frugal challenges because of location?
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  1. #1
    Founder Sara Noel's Avatar
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    Default frugal challenges because of location?

    What challenges do you face because of where you live and what types of frugal strategies are you still able to implement regardless of your location?

  2. #2
    Founder Sara Noel's Avatar
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    I guess I could have worded this better for a better conversation.

    I'll add more to also include various unique circumstances

    How about the pros and cons of your circumstances.

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    I have been thinking about this a lot since joining the site!

    I live in Manhattan (Hell's Kitchen i.e. Midtown West), in a studio apartment. Seems there are more cons than pros as far as frugality is concerned, but I'll try to be positive!

    I'll start with CONS:
    - High cost of living
    - Tiny freezer! :-(
    - No closet space (bad for stocking up on paper products and stuff)
    - Grocery shopping is a pain since I have to walk or pay for a cab.
    - Grocery shopping also a pain because I'm in a 3rd floor walk-up.
    - No Aldi's, BJ's, Sam's, Target etc unless I take a subway to a distant neighborhood/borough.
    - Irrelevant to location, but I'm single and live alone, so there's the whole cooking-for-one challenge.

    PROS:
    - Convenience
    - I can stop at the market for fresh produce every day without worrying about wasting time/gas.
    - No car payments! (con: no car)
    - A plethora of cheap take-out food options for when I don't cook at home.

    Perhaps the biggest pro is POTENTIAL. I love this city; it has everything to offer and I know there are frugal solutions just waiting to be discovered!

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  5. #4
    Registered User itsahumanzoo's Avatar
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    Cons:
    Cost of Living is through the roof
    Everything is more expensive
    Nothing is really within walking distance so I drive a lot

    Pros:
    Wages are higher
    ...that's about it

  6. #5
    Founder Sara Noel's Avatar
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    itsahumanzoo, but you're still able to be frugal in what ways and what frugal strategies don't work well for you because of your circumstances?

    I'm asking this question as a way of spinning a negative such as a living in a high cost of living area and putting a positive spin on it.

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    Registered User justpeachy92's Avatar
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    I live in the country, but only about 25 miles from the offerings of a major city.
    The pros of living here:
    not far from the city where lots of free activities to do
    if we buy a house in the area we live in now, yards are big enough for a good size vegi garden
    I don't have city water, well water, so no water bill
    the dump is within 5 miles of our house, we haul our trash there for free instead of paying for trash removal
    Cons:
    living out in the country....have to travel to do anything
    the 2 grocery stores in our closest town rarely have awesome loss leaders, never double coupons so to save money on groceries I have to travel atleast 15 miles from home. Mile wise that isn't so bad, but with traffic in this area that 15 miles can take 1/2 an hour.
    Doctor offices closest to my house are not network providers with our health insurance, to see a Dr in network we have to travel otherwise spend more money to see one locally that is out of network.
    I live just across the county line. The closest public library is not even 5 minutes in the county we don't live in. I pay $25 a year to use that library because it saves in gas instead of driving 30 miles to the closest one in the county I live in.

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    We live in a rural area.

    Cons:
    ~hour's drive from any chain store
    ~Hubby has a 2.5 hour (one-way) commute to work
    ~no double coupons, free-after-rebate, cruising for clearanced items, etc... It's rarely worth the gas money to run to town to take advantage of those things.

    The cons pretty much all relate to having to drive quite a ways to anywhere.

    Pros:
    ~We have the opportunity and space to have animals, gardens, and orchards. We raise and grow the majority of food we eat.
    ~We have wonderful neighbors who we've come to know and trust like family. The small town near us that we call "our town" has a population of 400 people. When things happen, we care about each other and take care of our own.
    ~Our town's little store may fit in the dairy section of a chain store, but they still have decent sales. The owner will order in anything I want that he's able to get.
    ~Because my husband works in Omaha, when needed, he can take advantage of big box stores/chain store deals when there's something we really want or need.
    ~We've learned to make do without a lot of stuff. When we lived in Omaha, I bought a lot of things I thought we should have but that we didn't need. I used to cruise Target and ShopKo clearance areas and get things because they were so cheap! Now, I make do with what we have on hand and come up with creative solutions.
    ~I've gotten really good at stocking our pantry.
    ~We've learned to combine trips when we do go to a bigger town, so we don't waste gas. I think we're actually better off financially by having to really plan our trips to town and think out purchases in advance. We spend more on gas, but it's definately offset by less impulse buying!
    ~Without access to fast food (or much access to "slow" food, for that matter ), eating out isn't a temptation. When we do eat out, it's planned for and very much appreciated.
    ~We don't have yard sales going on all through summer, but "our town" has a big city-wide yard sale each August. Another small town near us has a city-wide yard sale each spring and fall. Most towns around here do that. We can drive once and get most clothing needs in one go!

