Moving to a smaller city to save on rent?  beware of this trap

Moving to a smaller city to save on rent? beware of this trap

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It is a drawback that you will have to consider carefully.


Key points

  • You may be inclined to leave a big city due to sky-high rental costs.
  • Before you move to a smaller city, consider what other expenses you might incur.
  • Transportation costs, from car loans to gas prices, can add to your monthly bills.

A few years ago, a friend of mine left New York City once his monthly rent payment of $3,200 for a one-bedroom apartment started to go up. He moved to a smaller town in upstate New York, where for the cost of his rent, he was able to cover not only his mortgage payment, but his property taxes and property insurance, and still money left over

But while my friend is happy to have moved, he hasn’t been saving as much as he hoped for a big reason. And it’s a stumbling block you can run into if you move from a larger city to a smaller one as well.

Beware of rising transportation costs

When my friend lived in New York City, he spent about $100 a month on transportation. That’s because he was able to get there using the subway, which was running all the time, and also walking to different places.

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Within five blocks of my friend’s apartment, I had numerous restaurants and coffee shops, several grocery stores, a hardware store, and other stores that made life more convenient. Now, my friend says, the nearest grocery store is almost a mile away. And while you can walk to a handful of restaurants, for the most part, having a car is unavoidable.

So you have a car, which means you make a monthly car loan payment and also pay for insurance and maintenance. But in total, he is now spending seven times more on transportation than he used to in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

Get ready to drive everywhere

Living in a big city often means paying a lot of money for a few square meters. But it can also mean minimal spending on transportation. That’s a benefit you might give up if you move to a smaller city to save money on rent.

AAA says it costs an average of $894 a month to own a car. And if you live in a place where things are widely spread out, you could end up spending even more to keep filling your vehicle’s tank.

There is a lifestyle change that you will also have to adapt to. Some people find that they don’t move their bodies as much once they move to a smaller city because they’re constantly driving. But that could have health consequences.

Now, this does not mean that you should resign yourself to living in a small and expensive apartment for the rest of your life to avoid the need for a car. But what you need to do is make sure you understand the extra costs you might incur if you leave a big city with public transportation and put down roots in a smaller one.

My friend is happy that he moved from New York City because spending so much money on rent was not sustainable for him in the long run. But he also got a big wake-up call when he realized how expensive a vehicle is to own. And that’s something you don’t want to be caught off guard.

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