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Old 08-15-2012, 10:29 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
18,213 posts, read 32,400,273 times
Reputation: 14387

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Well, if you look around this forum you will find several accounts from people who are looking for places to rent, from apartments to houses. The cost of living in Fairbanks and vicinity is extremely high at the moment, so don't be surprised if the asking price for a 2-bedroom apartment or house is from $1,200 to $1,800 per month. If you rent a home, more than likely you will have to pay from $600 to $1,000 or more for heating fuel and electricity during the winter months.

If I was you (the OP), I would rent a 1-bedroom apartment, even an "efficiency" apartment that's located next to a bus route, and forget about cable TV. Instead, I would have a digital (HD TV) with a built-in tuner and enjoy the free over-the air TV channels, or just play/watch movies using a DVD player. For computer use I would get the cheapest service ACS or GCI have to offer (DSL modem from ACS, or cable modem from GCI). This service should cost around $48.00 per month (probably $15.00 in the lower-48?).

$55K won't go very far if you want cable and the rest, but it is doable if you are very frugal.
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:21 AM
 
Location: Kasilof, Ak/NCa
339 posts, read 524,784 times
Reputation: 208
Skip the home phone if you have a cell; and I use my netbook' which has internet through my cell provider, unless I go where there is wi-fi. Last time I lived in Anc I went to kinkos and other wi-fi places until we got internet in the house. Which took 5 weeks! I know it's not Frbnks but you get the idea. Yes smaller is better. With a bigger place there is a lot of empty space you are heating and with just one of you, even throwing in a couple of dogs, you really don't need a large place. I mean, what would you do? Sleep in a different room every night? Less is more, and especially when it comes to providing heat in Ak.
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:32 AM
 
48 posts, read 79,690 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frostnip View Post
Plenty of people support a family in the area on less. But 55k will not go as far in Fairbanks as it will elsewhere. You will have to be frugal if you don't want to be broke all the time. For starters I would not spend $500 for a car payment. I have a pretty nice 4WD SUV and I pay way less than that! Cable is a luxury...that's a lot of money to pay to sit on the sofa while corporations advertise at you. Ray's bourgeois American notions of housing notwithstanding, 1000 square feet is pretty dang big for a one-person residence and will be expensive to heat...keeping the heat at 65 degrees is not a great money saver when it is 50 below. You are warming all that space over 100 degrees! And if you have plumbing you can't turn the heat down much more than that or the pipes will freeze and you will have an even more spendy problem to deal with. So smaller is better; smaller spaces are much less expensive to heat. Etc.

Basically I would say yes, you can live comfortably on 55k, but you need to think about what is really needed versus what is wanted just because it is a norm. Making some lifestyle changes will free up money for hobbies, travel, etc.
Thanks for the info Frostnip! I'm estimating $500 as a high, because I will not really have any money for a downpayment. I leaning towards a bare bones Subaru Forester. When I come up for my interview I'm going to swing by the dealership and see if it's likely I'll be able to get under $500. Down here in south Alabama the car dealers are willing to do all kinds of things ($0 down, 90 days no payments, etc.), but I'm not sure if they would be willing to do that in Fairbanks.

I would actually prefer a house between 500-800sqft, but honestly, I just figured you wouldn't find to many of those around with modern plumbing, insulation, etc. I believe the job I'm interviewing with is going to set me up with a realtor so I'll definitely inquire. Nice call about the freezing pipes. Didn't think about that.

Again, thank you very much for the help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RayinAK View Post
Well, if you look around this forum you will find several accounts from people who are looking for places to rent, from apartments to houses. The cost of living in Fairbanks and vicinity is extremely high at the moment, so don't be surprised if the asking price for a 2-bedroom apartment or house is from $1,200 to $1,800 per month. If you rent a home, more than likely you will have to pay from $600 to $1,000 or more for heating fuel and electricity during the winter months.

If I was you (the OP), I would rent a 1-bedroom apartment, even an "efficiency" apartment that's located next to a bus route, and forget about cable TV. Instead, I would have a digital (HD TV) with a built-in tuner and enjoy the free over-the air TV channels, or just play/watch movies using a DVD player. For computer use I would get the cheapest service ACS or GCI have to offer (DSL modem from ACS, or cable modem from GCI). This service should cost around $48.00 per month (probably $15.00 in the lower-48?).

