Advantages of Living in a Small Town Part 1: Lower Cost of Living
Releasing our 2013 Top 10 Best Small Towns last week set my mind on the question, "What are the advantages to living in a small town anyway?"
To compile our top 10 list, we ranked small towns among other small towns using population and economic growth data, expert advice and resident perspectives, but what's so great about a small town, in general? Clearly, many people prefer it, or it wouldn't bear examining like we do with our annual ranking.
Just off the top of my head, it took no time to list more than a dozen specific examples of great experiences with small-town living, most inspired by recent experiences in some of our Livability.com cities.
So for my next few posts, I'm going to go beyond phrases you typically hear when people describe advantages of living in a small town and offer some firsthand examples, starting with my favorite, "lower cost of living."
Advantages of Living in a Small Town: Lower Cost of Living
With the exception of some affluent suburbs and vacation destination towns, "lower cost of living" in a small town doesn't apply just to big-ticket purchases like real estate, hence the word "living" and not "homeownership" within the phrase.
While you're probably going to pay the same for goods at a chain store, many items and services of the same or better quality you'd find in a big city simply cost less at independently owned businesses in small towns:
- That's why I'm happy to go to a nice salon in Pueblo, Colo. or Asheville, N.C. for a haircut, which costs me about 30 percent less than it would in my hometown of Nashville, Tenn.
- It's also why my jaw dropped in disbelief paying the same price for a round of drinks for four people in Pueblo that would have cost twice as much here.
- It's why I regret not budgeting for shopping in downtown Oxford, Miss., which has several great shops full of boutique-quality dresses.
- It's why I recommend antique stores for the best deals in small towns like Dickson, Tenn.
- It's also the reason a person can enjoy French toast prepared by two Culinary Institute of America chefs in Johnstown and Gloversville, N.Y. for approximately half the price of French toast at an IHOP.
And as much as I enjoy getting great deals, there are just five examples I can give that fall under the "lower cost of living" advantage often attributed to small-town living. Next week, I'll share examples to illustrate that "sense of community" small-town lovers often reference.