Living in the country, yet close to home (Cheyenne, Casper: sales, real estate)
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But the east side of the Big Horn Mountains near the Montana border has little wind. And Story has the green. See Buffalo, Story, Big Horn City, Sheridan, Ranchester, Dayton & Parkman. Those last 3 are probably the most affordable and within commuting distance to Sheridan.
I live in Sheridan and was in Story last Monday evening. Nothing is green in the area right now, except the odd, well-watered blue grass lawn. Also know that at $15 to 16 thousand a year, housing costs will not be easy on the budget. Do find somewhere to live in the last three towns you mentioned and add transportation costs to the list of debits.
If you want to live in the area, you have to really want to live in the area. The company where I work has many employees making $13 to $15/hr. Many of them have roommates, or still live at home, and do additional part-time work.
But the east side of the Big Horn Mountains near the Montana border has little wind. And Story has the green. See Buffalo, Story, Big Horn City, Sheridan, Ranchester, Dayton & Parkman. Those last 3 are probably the most affordable and within commuting distance to Sheridan.
What say you Elkhunter?
I just took a quick look at rentals in the Sheridan area. I found over a dozen appartment/houses, 1 and 2 bedroom for $700 a month or less. Most of those included utilites. One was even a home in Story for $525 a month, pets negotiable.
I was always told that 1/3 of your income can go to a home. $700 a month is $8400 a year. $15. an hour is $30,000. a year. The way it figures, you can find decent housing in the Sheridan area.
I like Sheridan and Wm Jas is right, there is little wind. Buffalo tends to get a bit more than Sheridan. Also, when storms hit from the west, the mountains kick the storm up and it comes back down about 10 miles East of Sheridan. My daugher lives 14 miles east and I can't remember the number of times we would get 3 or 4 inches of snow and she would get 14+ inches with wind.
Sheridan, Story, Banner, Big Horn, Ranchester, and Dayton would be excellent choices. Ranchester, Dayton being lower cost than Sheridan.
I'm basing my response on the OPs post stating they are looking for a place where they can live on minimum wage. $7.25/hr at 2080 hours a year, if they are lucky enough to get full time. That's $15,080. So figure a low end apartment at $8400, add something for transportation, food, clothing, medical bills for routine health care.
I will only respond to the information provided and not willing to assume that they have the skills or ambition to get something better. I do not like to mislead people.
Gotta' be careful about wage earning projections ...
At a minimum, there's FICA taxes which are a sizable bite.
Add in income taxes, and that proverbial $30K income per year starts looking a lot closer to the lower $20's disposable income.
Many minimum wage jobs in the area can be seasonal, so anticipating 2,000 hours per year of earnings can be problematic unless one plans on working multiple jobs through the year, and multiple part-time jobs at some times.
I see a fair number of Labor-Ready type workers in the Cheyenne area who are willing to work almost anything for around $7/hr. By the time their deductions are taken on the day's pay, they are rarely able to afford much more than a shared motel room in one of the cheap motels on Lincolnway or a night at COMEA House. Even the go-getters who now and then get a Davis-Bacon wage for a project rarely can keep their finances on a decent footing.
I don't recall any temp day labor agencies in the Sheridan area when I was bidding industrial projects up that way ... closest would be Billings or Gillette. Point being that there aren't a lot of these types of jobs to be filled in the area, or there would be a temp labor agency and workers in the area like the Cheyenne marketplace.
EH ... are there help wanted ads posted in the Sheridan area that address this end of the labor market?
I know that when I was looking at property in the Story area, there were no help wanted ads in that marketplace.
My concern is that there may simply be very little non-skilled minimum wage hours to be had in this region ... although Sheridan appears to have a bit of trade in the hospitality business so there might be jobs at the motels/restaurants or C-stores in the area.
I looked through the Wyoming At Work and in Sheridan/Johnson County, there are 25 jobs open that require no experience. Wages range from $11 an hour to $20 an hour. I split the difference and said, "$15 an hour"
Most of those jobs were in the $11-14. range.
The other figures are derived from VA loans. When you apply for a Vet's home loan, they won't talk to you unless you have an income that is 3 times your house payment. That is before taxes and does not include utilities. Total Monthly Income vrs Home loan payment. That is the bare minimum that they consider you living within your means, so I used that as a standard.
