The cheapest places to live in Montana are in Colstrip and Wolf Point. These are two of the eight towns in Montana that offer low gasoline, grocery, and housing prices. Here’s a look at some of the state’s most affordable neighborhoods and what makes them the ideal economical places to call home.
Montana, also known as Big Sky Country, has a well-deserved reputation as an outdoor adventurer’s dream. Because of it, the state is home to some must-see attractions like Glacier National Park, the Lewis and Clark Caverns, and a portion of Yellowstone National Park.
Cheapest Places in Montana Guide
Montana has a lot to offer. There are many thriving cities, hip college towns, and historic landmarks dating back to the mid-1800s when gold was first discovered. As housing prices continue to rise across Montana, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find an inexpensive home – in a city you love. It’s a good thing then that the Treasure State still has a lot of spots where you can live a wonderful life on a budget.
Take a look at our list of cheapest places to live in Montana and decide which option is the best for you!
First on the list is Colstrip, which is also famous for being among the safest and best places to live in Montana. Colstrip may not offer the most affordable houses or the cheapest rentals, but it does boast well paying-jobs and a low unemployment rate.
Colstrip residents make $86,797 per year on average, which is roughly 65% more than the state average. Hence, a property in Colstrip priced at under $118,200 is a wonderful deal. People in Colstrip invest the least portion of their income on housing as compared to any other community in the state. At $350 a month for a studio apartment, Colstrip has Montana’s second-best rental cost-to-income ratio.
Colstrip’s gas prices are also lower than the national average, at $3.35 per gallon. Similarly, low-cost auto insurance prices range from $316 to $969, with higher charges for young drivers and the elderly.
If you’re looking for some affordable fun in Colstrip, the fishing at Castle Rock Lake is world-class for walleye, pike, and bass.
2. Wolf Point
Wolf Point, a small town in north-eastern Montana’s Fort Peck Indian Reservation, is one of the cheapest places to live in the state. It is home to the Wild Horse Stampede, dubbed “the Granddaddy of Montana Rodeos,” so cowboy culture buffs, rejoice!
Wolf Point has some of the lowest housing prices in Montana if you chose to settle down. It also has the state’s fourth-best price-to-income ratio. If you’re unsure whether you want to have a mortgage, a one-bedroom apartment costs around $628 each month. To top it all off, the city is a great place to meet singles because it is one of the most affordable communities in the state.
Billings, Montana’s largest city, has a population of around 109,843 people. What is it about this city that so many people love living there? For starters, it is home to the only self-guided brewery tour in the state, and it’s jam-packed with exciting attractions like the Alberta Bair Theater and ZooMontana.
Outdoor recreation is immensely popular in Billings. Hikers and climbers flock to the Rimrocks, a natural wonder with stunning views of the city, while families flock to Lake Elmo State Park for swimming, boating, and fishing. With so many trails around, Billings also enjoys the title of Montana’s Trailhead.
Bozeman has taken on a college-town feel since it is home to Montana State University, which has over 15,000 students. This is great because college students need coffee shops for their daily caffeine fix, inexpensive dining places to grab a bite, and plenty of entertainment.
Even though the median home price in Bozeman is $654,700, the household income of $55,569 means home-owning isn’t a far-fetched dream. Most residents have enough left-over money to enjoy all the community’s exciting local activities.
The city has established itself as one of the best places in America for surviving winter. As a bonus, Bozeman is just 100 miles from popular tourist destinations like Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park.
Eastern Montana can be a little lonely at times, but the small, friendly town atmosphere makes it a great place to live on a budget. Scobey, a simple grain-and-cattle town in north-eastern Montana, is the second-cheapest location to live in Big Sky Country. It is a great location to reside in if you like the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and enjoying calm surroundings.
Hunters from all over the world come to Scobey to go big game and duck hunting. Compared to the rest of the state, the average home in Scobey costs just $384,309. The average rent is $490 per month, and a one-bedroom apartment will cost you as low as $541 a month.
Scobey’s 1,027 residents live in an enchanting rural setting surrounded by grasslands and meadows. Attractions like Cattle Town may entice visitors, but the affordable housing and low cost of living are what make Scobey one of the best affordable places to stay in Montana.
As we near the end of our list of Montana’s most affordable cities, we stop in the small town of Chinook. Chinook is a charming little town in Blaine County, not far from Havre. Living costs are modest, commuting is relatively less time-consuming, and the local schools are top-notch. Rents are only $500 and property prices are only $84,900, so you won’t have to worry about going broke trying to make ends meet.
The city, however, is particularly notable for its fun activities and outdoor recreation. There’s a city pool, a 9-hole golf course open for all residents, and a wildlife museum with spectacular animal exhibits that rival any museum in a major city.
Living well on a budget in Kalispell is easy when you consider the housing prices that are on average $125,000 and average incomes at $27,459. Located between Glacier National Park and Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana’s northwest corner, it is the center of Montana’s Flathead Valley. This makes it the perfect spot for outdoor enthusiasts to settle down.
If you enjoy the arts, Kalispell’s bustling downtown is just the place for you. It is home to chic studios and galleries for local artists, as well as museums and theatres for tourists and residents to enjoy alike. You don’t need to worry about getting bored in this town as a cultural event or festival happens every other week.
The city’s food and drink culture are equally intriguing, due to locally-owned establishments like Kalispell Brewing Co. and 406 Bar & Grill. Lastly, don’t forget to save room for dessert at Sweet Peaks – a local ice cream shop where residents claim that you will never be disappointed.
The city of Helena, Montana’s capital, has a long and colorful history. Dating back to 1864, gold was found in the area that is now Main Street. Helena survived the gold rush and has now developed into a flourishing community, with the state’s only downtown outdoor strolling mall.
Mount Helena City Park is ideal for hikers, and the Helena National Forest is a great spot for nature lovers to explore. History buffs will enjoy the Gates of the Mountain boat excursion on the Missouri River, where they can learn all about the famous Lewis and Clark expedition. A variety of venues, including the Grand Street Theatre and the Holter Museum of Art, support and entertain the city’s creative community.
Factors such as the average cost of living and essentials like transportation, housing, food options, and utility costs all combine to add to a city’s appeal.
Montana is home to some of the country’s most picturesque cities and towns, and several of them don’t require high income to live there. From the great outdoors to rivers and lakes, as well as experiencing history from a new perspective, you’ll find a wealth of options for finding a cheap place to stay in Montana!