
However, you still want to have enough funds to allot for your basic needs, and then some. In the following section, we will take a look at how those who live in the country can save money for their daily expenses. We will also take a quick look at the difference between country and city living.
Country vs. City Living
First, why do some people choose country living over existing in the big city? Those who are attracted to big city life may have excellent job opportunities there. Just remember that you can still enjoy domestic life away from all the big city buzz by living in a suburban area or right out in the country despite having work in the city – you just need to brave the typically long commute.
Big cities also give residents more options in terms of tourist attractions, entertainment options, public transportation, etc. City dwellers also enjoy utmost convenience because their location is near the schools, hospitals, supermarkets, restaurants, banks and all the other amenities that they can possibly need.
Those who prefer to live out in the country, on the other hand, enjoy a lot more freedom and space. There’s just something about being close to nature that attracts people to live way out in the country.
Country dwellers also have more sense of community – there are towns where everyone knows everybody else. If you don’t mind engaging in some hard labor, you can grow food right at your own backyard.
The pace of life is slower, less hectic and generally more peaceful – which is something that people living in the city usually miss.
If there’s one downside to living in the country, it’s probably the fact that you do need a means of transportation to get you from point A to point B. Since most farms or ranches have properties that are spread over a huge area, you do need to have your own vehicle which could add up to your cost of living. But other than that, the general cost of living in the country is generally lower than those who live in the country.
Ways to Save Money While Living in the Country
Now that you already have an idea about the basic differences between country and city living, let us take a look at the ways that you can save money while living in the country:
Grow your own food
If there’s one huge advantage that country dwellers have over those who live in the big, crowded city, it is none other than the abundance of space. How can you use this to your advantage if you would like to save money? How about growing your own food?
Whether there are only a few or a lot of you in the family, you will be saving a significant chunk of your food budget by growing your own veggies, fruits, herbs and other crops. You have all that outdoor space, anyway, so you might as well take full advantage of it.
Even those who live in cramped apartments in the city try to grow their own food despite the lack of space by building vertical gardens or turning the rooftop into mini-vegetable farms.
Out in the country, you will not be lacking for space so there are plenty of food items that you can grow. If you have kids, encourage them to grow sprouts which can be included in salad and sandwich recipes.
Parents can grow their own vegetables, fruits, herbs and root crops. When seasonal fruits are in abundance, you can juice them, preserve them, can them or include them in delicious baked goods.
If you have a green thumb, you can also sell plant seedlings, sell the fruit of your gardening efforts or even rent out your garden space to those who would like to tend to their own plants. More than just ways to save money, growing your own food can also be turned into a profitable venture as long as you’re creative in thinking of ways to do so.
Use vinegar as a natural, effective pesticide
Once you do decide to grow your own food, you would need to buy herbicides, insecticides and pesticides to keep insects off your growing plants.
If you have problems with rabbits gnawing at the leaves of the veggies growing in your garden, or if snails are slowly destroying those lettuce leaves, you can use vinegar as a cheap, natural, effective and chemical-free alternative.
Ants and other insects will be kept off the plants that you are growing by putting some vinegar into a bottle spray and using the solution as you would an herbicide, pesticide or insecticide. Not only is this cheap, but it’s eco-friendly, too.
Buy supplies in bulk whenever you can
If you have a big family living out in the country, most of your budget will go towards food. For this, you can save money by buying supplies in bulk whenever you can. We’ve already established that you can save a lot of money by growing your own food.
Let’s say that you already have a fresh supply of herbs for cooking and some veggies and fruits in the garden. You can’t grow everything from your own garden, so you need to supplement your food supplies by buying from the market or supermarket. To save money, purchase whatever you need in bulk.
Make an inventory of the supplies that you still have and create a detailed list so you won’t overbuy or overstock on food items. If you still have plenty of time, you can create a weekly or bi-weekly menu from which you can base your list of grocery items to purchase. Make sure to not miss out on anything so you won’t have to run to the store frequently to buy whatever supplies you lack and end up wasting gas in the process.
Always visit farmer’s markets
For those who do live in the country but do not have the inclination to grow their own fruits and veggies, you can always rely on farmer’s markets and neighborhood shops for your supply.
One great advantage of living out in the country is that you can get local produce for a very cheap price, as compared to what you would pay for them in the city. If stored correctly, you can even make those fruits and veggies last for weeks on end on the fridge.
Trade your skills
If you’re managing a small ranch or farm in the country, you might not necessarily have the skills to do your bookkeeping. How about trading your skills with someone who is good at dealing with such paperwork?
Instead of hiring someone to do the job for you, you can simply offer to trade skills and get the job done without having to dole out a single dollar. You can use your cooking skills, skills on dealing with animals, interior decorating or whatever it is that you’re good at and exchange services with someone who can do a task for you in return.
Take advantage of alternative forms of energy
Heating and cooling make up 50% of an average home’s utility bills. If you live out in the country, you would have easy access to the open forests and the great outdoors. Take full advantage of this by using firewood as an alternative source of energy. You can use it for heating water, cooking or even using it as a central heating system for your home during the winter.
Depending on the location of your home, you can also make some DIY wind or solar energy systems so that you won’t have to pay any more than you have to on utility bills.
If you have a job in the city but you simply like living out in the country, reduce your transportation costs for the long drive by carpooling. Look for neighbors, relatives or other family members who can split gas costs and driving time with you. This is a great way to cut back on transportation-related expenses. Again, being out in the country means that you need to take long drives to the city, so it’s a great idea to carpool.
Befriend your neighbors and save money
Finally, be a good neighbor and you will find plenty of money-saving opportunities. A neighbor who has free range chickens might be more than willing to swap a dozen fresh eggs with a head or two of lettuce that you grow in your own garden.
During community events, you can carpool to save gas money. Instead of eating out, you can hold an outdoor barbecue and potluck for dinner. You can also trade babysitting favors so you won’t have to pay extra for a nanny.
As you can see, there are plenty of money-saving opportunities for those who live out in the country. Aside from the freedom of having lots of space and being close to nature, you can also bask in that sense of local community that country dwellers so enjoy.