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Thread: My living expenses.

  1. #1
    Member MNViking's Avatar
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    Default My living expenses.

    Just thought I would share living expenses with all the Alaskan hopefuls:

    Mortgage on $200K townhouse $1300 (1300-1500 sq. ft.)
    Association fees if own: $200
    Rent on same townhouse $1600
    Electric $60 - $100 per month
    Gas $80 - $300 per month
    Trash collection $75 quarterly
    Water/sewer $65 per month
    Cable/phone/internet $200 per month
    Groceries for 2 adults $600 per month (this is not all steak and lobster either, I eat a lot of spaghetti)
    Gas is $4 a gallon

    Around $30-35K per year in basic living expenses with very few places to cut.
    Finally, Brad Childress is GONE!

  2. #2

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    Alaska is a hard place to live, That is reality. But, those are city prices, life in the bush is waay harder, and waaay more expensive.
    I wonder what the price of a gallon of milk is in Mcgrath?

  3. #3
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    In the bush you may not buy milk; you might mix canned milk with water or use dry milk. You'll probably have a grubstake with lots of rice, dried potatoes, lots of canned goods. Wild meat, fish, berries and garden stuff round things out. You don't go out to eat much (if that is even possible).
    You can live more cheaply nearly anywhere you want, but you'll just have to prioritize. It will be more expensive in a city because of all the things you CAN do and CAN buy and CAN eat. Add to that the cost of gas and toys to go out to enjoy Alaska, and the cost of owning a home and paying taxes to enjoy the amenities of a city, and the city can be almost as as expensive as the bush in some ways.

    Alaska has always been an expensive place to live. Not everyone can stay up here. But if you love Alaska and cannot imagine living anywhere else, you will probably find a way to do it.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNViking View Post
    Just thought I would share living expenses with all the Alaskan hopefuls:

    Mortgage on $200K townhouse $1300 (1300-1500 sq. ft.)
    Association fees if own: $200
    Rent on same townhouse $1600
    Electric $60 - $100 per month
    Gas $80 - $300 per month
    Trash collection $75 quarterly
    Water/sewer $65 per month
    Cable/phone/internet $200 per month
    Groceries for 2 adults $600 per month (this is not all steak and lobster either, I eat a lot of spaghetti)
    Gas is $4 a gallon

    Around $30-35K per year in basic living expenses with very few places to cut.
    Add in car payments of at least $300 for a reliable vehicle, multiply that by 2 for most families since it is impractical for most families to only have one vehicle. Most folks that I know put at least $7-800/month into car and truck payments. So assuming your math is right that adds another $4-8,000 dollars bringing the average to more like $35-42K per year. Now lets say you make 100K per year. subtract 20K off the top for fed taxes. You now have 80K, next up lets take 6K off for SSN, you now have 74,000, Now lets take off insurance for a family of of 4 @ ~$700/month and you have ~ 65,000. Now subtract that 42K and you are left with 23,600. Oh wait we don't want to work for ever so lets take and invest 15K into our retirement fund and we are left with $8,600 for discretionary and emergency spending.

    So, what can we buy with $8,600?

    Boat: if it was a gift and you didn't have any payments lets assume you can fill up w/ 100 gallons and enjoy a weekend on the water
    ~$500 per trip w/ launch fees so 17 trips per year. Well that isn't too bad... Now assume you have a boat payment of 250/month plus $50/month for insurance. Now we have to subtract that 3600 from the 8600 and we have $5K remaining or 10 trips. More likely you will break something costing at least 1K to fix and drop you down to 7-8 trips.

    Snowmachine: Most new sleds cost more than $8,600 each

    ATV: you can probably buy something like a Yamaha big bear and maybe even have enough left over to actually take it out from time to time. 8,600 will not buy the big wheelers like a 700 griz or 6x6.

    UTV: your joking right

    Replace roof: 8-15K depending on the roof! You were thinking ahead right and put that money away ahead of time right?

    New heater: 5-10K (see new roof)

    New well: You totally saw this coming right? You have the 4-14K put away right?

    Septic system: What do you mean you have to dig it up and replace it???? Where is that spare 7K I had laying around...


    Now this assumes a $100K income, which to many is the "holy grail" benchmark of "wealthy...


    Want to get really depressed look at the "low income" benefits. Funny how close a person can get to a 100K/year lifestyle without the pasky 100K/year job!

