I grew up in the country and have lived in small Midwestern towns, big cities as well as beach towns. However, I've found that suburban living in Florida is saving me a lot of money. Even though there are some social perks to living the urban or country life, I think there are also many financial downsides as well. I'm so pleased with the financial upsides of suburban living that I plan to retire in place. Before I settled down in Florida, I lived in cities and towns in Indiana, Georgia, Arizona and Maryland. Some people complain of the cookie-cutter homes in suburbia, but I think my subdivision has its own personality.
Paying lower property taxes
The first benefit I noticed as far as living in the suburbs is that our taxes are extremely low. I pay half as much in property taxes for a larger home than I did when I lived within the city limits. I also pay less tax compared to living in rural Maryland. This past year, we only paid about $1,400 in taxes for living in our 1,800 square foot suburban home.
Saving money on parking and tolls
When I lived in the city, I had to take the toll road on a regular basis. I'm saving at least $500 a year by not having to take toll roads or pay for parking. I got so used to not having to pay for parking that I couldn't figure out how to use the fancy new parking meters when I sent to the beach recently.
Paying less for transportation
I rarely have to drive very far in my suburban community. In fact, I'm within walking distance to a department store, grocery store, fast-food restaurants, dollar store and other shopping venues. Developers are in the process of building a hospital, mall and YMCA that would all be within walking distance. In many cases, I can use the bicycle trail to get to places I want to go such as my father-in-law's nearby subdivision.
Having a small yard
Another reason I love living in a small subdivision is the fact that I can have my own private, fenced yard. I grew up living on 1-acre in rural Maryland, which was too much yard when it came to mowing and gardening. However, with my small, private lot, I'm able to grow a garden in my backyard as well as citrus trees. With the right landscaping, I can plant drought-tolerant plants that don't need to be watered. I save money by planning ground covers that are also drought tolerant. I save hundreds of dollars by growing my own citrus as well as vegetables.
In addition to having the privacy of my own yard, I also like living in a subdivision with a community playground. Since our neighborhood has security cameras, I feel as though it's somewhat protected. I have felt safer living in my suburban neighborhood than I did living in other situations. From a financial perspective, suburban living trumps city and country living in my experience. And, many of my neighbors who used to live elsewhere seem to share my sentiment.
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