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Thread: Cost of living.

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    Default Cost of living.

    I'm looking for someone who will share their budget with me. I would like to get more a an exact idea of cost of living around Anchorage.

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    Anchorage is my go to place BC the job I'm looking into is located around there.

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    If you are looking at Hiland Mt. for a place for employment then you might think about Eagle River for living.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cwgirlkrissy View Post
    I'm looking for someone who will share their budget with me. I would like to get more a an exact idea of cost of living around Anchorage.

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    That might be a bit too open ended to get the answer you're looking for. One person's budget may not make sense to another person. Say I have 13 kids (I don't, but exaggeration for effect). My budget for everything will be way out of whack for you if you are living alone. Cost of everything will be skewed by that difference. It also depends on where you're coming from compared to here and what if anything you are willing to change if it's too expensive.

    One case in point to explain the difference. I moved from Colorado. There we had Comcast internet and we could pretty much always get the "6 month introductory" offer all the time if we just kept threatening to leave but it normally costs $65/mo. So we had unlimited internet at around 20mb/s. Up here in Anchorage, it's GCI. No one up here gives truly unlimited internet, so you have to pick the package you are willing to pay for. To match the cost of internet in CO, we would have had to limit ourselves to the lowest tier which is something like 10 mb/s and a cap of 40Gb/mo and that costs $60/mo. We watch a lot of netflix so we averaged around 200-250Gb/mo in CO. After picking a middle line package for something like $120/mo and blowing through the cap in like 2 weeks we now have taken the hit and have the top tier which is $175/mo. We still edge close to the cap, but it's something we had to live with. So we went from $65/mo to $175/mo just for internet. But on the flip side, our water bill used to be based on usage and could often reach $300 a month in CO. Up here's it's a flat fee of $95/mo no matter how much we use.

    Housing is more expensive, food is more expensive, gas is more expensive, utilities are actually a little less. If the US average is 100, Anchorage is like 130. But that will depend on where you live now. For instance, Chicago is 116. Springfield is 85.

    Odds are it's more expensive than you think.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    [QUOTE= But on the flip side, our water bill used to be based on usage and could often reach $300 a month in CO. Up here's it's a flat fee of $95/mo no matter how much we use.



    Odds are it's more expensive than you think.[/QUOTE]

    But if you buy or rent a house/cabin that has a private well, you don't have a water bill, but the cost of running the well will be figured in your Elect bill. which brings up another point. If your living in a house/cabin with a private well, It's a good bet that there is a Septic Systen on the property.. So then every 2 yrs, you fork out about $250 to get your septic pumped.. You can reduce your budget for vegetables/produce if you garden.. Of course you can go overboard on that angle too. You can further reduce your grocery bill if you hunt and fish.. But you'll end up spending a couple small fortunes on those ventures. (sez a man who owns 5 boats of various design and purpose)..

    I agree with Mobius, I don't think comparing budgets is going to help you much. The cost of living in the Anchorage area is going to be higher than the cost of living most places in the L48, but in the same vein, wages are going to be higher in Anchorage than is most other places in the L48..

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    Default Cost of living.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mobius View Post
    One case in point to explain the difference. I moved from Colorado. There we had Comcast internet and we could pretty much always get the "6 month introductory" offer all the time if we just kept threatening to leave but it normally costs $65/mo. So we had unlimited internet at around 20mb/s. Up here in Anchorage, it's GCI. No one up here gives truly unlimited internet, so you have to pick the package you are willing to pay for. To match the cost of internet in CO, we would have had to limit ourselves to the lowest tier which is something like 10 mb/s and a cap of 40Gb/mo and that costs $60/mo. We watch a lot of netflix so we averaged around 200-250Gb/mo in CO. After picking a middle line package for something like $120/mo and blowing through the cap in like 2 weeks we now have taken the hit and have the top tier which is $175/mo. We still edge close to the cap, but it's something we had to live with. So we went from $65/mo to $175/mo just for internet.
    ACS has unlimited usage internet. $79.99 for up to 50M depending on address.

    Regardless of speed, ACS has never limited usage. It's always been wide open.
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    I understand every budget is going go be different. That was why I asked on a forum. I wish to have a wide range of budgets. I'm not looking for a single number. I'm going to be moving there in a few years and wish to have things researched before.

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    I'm hoping to get a more exact quote once my research going further in calculations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    ACS has unlimited usage internet. $79.99 for up to 50M depending on address.

    Regardless of speed, ACS has never limited usage. It's always been wide open.
    Fair point and I did fail to mention that I was limiting my conditions to providers that offer wide spread equivalent service across the coverage area where people live. I live in ER, and unless things have changed recently, ACS only offers unlimited at dial-up speeds. Which isn't really a viable option for anyone who owns a computer... LOL. I'll say this, if I could get unlimited access at 50mb/s for $80, I'd do it today. No questions asked. GCI's new "1 gig" plan sounds great, but in reality most video streaming services are happy with ~10mb/s. We did just fine at 20mb/s before, so I don't really NEED the speed. I need the unlimited more.

    ETA: and for full disclosure, GCI technically calls their service "unlimited" now because they don't automatically charge for going over your allotment anymore. But they do throttle you back to dial-up speeds unless you pay more until the end of your cycle.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Not everyone is going to be so willing to just send a stranger a budget as it gives a pretty good idea of what one's household income is and not everyone is so free with personal information.

