This Easter weekend, my wife and I are returning to my family’s old homestead out in the country. I love going back there – the pace of life is so completely different. It really heals the soul.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that I don’t keep an eye out for things done there that can save money – and hopefully take some of them with me to use in my day to day life. Sadly, some of them are quite impossible (or at least quite difficult) for most people not living in a highly rural situation.
Wondering what I mean? Here are five great cost-saving reasons to live in the country.
Well water. My parents have their own well which provides water to the house. I drank well water the entire time I grew up and I still maintain that it tastes far cleaner and better than tap water in the city. Even better, since the water comes from the well, it’s pretty close to being free.
An informal “farmer’s market.” We used to have a large informal “farmer’s market” based on bartering. My father was an expert at growing tomato plants, so he would grow an army of them and supply twenty or thirty households with tomatoes. In exchange, we would get free fresh eggs, vegetables, fruits, and all sorts of stuff in abundance. Imagine having a giant farmer’s market the year round that was basically free – all you had to do was grow one thing that you really knew how to grow.
Less garbage. Instead of throwing out stuff, almost all of it was reused or at least used in another context. Food waste was put directly into a large compost bin, where the earthworms would devour it and turn it into wonderful black compost for the garden. Paper waste was saved for the wood stove and for campfires. We could literally go a week without producing a bag of garbage. This meant money saved on stuff we could reuse, and money saved on garbage bills.
Wood stove heating. We had a giant wood stove in the garage, which we kept fueled with wood throughout the winter. Chopping down wood in the fall and replanting in the spring gave us several weekends worth of healthy outdoor activity for free, our winter heating bill was tiny. We’d let the fire die down at night, but we’d go out and put a big jar full of water on top of the wood stove, then toss it under the blanket with us to get nice and warm.
Foraging. We used to forage for a lot of things in the woods near our house. Mushrooms in the spring and blackberries and mulberries in the late summer were staples – the only work involved was walking out into the woods with a bucket, enjoy a bit of nature, pick the goods, then walk away until next year. You can’t get much more “free” than that.
If you want to live simply and frugally, nothing beats living in the country.