$55K won't go very far if you want cable and the rest, but it is doable if you are very frugal.
Is that $600 to $1000 for heating fuel and electricity for a large residence? Certainly, I can't afford that kind of money just for heating fuel/electricity alone. How much do you think it would cost to heat a 500-800sqft residence?

How is the quality of internet with the carriers you mentioned? Where I'm at now we don't even have the option for DSL or cable internet, so I'd actually consider that an upgrade. We either have to get dial-up or satellite. I've been using satellite internet and paying $70 a month here in Alabama.

Thanks for the info!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaNana View Post
Skip the home phone if you have a cell; and I use my netbook' which has internet through my cell provider, unless I go where there is wi-fi. Last time I lived in Anc I went to kinkos and other wi-fi places until we got internet in the house. Which took 5 weeks! I know it's not Frbnks but you get the idea. Yes smaller is better. With a bigger place there is a lot of empty space you are heating and with just one of you, even throwing in a couple of dogs, you really don't need a large place. I mean, what would you do? Sleep in a different room every night? Less is more, and especially when it comes to providing heat in Ak.
Pretty much plan on just using cell phone. Curious as to how the coverage is there in Fairbanks. Which carriers are best represented? I have at&t at the moment so I'll be able to see what kind of signal I get once there for the interview.

Definitely gonna look for the smallest place I can find. As mentioned above, only reason I stated 1000sqft was I didn't think there be too many 500-800sqft residences. Would love to find a place that was nice and small (and cheaper to heat : ))

Thanks!
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
18,213 posts, read 32,400,273 times
Reputation: 14387
Utilities cost depends on how well insulated the home is, the number of heating zones (rooms, garage, etc.), thermostat settings, and the amount of hot water used for showers and the rest.

If you live in an apartment, more than likely the cost of heating fuel is included in the rent, but if you live in a home you will have to pay for the cost of heating fuel. To heat a well-insulated home of around 1,700 feet square should cost around $600-$800 per month during the winter. Electricity should cost from $125.00 to $200.00 if you have LED or CFL lighting all around, don't use the clothes dryer too much, don't use too much hot water for showers and the rest, and don't use an electric heater to heat the water.

Cell phone with Internet service costs about the same as having a DSL modem plus a cell phone without Internet service, unless the cell phone does not have unlimited internet service use. For example, I have a DSL modem with unlimited Internet use (medium speed) and pay around $48.00 per month, plus a cell-phone service (family plan with two phones), which adds around $50.00 more (a total of somewhere around $98.00 a month for both). Adding a landline telephone to this service would bring the cost to around $130.00 per month.

Last edited by RayinAK; 08-16-2012 at 12:50 PM..
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:33 PM
 
48 posts, read 79,690 times
Reputation: 43
Thanks, Ray!
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:26 PM
 
Location: Texas
3,494 posts, read 13,595,956 times
Reputation: 1397
if heating alone costs up to $800/month, seriously, how do most average working class folks survive in Alaska? really? i dont understand. if and when i move up there, i will already be gainfully employed as a medical professional making a very good salary but will certainly not be rich by any standards, and will be on a tight budget with the added costs of living there (and here i am just me, no kids!!!). so tell me how the HECK do people WITH FAMILIES/kids who may not have college degrees and have jobs paying $80,000+ a year make it?
i live in a rural country town and i am one of the more educated and more gainfully employed people in my town. the majority are working class farmers, working cowboys, ranchers, welders, or work some kind of blue collar job, some making much less than i do, a few lucky ones making perhaps more than me, and then you got some who work whatever odd jobs they can do, on road crews etc. i would say average family income would be around $38,000. many live in trailers or small homes out in the country very cheaply. so thats how we all are able to survive here.
i just dont get how the lower middle class and poor survive in Fairbanks? do they survive? or are most of the folks who end up surviving and staying in Fairbanks and Alaska in general just the prosperous ones?
i just cant see how even hard working average people are putting food on the table with those kind of utility bills. i certainly wont be eating sushi and lobster every week like i do here in Texas!! i may be eating spam on pilot bread ha ha!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by RayinAK View Post
Utilities cost depends on how well insulated the home is, the number of heating zones (rooms, garage, etc.), thermostat settings, and the amount of hot water used for showers and the rest.

If you live in an apartment, more than likely the cost of heating fuel is included in the rent, but if you live in a home you will have to pay for the cost of heating fuel. To heat a well-insulated home of around 1,700 feet square should cost around $600-$800 per month during the winter. Electricity should cost from $125.00 to $200.00 if you have LED or CFL lighting all around, don't use the clothes dryer too much, don't use too much hot water for showers and the rest, and don't use an electric heater to heat the water.

