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Rural relocation to save cost of living-is it worth it?

(20 Posts)
Bellavinci Thu 09-Nov-17 20:42:32

We are a family of 4 (two children under age 3) who are based in Southampton. We want to get on the property ladder but cannot afford the type of property we would want here. We also want to live in a more rural location with access to beautiful countryside and more scope for outdoor pursuits. Hence we are considering relocating to a more affordable region of the country-somewhere surrounded by natural beauty. We have narrowed it down to Highland Scotland, South Western Wales, Devon or Cornwall as property is so much cheaper (you get much more for your money) and the countryside is beautiful in each region. The reduced cost of property in these locations means that we would be able to pay off up to 3/4 of a property price using our savings and inheritance and have a very low mortgage for the rest, which would give us more financial stability and increased disposable income.
We would be leaving one parent (grandparent to our kids) behind in Southampton and lots of friends but all other family live in other cities or countries so it wouldn't affect how much we see them.
The question is has anyone given up their current life: work, friends, family to relocate in order to improve finances and afford a better quality of life? Would it be worth it to start all over again but miss the familiarity of friends etc. on our doorstep? Has anyone done this and regretted it or was it the right decision? Any thoughts would be welcome. Thanks in advance.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Thu 09-Nov-17 20:53:02

Yes, it was hard but worth it. We moved to an area where we still had lots of employment options. Also good schools. Both were a big deal for us. Being trapped in a shit job because of no alternatives or shelling out for private schools were both things to be avoided..

LivininaBox Thu 09-Nov-17 20:57:44

I have made the rural move, though it wasn't as drastic a move as you are considering as I had family in the area I moved to. I love where I live and I am really pleased but it is a big change.

Things to consider:

Childcare. There just aren't the same options in a rural area, so if you both want to continue working you need to really do your homework. You can't assume there will be after school clubs or childminders who will pick up from school.

Jobs - obviously no need to say that the job market is very different. In Cornwall especially it can be very hard to get a job. Word of mouth and who you know can be really important.

Travel time - especially from Cornwall, it takes forever to get anywhere else in the country and the traffic is a nightmare. People in Cornwall rarely venture across the Tamar for that reason. Once your kids are in school it it will be very difficult to visit family elsewhere in the country if you are in eg cornwall.

gillybeanz Thu 09-Nov-17 21:06:22

The money you'd save from property would go on transport for school run, work, visiting friends & family, children's activities, to name a few.
It casi us far more living in the country, we moved back to town and our disposable income was more than doubled.

It took us a good 10 years before we were accepted as locals into the community.
We used to joke that it would take until we had grandchildren. Reserved was how they liked to be viewed, at first we found them extremely rude.

Haint Thu 09-Nov-17 21:07:20

DOnt underestimate the additional costs of rural living. Oil central heating, having to use your car for every single journey. Shopping st small local expensive shops with no competion or traveling miles to buy a toothbrush / go swimming

HarrietVane99 Thu 09-Nov-17 21:12:16

Presuming there'd be limited public transport wherever you go, what will life be like for your children in 10-12 years time, when they're at secondary school and wanting to go out to meet their friends, go to the shops, cinema, swimming etc?

jaxom Fri 10-Nov-17 17:24:40

Yeah, we did.

We love rural living but the move to a completely new area, new people, no networks or support systems is very, very hard. The feeling of isolation can overwhelm you and you have to be very courageous.
It has taken me 3 years to build up networks and even then, it cannot compare to family.
It is true regarding the kids - everyone has to be on side for it to work.
It is also true regarding cost of living. It is more expensive primarily because of needing to get to work, ferry the kids around - a car or two is an essential.
Fortunately we are rolling stones and have moved around a fair bit. But if you are leaving an area where you have lived all your life/more than 10 years, prepare for a bit of post-trauma after the move. If you can ride that out, you are onto a winner.
That being said, I still miss the old networks - but those people have moved on, too!!

52isjustanumber Fri 10-Nov-17 17:32:42

Highlands of Scotland are beautiful but travel back to Southampton is very long and can be expensive. I drove to Inverness and back to Southampton last weekend. The actual driving took 10hrs one way and there was with an overnight stop factored in as well. No direct flights to Inverness from Southampton. Train journey last time took 10hrs and cost £180 one way as last minute ticket.

TonTonMacoute Fri 10-Nov-17 19:00:17

As others have said, do not assume that country living is cheaper, far from it!

specialsubject Sun 12-Nov-17 10:23:45

Oil central heating does not necessarily cost more.

Do some weather research. Youve picked some seriously wet places.

reallybadidea Sun 12-Nov-17 10:43:09

I'd consider the Peak District - several major cities within fairly easy reach and beautiful countryside.

We bought a house in a rural location because it was the only way to get on the property ladder at the time. I'm still not sure whether it was a good decision or not. When I visit family or friends or holiday in more urban areas then it's amazing just having a shop within 5 minutes walk. When the kids were little and we had lots of friends in the same village it was better. Now we have to drive them everywhere it's a real pita.

jaxom Sun 12-Nov-17 11:13:47

Maybe a market town would be ideal. You have the community, facilities, reasonably good public transport for kids getting to school/college/socialising plus a short drive to the sticks for recreational stuff.