EH ... just for grins, I looked at Wy at Work site for those counties ...
and most of the jobs that were lower skilled/unskilled were paying in the mid $7 to 9.00 range, such as store clerks, hospitality help, etc.
When I looked at the details of the jobs paying high teens to $20 +/- per hour, like equipment operators or construction workers or oil field hands ... every one of them that I sampled required anywhere from 3 to 5 years experience.
I infer from the OP's original post seeking a minimum wage job in the area that they don't have the higher skills or experience level, or they would have been seeking those types of job openings.
Yes, jobs are currently posted ... but one needs to come visit the area and see if they can meet their expectations for a place to live and income ....
I agree that a person should come and visit, but let's be realistic. Just how much savings do you think minimum wage workers have in stock so that they can randomly take trips to check out an area? In my 58 years I have never had the money, in pocket, to make a trip, just to see. It was always a do or die trip and it never failed me.
In Sheridan, you can find many places for $450-600. a month to rent. May not be at the Powder Horn, but it's a home that is warm and will keep the rain off your back. There are some excellent apartments for $450 a month and if it is minimum wage jobs, there is always low income housing. In order to qualify for Low Income Assistance, most places allow a combined income of $49,000. for two people and more for more people. That allows for some pretty good jobs and still qualify for assistance with rent. Utilities are included with the apartments.
So when people continually say, "You can't afford to move here so stay away", it kind of ruffles my feathers. If both work minimum wage, they can afford Sheridan County, Wyoming.
I'm not saying that the OP "can't afford to live here" .... because there are ways in which a "do or die" situation can be made to work between working multiple jobs, public assistance, etc.
And I've certainly seen many people move here on a whim or false paradigm of what they'd find here re climate, entertainment, scenery, etc. ... on a last ditch, all their money tied up in arriving here and surviving until they did find a job that might keep them in adequate finances. But I've also seen so many of them scrimp and save to leave here as quickly as possible when Wyoming didn't meet their expectations; despite having almost no financial resources to make it here, they managed to acquire enough to leave.
I think the problem has two consistent foundations:
1) Many people have this vision that because Wyoming is sparsely populated, it must be "cheap living" just like the rural areas that they are familiar with in other parts of the USA but still retains easy/close by access to all the amenities of the bigger population areas for recreation, entertainment, shopping, restaurants, medical access, etc ... which most of Wyoming doesn't have. It's not cheap here just because it's sparsely populated ... in fact, it's not cheap here at all unless you have the independent income to choose a place in one of the economically depressed little towns that dot the Wyoming landscape where you can still buy a house for $35,000 that needs a little "TLC". There's a reason why the real estate in town is so cheap ... because there's no jobs there for folk to live on. I've been through a lot of Wyoming's little towns in the last few years, especially in the last year, and there's commercial properties vacant/boarded up available for pennies on the dollar compared to Cheyenne or Casper or Gillette or Sheridan ... because there's such a small marketplace for whatever you'd sell there, there's little trade/sales volume to be had.
2) Many people, having experienced winter climate conditions in other parts of the USA that they believe are similar to Wyoming, come here not realizing how much the weather can dominate one's activities in this area. It's a longer winter here than many other places and it's far more severe.
Here's just one measure of comparison: I've built or restored wood boats from time to time, and I have needed to do so here in a secure, insulated, and massively heated building to assure that materials, glues, epoxies, finishes and surfaces are maintained at a temperature that will allow them to work properly; it's a rather daunting proposition to do so here. In comparison, I read about folk from New England maritime areas ... who believe that their northern winters (with their Nor'easta's coming through from time to time) are pretty severe winter climates, albeit shorter in duration than Wyoming. But many of them are able to build simple enclosure structures from 3/4" schedule 40 pipe or 1" x 1"'s or 2" x 2"'s and cover it with 4 or 6 mil plastic sheeting, somewhat like we build tunnel greenhouses here in Wyoming to extend our gardening season. Many then heat these structures with a small woodstove with their offcuts and scrap to allow a comfortable and suitable working environment for their boatbuilding project(s) ... some of them are building dinghy's and small craft, some are building serious ocean cruising sailboats or commercial fishing vessels (check this activity out on sites like Wooden Boat).
