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Old 12-11-2007, 09:24 AM
Location: Sarasota
462 posts, read 1,590,338 times
Reputation: 154


Bozeman now has the highest cost of living in the state of Montana. That said, there are other towns that would be close enough for the culture factor but far enough away to have better weather and lower housing costs. Once you get past Three Forks, the costs start to come way down. You get into beautiful countryside and away from traffic, noise and population. Where I live is quiet, no noise, no traffic, no crime, beautiful scenery and hardly any snow to speak of.

Bozeman always has snow as does Butte, but we almost never do. The closest town to where I am (south of Whitehall) would be Butte but Bozeman is only 45 minutes away for major shopping if needed or to go to a concert etc. As for jobs, you'd need to look at Bozeman or Butte with Bozeman paying higher wages and having more jobs. There is one minor pass between here and there and it's out in the sun most of the time so it doesn't have much problem with ice. Going to Butte from here you cross the continental divide and go up to 6,450 feet so usually have snow or ice to contend with. There are cameras up on Homestake Pass so you can see what the conditions look like before you leave home.

You just need to come for a visit and make this decision for yourselves. Come in the worst part of Winter (Feb) and the summer hottest time would be July/early Aug. See what you think. If you want some land, look over this way. If you want to be a townie, and can afford it, Bozeman has lots to offer, but it is now a busy town and not so little anymore. Traffic is horrible, there are too many stores and shopping centers now and downtown is impossible to park these days. I myself hate going to Bozeman unless absolutely necessary and anymore, that is less and less as I'm finding more of what I want and need in Butte which costs much less too!

Good luck on whatever you decide. LFF
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:08 PM
495 posts, read 407,304 times
Reputation: 96
Originally Posted by JoeJoeMan
I know everyone has got there own 'thing' but I still don't get this thing about just up and moving to someplace you don't know or have never been to or spent much time. ESPECIALLY if you are doing well where you are, what's that old saying..."A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"

JoeJoeMan, all your points about doing the research before you make a life-changing decision are 100% true. However, read TOMTGB2's posts carefully. He is NOT doing well. There is more to doing well than being able to put food on the table. He said, "I can't take it anymore". He hates the heat. He said, "our town offers nothing but the river as recreation." "This town has not grown in the 50 years my family has been here".
To come to the rescue of my own words...........And my point was that...giving up a position to put food on the table because of a notion in your head that you don't like you life is silly. Because in the end it is all about putting food on the table, when there is no food on the table NOTHING else matters - I've been there in MONTANA, It seems in America today people don't seem to concerned with their future of putting food on the table - as they take that as a given, it will always be there, ie some government program or rich uncle will always come to the rescue - we have turn into a very impractical society.......thinking everything will always be alright....like that little squirrel story who never saved any nuts all summer............ thus my reference to the 'mountain tax' - your words where glorious - lush colorfull fluff as they were - but the meaing of mountain tax is - simply put - It's gonna cost you something to live here, it's going to cost you something everyday to look at those mountains, because everytime you look at your paycheck (hopefully you at least have one) you'll say "Geez - I'd make twice/trice this somewhere else" - well that's the tax you gotta pay to see those mountains, or as it was put to me "You can't eat those mountains", people were giving me those words here in montana 30 and 40 years ago, it's all just common knowledge/wisidom here in MT....If you're rich it don't matter, that's why we see so many rich moving here because they are more and more everyday the ones who can afford too..........
Sorry if I'm (we) are straying off topic, but I just wanted follow up on my recent comments which I do think were relavant.

Also the reason people in montana might seem a bit more hostile towards new comers (to put it bluntly) as represented by comments on the board.......well they live and like it here for a reason......they look around you see open space, land, beauty,....start dropping developments on the hill side to accomondate new comers and there goes the reason they like to live and stay here...it doesn't make alot of them happy (until they sell off the ranch for the big bucks..lol) .........Now than take a person say in Ohio, first off I don't think people are flocking in there from outta' state, but drop a development in there, I don't think anyone will mind or even much notice it, first off they won't even see it in the treed flat lands, it's not about wide open spaces there and people live there for largely other reasons, if that gets my point across. So of course you start taking away something special from people, something that is in many reasons one of the few things that gives that person solice for living where they are, and of course you can expect some hostility, even mother thersa would have trouble containing herself............

Last edited by JoeJoeMan; 12-12-2007 at 02:24 PM..
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Old 12-12-2007, 09:39 PM
Location: SW Montana
352 posts, read 1,053,909 times
Reputation: 249
Default No hostility here

I realize my posts might seem blunt, but even with the change in times I hate to see people believe all the hype that's flying around the different media outlets and come here only to realize it can be a tough go. I hear about this magazine and that publication rating the Bozeman area as the best place to retire/work/start a small business, on and on. Well, yeah, but like Paul Harvey, there's the rest of the story...

