Why it’s Frugal to Live in Alaska

Posted by Mrs Money on March 3rd, 2010

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image from US Mint

This is part two of a series here at Ultimate Money Blog. I’m going to be featuring fun money facts about all 50 states in America and why it is frugal to live in that particular state. Here are the states we’ve covered so far:
-Alabama

Ahh, Alaska.  When I picture Alaska, I see running streams, fishing towns, bears, flying salmon, and cute little cabins.  I can smell the fresh, clean air.  Alaska is a state I’d love to spend some time in.  What makes living in Alaska frugal?  Let’s find out.

Economy

Pt. Mackenzie
Creative Commons License photo credit: njwilson23

Alaska’s economy heavily relies on its natural resources. Prudhoe Bay, which is North America’s largest oil field, resides on Alaska’s North Slope.  The state ranks number one in oil production. After oil, Alaska’s second highest export is seafood, unsurprisingly. They export salmon, crab, Pollock, and cod.

Many people who live in Alaska hunt and fish.  They have access to organic, free range moose and bears, and that helps cut down on their grocery budget.  Alaskans also consume a lot of salmon, which is high in omega fatty acids, and very nutritious.

Taxes

Pioneers View of the snowy pink and blue Chugach Range Anchorage Alaska USA
Creative Commons License photo credit: Wonderlane

Alaska can boast that it has the lowest tax burden of any state in the United States of America. They are one of seven states that does not have an individual income tax, one of only five states with no sales tax, and one of two states that has neither of them. There are local sales taxes, though, and they typically range from 3-5%. I think that’s fantastic!

Employment

55 flying fish
Creative Commons License photo credit: smichal

Not surprisingly, Alaska’s main sources of employment are in natural resources and government jobs. Lots of fishermen are also needed to help catch the salmon for export.  Hospitality is also a good field to get into, as Alaska relies on tourism to help support its economy as well.  Unemployment is right around 8.8% in Alaska currently.

Housing Costs

Inside
Creative Commons License photo credit: bradley j

If you choose to live in Denali, you can expect to pay around $149,950 for a single family home. I think Alaska would be the perfect place to live in a yurt!  Of course, the average home price in Juneau is $333,961, so don’t be fooled by Denali’s low house prices!

Do you have any other ideas on why it’s frugal to live in Alaska?  Would you consider moving there?

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32 Responses to “Why it’s Frugal to Live in Alaska”


  1. Austin says:

    Frugal? Yes.

    Depressing cold 9 month winter? Yes.

    It’s on my “To-visit” list, but I won’t be moving any time soon!

    Great idea for a series, good luck :)

    Austin @ Foreigner’s Finances

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Austin- I should have factored that in. :) Cold 9 month winter isn’t for me!

    Thanks so much! If you want to help me with the state you live in, let me know!

    [Reply]

  2. ctreit says:

    Another good reason for women to move to Alaska. The state leads all states with the highest male-female ratio (107.0) which makes it a good place for a woman to hunt for organic free range moose and (organic free range?) mates.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    ctreit- WOO! Love that! Lots of guys out there. Strong, fishing, hunting guys! Thanks for the comment- this made me smile. :)

    [Reply]

  3. Ooooh Alaska. Well, ok, I’ve only been in the summer. That said, I’m preparing a post on my own blog about a friend that moved there, build a cabin and raises goats etc.

    Why is it frugal? Well, you’re not near shopping malls and aren’t so tempted to ‘keep up with the Joneses.’ Also, some food can be locally ‘collected.’

    But don’t forget the heating costs! And food apparently is a little more expensive if it comes from far away (logical, right?)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Simple in France- I’d have to go in the summer too. Building a cabin and raising goats is right up my alley!

    I agree- no malls and scrounging for food is cool! Being a freegan would be awesome in Alaska.

    Yeah, heating costs would be horrible, as well as food. You’d have to heat with wood and eat lots of fish and um, snowcones?!

    [Reply]

  4. I’ve had 2 friends who lived in Alaska for a period of time. Both loved being there – but both eventually moved away. Sounds like a great place if you love the outdoors and if you’re the type of person who’s independent (maybe being independent makes you less likely to spend a lot of money?). My impression is that a lot of Alaskans enjoy the freedom. At the same time – that’s a lot of cold and dark for me!

    I’m with Austin #1, I’d like to visit but not sure I’d choose to live there. Give me beautiful Virginia instead!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    ami- I don’t think that I could do it. I enjoy being around people (mostly!) plus the cold weather would turn me in. I’d love to have a hot tub there though!

    Let me know if you want to help with Virginia when I get closer- I’d love that!

    [Reply]

  5. Mike Collins says:

    I can’t wait until you get to NJ. Property taxes and housing costs are out of control!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Mike- It’s going to be interesting. Surely there’s got to be some good frugal things for NJ- maybe you can deduct the property taxes off your taxes?! :) Let me know when I get closer to NJ if you’d like to help! I’d love that!