There's no way you could adequately heat such a structure for this purpose in most of Wyoming with a similar woodstove, but for many people from low altitude riparian areas of the USA, New England is kinda' their measure of harsh winters by comparison to where they live now. So their paradigm is that Wyoming isn't as far north as New England, hence it must not be as severe a winter as New England ... and they've been to New England and the winter just wasn't that bad, they could live with that if they had to do so.
Only when they get here do they discover for themselves that there's New England winters and then there's Wyoming high altitude winters. It's a whole different reality to be here in the much colder temperatures and a location where what were hurricane force winds from time to time might as a front came through might just be the norm here for days ... if not weeks or months ... on end. When you're sitting somewhere in Wyoming, essentially housebound except for necessary trips for work or ? for weeks on end, and it's the middle of December and you're asking yourself "when does the wind stop?" and the answer is "maybe next April" ... it's a bit overwhelming for some folk to accept. As I've pointed out so many times on this forum, many folk just aren't prepared to deal with this limitation to their lives. And that's just one facet of the reality of living here in Wyoming ... sizable distances for shopping, entertainment, restaurants, medical services (even you, EH, point out having to travel distances for medical attention despite having a good VA hospital nearby), commercial aviation access is either remote, very limited, and rather expensive ... Cheyenne-DIA is $100/leg, for example ... folk in Sheridan go where for their commercial flights connections? (Billings, right?)
Then there's the issues of available housing at affordable prices. In some towns, rental/lease housing is in very short supply for a multitude of reasons ... and people who have determined that they're coming here come rain or whatever assume that housing is as readily available as it was in the region that they're leaving. It's not, is it ... even if you move here with a nest egg to build on your own site, which many folk simply don't have as an option.
In comparison, folk can pick up and move to many other places across the USA, and if the job they had lined up doesn't work out, they can survive until another suitable job comes along. Same thing with the climate issue(s) here; if they discover that it isn't their cup of tea, they can live with the situations that present because they're a matter of preference (low/high humidity, low/high temperature ranges, cloudy vs sunny climates, etc), because it's a like/dislike situation.
But here in Wyoming, the climate can be an overriding factor in so much of what you can do so much of the time that's it's no longer just an inconvenience, it's a way of life. It's one thing when your vision of a wintry day is a pleasant opportunity to head out snowmobiling or skiing or playing around in the snow ... or not, as you see fit ... as happens in so many winter climate areas. It's another thing entirely when your little parcel where you wanted to keep a few horses is so violently captured in a snowstorm (that's hardly dropping any snow onto the ground) that you can't see the barn 100' away from your house and the horses need to be fed and watered and the hydrant in the barn is frozen and the haystack stored outside under a tarp is a trap with all the flapping covers in the breeze. So many folk move here thinking a Wyoming winter is going to look just like a Thomas Kincaide scenic house in a tree-lined glade with just some snow piled around for the few months in the depths of winter ... and that they could enjoy hitching up the team to their sleigh just for the fun of it to visit a neighbor (if they had a team and a sleigh, but right now all they have is a couple of winter-shy horses that aren't very ridable in these blustery conditions). The reality for much of Wyoming is far from that vision. We've gotten to where we're bundled up in Carhartts and chore coats and heavy winter snowboots and heavy gloves with Mad Bomber fur-lined hats and wearing ski goggles to be able to see when we're out feeding livestock ... it takes awhile to get dressed up for the event twice a day, and we're thinking sometimes it will take less time to do the chore than it takes to get dressed up for them. Sometimes, it doesn't ... especially during lambing, kidding, or calving time. Bringing small squares of hay down from our haystacks to the barns is a planned chore ... we've got limited inside the barn storage, so we stock that up at the beginning of the season and feed as much as we can from the outside haystack so we've got the inside hay for the days when we can't retrieve the outside stuff.
One of the big trade-offs of that Kincaide scene is that the short wet not-very cold winter is just enough to set the stone fruit trees for the next season, and the greenery is gonna' come next spring in all it's splendor for the deciduous trees and the vines and berries and all the vegetation is gonna' get fabulously green and lush and productive and simply gorgeous to look at every day for the spring, summer, and fall ahead. It's a powerful part of living in these areas that do this, and it's simply so taken for granted as a way of life that you don't miss it until it's not there. Do we have such conditions in Wyoming? generally speaking, no way. If we get a decent amount of moisture in a winter, then we get cool season grasses emerging in the spring ... and depending upon the temps and spring moisture, we see these green pastures for anywhere from April-May through June. Some years, maybe into July if conditions are just right. For the most part, our warm season grasses aren't so lush, and they're not a carpet of green, they're mostly clump grasses which don't fit the paradigm of riparian climate folk who teach their kids to mow the lawn before they can walk .... "Brown" scenery here is what presents for most of the state and it doesn't fit the paradigm of so many people, it's a huge disappointment. Evergreens don't have the lush presence of deciduous trees, and the stands of aspen that turn in the fall (for a few brief days) simply doesn't match the glory of oaks and walnuts and hickory turning all kinds of colors for awhile.