TOMTGB2, I have a friend who is also a PA, and RNed at several local facilities, life flighted, and worked trauma and ICU before that. She got her PA about two years ago, and now divides her time between three different area hospitals several hundred miles apart. This is by choice. However, there are a lot of small towns that run small urgent care type clinics that are always looking for people like you. And there are small towns that have hospitals, too. The quality of life will be excellent, but, like JoeJoeMan says, you'll pay the mountain tax. That's why I said that many survivors here, 'ne people who aren't independent financially, will have a web of little income projects besides their main occupation. This, to me, is necessary, but sure cuts in on family time and recreation. If you and your wife both work in a smaller town, odds are you'll do pretty well, but much of that depends on what you think is necessary for a comfortable existence. I was several years here before I had running water and indoor plumbing. For a time, affordable housing was a decent topper on the pickup. To this day, I still marvel at turning on a tap and having a hot shower without having to heat a bunch of water on the side of an old Monarch cookstove.

I personally don't have a problem with more people moving to the Gallatin Valley. Before you call me nuts, let me elaborate. I believe I saw the very last good years here in the late seventies. Times were tough, but it was still a very friendly, small town atmosphere. Having said that, I met people who told me I missed the best of the place by anywhere from ten to fifty years. So it's also a matter of perception. Bozeman and the valley is now, to me, permanently altered, and not exactly for the better. It is not, to me, anywhere near the Montana I fell in love with years ago. There's too much money here, far too many people, and, most disturbingly, a lot of people who are basically for sale. Or at the very least, making decisions to benefit people they'd like to impress when gathered at parties that feature white wine. I'm genuinely chagrined at that, but I'm sure it's no different than a lot of similar places, and looking at Bozeman's history it's nothing new under the sun.

However, you may get here and see that it is a long shot better than where you've been. And your perception may be altered by the experiences you have and twenty years from now you'll say, "I remember when Bozeman was this nice little growing city with almost no serious crime and just one parking garage."

Just my $.02...
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Old 12-13-2007, 09:54 AM
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 12,656,299 times
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The brochures that claim certain towns or areas of Montana to be great places to start a business or retire are not saying it's an easy place for a young family to come and build a future. I think most people know by now that it's nearly impossible for a person to buy property here and expect to pay it off by working a frigging job here. It may be that way in other areas of the country also. Look at Europe ! Those days are gone along with the days of free homesteading land. In 15 years from now, we may all look back at these times as "the good ol days" ! The world has found us and there's nothing we can do about it.
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Old 01-01-2008, 01:41 AM
114 posts, read 541,040 times
Reputation: 70
Default A few comments

Originally Posted by TOMTGB2 View Post
Well I am a little floored by your responses, some more than others. I have asked this question on several others boards and have not been met with the hostility that I was met with here, again some more than others. I have been reading around and notice the c-word being used as insult, Californian, maybe that might explain some responses.
Where I am from hot is the norm and and I can't take it anymore, 120 in the summer is the average.
And in response to the question "Why would I want to move to a place that I know nothing about or have never been" My wife and I are educated people with great jobs, I'm a PA and she is a teacher, who have the opportunity to move where we want and purposely choose a town that we like and raise our family and not be tied down to a town because of our jobs. Change is good.

I don't know much about Montana - having only crossed it once - on the way to Seattle.

I lived in California 12 years and you have to understand some of the hostility isn't so much lifestyle differences - even though those are there too - it's because many Californians bring in their large amounts of money and often flash it around (showing off) and they buy or build houses that are very expensive and that runs up the prices of a lot of real estate in the area - as well as increasing the taxes for the rest too. My wife and I were never wealthy so wealthy californians hurt us both in California and out. Boise, Oregon, Washington don't like Californians for those reasons - they also tend to be too liberal on many issues and many in the area don't want to see drugs, and alternative lifestyles - as well as illegals encouraged to come there. I am a populist democrat and quite liberal in many ways but I too wouldn't want to see an area as natural and beautiful as Montana/Idaho/Oregon turned into anothe California. Bend Oregon is an example as the locals are leaving - due to the huge number of weathy people moving in and buying up all the property and building mansions.

My wife and I are looking for a place too - not too cold, reasonable rent and pay and safe from the illegals which chased us in Tucson, Phoenix and Albuquerque.

We've pretty much settled on Oklahoma which has an anti illegal law now and low rent and quite a number of jobs.

But they have tornadoes and we'd miss the western mountains which we got used to in ca and az.

Redding would be our choice if they werent going to have to help pay the costs for the rest of the state of California - except they have very few jobs that pay anything at all and rent prices are going up. Californians from San Francisco, Los Angeles and south are moving to redding in large numbers - running up the rent and property values and they are not welcome there.

If I were you - I'd just not say you were from California - just say you are from Texas or something and stayed in California but a short while - AND - I'd avoid living too well - since many people can't.