Equimum Sun 12-Nov-17 11:22:50

Less drastic rural move here, and not for the same reasons, but our living costs are quite high. We now spend a lot of fuel and, as others have said, childcare is pretty much non-existent ;especially for school-aged children). Food etc also works out more expensive, as we have to choose between a king drive or paying village shop prices. There is also a distinct lack of choice in things like schools. That said, we love where we live.

Just a quick thought, remember with highland Scotland that postage etc can be more expensive, meaning you pay more to make the same online purchases that you would make now.

llangennith Sun 12-Nov-17 11:49:24

Could you rent your house out for a year and rent a house in your chosen rural area to see if it works?

Bellavinci Wed 15-Nov-17 13:23:40

Thank you everyone, your replies have given us some real food for thought. Admittedly we are envisioning the peace, quiet and access to nature as a bonus but had overlooked the fact that this would mean having to drive for absolutely everything and hence the added cost of having two cars instead of one.
Jaxom, a market town is a good idea as it would give us a bit more accessibility to required conveniences.
Reallybadidea, the Peak district sounds like a lovely idea but we'd need to make a few trips up there first as we've not been there yet.
Other than getting on the property ladder and trying to reduce our cost of living we are also trying to tip the scales by choosing somewhere that we find naturally beautiful so that it makes up for the fact that we are leaving behind familiarity, friends and family and replacing it with a more outdoors activity-filled life.

CotswoldStrife Wed 15-Nov-17 13:57:18

I know a couple of people who have done this, one is in the highlands of Scotland.

Can only agree with previous posters who have commented on the driving. I know someone who would portray themselves as living a very eco life in rural surroundings, yet drive a massive gas-guzzling 4x4 because they need to get around safely in the winter. Long drive to shops and work. I think I'm probably more eco driving around town in a much smaller car!

As for the highlands of Scotland, I would also echo the PP who said about shopping and/or getting things delivered. Also bear in mind health services if you ever need them - can be sparse or non-existent in rural locations. If you live somewhere with poor transport links then seeing family will become an issue - how would you feel if the grandparent needs help (is it an in-law?)

Do you do a lot of outdoor activities now? Because if you don't, tbh I don't see that changing! There won't be a lot of sports facilities, for example.

As you may have guessed, it's not for me! I prefer to live within easy reach of shops and health services, yet with the countryside close by for walks, etc. I think there's a balance to be had. The people I know who do live very rurally are happy with it.

butterfly56 Wed 15-Nov-17 15:05:08

Southern England would be my choice for the weather alone!
Going North the weather cloudy and wet ..not a lot of sunshine compared to south IME

GinnyBaker Wed 15-Nov-17 15:18:10

I moved from London to the sticks, it isn't easy but has been worth it for us.

Ads: housing a great deal cheaper, good undersubscribed schools nearby, beautiful country outside on the doorstep, peace and quiet, no crime (when you put in our postcode, someone's bike went missing 4 years ago, thats it), unbelievable star lit nights as no light pollution,

Disads: No gas so oil heating which is a lot dearer for us, spend a fortune on petrol as we have to drive everywhere, even if I wanted to walk no pavements and really fast roads, (everyone drives like lunatics, no mystery why the majority of road deaths are on A roads anymore). If you forget milk, bread etc, you have to figure out if it is worth a 20 minute round trip in the car or not. Finally everyone knows your business. Really odd after the anonymity in London.

But for the life DS has now, worth it.

Whataboutus Wed 15-Nov-17 15:34:58

I did this although semi-rural not the highlands of Scotland. Agree about having to use the car to go everywhere. As there was no pavement outside my house and no street lights it was actually dangerous to walk anywhere especially with children.

Also agree about childcare/babysitting. I used to have a babysitter from the nearest City who I would pick up from the train station and then pay for her taxi home if it was after 10.30pm. Cost me a fortune.

It depends on your lifestyle really. I found it quite isolating when I became a single parent. Also the house and huge garden were difficult to maintain for me on my own in the middle of nowhere and finding trades people in an emergency etc. No one could ever find my house eg visitors or deliveries and you can forget takeaways.

It was easier when the children were young tbh. As they got older it was hard to get them to places and when they started to want more independence there was nowhere for them to go. Also they turned out to be the least outdoorsy children you could imagine. They hated walking or riding their bikes. We never took advantage of rural living really. They loved technology and fashion and would have loved city life.

It made me realise that as I got older I would not want to be out in the sticks and it would be difficult to live independently if you were elderly for practical reasons.

I don't think we saved anything in outgoings by not being in a town or city!

scaryteacher Fri 17-Nov-17 19:32:36

It's about 3.5 hours from Cornwall to Junction 9 on the M27, I used to do it frequently, as do those who do the Portsmouth to Plymouth commute. If you choose carefully, your village will have the shop, so bread and milk available within a 5 minute walk. Many villages have bus services and there will be a school bus.

Have you looked at Boorley Green near Botley at all....seemed quite rural on some of the roads, but near enough to Hedge End (and the wonderful Sainsbury and M&S) to recounted as civilisation for teenagers.

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