Cost of Living in Montana (Updated 2024)

Jason Gass
Last Updated: January 26th, 2024

Montana is one of the most breathtaking states that nature lovers will enjoy calling home. It is popular for its vast and beautiful mountains, incredible waves of grains, and diverse set of outdoor activities. 

Living in Montana is an excellent option for those looking to escape the hecticness of busy downtowns, and breathe in fresh mountain air. One of the biggest advantages of moving to Montana is the relatively affordable cost of living. 

If you’re considering moving to Big Sky, understanding what type of budget you need is crucial. 

This article is a complete guide to the average cost of living in Montana. We’ll provide a comprehensive examination by comparing average taxing, housing, transportation, food, healthcare, and utilities costs in Montana with the national averages.

Let’s begin!

where to stay in whitefish

Quick Rundown of Cost of Living in Montana

To give you a rough idea of the cost of living in Montana, we have included a comparison of Big Sky Country compared to the national state average. 

In this chart, the cost of living indices are based on a national average of 100, so anything below that number indicates a below-average cost of living. Conversely, a cost of living index over 100 means that Montana is more expensive. 

The median home price for Montana and the US refers to the value of the most recent home sales data. It is the middle value when arranging the sales price of homes from lowest to highest. 

Cost of Living Montana USA 
Overall 100 100
Housing 121.3 100
Median House Cost $441,800 $338,100
Health 99.6 100
Groceries 99.6 100
Utilities 90.7 100
Transportation 75.2 100
Misc. 90 100

housing and rent in montana

Household Income and Taxes

Finding the ideal salary to cover the cost of living in Montana will largely depend on your preferred lifestyle. 

The average hourly rate of living wage in Montana is $15.72. It is the basic wage that is enough to pay for essentials like food, housing, and necessities for an individual adult. The average monthly salary after taxes in Montana is $3,726, and enough to cover around 1.9 months of living expenses. 

Similar to most states, Montana residents are required to pay a progressive state income tax. The corresponding rate will be determined by income, from as little as 1% to a top rate of 6.75%. 

Montana is also one of the states wherein goods and services can be purchased sales-tax-free, with the exception of ‘sin taxes;’ on alcohol and tobacco. 

Tax Type Rate
Montana Income Tax 1.00% – 6.75%
Montana Sales Tax None
Montana Beer Tax $0.14 per gallon
Montana Liquor Tax $9.74 per gallon
Montana Wine Tax $1.06 per gallon 
Montana Fuel Tax $0.33 per gallon (Gas), $0.2975 per gallon (Diesel)
Montana Average Property Tax 0.74%

As a relatively taxpayer-friendly state, Montana’s property taxes are below the US average. While the bottom personal income tax rate is low, the top rate is fairly high on average. To offset this, Montana offers several tax credits, which include a credit for capital gains.



Whether you are planning on paying rent each month or making mortgage payments, housing costs are typically some of the highest living expenses. It tends to take up the most significant chunk of your monthly fees. 

Montana is one of the least densely populated states while being the fourth-largest state by area in the US. Housing costs in Montana vary from city to city with higher averages in bigger cities. The rates for smaller cities, on the other hand, are far below the national average.

The rental market in Montana is highly affordable, even amongst its most populated cities. However, the state’s low population means that the overall housing market isn’t the strongest. 

Factors such as inflation, the state’s economy, local government policies, and national mortgage interest rates are the primary drivers that affect the real estate market in Montana.

Location Avg. Rent (one-bedroom apartment, per month) Avg. Home Price (suburbs, per square meter)
Montana $1134 $3467
Billings $990 $2100
Missoula $1015 $3324
Great Falls  $1544 $7951
Bozeman $1293 $3249
Butte  $895 $1929
Helena $1160 $2347
National Avg. US $1626 $3887


Montana is known for having plenty of wide-open spaces. Transportation costs are 9% higher than the US national average, while the price per gallon of gas is 2.9% less than the national average. 

Public transportation options such as buses, vans, planes, and trains are spread throughout the state of Montana. However, having your own vehicle is a necessity in some areas. For more information, you can check out the Montana Department of Transportation website

Montana’s public transportation system is well-organized with many bus services in the state’s bigger cities. The average cost of car ownership in Montana within a 5-year period is approximately $21,414.