    It might be easier to get more accurate info if you state a household of X members what is your food bill, a house of XX sq ft what is the rent/mortgage/utility cost etc.

    The other thing to factor in is what activities you plan to participate in that you don't in your current location. Hunting, fishing, skiing, etc., gear and transportation for those activities can take a serious bite of your budget. If your income is just fractionally high enough to cover the added cost of living it can be frustrating to not be able to enjoy all Alaska has to offer.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Not everyone is going to be so willing to just send a stranger a budget as it gives a pretty good idea of what one's household income is and not everyone is so free with personal information.

    It might be easier to get more accurate info if you state a household of X members what is your food bill, a house of XX sq ft what is the rent/mortgage/utility cost etc.

    The other thing to factor in is what activities you plan to participate in that you don't in your current location. Hunting, fishing, skiing, etc., gear and transportation for those activities can take a serious bite of your budget. If your income is just fractionally high enough to cover the added cost of living it can be frustrating to not be able to enjoy all Alaska has to offer.
    And I totally understand that yes it is very personal information to ask. I have a house of of 3 and we are more into hunting and fishing. I garden and raise rabbits for personal use. I hate going into something without as much research as I can get. One of the main reasons we haven't moved yet. But our goal is to move there in 5 years with around $50k or more save up, for moving expenses, and a few months of bills until a finer budget is created. I will not move unless I know I got a job in the Correctional system. My husband is looking into welding as he is a good at that trade. Its just very hard to research from Google. I'm thinking of calling utility companies to see if I can get a better idea. I'm very sorry if I might have offended anyone by asking them of personal information. As that was never my intention

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    Utilities - Figure $100-200 per month for gas, the same for electric. Lower in the summer, higher in the winter. Those bills could be significantly higher for older homes that are less efficient. I don't know how much the residential water/sewer bill is, as I'm on a well and septic. Same with refuse - I take my own to the landfill when I drop off my recycling. We recycle everything we can, thus for a household of four I only need to go to the landfill once every ~3 weeks. For two large trash cans it costs me $3 plus gas to get there.

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    There are a number of calculators on the internet where you put in your current city and wage and your relocation city and it will calculate what you need to make as a "break even" salary in your new location.

    Most will also break down broad categories such as housing, utilities, food, etc.

    Like everywhere else, some things will be less (in my current city we have no property taxes) and some things will be more (everything else is more, occasionally- lots more). In Anchorage and Eagle River- there are price fluctuations based on where in town you live.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Your utility bill can be a big expense, electricity is what I am talking about. I only heat one 10'x10' room in the winter with electricity and it costs up to $195.00 per month when I am not there. The walls are 11" thick, (6" studs with insulation, and 5" of log), concrete insulated floor, and insulated ceiling. The rest of the house is heated by wood when I am there. Food is a little more about 15% to 25% than down south, fresh vegies are more, and are not always fresh, clothing is about the same, lots of places to get them on sale. I buy in the off season, spring for winter cloths and fall for summer cloths. Just have to store them a few months to use. Of course there is Craig's list and Alaska list for used goods, and garage sales all over in the summer to get others unwanted things, sometimes great buys. Have fun, just got to get up and get going. Gerberman

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    Dry goods are close in price to what you'll find in any lower 48 metro area. Dairy runs about 50% higher, and produce seems to me to be about twice what you'll pay in Colorado. My electric bill goes for about 13.5 cents per kwh.

    Depending on your ultimate housing situation, you may be the one dealing with snow removal. Anchorage snowfall is pretty variable, with almost none some years and upwards of 10 feet in others. Plowing, shoveling, or snowblower are needed to keep a driveway clear. Also you'll want to budget the costs of a set of winter tires and the costs associated changeover twice a year.

    If you do much in the way of online / mail order shopping then you need to say goodbye to free shipping. Alaska is usually excluded from the 'free shipping' offers from most vendors.

  16. #16
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    Utilities - Figure $100-200 per month for gas, the same for electric. Lower in the summer, higher in the winter. Those bills could be significantly higher for older homes that are less efficient. I don't know how much the residential water/sewer bill is, as I'm on a well and septic. Same with refuse - I take my own to the landfill when I drop off my recycling. We recycle everything we can, thus for a household of four I only need to go to the landfill once every ~3 weeks. For two large trash cans it costs me $3 plus gas to get there.
    Brian is spot on, energy efficiency makes a huge difference. Our new home is more than twice the size of our old one (built in the early 80's) and our gas bill is actually less than the older home, electric about the same. Something to be said for 5 star energy rating insulation and heating system. I was amazed to see our summer gas bill drop to under $40/month and that was for running the hot water heater and cook top. We turned the heater off for late May, June, July and August.

    Our water bill for the old home was as I recall $97/month, new home is on well and septic so $200 odd bucks every other year to pump the septic system. One thing we did add due to the well water staining the sinks and toilets was adding a whole house filtration system. It looks like we'll be replacing the particulate and carbon filter 3-4 times a year and that'll add $200-300 a year.

    Trash bill is ~$25/month. Considering the time and gas to run to the transfer station, it's worth it to us getting it picked up weekly.

    For our family of five by far the biggest costs are mortgage, food, medical(insurance and out of pocket/co-pay), transportation (gas and insurance), and telecommunications (cell phone and internet).

    I just did a google search and found the median household income in the municipality of Anchorage is $77k, state wide is $70k and that is for 2009-2013. Sounds like a lot of money, but trust me it doesn't go that far.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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