Urban exodus: Living and working in a rural area

For some, the attraction of the countryside is the desire to live closer to nature, while for others it’s about rediscovering a sense of community. Today, there are more reasons to move away from big cities. Think easier access to home ownership and the flexibility of teleworking—a practice that’s increasingly accepted.

But moving from the city to the country can have an impact on your personal finances. How do you ensure that your new lifestyle and your wallet go hand in hand? Here are a few tips to make sure nothing’s left out of your budget.

Adapt your budget to rural life

You’ve been thinking about leaving the big city to live in a small town for a few months or years, because your dream is to work from home with a view of the river.

To take full advantage of this new reality, it’s important to make or review your budget, taking into account your needs and the conditions necessary to make your project a reality.

As you move from the city to the country, some expenses may vary depending on where you settle.

Consider the following:

  • Internet and cellular.
    The coverage, speed and reliability of these services vary from region to region and community to community.

    Take the time to research available providers, compare packages based on your telework needs and survey online groups of local community members for their recommendations.

    It’s better to be well prepared than to find out—once you’ve moved in—that your cellphone or internet only works at the foot of the oak tree at the end of your property.
  • Electricity and heating.
    From a modern, energy-efficient apartment in the city to a lovely century-old country home, your electricity and heating costs may either decrease or increase.

    If your bill is likely to be higher, calculate whether your extra cost will be offset by other potential savings, like lower transportation costs.

    To avoid surprises, if you reside in the province of Quebec, check the Hydro-Québec site to see the current consumption costs of the property you’re interested in by entering the street address.
  • Occasional travel to work.
    Do you have a hybrid work arrangement?

    If you plan to return to the office in the city once or a few times a week, remember to budget for these trips.

    This may include gas, train or bus fare, parking costs, lunch or even the occasional happy hour with colleagues.

Evaluating these new expenses and making a comprehensive list will help you make your budget - This link will open in a new window. or review it to make your financial transition as smooth as possible.

New life, new expenses!

If you live in a new home, there are installation, maintenance and unexpected costs to consider, no matter where you nest. But living outside major centres often comes with costs that are easy to overlook, whether you own a home or not.

Here are a few examples:

  • Snow removal.
    If it takes you 20 minutes to shovel your stairs in the city, you should expect that clearing the snow from your long, tree-lined driveway will cost you—in time or money!
  • Grounds keeping.
    Are you the type to mow your lawn, maintain a large garden or do you prefer perennials that require little maintenance?

    Whatever your style, you need to consider whether you want to pay someone to help you or do it yourself.
  • Daily transportation.
    The peace and quiet of the countryside also comes at the price of driving more regularly for your shopping and activities.

    However, depending on where you choose to live, cycling or walking may also be an option.

    Even so, higher fuel and maintenance costs due to wear and tear on your vehicle should be considered. As should perhaps buying a second car, depending on your habits as a couple or your situation.
  • The cost of services.
    You’ve probably already heard that the costs associated with construction and professionals in rural areas are quite a bit cheaper than in big cities. This is true in some cases, but not across the board. Some regions have more resources available, which affects prices.

    It’s therefore important to find out about the region you’ve chosen in order to avoid surprises.

You may also make some financial gains since you’ll spend more time at home. Some of the most common ones include spending on clothes, restaurants, coffee shops, transportation and outings.

However, telework and rural life are not only synonymous with affordability. Working from home saves time in daily life that can be reinvested elsewhere—in yourself, in hobbies, in your family, etc. Some people find that their daily stress is reduced and their quality of life improved.

It’s all about preparation! So take the time to get informed and to make a budget or revise it based on your new reality.

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