Last week I helped my mother celebrate her 70th birthday by taking her out for a little dinner and movie. I was glad to be able to spend the time with her and didn't think twice about spending money (which I think is important to do – even us thrifty types).
My mom lives in a small town with a population of about 5,000. It's a nice little place with friendly and hard-working folks. Mom told me the other day that it takes her awhile to get through the grocery store sometimes because she runs into so many folks she knows.
I also lived in a small town a few years back – and enjoyed my stay there (in fact, I'd probably still be there if it weren't for a little lady coming into my life). There's definitely pros and cons to small town living – but I think the positives outweigh the negatives.
On this trip to my mother's home – my thrifty radar was on high alert. I couldn't believe how inexpensive some things were. I got to thinking, “going into a small town can be a real money-saver.”
Here's just a few things that I noticed:
At the neighborhood Pizza Hut where we met a couple other family members for dinner – my mother and I got a salad for $3. In the big city where I live, this thing would have likely cost us more than $5. Also, my mother and I also ate at the grocery store diner one morning – and it was under $5/each (home-cooked and tasted great!).
The movie we went to see – American Sniper – is presently showing in theaters around the U.S. and has been doing quite well. I was surprised to see this small town had it already. I was thinking they would be showing the last Star Wars movie or Forest Gump. And, what really caught me off-guard was the price: $4/ticket. Now, this theater was a bit old and had a couple negatives – one of which was the limited leg room and awkward seating. Still, this kinda added to the charm of it all and something I couldn't have gotten in the plush big city theaters. Oh, and the popcorn: $1.50 for a small bag.
On other visits to my mother's town, I've shopped the local Shopko store. Some of the prices on furniture items and electronics were pretty amazing. I saw a nice kitchen stool that was priced at $50 that I know would have fetched more in the metropolis.
While this is just some of the things you can save by visiting a small town near you (if you don't already live in one) – there are other things about smaller towns and cities that you can't put a price tag on. Like the visit to the movie theater – many towns are a time capsule to a past era and a way of living that is a welcomed change to the quick pace of big city living. One can breath a little lighter and relax for a bit.
Granted you might have to burn some fuel to get to these places – but they are worth the time/effort to get to there and may even help you keep a few more bucks in your pocket.
Do you ever frequent smaller towns and have you noticed prices are a little easier on the wallet?