I will grant you that there are places in Wyoming where this severe a situation doesn't happen all the time, just now and then. But the powerhouse economic centers of Wyoming these days are Casper, Cheyenne, and Gillette are where these types of scenarios are not uncommon. Jackson presents a nicer winter climate, but it's a world apart economically. Sheridan/Buffalo corridor is much milder for the climate, and so is the Black Hills area of NE Wyoming, and the area around Lander/Thermopolis. But what is the economic mainstay of the Black Hills and Lander areas for the lower end jobs? tourism. And those towns shut down for the winter season compared to the summer tourist seasons. Sheridan is probably one of the few economic centers in a milder climate which is active year 'round. Even Cody shuts down for the winter season, right? at least that's what I found, and it's not just the restaurants and motels that shut down ... it's everything from retail stores to automotive shops that close for the season.
Conceptually, I'll agree that the financial ability of many folk to come out here to look around before making a decision can be a tough thing to do. But consider the flip side ... if they get here on a "do or die" basis and the reality here is so far different than what they thought it would be ... what are they gonna' do? Again, I've seen this happen so many times ... and that includes folk with a lot more than the minimum resources in their bank accounts, and they've left a sizable amount of that in Wyoming as their dreams crumbled and they fled the place for something that they could tolerate.
My wife used to talk about how miserable the Wisconsin winters were where she grew up, how the humidity made it so much more unpleasant than the air temps were ... but she mentioned that from the city they lived in, they were able to be out ice fishing in the little hut that her Dad had bought almost every day after school/work. No big deal, just drag it out on the ice behind their station wagon, drill (or find an existing hole in a good spot), and set down for a pleasant afternoon/evening with the little space heater, some beverages and sandwhiches, and enjoy passing the wintertime. That, or they could snowmobile through the outskirts of town for the fun of it many days, visiting friends and family. The biggest inconvenience was scraping the stuff off the windshield on her car because the folk's cars were in the garage overnight, but driving around wasn't that difficult because the streets were plowed/cleared pretty well of the snow and slush. The snow built up through the winter months, but it rapidly thawed in the springtime "mud season" and life returned to normal along with the big bugs pretty quickly. She talks now about how much she enjoys no fleas, no big bugs every year ... but how cold it is here compared to where she grew up despite the lack of humidity. Stoking the fireplace "back home" was a pleasant chore that put an edge on comfort in their house ... here, it's a necessity to be maintained during the coldest months because our HWBB propane heat is expensive to run and needs to be supplemented with our woodstove or the house can be very uncomfortable. Heat loss at the double pane windows is sizable, even with thermal blanket blinds in use, but it's due to sub-zero temps and strong winds, and we've got a house that is sited so that the narrow ends present to the prevailing winds rather than the big windows of the long axis of the house.
I'm watching a new neighbor putting another roof on his house this weekend. Three roofs in four years now on a new house. Why? because they sited their house with the long axis facing the prevailing winds; it looked "nice" to have the house facing square to the roadway. They're using quality architectural shingles and installing them properly, but it's simply no match for the prevailing winds here. How many other places in the USA have such conditions? It's a major expense, but it again illustrates how serious the ongoing issue of climate is here. OH ... these are one of the couples that moved their family here from Wisconsin for a truck driving job in the oil patch ($50K/year), and I see that there's a "for sale" sign up in front of the place as of a few weeks ago. Moving back to Wisconsin where it's not such a difficult winter climate according to our other Wisconsin neighbor that just left last week to put their house that didn't sell back into condition for them to move back to. Her husband came out here for a business buy-in opportunity that fizzled out and he's got a year before he starts collecting his retirement benefits ... so they're outta' here starting now and will complete the move back next summer after school's out. And their house here is up for sale now, too. These were all folk acclimated to winter climates and financially capable people with a dream about wide open spaces and lots of horseback riding and home schooling their kids away from the liberal dysfunctional public schools of "back home" ... and they're leaving to go back to what they considered a miserable situation because Wyoming simply was too difficult for them. Being housebound during the winter months sounds great for keeping the kids at home for schooling and scheduled play dates, but cabin fever is a big obstacle when it's not optional for the kids to be outside doing other things to burn off the excess energy. It's simply worn out the Moms and they long for the freedom to kick the kids out the door to go play ... or get around without getting stuck in off-road excursions with their 4x4 SUV's. I've "rescued" these folks more than several times when they couldn't negotiate the local road conditions ... sometimes with my JD 4020, sometimes just with my Subie OBW's (which embarrased the heck out of these folk driving much bigger badder SUV's).