Cell phone with Internet service costs about the same as having a DSL modem plus a cell phone without Internet service, unless the cell phone does not have unlimited internet service use. For example, I have a DSL modem with unlimited Internet use (medium speed) and pay around $48.00 per month, plus a cell-phone service (family plan with two phones), which adds around $50.00 more (a total of somewhere around $98.00 a month for both). Adding a landline telephone to this service would bring the cost to around $130.00 per month.
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Old 08-16-2012, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
18,213 posts, read 32,400,273 times
Reputation: 14387
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOTAM View Post
if heating alone costs up to $800/month, seriously, how do most average working class folks survive in Alaska? really? i dont understand. if and when i move up there, i will already be gainfully employed as a medical professional making a very good salary but will certainly not be rich by any standards, and will be on a tight budget with the added costs of living there (and here i am just me, no kids!!!). so tell me how the HECK do people WITH FAMILIES/kids who may not have college degrees and have jobs paying $80,000+ a year make it?
i live in a rural country town and i am one of the more educated and more gainfully employed people in my town. the majority are working class farmers, working cowboys, ranchers, welders, or work some kind of blue collar job, some making much less than i do, a few lucky ones making perhaps more than me, and then you got some who work whatever odd jobs they can do, on road crews etc. i would say average family income would be around $38,000. many live in trailers or small homes out in the country very cheaply. so thats how we all are able to survive here.
i just dont get how the lower middle class and poor survive in Fairbanks? do they survive? or are most of the folks who end up surviving and staying in Fairbanks and Alaska in general just the prosperous ones?
i just cant see how even hard working average people are putting food on the table with those kind of utility bills. i certainly wont be eating sushi and lobster every week like i do here in Texas!! i may be eating spam on pilot bread ha ha!!
Combining incomes is a way to do it. You can have a couple, each earning enough to survive, even if they have a family. All depends on how frugal they are. Also, State worker wages are higher than average, specially in the trades (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc.), as well as employees in the mining and oil industries. An education is real nice, but there aren't jobs available for every well-educated person, and a lot of them do manual work to survive. A few years ago there was a biologist working at a warehouse at UAF. He did that while looking for work as a State biologist, but it took him over a year. Somebody has to retire, or die, or get fired before you can get that job In general, very hard-working people usually do just fine up here, and some have more than one job or at least work extra hours.

In my case I already retired once at the age of 40-something, and have been working on my second retirement since 1995. My wife works part-time to supplement our income. I work at least 10 hours per day, and sometimes a few hours longer. But a lot of people are having a difficult time to survive.

As I mentioned before, buying or renting a home is done for convenience and usually is more expensive in the long run than moving into an apartment. A lot of time and money is spent each year, not only paying for heating fuel and utilities, but on maintenance and up kept, which is something you don't have to worry about when renting an apartment.

The main difference between here and perhaps where you live is the cost of living. Fairbanks is rated quite high compared to a lot of places in the lower-48. Yes, you may earn more up here, but the paycheck does not take you any farther than yours over there because in here you have to spend more of it to survive.

I believe that a local radio station, 660 AM KFAR can be listened to on the Internet. Around 3:00 PM KFAR has a local talk show. Sometimes the show revolves around all the people (callers) who are living Fairbanks and vicinity because of the high cost of living. For some people it amounts to food on the table or staying warm during the winter.

Last edited by RayinAK; 08-16-2012 at 05:12 PM..
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Texas
3,494 posts, read 13,595,956 times
Reputation: 1397
So i reckon i will become very slim
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:09 PM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
18,213 posts, read 32,400,273 times
Reputation: 14387
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOTAM View Post
So i reckon i will become very slim
If you are frugal and have the time to look around for the best deals, you will do fine. A few examples:

a. Fill-in a Fred Meyer "Rewards" card. Not the credit card, but a card that accumulates fuel points every time you purchase any product at Fred Meyer. Once you have this card you receive an automatic 3-cent per gallon discount at the Fred Meyer gas stations. On top of that, every time you spend $100.00 at Fred Meyer you receive 100 points, with in turn gives you an automatic fuel discount of 10-cents per gallon up to 35 gallons. However, you must use all the discount points each month before the next. This weekend I will buy 35 gallons of fuel at a 70-cent per gallon discount

b. Buy certain foods in bulk at Sam's Club.

