5 Hidden Costs That Come With Moving to a Cheaper Area

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KEY POINTS

  • Many Americans are making the move to cheaper cities and states to save money.
  • While housing and living costs may be cheaper in some parts of the country, hidden costs like childcare and taxes could be more expensive in your new home.


Moving to a cheaper area can come with financial perks -- but there may be some hidden costs that creep up.

As inflation continues to impact most Americans' wallets, some are deciding to move. The cost of living can vary significantly throughout the country. For some families, moving to a cheaper area can help them save money. But it's important to be aware of hidden costs that you could incur if you relocate to a cheaper area.

Throughout the country, housing costs, utilities, and other everyday living costs are getting more expensive. It can be challenging to keep stretching your paycheck further as prices increase.

Some Americans are considering moving to help cut down on the extra expenses they pay. Moving to a low-cost-of-living area could help you live a more affordable life.

It's worth noting that while moving to a cheaper area could help you save on some costs, you may pay more for other hidden expenses.

Here are some hidden costs to watch out for as you plan to relocate:

1. The cost of childcare

If you live near friends or family and they help with childcare needs, that's a huge financial win. Childcare costs are incredibly high; for many families, it's a large portion of their monthly budget.

According to Care.com's 2022 Cost of Care Survey, 51% of families spend more than 20% of their household income on childcare expenses. That's a lot of money.

If you've been able to get help with child care at no cost or a low cost, that could change when moving to a new area.

Before moving to a cheaper area, be sure to research the cost of child care and look into the availability of childcare solutions.

Luckily, there are some cities and states with affordable childcare options.

2. Taxes

Another hidden cost to prepare for is taxes. While the overall cost of living in a cheaper area could be lower, you may have to spend more on taxes, as not all affordable areas have low tax rates.

Higher taxes could hurt your wallet, whether you need to pay higher state income taxes or property taxes. The good news is you can look into these costs before deciding where to move.

3. Car ownership costs

Before moving to a new area, you should consider the cost of owning and maintaining a car there.

If you have a vehicle (or will need to buy one due to limited public transit solutions), calculate the yearly cost of owning a vehicle in your new area.

In some areas of the country, car insurance rates are more expensive due to higher rates of theft and/or accidents. If you move to a different location, you may pay more for your car insurance policy.

You can get quotes from car insurance companies before you move. As you gather insurance policy prices, don't ignore potential car insurance discounts.

Other expenses like vehicle registration and car inspection fees are worth researching, as these vary from state to state.

4. Moving expenses

It's a good idea to also consider moving expenses themselves. Whether you're moving a few streets away, to the next state, or across the country -- moving expenses can add up fast.

You'll want to make sure that you budget for moving costs so you can minimize your stress during your move without worrying about how much money you're spending.

5. Spending more money because you can

If you're moving to an area with significantly lower living costs, you may be tempted to spend more on unnecessary purchases since you'll likely have more money in your bank account.

While spending some of your hard-earned money on fun purchases is a great idea, be cautious that you don't go overboard. Keeping your personal finance goals top of mind while adjusting to living in a new place is recommended.

Using budgeting apps is an excellent way to track your spending as you adapt to your new lifestyle in a new neighborhood.

Moving to a different part of the country may help you save money on the cost of rent or a mortgage, but it's important to research all potential expenses before you make a big life-changing move.

Our Research Expert

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