When money gets tight, you are probably like most people. You may start looking for ways to cut your costs and stretch the income you have available in order to make ends meet. But how far are you willing to go in order to pay for everything?
If you find yourself in the situation where you have more month than money on a regular basis, you might be thinking about ways you can lower your cost of living each month. One way to do this is by moving to a lower cost of living area. But, should you move to lower your cost of living? Here are some things to consider first.
1. Job Loss
Losing your job and income is one of the major reasons many people move, but moving may also help you lower your cost of living. It can give you the chance to start over and may be just what you need to bolster your spirits and get you going. Don’t do it on a whim, though, because there could be a few drawbacks too.
For example you could be leaving behind extended family and friends you have known all your life. You may also be leaving behind certain extracurricular activities as well, such as churches, softball teams, card clubs, and more. It’s also important to think about the job market in the new town where you are thinking about moving. Make sure you have a job lined up, or at least some very good prospects, before you move. Otherwise, you could be moving to a lower cost of living area but not have any income, which defeats the purpose. Put some thought into both what you stand to gain by moving as well as what you will lose or leave behind in order to determine whether or not it is the right thing to do for you.
2. Lower Debt
Moving to lower your cost of living, as well as your debt, may seem like a good idea on the surface, especially if you have a high monthly mortgage payment you are trying to keep up with or a mountain of debt. Of course, it may actually be the right decision for your situation. However, you should weight all of the facts very carefully.
Let’s say you end up with a smaller mortgage and lower house payment by moving. But would you be spending more to commute to your new job as a tradeoff? Will you also be commuting for other activities? Sometimes what you spend in travel time and extra gas money puts you right back where you were in a tight budget.
One of the good things about moving to another location could be downsizing to a smaller home. Maybe the one you currently live in is sucking your budget dry in maintenance or fixer-upper costs. Therefore, moving might make sense. In addition, you could eliminate “stuff” and free up some times as well as lowering heating and cooling costs, etc.
4. Taxes and Insurance
You could end up with lower taxes by making a move. If you are buying a cheaper or smaller home, your home-owners insurance could also be more affordable. This might be one additional way to improve your budget and lower your cost of living by moving.
5. Change Your Spending Habits
Pulling up stakes in order to lower your cost of living is a big step. Depending on how far away you are moving, you may have to change hairdressers, doctors, dentists, schools for your children (if you have any), and many other things. Of course, you can sometimes also change your spending habits to help you adjust.
For example, maybe you are moving to a small town where there are less opportunities to shop. You may actually save money in your budget simply because you would have to travel in order to shop for clothes or household items. Sometimes waiting until you can go on that shopping trip is a good thing because you may decide you don’t need that new item quite so badly.
At first, moving to a new home or even a new area may seem like a somewhat radical move. Whether you actually should move to lower your cost of living or not is up to you, of course. But consider carefully all of the ways it could impact you before taking steps to cut your ties.
Have you ever moved or thought about moving to lower your cost of living?