I am a frugal website junkie. On any given day, I look at 10-20 frugal living/personal finance blogs and websites. One of the reasons I called my own blog “Northern Cheapskate,” was because I saw a fundamental difference between what I am able to do in rural Minnesota versus what a lot of other people are doing to save money.
You see, a lot of those bloggers live in metropolitan areas. Where I live, I can’t take at advantage of awesome CVS deals with “extra care bucks.” We do have one Walgreen’s in our area, but if you don’t race in there the second the sale flier comes out, the deals disappear. I don’t have the luxury of being able to just drive to another Walgreen’s on the next block. NONE of the grocery stores in my area double coupons. And none of them offer frequent shopper programs.
When I see a great deal, I have to consider the time and money it takes to get to town. I live a half-hour between two towns (one has a population of 18,000; the other has about 7,000). At current gas prices, a trip to “town” costs me about $6. Because of the cost, I have to combine trips – so I only go to town for a great deal if I have other reasons to go. One town has a Super Wal-Mart, the other a Super Target…. if both stores have a great deal, I have to figure out which one is more worthwhile. This is something people who live in big cities don’t even think about.
And, sure there’s Craigslist… in Duluth…. which is two hours away from me… so no savings there.
Living in a rural area forces you to be a bit more creative when it comes to living frugally. You learn to fix things, re-purpose things, and make do. You learn to find thrift stores, read the local shopper, use Freecycle, and find bargains via the internet. You learn to get to know your neighbors and co-workers because they can be a great resource for information. In a way, I think living in a rural area makes my savings that much greater than all of those big-city people. When you lack certain amenities, it makes you think a bit more about what you “need.”
And of course, not having shopping malls helps with that whole “temptation to buy” thing!