I've simply addressed rent in Sheridan and not, "Some places in Wyoming". I have not addressed the weather other then to say we have little wind compared to most of the state.
I live very comfortably on less than $21,000. per year. I live in a 4 year old cabin that is on 3 acres. I pay $600 a month for rent and my utilities have never been over $90 per month. My water, sewer and trash are included with my rent. That is in the dead of winter with my furnace going, or in the middle of July/August with the A/C set at 70 degrees.
Now let's talk weather, for Sheridan and surrounding area. Not Cheyenne, Laramie, Casper, Rock Spring, but Sheridan.
Last winter was very mild as winters go in this area. Even though it was mild, the interstate between here and town was closed 4 times. Each time the closure was for a few hours and was due to visibility, not snow depth. If the snow does start flying hard, our snowplows start when the snow starts, not after it piles up and as such, the roads haven't been shut down for snow depth, for years. The plows run until they simply can't see anymore. The front will move through in a couple hours, the plows will run for an hour and the road is open again.
So let me back up to a winter we had a few years ago that was more to what winters run around here. We had about 45 days of sub-zero weather with temps hitting -35 a time or two. Roads were shut down about 6 or 7 times. One of those times is because we, in Sheridan, got 27 inches of snow in a two day period. The highway closed about sundown on the first day and was open by noon the next day.
Typically Sheridan will get a 6-8 inch snow and it will melt off in 4 or 5 days. A week or two later, we get another 6-8 inch snow. It doesn't build up. It stays in the fields, around shelter belts, on the shady side of the house, but for the most part, doesn't stay for all winter. Strangely enough, with this last winter, even as mild as it was, the snow stayed. It would warm up to 25 degrees, but only drop to 20 at night. I know, because I have an alarm set for 18 degrees so I can tend to the horses if the temp gets into the teens. It only went off a few times last winter.
I keep track of the weather around here and I record it. I am a Weather Spotter for NOAA and I'm also a CoCoRaHS reporter for moisture. I will attach a file showing daily contitions for Sheridan for the last couple of years. Back to Sept of 2009 so you can see what the weather has been like for the last couple of years. I didn't record every day as I was in the hospital several times. But other than that, I hit every day I could. The comments on the right are oddities that were out of the norm, or just observations that needed note. This is what is recorded off of NOAA's weather station that is located about 500 yards from me.
Even Cody shuts down for the winter season, right? at least that's what I found, and it's not just the restaurants and motels that shut down ... it's everything from retail stores to automotive shops that close for the season.
I'm afraid you're not correct on this. The campgrounds close for the winter and two of the t-shirt shops close for the winter. We also have a couple of cheap motels that close in the winter as they tend to operate as housing for summer workers. The Buffalo Bill Historical Center has abbreviated hours during the non-tourist season. I live in Cody and had no problems finding many retail stores in which to do my Christmas shopping. We also enjoyed eating out a good deal because the restaurants didn't have lines out the door. I've also not noticed that any automotive shops were closed for the season. Certainly, in the non-tourist season, the sidewalks are pulled up by 6:30 p.m. By no means, though, does Cody shut down for the winter season. In fact, this former (very recently former) big-city girl from a riparian climate hasn't driven to Billings to do any shopping or take care of any sort of business since before Christmas. In that time, this active family with a teenager in it has managed to take care of all of our needs (shopping, medical, automotive, firearm repair, furniture and appliance purchases, etc) within Cody, Wyoming. By no means does Cody become a wasteland in the winter months.
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