Location Local Transport Ticket Taxi (per 8 km) Gas (per 0.26 gal)
Montana $2.2 $16.3 $0.95
Billings $1.99 $16.2 $0.92
Missoula $2.43 $11.9 $0.94
Great Falls  $1.49 $29.3 $0.94
Bozeman $2.38 $12.7 $1.01
Butte  $2.66 $9.87 $0.96
Helena $2.99 $15 $0.97
National Avg. US $2.3 $18.7 $1.02


downtown bozeman

Food and Groceries

Groceries are another daily expense that can significantly impact the overall cost of living in Montana. Food costs in Montana are relatively reasonable compared to other states if everything is prepared entirely at home.

Let’s take a closer look at how much an average Montana resident might spend on groceries by comparing the price of common items with the US national average: 

Food Item Average Montana Price Average US Price
Milk (1 qt) $0.97 $1.08
Bread (1.1 lbs) $3.3 $3.4
Rice (2.2 lbs) $3.7 $4.41
Eggs (1 dozen) $4.44 $4.26
Cheese (2.2 lbs) $13.1 $12.9
Chicken Breast (2.2 lbs) $10.6 $11.8
Steak (2.2 lbs) $13.2 $15.7
Apple (2.2 lbs) $4.68 $4.97
Banana (2.2 lbs) $1.44 $1.73
Tomato (2.2 lbs) $4.89 $4.44
Potato (2.2 lbs) $1.78 $2.79
Onion (2.2 lbs) $2.62 $2.7
Water (1 qt) $1 $1.39
Shampoo $5.02 $5.6
Toilet Paper (4 rolls) $4.35 $4.13
Toothpaste (1 tube) $1.71 $2.07

When it comes to dining out, the average cost for a meal at a mid-range restaurant in Montana is around $10 per person, which is $7 lower than the US national average.


Regardless of where you choose to live in Montana, having proper healthcare is essential. 

Whether you only visit the doctor for annual checkups or have a condition that requires frequent medical care, ensuring that you have health insurance is also critical as it will provide you with the necessary treatments whenever an emergency occurs! 

You can always refer to the federal healthcare marketplace which lists out coverage for residents in Montana. Employer-sponsored health insurance in Montana costs around $101.58, while the cheapest average for non-employer-sponsored health insurance is $635.00.

A dentist visit in Montana costs an average of  $99.77, while an optometrist visit can cost around $108.82. 

If you are a pet owner, veterinary visits are typically $53.17. The average price for a general doctor’s visit in Montana is $106, which is $10 lower than the US national average. 


Whether you pay rent or own a house in Montana, utilities are an ongoing expense that you need to cover each month. The average utility bill for a single person in Montana is $105, while the US national average is $125. 

These include basic necessities such as heating, cooling, water, electricity, and garbage disposal. 

Depending on the region, Montana’s mountainous topography and diverse climates are what mainly affect the cost of average utility bills. 

The state experiences approximately 48.8 inches of snow and 15.2 inches of rain each year, while temperatures can reach up to 83 degrees in July and as low as 14 degrees in December.

Here is a comparison of the average utility costs in the different cities of Montana: 

City Avg. Cost of Utilities (per month)
Billings $80.7
Missoula $78.4
Great Falls  $135
Bozeman $116
Butte  $94.7
Helena $191

Cost of Living Comparison Across Major Montana Cities

The average cost of living in Montana is $1966 per month, which is 1.11 times less expensive than the US national average. Are you considering moving to this gorgeous state? 

To help make your assessment more convenient, the table below indicates the cost of living in the state’s major cities: 

City Avg. Cost of Living (per month)
Billings $1701
Missoula $1779
Great Falls  $2505
Bozeman $2267
Butte  $1558
Helena $2289

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About The Author

Jason Gass

Jason Gass is a Colorado based freelance writer and blogger whose goal is to share a good cup of coffee and great stories around a campfire with close friends. When he’s not working, he spends most of his time traveling, searching for the best breweries, and road-tripping in his teardrop trailer with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.

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