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Cost of Living in Montana

So, you’re thinking about moving to a new home where the buffalo roam? Maybe you want to swap big city for big sky.

No matter why you’re considering a move to Montana, you probably have one important question: Can I afford to live there?

To help you decide whether to stay put or seek your fortune in the Treasure State, we’re going to break down the cost of living in Montana and show you how much you can expect to pay for housing, groceries, transportation, health care and other common expenses.

Let’s saddle up!


Key Takeaways

  • Montana’s cost of living is 2.2% higher than the national average.
  • Bozeman is Montana’s most expensive city.
  • The cost of housing is higher than the national average in most cities in Montana.

What’s the Average Cost of Living in Montana?

The views are free in Montana, but the cost of living is 2.2% higher than the national average. That means Montana is pretty close to the middle when compared to the rest of the United States. It’s not super cheap to live in Montana—but it’s also not super expensive.

Where did that number come from? We looked at the 2023 cost of living index from the Council for Community and Economic Research, which compares the cost of living in Montana to the rest of the U.S.1 All the numbers in this article come from that index unless otherwise noted.

Cost of Living in Montana by Major Cities

Wondering about the specific cost of living in Bozeman or any of the Montana’s other more popular cities? Here’s a look:

Montana City

Cost of Living vs. National Average


0.6% higher


20.4% higher

Great Falls

14.3% lower

Cost of Living in Montana by Category of Expenses

Now, let’s break down the cost of living in Montana by some of the most common categories of expenses you’ll need to budget for: groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services (things like clothing and haircuts).

Expense Category

Cost vs. National Average


2.9% higher


3% higher


7.8% lower


9% higher

Health Care

2% lower

Misc. Goods and Services

2.9% higher

Cost of Housing in Montana

The median home listing price in Montana in November of 2023 was $624,950.2 That’s a pretty big number compared to the U.S. median listing price of $420,000. But the cost of housing varies a lot in Montana, so you can still find affordable places to live. If you’re looking for a cheaper home, Great Falls might be your best bet.

And if you want to rent instead of buying a home, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Montana is about $1,700.3

To give you a good idea of the range, here’s a look at the specific costs to buy a home or rent an apartment in some of the biggest cities and best places to live in Montana.


Median Home Listing Price

Median Rent







Great Falls









Other Costs to Keep in Mind

Housing isn’t all you’ll need to worry about if you move to Montana. You have to eat, right? Let’s dive into some of the other expenses you’ll need to keep in mind, including groceries, transportation, health care, taxes and other miscellaneous expenses.


Groceries in Montana cost 2.9% more than the national average. Curious about the cost of individual items that always wind up in your shopping cart? Well, we don’t have data for that box of Junior Mints you usually grab in the checkout line, but a typical half gallon of milk in Montana will cost you $4.74, a pound of ground beef runs $6.36, and the average price of a dozen eggs is $4.22.

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Montana has lots of wide-open spaces, so you’ll definitely be putting some miles on the Family Truckster as you travel from town to town. Transportation costs in Montana are 9% higher than the national average, and the average price for a gallon of gas is 2.9% less than the national average.

Health Care

No one likes a trip to the doctor, but medical expenses are part of life. Here’s how much you can expect to pay in Montana for medication or a visit to your primary care doctor, the dentist or an eye doctor.

Health Care Expense

Average Montana Cost

National Average


General Doctor



8.4% more




3.1% less

Eye Doctor



4.9% more




0.3% less

Prescription Drug



21.6% less

As you can see, prescription drugs are pretty cheap in Montana, but other health care expenses aren’t far off from the national average.


Montana is one of just five states without state or local sales tax. But its state income tax ranges from 4.7% to 5.9%—with the highest bracket applying to incomes over $20,500 for single filers.14

Miscellaneous Goods and Services

Lots of expenses (like that bocce ball set you just had to have) don’t really fit into a major category. So let’s take a peek at a few of those here. In Montana, ordering a pizza costs an average of $12.66, getting a haircut runs $26.25, and buying a new dress shirt sets you back $29.45 on average.

Can You Afford to Live in Montana?

At this point, you probably have one big question on your mind: Can I afford to live in Montana? Well, it depends on your individual situation. Factors like your income, the size of your family, and which city you choose to live in all matter.

The best way to get a good idea of whether you can afford the cost of living in Montana is to use our free cost of living calculator. It’ll let you plug in your current city and compare it with major cities in Montana.

When it comes to knowing if you can afford housing in Montana, remember the 25% rule: Whether you’re renting or you own a home, your monthly payment should be no more than 25% of your take-home pay. Anything more than that and you run the risk of overspending on housing and scrimping on everything else to make ends meet.

You can use our free mortgage calculator to get a good idea of which home prices would fit within your budget.

Ready to Move to Montana?

If you’ve crunched the numbers and decided that moving to Montana is the best decision for you and your family, don’t start packing just yet. You need to connect with a top-notch Montana real estate agent if you’re planning to buy a home.

A real estate agent with expertise in the local housing market can make the buying process a whole lot easier by coaching and guiding you from start to finish. And that’s a big deal, because let’s face it—moving to a new state isn’t easy.

Our network of RamseyTrusted real estate agents is full of great pros in Montana. And they’ve all been vetted by our team to make sure they’ll serve you with excellence and prioritize your needs.


Next Steps

  • Use our free cost of living calculator to get a good idea of whether you can afford to live in Montana.
  • Figure out how much it’ll cost to move and make a plan to save up that amount.
  • Work with a RamseyTrusted real estate agent who knows the Montana market.
Connect with a Montana pro today!

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Ramsey Solutions

About the author


Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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