    Most of the pros to me have to do with living a lifestyle that we love and being pushed to use creativity to solve "problems" that I used to solve by shopping the big box stores.

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    Founder Sara Noel's Avatar
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    Do you (meaning anyone) think that living in the country vs. the city/suburb makes frugality easier or more difficult?

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    For me, I think it's easier to be frugal out here. The main reason for that is a mindset -- a paradym shift of sorts. I think about buying in a different light when I have to drive at least an hour to shop for most things.

    Another thing that makes it easier is that there are so many like-minded people in our area. Almost everyone around is frugal to some degree -- many people are VERY frugal. Mostly, this is because of necessity, but some of it is also cultural.

    It's normal to reuse/repurpose things. It's normal to eat leftovers, wear hand-me-downs or yard sale clothes. People pass clothes around, and there doesn't seem to be any stigma attached to hand-me-downs. It's normal to call the neighbors before heading to town to see if they need anything. It's also easy to pick up groceries at our local grocer's, because you can call ahead, have your order boxed and ready for someone to pick up, and then pay the balance the next time you're in town. People are mostly impressed with other's frugal skills/habits vs. being appalled by them, which I ran into when we lived in Omaha. (I did have a good frugal network in Omaha, but frugality was not the norm there.)

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    Oh, and I forgot a biggie! In a rural setting, I can grow a huge garden, keep a milk cow, raise chickens, raise our own beef, pork, etc... It would be difficult to get my Jersey cow past the zoning board!

  12. #11
    Registered User itsahumanzoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sara Noel View Post
    itsahumanzoo, but you're still able to be frugal in what ways and what frugal strategies don't work well for you because of your circumstances?

    I'm asking this question as a way of spinning a negative such as a living in a high cost of living area and putting a positive spin on it.
    I am mostly frugal through the grocery budget and making meals at home. I have nowhere to grow a garden, I have no livestock, so I have to buy everything. There are several very cheap Iranian markets here, so that helps with the produce. I also have a very small kitchen, so I don't have room for a lot of gadgets, like say a bread maker.

    There's also not that many thrift stores or yard sales here either. And when you do find some, usually the prices are not very "thrifty."

    The biggest reason we still live here is because DH makes good money. But I have a feeling he could make good money somewhere else too, so why are we still here?

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    We live in an area that used to be rural suburban. In the past 20 years it's become upscale suburban.

    Pros:
    General Cost of Living The cost of living is fairly low in this area.
    Gardening We have 10 acres so I could garden if I weren't so lazy.
    Shopping Greater variety of stores (Sam's club, thrift stores, etc.) than 20 years ago. We don't have to drive far for shopping, entertainment, etc.
    Property taxes They're pretty low. Due to development our property values have increased many times over. Our humble place sits between two very high end subdivisions.
    College We live in a university town which is saving us a ton on the kids' college expenses. Louisiana also has an excellent scholarship program for it's public colleges/universities. Our daughter recieves tuition, room, board and a stipend from the state. Our much less studious son recieves tuition and can live at home while he attends school.

    Cons:
    Traffic Development has far outpaced road improvements. We burn a lot of gas sitting in traffic.
    Public Education It's terrible. It's very difficult to secure a good education for the kids without shelling out $$$$ for private schools.
    Climate We have very long, very hot, very humid summers.
    Air Travel Since Katrina it is almost impossible to find bargain airfares out of New Orleans and we love to travel.
    Public Transportation It's practically non-existent.
    Insurance We're in one of the areas of the country with the highest homeowners and car insurance rates.

    Jennifer

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    Registered User AprilP's Avatar
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    THE HEAT!!!! It's just so impossible to live without the A/C at full blast just so you don't drown in sweat. I think today is the first day in ages it hasn't been over 80 degrees by 7:15am when I leave for work.

  15. #14
    Licence to Kill Luv2BeFrugal's Avatar
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    Pros: no need for A/C, flat rate water (you pay a set fee and use as much or little as you want/need), fresh air and beautiful views, no state income tax, no sales tax

    Cons: no double coupons, no dollar stores, shipping prices are INSANE the vast majority of the time, rent is very high, homes are very expensive, produce is crazy expensive

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    I live on the edge of a business district of a city. We like it, as we can walk almost everywhere - to vote, go to the post office, go to the YMCA, grab some milk, pizza, dollar store, go out to breakfast, or catch a bus to gamble at Foxwoods even! These of course are cons as well. Constantly tempted to spend. And now the children are in the mix, so they know there are toys at the dollar store. Right now I'm using the "new old toy" trick, where we go through the big rubbermaid box and swap toys. I think this will work until Xmas time at least.

    One MAJOR con about the city - no TARGET!

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