Cost of Living in the Magic City - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Cost of Living in the Magic City

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The economy in Billings is doing fairly well since the unemployment rate has come down and is below 4% locally.

However, the expense of living in the Magic City seems to be going up. The cost of living is fairly high for the amount of the average household income in Billings, and according to MSU-Billings Economist Scott Rickard, that's around $50,000.

"Locally we are seeing rents go up so if you happen to be one of those households that need to find a new place to rent then you would be seeing those prices go up," says Rickard.

And it's not just rent.

"There is some evidence that we're going to see increased prices especially for those parts of the food stuffs that come from wheat and things that we affected by the drought last year," says Rickard.

So what is the magic number households should bring in, in order to make needs meet?

Billings Resident Wendy Maysick takes a guess.

"Probably about twenty-five to thirty-thousand is fair. You're not going to have a lot of extras but it is what it is," says Maysick.

Memory Kessel, mother of three, also tries her luck.

"I would say with a family of children, probably at least three grand a month," says Kessel.

Billings Resident Fitzgerald Clark has an estimate.

"I think its probably around forty to fifty thousand dollars," says Fitzgerald.

Amy Aguiree works at Angela's Piazza who says she tries to provide financial help to struggling women in Billings who still have steady paychecks.

"Everyone really needs to pitch in and start working together, there's a lot of separation between the upper class and the lower class and its really distressing to see that happening," says Aguiree.

While the median income is lower than the national average, $60,000, it still doesn't stop Billings residents from making it work.