  5. #5
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    Thanks LoJon
    Here I was thinking of take the summer off from overseas and spend it with the wife and the boat.
    Now i feel like i can't afford to do that.

    Sweepint
    Wasilla, (when not overseas)
    '' Livn' The Dream ''
    26' Hewescraft Cuddy, twin 115 Yam

  6. #6

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    It will get worse when the Pipeline is shut down (with-in six years) for lack of volume and or corrosion. Then the gasoline will be $12.00 a gallon in Anchorage. The State Sales tax will be 9%. Real Estate will be "FREE", there will be no Natural Gas left in Cook Inlet for "Cheap" heat. With No Natural Gas there will be little or No Electric.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweepint View Post
    Thanks LoJon
    Here I was thinking of take the summer off from overseas and spend it with the wife and the boat.
    Now i feel like i can't afford to do that.
    Now you know why I had those numbers readily available... I am constantly planning and trying to get situated for the future. In a way I envy the guys that go out with credit cards blazing and have all the toys and time to use them!

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    Just about the time i get another board put on the dock for that proverbial ship to come in there is always another storm to knock it down. Well I am not sure if what you say is right but I do believe hard times are in the future all to receive. Fuel prices are going to be real bad this year and here we thought that the prices a few years back were bad. Woodstoves are going to get real popular again.
    We, wife and I were just talking about this a few weeks before I left on how to afford to live when we are in the golden years with what the prices we see now. Taxes, taxes and more taxes, gas prices, heating prices, food where does it stop Insurance for the house which just went up 375.00 over last year because the fire ratings went down I can go on and on.

    Sweepint
    Wasilla, (when not overseas)
    '' Livn' The Dream ''
    26' Hewescraft Cuddy, twin 115 Yam

  9. #9
    Member Rumbarr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNViking View Post
    Just thought I would share living expenses with all the Alaskan hopefuls:

    Mortgage on $200K townhouse $1300 (1300-1500 sq. ft.)
    Association fees if own: $200
    Rent on same townhouse $1600
    Electric $60 - $100 per month
    Gas $80 - $300 per month
    Trash collection $75 quarterly
    Water/sewer $65 per month
    Cable/phone/internet $200 per month
    Groceries for 2 adults $600 per month (this is not all steak and lobster either, I eat a lot of spaghetti)
    Gas is $4 a gallon

    Around $30-35K per year in basic living expenses with very few places to cut.
    Those numbers are identical right here right now in Florida,cept for electric, which is closer to $200 a month,not sure what association fee is either. Other then that same ol,although when someone makes posts like this I get discouraged lol .

  10. #10
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNViking View Post
    Just thought I would share living expenses with all the Alaskan hopefuls:

    Mortgage on $200K townhouse $1300 (1300-1500 sq. ft.)
    Association fees if own: $200
    Rent on same townhouse $1600
    Electric $60 - $100 per month
    Gas $80 - $300 per month
    Trash collection $75 quarterly
    Water/sewer $65 per month
    Cable/phone/internet $200 per month
    Groceries for 2 adults $600 per month (this is not all steak and lobster either, I eat a lot of spaghetti)
    Gas is $4 a gallon

    Around $30-35K per year in basic living expenses with very few places to cut.
    So lets compare Anchorage with outa town prices; in this case the Soldotna area:
    - Mortgage- about $1250 (that includes 3 acres of land to bump around on and trash up if I so desire); no association fees, no water/sewer, property taxes included;
    - Electric is about the same at about $100, though we could shrink it with a little more conscientiousness;
    - no gas, we use propane at about $30 for month-1/2 and heating oil for water heater and back-up furnace is about $75 a month since we burn wood which doesn't cost much to harvest;
    - We dump our own trash;
    - Phone/internet/satellite is about $200 rolled together, but we could probably shrink that as well;
    - Food is more expensive the farther you get away from Anchorage, but still no more than $600 for a family of four because we eat simply;
    - Gas is still under $4/gal but that will change soon. I'm hoping to park my full size PU and drive something smaller, but still our gas expenses will probably be no less than $400 per month for two vehicles.