c. Don't ignore the sales coupons from Fred Meyer and Safeway. Use these coupons and save a few dollars here and there.

d. Have savings or share accounts only at the banks or credit unions that don't charge a yearly fee for service or just for mailing statements to your house. And don't buy the personal checks from the bank, but from an independent mail-order company. Also, don't accept any credit card that has a high interest rate.

d. While a debit card works well, don't accept the bank's offer for ATM use. This way you don't have to pay ATM fees.

e. Don't buy cable TV. Instead, view the free over the air TV channels. These are all digital nowadays. Also, take a trip to Walmart and buy some DVDs 9movies) for around $5.00. At the same time, if you need oil for your car buy it there by the gallon. For example a gallon of Mobil 1 synthetic oil costs $25.00 at Walmart. Conventional oil is quite cheap, too.

f. If you can live without a cell phone, get a landline telephone instead. The cost is around $24.00 a month, plus taxes (around $32.00). Add an answering machine for voice messages. Also, if you need Internet service, get a DSL modem and use the cheapest service ACS offers (around $42.00 per month).

g. If you live near your workplace, ride to work on a bicycle, at least during the summer (some very tough young men and ladies ride bikes all year long). I see them at UAF, even when -30 degrees

h. If you only need a couple of drinking glasses, cups, plates, etc., stop by the Salvation Army thrift shop at South Cushman Ave., where a beautiful piece of glass can be had for 50-cents or less, and maybe the same for a plate or bowl. While there, look around at some of the winter booths and other stuff for a bargain.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:18 AM
 
Location: Kasilof, Ak/NCa
339 posts, read 524,784 times
Reputation: 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayinAK View Post
If you are frugal and have the time to look around for the best deals, you will do fine. A few examples:

a. Fill-in a Fred Meyer "Rewards" card. Not the credit card, but a card that accumulates fuel points every time you purchase any product at Fred Meyer. Once you have this card you receive an automatic 3-cent per gallon discount at the Fred Meyer gas stations. On top of that, every time you spend $100.00 at Fred Meyer you receive 100 points, with in turn gives you an automatic fuel discount of 10-cents per gallon up to 35 gallons. However, you must use all the discount points each month before the next. This weekend I will buy 35 gallons of fuel at a 70-cent per gallon discount

b. Buy certain foods in bulk at Sam's Club.

c. Don't ignore the sales coupons from Fred Meyer and Safeway. Use these coupons and save a few dollars here and there.

d. Have savings or share accounts only at the banks or credit unions that don't charge a yearly fee for service or just for mailing statements to your house. And don't buy the personal checks from the bank, but from an independent mail-order company. Also, don't accept any credit card that has a high interest rate.

d. While a debit card works well, don't accept the bank's offer for ATM use. This way you don't have to pay ATM fees.

e. Don't buy cable TV. Instead, view the free over the air TV channels. These are all digital nowadays. Also, take a trip to Walmart and buy some DVDs 9movies) for around $5.00. At the same time, if you need oil for your car buy it there by the gallon. For example a gallon of Mobil 1 synthetic oil costs $25.00 at Walmart. Conventional oil is quite cheap, too.

f. If you can live without a cell phone, get a landline telephone instead. The cost is around $24.00 a month, plus taxes (around $32.00). Add an answering machine for voice messages. Also, if you need Internet service, get a DSL modem and use the cheapest service ACS offers (around $42.00 per month).

g. If you live near your workplace, ride to work on a bicycle, at least during the summer (some very tough young men and ladies ride bikes all year long). I see them at UAF, even when -30 degrees

h. If you only need a couple of drinking glasses, cups, plates, etc., stop by the Salvation Army thrift shop at South Cushman Ave., where a beautiful piece of glass can be had for 50-cents or less, and maybe the same for a plate or bowl. While there, look around at some of the winter booths and other stuff for a bargain.

Also check out yard sales, especially during Jun-Aug as that's when the Military does most of their PCSing (Permanent Change of Station, ie. moves). Can get great deals when peolpe are moving since most don't want to move the weight. I had Verizon in Tok, but ACS was the local provider so I had no internet or picture messages. I was told ATT worked also but don't know since I have had Verizon for 9 years. I did have ACS 10 years ago for home and internet and had no problems other than having to wait a long time to get installation. I am gone from home so often I need my cell, mainly because of my mom right now but also because my son-in-lawis in the USA and deployed.
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