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Old 02-17-2011, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
2 posts, read 33,616 times
Reputation: 15

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I'm a 20-something single female currently living in Milwaukee, and would like to make a move closer to my family in western Kansas. Having spent loads of time in all parts of Colorado growing up, my decision to move there was an easy one, and I recently received an offer to live with a friend in Aspen. I'm familiar with the area and am well aware that Aspen is ungodly expensive in most aspects, so I guess what I'm asking is this: I'll be paying about 500 bucks a month for my share of the rent, and am willing to work two jobs, probably in service areas...am I out of my mind to think I could make this work? Could anybody from the Aspen area who is not super wealthy give me any advice regarding scraping out a living there? I do have a Bachelor's degree in Modern Languages and English, but since this has proved worthless thus far in my life, I'm certainly not expecting to find decent full-time/benefit-type work in a resort town, hence the willingness to work in shops or restaurants. Any info pertaining to the availability of these types of jobs would be appreciated as well...

Thanks so much for your help! I've wanted to live in the deep Rockies all my life, and if there's any chance I could make this work, I'd be moving sometime in May...
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Northern MN
3,869 posts, read 12,498,951 times
Reputation: 3540
Why not, you could always move to Carbondale.
(a little cheaper)
Do it now, when your old you don't want to be asking your self, what if?

[ mod cut ]

I moved to Crested Butte when I was 18.

Last edited by Mike from back east; 02-17-2011 at 06:40 PM..
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:43 AM
 
Location: Western Colorado
10,518 posts, read 11,623,635 times
Reputation: 24167
You're 20, you'll never know unless you take the chance. Have fun, enjoy life.
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Old 02-17-2011, 09:45 AM
 
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
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With only a $500/mo rent in shared living housing, and no other debt ...

Aspen is doable if you're willing to work the needed hours per week to earn a living. The service jobs are there, and if you can get into a situation with tips, that will help a lot. For many, their income can be seasonal, so you do need to manage your cash flow ....
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Old 02-17-2011, 06:19 PM
 
9,816 posts, read 19,014,998 times
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Yep tip based jobs I'd recommend more than hourly wage jobs that don't interact with guests/tourists. I found Aspen a mixed bag on tips, lots of "limo liberals" that talk the big talk about the "little people" but are as stingy as anything. But then on the other hand you have the very showy people that like to make a production of giving good tips. I made some great tips in Aspen over the years.

The main thing to expect is a busy December-March and July-August. The rest of the year is so so or just dead. You'll have to learn to earn big in winter and be prepared to manage your money out the rest of the year.

For spliting the rent at $500 that is decent, so good luck. May is good time to get your summer jobs lined up, but turn up in town with money/savings as it will take a time to get summer business spooled up.
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Old 02-18-2011, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Canon City, Colorado
1,331 posts, read 4,413,601 times
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500 bucks a month to live with a friend!!?! Sounds good no matter where you live!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-18-2011, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
2,212 posts, read 4,330,239 times
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Go for it! You'll have the time of your life. I know I did ...ha. Seriously though, THE biggest expense there is rent and you have a great deal. If you can get a job in a bar or restaurant with tips, you can make a LOT of money during the ski season and probably in the summer too. Like the other posts said, if you are planning on staying, be sure to sock some money away because the town shuts down after the lifts close. The only other thing I remember being noticeably more expensive was groceries and gas but you hardly even need a car there.
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
2 posts, read 33,616 times
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Thanks so much for all the info...the budget planning based on the tourist season was especially helpful and something I hadn't considered. I'm planning a short trip for early April to get a fresh feel for Aspen before making my decision. Does anyone have an opinion regarding the local working-class population vs the ritzy visiting class? In other words, is there a somewhat permanent "poor" population (aka the one I would be joining!) or are most service jobs filled by seasonal students, etc?
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:53 AM
 
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EasyMac42 View Post
Thanks so much for all the info...the budget planning based on the tourist season was especially helpful and something I hadn't considered. I'm planning a short trip for early April to get a fresh feel for Aspen before making my decision. Does anyone have an opinion regarding the local working-class population vs the ritzy visiting class? In other words, is there a somewhat permanent "poor" population (aka the one I would be joining!) or are most service jobs filled by seasonal students, etc?
You'll find a sizable working class population in many job sectors which require full-time year around employees ... most of whom, like you, are working for the pleasure of being in Aspen (and it's surrounding mountain recreational area) and just trying to make ends meet. Think year-round large retail stores, municipal/county jobs, essential trade services (plumbers, electricians, HVAC, automotive shops, and so forth). Many of these service jobs are hourly paid at a low rate for the area ... but it's a steady paycheck compared to the ups and downs of tip based jobs.

Seasonal jobs, mostly in the hospitality/tourist/service business ... cut back on their staffing as required and then staff up as needed for the season. The staffing here is fulfilled either by locals who can earn enough during the main tourist months of the year to survive the rest of the year (example: ski instructors/patrollers who do outdoor guiding ((rafting, fishing, etc)) during the summer months), or who head to other locales for their winter season (ski instructors who head to areas where their ski season is our summer season, or who change their trade entirely for another glitzy resort job elsewhere in that region's high season).

In my experience, you will have no shortage of opportunities to see how the extremely wealthy live compared to your situation. If you see this as an opportunity to be of service and derive an income so that you can enjoy the area, you're in a good position to capitalize on the situation. There's a lot to enjoy about the area that doesn't require a lot of money ....
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:30 PM
 
9,816 posts, read 19,014,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EasyMac42 View Post
Thanks so much for all the info...the budget planning based on the tourist season was especially helpful and something I hadn't considered. I'm planning a short trip for early April to get a fresh feel for Aspen before making my decision. Does anyone have an opinion regarding the local working-class population vs the ritzy visiting class? In other words, is there a somewhat permanent "poor" population (aka the one I would be joining!) or are most service jobs filled by seasonal students, etc?
There are permanent year round people, most of whom would probably live down valley, some up to an hour plus away.

Most seasonal jobs are staffed by college age people, foreign nationals who use working holiday visas, foreign nationals that get temp work permits such as an H-2B, or illegals. I think you'll find about 80-90% of people last no more than 2 ski seasons before the lure of the "real world" beckons. It's cool to live the ski town lifestyle with roommates and seasonal jobs at 25, not so flash at 35 and mostly depressing and sad by the age of 45.

Unless you land a permanent salaried well paid year round position(hard to find), budgeting will be essential. Work in a lot of cases is almost non existent several months of the year. I saw many people party hard all winter and end with $100 in their bank account and then panic trying to figure out how to survive for 2 months until summer season kicks in. Most companies hire under the legal guise of "part time seasonal", which means you serve at their pleasure and when there is no work, too bad. Not eligible for unemployment either.

The problem with Aspen is that it is a "destination resort". It's off the beaten path and is 4 hours plus drive from most of the population in Colorado which doesn't make it convenient for weekend trips. It is mostly reliant on outsiders specifically traveling to Colorado to visit Aspen and at most they only really come for maybe 7 months of the year.
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