Montana is a northwestern state in the US and is the 4th largest in terms of area. It is known, albeit not officially, as “Big Sky Country,” “The Treasure State,” “Land of Shining Mountains,” and “The Last Best Place.” The state has many mountain ranges and island ranges. It is primarily an agricultural state but tourism is a growing industry. They receive around 13 million tourists in their many national parks, which includes Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. Though Helena is the state capital, Billings is the largest city and metro area.
Montana comes out on top in terms of views and landscape. People choose to live here because of the quiet life and the outdoor experience. However, it is not the best place to get a job as it has one of the lowest minimum wages in the country. The state of Montana’s average minimum wage is USD 8.30 an hour. For a 35-hour work week, a Montanan can take home USD 1,162 per month or 13,944 per year.
If you live in Montana, the primary expenses include housing, food, and miscellaneous expenses, which are also the ones that cost the highest. Transportation and utilities are more affordable.
Owning a house in Montana may cost an average of USD 99,500. Rent is much cheaper, with a 3-bedroom house going for USD 1,217. Paying for utilities will not cost you an arm and a leg either. On average, the monthly utility (electricity, gas, heating) bill for 2 people in a normal (read: not expensive) area comes to around USD 128. If you add internet, you just pay USD 12.12 monthly (for unlimited data at 60 mbps speed).
Public transport in Montana is quite cheap. Bus service is either free or just costs USD 1. The most popular mode of transport is private cars. A gallon of gas is priced at USD 1.785 a gallon, slightly higher than the national average of USD 1.756. A regular 1.6L engine car may cost around USD 32,000.
Food in Montana can be pricey. Grabbing lunch in a commercial district may set you back USD 12 per person. If you eat at a fastfood restaurant, it costs around USD 7 per person. But if you eat at an inexpensive restaurant, you may only pay USD 5 on average. A liter of milk is about USD 1 while a cup of coffee costs USD 1.03.
The great thing about Montana is that it has no sales tax, and property taxes and income taxes are quite low, less than 1% and 7% respectively.
Another expense that is one of the lowest in Montana is education. Public university tuition average USD 6,350 annually.
If you want to buy healthcare, one of the cheapest packages can set you back USD 322. Unfortunately, there are limited choices in terms of insurance companies in the state (there are only 3). Subsidies are available though for qualified applicants.