    You have to live where the work is, but still, you can live less expensively, perhaps, when you get away from the innate costs of living in the city or suburbs. There you have to pay for perks such as water and sewer and trash pick-up, but away from the city you don't have to look at your neighbor, you can shoot a .22 if your lot is so configured, and if a legal bull or black bear comes to visit, he ends up in the freezer. Same for spruce hen or rabbit in your driveway.

  11. #11
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I wish my electric bill was only $100.00 per month in Soldotna, It is running about $160.00 per month keeping only one room warm. Glad I can shut off the rest of the house and let it get cold.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Man Gerber, are you heating with electric?
    I have a 3 bedroom house and it never goes over $110 even with an electric dryer.

  13. #13
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    There are a few things to temper those costs:

    Sales tax, nope, state income tax, nope, pfd, yup, higher salary than lower 48, typically yup.

    As others have said, Alaska is expensive because it's worth it. If you enjoy all the state has to offer, it's priceless to live up here.

  14. #14
    Member Derby06's Avatar
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    I think there is soooo many variables its hard (almost impossible) to compare. I mean just lifestyles in general...
    Age / condition of house
    Hobbies
    Type of vehicle one owns/want/desires/drives
    Distance of commute to work, if any
    Time off / work schedule
    Like to eat out or eat in
    Alochol / tobacco use
    Taxable income vs non taxable
    the list could go on

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    At $6.50 a pack tobacco use is an impossible luxury!

  16. #16
    Member Bsj425's Avatar
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    Lol I wish I had those electric prices up here GVEA runs a monopoly and used diesel for power. I havent had a bill under 200 in I dont know how long for a family of 3 in a 3bed 1300sq ft ranch. And we have all energy efficient bulbs and appliances.

  17. #17
    Member MNViking's Avatar
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    The reason I posted this is because I've talked to a lot of the guys here where I'm deployed and all they see are "high paying" jobs in AK. What they don't get is that they are "high paying" because that's the only way to keep people up here. It would be too expensive otherwise. Even more of them want to retire up here and live on their military pension...
    Finally, Brad Childress is GONE!

  18. #18
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    My old man retired as a CWO 3, when he decided he wanted to live on his pension he did the math and moved to a small house near the gulf coast... as in gulf of mexico.

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    When I first got to Dillingham (Seven years ago now) I thought " Wow, look at that paycheck!" but, it didn't take long (about the end of the month ) to realize that it was nearly all gone. Essentially I live within the same means as I had elsewhere, there was just more cash flowing in....and then out. It got easier once the boat and snogo were paid for, but I only afforded those by living in a one-room cabin with an outhouse and steambath. Not the worst existence, but nature calls at -20 did not include reading material.

    Sayak is dead on about some of the increased costs of city living if you take full advantage of them. I never eat out in DLG (way expensive and not very good either) and I make my own beer and wine. Workin on the cigar issue as the price is now at $10 a pack (makes ya wanna suck em down til you burn your finger tips, sad as that sounds). Sure gas is $ 5.78 a gallon but I burn very little in the truck, and that leaves more for the boat later on. Also, you don't need a 20k rig to drive 30 miles of road, so my higher mileage, early 90's PAID FOR trucks do just fine.

    Groceries are outrageous and I always peruse the store for those blaze orange half off stickers on things that are about to go past their date before I pick up what I need. Eat plenty o moose and salmon. Have made about 60 pounds of various sausages this past winter which greatly helps compared to moose stirfry with the less tender cuts 3 times a week. Same with the smoked salmon....it's cool that it's a staple instead of a luxury.

    What hurts is when you want to travel out. Anchorage is 450+, Seattle is around 1000 and the midwest where my family is is almost always 1150+...But, with all that cash goin out, the miles for Alaska Air stack up pretty quick.

    Housing out here isn't as bad as one would guess, actually less than parts of Anchorage....if you can find one that isn't beat to heck, and then you get to stand in line to try to make a bid. Mechanics are really no more expensive than other big towns, but the service is pretty rough...had a friend's wheel fall off ten miles after some front end work last week!

    Definitely not for everyone, and even a stressor for those that it is for, but I like being involved in my life at this level compared to paying for services and food as you would elsewhere, it's productive and gratifying.

  20. #20
    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    Yes I am using Electric wall heater, Cadet type, I think I will insulate that room much better, it has 6 inches of insulation now, maybe I need to put foam on top of that. I have 2x6 walls and I am putting 5" half logs on the outside this spring. Maybe that will help also.

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