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Old 01-01-2008, 01:52 AM
114 posts, read 541,040 times
Reputation: 70
Default Hot weather is alot easier to take than very cold weather

Originally Posted by TOMTGB2 View Post
Where I currently live is in a small desert town of about 5,000, I grew up here and the only reason I continue to be here is because of family. Our town offers nothing besides the river as recreation and seeing as we are not "river-people" there isn't anything to do for fun. This town has not grown in the fifty something years my family has been here. I went away to Southern California for college and post-graduate school but couldn't stand to live there any longer than I had to. My wife and I are looking for a town to plant some roots in and there are certain things that we are looking for and unfortunately our little town here doesn't have what we want. We are looking for a college town that offers a thriving main street setting, restaurants, independent stores, theaters. We need something that offers outdoor activities, biking, hiking, kayaking, camping, as we are outdoor enthusiasts, and wouldn't mind adding some snow activities to our list of hobbies. I have looked into the recreation department and am impressed with the variety of classes that are offered, I have two little ones so this is very important. I am also impressed with the library activities and the community activities as well. I have been to Bozeman once before in college, I played football and was in the Big Sky conference, and I liked what I saw.
No town is perfect and sometimes things have to be sacrificed to order to partake in other things.
I would say the same thing about our hot summers as you say about your cold winters but people have to adapt to the weather otherwise how could people even live there or here for that matter.
Having lived in Tucson and Phoenix and now freezing in Missouri (we had 3 days with no power at all and if not for a vent free gas heater in the living room we might have frozen) We can handle arizona and california heat (including redding - our favorite place) very well - we couldn't handle montana's cold I'm sure - although in many other ways it's great.

Swamp coolers keep you from the heat - the cold will be very expensive to live with.

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Old 01-01-2008, 03:41 PM
22 posts, read 101,272 times
Reputation: 24
Look elsewhere. The cost of living is so high, that even with a good income, it is maddening to pay so much more than other places, just for a place to call home. I started my business here 2 1/2 yrs ago, and it is growing well, but come that 5 yr mark, it will be for sale, as I just can't stand the cold winters with the damn snow and ice on the ground for so long. And I sure as hell would like my hard earned money to go much further than it does here. I love the quote "you can't eat the mountains". You may have an idealistic picture in your head about a life in Bozeman, but forget it. You will spend too much time working to afford a comfortable lifestyle that you won't have time to enjoy. So, unless you are among the "wealthy" people who don't really need a job or business to support you, look somewhere else where you will have something to show for your hard work.
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Old 01-01-2008, 05:03 PM
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 12,656,299 times
Reputation: 3535
Butte is a museum compared to Bozoman and may not be the town for those who demand culture. (Unless your idea of culture is photographing old mining structures). You may not be able to eat the mountains but you can eat dandelions and tree bark and that's what might be on your dinner table if you try to move here on a shoe string. Bring your job with you or wait tables, and you ain't going to pay off a nice Montana dream home with wages earned here. And if you like Mexican food and move to Butte you better like peanut butter ! Bozoman has eateries and cleaner drinking water. If you get sticker shock from house prices in those towns consider a trailer on a rez. That's what I did and I have no mortgage or rent, life is good, fish all day !
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Old 01-01-2008, 10:29 PM
Location: Moab, UT
21 posts, read 89,804 times
Reputation: 20
Sure the cost of living in Bozeman is high comparitevely to what it was 20 years ago. But it's really not that much more compared to other cities in the west which offer the same ammenities (ie, Missoula, Portland, Salt Lake, Boise). Bozeman has a prosperous economy, larger houses are being built to accomadate the influx of the educated with greater earning potentials. Greater medical care is available, MSU is getting the national recognition it deserves for research projects done by staff and students. The cost of smaller houses increases as young families and students move into the growing city. I understand it's hard to see it change, however those who had bought houses there at one time for $9,000 are selling now for $200,000. If the town stagnated, then what, Bozeman would go through the same grueling depression Butte did. People would have to move away to find work, jobs would be lost, businesses would shut down, drugs would tear apart even more families. So really I think the alternatives could be worse. I'm not saying embrace all the changes but maintain an open mind, the culture of the town can be maintained through the transition just as it has in the cities I listed above. Worse things can happen to a community than having it grow.
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Old 01-03-2008, 06:34 AM
Location: LEAVING CD
22,973 posts, read 24,263,138 times
Reputation: 15587
I did find it interesting while listening to the Berg radio show yesterday, he listed a bunch of new stats that show that Montana is different than most other states in that a college education earns you less money (most times quite a bit less) here than not having one and working in the trades.

It also says that K-12 school enrolment will drop seriously in the next ten years and if that prediction holds true as it has so far then people will be asked to pony up way more tax money since there'll be less from the feds in education funds.
The thing that concerns me is are we as a state going to be left with lower educated people due to the lack of wages to afford to pay back the school bills? Or, are people going to get educated here and leave to use their talents elsewhere as has happened in the past?
While this state has done just fine without the brain trained pools like CA,WA etc has, in the future we will need those to train our future generations to deal with life outside the state and the new tech that will be brought in. This is not to say that people here are dumb, quite the opposite when it comes to trades and nature but the outside world is more diverse and technical than that and we need to be ready to deal with whatever comes.

I hope this makes some sense, it's still early and I've not finished my second cup yet......
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