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Old 08-07-2019, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Cedar Falls, Iowa
4 posts, read 4,488 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello all -

I will be moving to Fairbanks, Alaska come April 16th, 2020 for a job transfer, along with continuing my education come fall of 2020. I am coming from Northeast Iowa up near Wisconsin/Minnesota boarders, so in terms of snow I am used to it, and while it can get to -40° during the winter, it’s very rare, but I’m excited for the new experiences.

I will be transferring to the Walmart in Fairbanks as part of management, and will be making roughly $1000-1300 every two weeks, so my budget for housing will be $5-600, and thankfully I have found some dry cabins on Craigslist for that price, but electric and heating are not included.

Most dry cabins listed are “Toyo” heating, and I haven’t been able to find a monthly average for a single person usage over the period of a month, nor can I find a good estimate on electricity cost. I’ve been planning to pay anywhere from $3-400 a month of electric and oil on top of the rent, so my monthly guess of housing would be anywhere from $800-1000 give and take, not including bringing in water. Am I being realistic?


I would love any input you all can give, and maybe a few good restaurants/bars recommendations in the area? I plan on flying up in February/March to do leasing and W-2 paperwork, and then driving from Iowa to Alaska in April. Counting down the months!



Thanks guys!
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Old 08-08-2019, 01:07 AM
 
Location: Back and Beyond
2,992 posts, read 3,345,020 times
Reputation: 7131
First of all I commend your decision to rent a dry cabin in the interior of Alaska. Fairbanks is unique as it's pretty much the only "city" in America where you can rent a dry cabin basically right in town and nobody bats an eye. It's almost super common in the right circles.

Water hauling is free or very cheap if you do it yourself. Since dry cabin living is fairly common, there's plenty of places to fill up on water, even right in town.

I like wood heat. I've never used oil. I'd imagine it wouldn't be THAT much $ for a small well insulated dry cabin, and you'd only burn the most oil between October-April.

I'd avoid "cabin farms", which are properties with multiple cabins for the sole purpose of renting them out, mainly because it's Alaska and who wants to live right next to people up here?

I paid $250 a month for a dry cabin in Fairbanks in 14/15 winter. It didn't have power except for a generator and it was 30+ minutes from town. Power and close to town and UAF brings the price more towards the $500+ range it seems, so $800-$1000 a month for total dry cabin living expenses seems easily doable IMO.

As a halfway joke, you could always live at your new work in Fairbanks to save $. The Walmart parking lot becomes Fairbanks 4th largest census population area during summer. It's kind of like a northern skid row with a few nice RV's thrown in for good measure. Sometimes even a few straggler RV's in winter trying to use the timed heating block plug ins for their power .

Good luck.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:24 AM
 
Location: Interior Alaska
2,207 posts, read 2,195,395 times
Reputation: 1981
Are you aware of what's going on with the state budget with respect to the university? You might want to give that a google or six.

The cost of heating a dry cabin with a Toyo or a Monitor can vary widely. Dry cabins are usually pretty small (about 400-ft^2, so let's make that assumption). I lived in a drafty, old cabin years back, and the cost of heating it was insane, even with "free" (not counting my own labor, tools, etc) firewood added into the mix. I mean, I'm talking over $600/month when it was cold (heating fuel was really expensive back then). The place I'm in now it super cheap... I have a 200 gal tank and don't even have to fill it once a year. Heating fuel was $3.26/gal last time I got it delivered. The takeaway is to consider the construction of the place and to ask the landlord for the prior year's heating fuel consumption and bills, if available.

The answer is similar for electric. That same old, drafty cabin I lived in got up to $200/mo for electric in the winter. I don't think this place has ever been over $100/mo. Although it's summer, so it hardly counts, last month was $51/mo and (my fellow Alaskans will understand this) I was so excited about how cheap my electric was that I was telling friends and coworkers about it. The takeaway here is to call GVEA and get the prior year's usage before you sign anything.

If you get a cabin with water ($800+), 6.7 is right that water is nearly free to haul your own, but you need a pickup and/or trailer (although I have seen small tanks in the back of Subarus - Hippie Power!), a water tank, pump, etc., plus the will and drive to do stuff for yourself. None of that is free, and in fact, the whole setup is kind of expensive. Water delivery varies, but is roughly $0.09/gal... if you get less than, uhh, I think it's 900, they charge you a flat fee of $80, whether you got 40-gallons or 895-gallons.

