Last week, I wrote about how I moved across the country with my son in a bid to get a fresh start on my life after divorce. One of the reasons I moved was to experience a lower cost of living. While I probably could have afforded to remain put, and my career isn’t constrained by geography, a lower cost of living comes with a number of advantages for my son and me.
Indeed, before we moved, I talked with my son about the financial ins and outs of the move, as well as the social ramifications. This was a decision that my son and my ex were both involved with. So, while I’m not constrained by geography, being able to live somewhere with a low cost of living has provided us with the following advantages:
Less Work = More Time with My Son
My son is getting to the age where he is more involved with extracurricular activities, but he’s not old enough to drive. This means I need to be available to cart him around. My ex-husband never attended a single baseball game of our son’s, and there has only been one time when he picked him up from an after-school activity. All other times, I have had to be there or make arrangements with someone else to manage these issues.
Moving to an area with a low cost of living means I don’t have to work as much to support our lifestyle and that means I can spend more time with my son. I can help with homework, get him to activities, and just have time to hang out, play board games and chill. Plus, it also means that I can provide a place for him to bring his friends.
Opportunities for My Son
Our low cost of living comes because we live in a medium-sized town in Idaho. In the Philadelphia area, it took at least half an hour to get anywhere. We had to limit my son’s activities because we always had to consider the time factor. Now, it takes five to 10 minutes to arrive at most places, and we are within walking distance of his school. My son is excited to be able to engage in music, sports and academics. He also loves close to his friends. He can do more here, yet still not be over-scheduled. We’ve been able to strike a nice balance and it will help him develop as a well-rounded person.
More Financial Freedom
Finally, even though we could “afford” to live in Pennsylvania, we would have been cutting things a little closer. While I’ve always been the primary breadwinner, my husband’s financial contribution often paid for extracurricular and “fun” activities. With that source of income gone, my son and I would need to cut back and find new ways to save money. And I wouldn’t have been able to reduce my workload. The stress on us both (since I would still be in charge of shuttling my son around, but without the same resources) wouldn’t have been healthy.
Now, we have more financial freedom. We have the ability to travel, and it means my son will still have interaction with his father. Additionally, we have been able to re-structure our finances in order create a smoother cash flow and provide us with more choices.
Moving to an area with a lower cost of living has its challenges — we aren’t able to access some of the same amenities and entertainment options or live close to transportation — but it’s been worth it so far.