    [Reply]

    Saving Money Today Reply:

    That sounds great! I’d love to help you…I actually do have a couple things in mind after thinking about it a bit.

    [Reply]

  6. Kacie says:

    Don’t forget about the money that Alaskans receive just for living there! It’s a few K per year I think.

    We honeymooned there and it was fantastic!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kacie- You honeymooned there?! I am so jealous. I didn’t know they received money for living there. That’s pretty neat!

    [Reply]

    Akborn Reply:

    Yes it is true, Alaskans do get money for residing in the state 12 months, and say that they will continue to do so on the application, though I have to say that I, nor anyone I have talked to has ever said that its what makes living here any easier, as the AK PFD(Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend) doesnt even cover the extra cost of living.
    http://www.pfd.alaska.gov/dividendamounts/index.aspx

    [Reply]

    Sylvain Reply:

    I am planning the long drive to Akaska from Florida this spring 2012. Not sure where I’m going to live when I get there. Perhaps I’ll park at Walmart for a few nights until I can find a job and a place to live. Walmart actually allows this.
    I’ve also been looking for a campground that allows long term stay. I can’t find any.

    [Reply]

  7. This is one of the places I’ve always wanted to visit! My parent went there and actually was on a glacier… They said it was very scenic!

    Ahhh, someday… someday…

    :)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Money Reasons- My parents went on a cruise there last September. They said it was beautiful! I was a little jealous.

    I agree- someday we’ll be able to go!

    [Reply]

    Akborn Reply:

    As I always tell people, Alaska is deff worth the visit, but in my experience(ran a gift shop and bed&breakfast with my parents when I was a child) I saw way too many people stretch their trip, and by the end I dont think they truely remember where/what, or even the why of the trip lol. I guess thats the problem with any large state, especially one with large distances between sights, lol.

    [Reply]

  8. Akborn says:

    I have to say first I love your idea here, and am looking forward to reading about each of the states:-)
    And as my name might hint at I am Alaskan(AK) born, and raised here in this great state. I have lived in both the “bush” (middle of nowhere), and the second largest town here. So I can first handly give ya abit of insight if you are ever curious to know more-
    I will not flood your comment here with a whole lot of info, comments, or even my opinions. you probably did noticed I comment on the one comment about “receive just for living there”. hope the website proves a little insight there.
    I am not sure where you got your information on the average home cost, as truthfully I dont know what exactly you would be buying in the denali area- unless the website was counting in Healy, and the other little cities south of Fairbanks, I did do a search and came up with similar stats, but I also found the average for my area(Fairbanks), $156,940. Yes wood heating is widely used, and fortunately most that do use wood stoves are able to get the wood just by driving abit out of town(free), or by clearing someone yard. But the other most common heating is fuel, and thats the hurtful one, myself I am renting and the owner covers heat, so I only pay electric But thats not the greatest either since the only electric company charges extra to cover their expense for the fuel, and if the buildings are old, they dont retain the heat so you end up compensating using electric. give you an idea January was a cold month and we ended up using extra electric for heat, and our bill was over $380, :-(.
    Ok I lied I got long winded so I will end it here…again thank you for the info, I love reading your website

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Akborn- HOLY CRAP $380?! Wow. I really appreciate your comment- how cool you are Alaska born and raised!

    I would love to heat with wood full time if I lived in Alaska. Of course, I’d love to live in a tiny house or a yurt too. :)

    So do you do a lot of outdoorsy stuff?

    [Reply]

    Akborn Reply:

    I think your reaction was the same as mine when I opened up my bill lol.
    You know honestly I dont do as much outdoorsy stuff as I used to, instead I tend to stay indoors and whine about how expensive everything is(lol), summers more my season anymore, (which is ironic as a child winter was my fav) But you are correct there is alot of stuff to do if you put your mind to it.
    You know I honestly didnt know what a yurt was till about 1yr ago, lol. but I did noticed on CL the other day that someone renting one out(http://fairbanks.craigslist.org/apa/1588076509.html) lol

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Akborn- I think it would be really weird to have the daylight different like it is up there. It would throw me off!

    Now that is awesome! $400 seems like a great deal for rent!

  9. Alaska is incredibly beautiful and when I visited I was amazed at the amount of undeveloped land.

    However, I could never live there with the long winters and darkness.

    P.S. Great series, I’m looking forward to the rest of the states.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Bucksome- When did you go? I have always wanted to go to Montana because of the wide open spaces.

    I don’t think I could deal with the long winters and darkness either!

    Thanks! I’ve wanted to do a series on something, and this just popped in my head one day. It’s been fun!

    [Reply]

    Bucksome Reply:

    We were on a cruise so stopped at Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. We also cruised Glacier Bay. Next time I want to go to Denali.

    [Reply]

  10. Marcy says:

    Regarding the ratio of males to females in Alaska, I’ve heard a saying from a couple people who have lived there. “The odds are good, but the goods are odd.”

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Marcy- That is hilarious!! That totally made my day. Thanks for sharing!

    [Reply]


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