Consider that if you get a dry cabin, you will also probably be paying to shower, whether that's at a gym or at a laundromat, swimming pool, or there are a couple gas stations in town with showers. Laundromat, pool, gas station option is $4 - $5 for a short, timed shower. So, factor that into your budget... are you a person that has to shower once a day? That would be expensive and problematic in dry cabin life.

Other things to consider: do not assume that internet service is available. In fact, assume that it's not. This is the first place I've lived in Alaska where I've had "real" internet (that was not using my phone as a hotspot). It is what I consider fast and what you will likely consider slow, and it costs $105/mo. That does not include phone, tv, or any other malarkey. (speed check 2.6Mbps download and 0.66Mbps upload). I don't know how much cable tv costs, but I don't imagine it's cheap. Mobile phone plans cost anywhere from $60 - way over $100/mo and "unlimited" anything does not exist in this universe. AT&T, GCI, and Verizon are the only options.

I also agree with 6.7 about cabin farms. They are mostly cabin-slums that come complete with slumlords and sh*tty neighbors.

Anyhow, the point is that your monthly expenses can vary widely. You need to be mindful about what sort of a place you rent, where it is, what's included in the rent, and that you've done your homework on the bills.

Good luck!
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Old 08-09-2019, 06:29 PM
 
9 posts, read 8,609 times
Reputation: 23
My son just leased a dry cabin yesterday for 3 months. He was told by the owner that previous tenants reported approximately $15/week for heat from Toyo stove, and about $60/month for electric. His cabin has a compost toilet. He is currently completing his Masters degree and has a full time job as well and reports he will shower on campus. The cabin measures 16' x 20'. His rent is $700/month.
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Old 08-09-2019, 09:00 PM
 
Location: Interior Alaska
2,207 posts, read 2,195,395 times
Reputation: 1981
Quote:
Originally Posted by netsirk72 View Post
My son just leased a dry cabin yesterday for 3 months. He was told by the owner that previous tenants reported approximately $15/week for heat from Toyo stove, and about $60/month for electric. His cabin has a compost toilet. He is currently completing his Masters degree and has a full time job as well and reports he will shower on campus. The cabin measures 16' x 20'. His rent is $700/month.
That is really steep for a dry cabin, but I'd imagine he's paying for the composting toilet and hopefully it's in a nice area.

I don't think I'd like a composting toilet, but then, I don't mind an outhouse at all.
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Old 08-10-2019, 02:28 AM
 
Location: Back and Beyond
2,992 posts, read 3,345,020 times
Reputation: 7131
A compositing toliet is an expensive glorified underperforming outhouse, only it's inside and less than 10 feet away from your bed and face while you sleep in a dry cabin. I prefer turds to be far away and outside and underground, not in a 10x12 space with me "composting". Unless you take fewer than 3 dumps per year in said composting toliet, the feces, er I mean organic human compost, must be manually removed and set aside to further "compost". They also don't work well in our cold climate.

Some hippies can certainly figure out the human poop composting situation on their long term occupied private property, but in a rental, no way. It's setting up the renter for stinkiness and failure. Most renters with a composting toliet will end up bagging up their **** and tossing it at the dump. What's the alternative, storing it outside the cabin? Does the landlord deal with it? It's a process and several year ordeal to compost it properly.

For the sheer lack of thought behind it, I'd never rent a cabin from someone who had a composting toliet in a dry cabin, unless there was also an outhouse.
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:48 PM
 
Location: A planet far far away
57 posts, read 21,404 times
Reputation: 23
Did u say it has a composting toliet in interior Alaska? Last i read up on them when poo freezes it can no longer compost at least that is what a sales rep told me that sold them,it won't harm anything it just sits and builds up,I'm going with a outhouse I'm looking into burner tolietsthat fire zap the poo and it turns to a hand full of Ash theres electric and propane and propane freezes but they make blankets for the tanks anyway way off the heat cost subject look on alaskaslist it's Craigslist but for Alaska i saw a car in dry that had utilities for like 700 or so maybe it was off of chena pump road or some where,,hope u find what you need ,Alaska is the most beautiful place on this planet,the people are down to earth minus the trolls but they are cockroaches they are in every state you might Google dry cabins for rent in Fairbanks when you drive through YouTube driving into Alaska there's a couple videos talking about not bringing raw pork apples gun issues etc
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