Moving to Montana

Your Step by Step Guide for a Move to Montana

Interested in moving to Montana? Look no further because we’re here to provide you with a complete guide on how to move to the Big Sky State and give you the run-down on what you need to know before arriving!

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Moving to Montana: How Much Does It Cost?

Let’s get the least fun part out of the way – moving costs! The cost of your move to Montana, of course, will depend on two big factors: where you’re moving from and the size of your move —the smaller, the cheaper.

Tip!: Not sure how to find out the size of your move? Our handy moving space calculator can help you with this!

Costs will also depend on whether you want to move everything yourself or hire movers. As experts in moving, we always advise hiring a professional moving company. Even though this will cost you a few extra bucks, it’s the one and only guarantees that your belongings will be properly handled and delivered safely to their destination. As they say, nothing easy came for free, right?

In case you just want ballpark estimates, we’ve also compiled a list of approximate costs of a full-service move to Missoula, MT from popular cities across the U.S in the table below.

Seattle, WA$2,953 – $4,060$4,060 – $5,195$6,263 – $8,472
Los Angeles, CA$3,503 – $4,874$4,874 – $6,256$7,544 – $10,215
Chicago, IL$3,853 – $5,393$5,393 – $6,933$8,359 – $11,323
New York City, NY$4,472 – $6,313$6,313 – $8,134$9,813 – $13,307
Miami, FL$4,538 – $6,408$6,408 – $8,250$9,938 – $13,461

Disclaimer: the rates shown above are just estimates. Costs will vary depending on your actual point of departure and the service rates of the company.

Because we want to make things easier for you, we’ve got a form that will give you free 5 quotes from different moving companies! No strings attached, promised! We’ve done the research and made sure to sort out the good from the bad since we know you’re literally going to be putting your life in their hands!

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Moving to Montana: Checklist

As you can imagine, moving to Montana will require you to remember the million of things you have to get done before actually getting there —what a way to put your memory up to the test! Even though we trust your memory, we want to give you an extra hand just in case you might need it:

  • Never, never, and again never forget to declutter your belongings. Keep in mind that the size of your move heavily impacts your final costs!;
  • Done with the decluttering? Then it’s time to calculate the size of your move! This is key if you want to receive accurate estimates when requesting quotes;
  • Before making the big move to Montana, research different cities and neighborhoods within them thoroughly. Give them a visit if possible so you can get a feel of the place you’re considering calling home!;
  • Collect all important documents (e.g.: birth certificates, insurance policies) and keep them in a special folder;
  • Don’t forget to give others (e.g.: governmental agencies) a ring to notify them about your move to Montana on time;
  • Start packing early –little by little. Remember to label boxes as you go, it will make your life easier –trust us on that one.

Tip!: Interested in a handy comprehensive checklist to use while relocating to Montana? We got your back! Our national moving checklist is here to assist you. 😉

Fun not-so-fun fact: Winters in Montana are harsh, and it’s not uncommon to get stranded in your home or car due to snowstorms. Be sure to have a survival kit on hand, so you can prepare for these things! Here’s a list of what to include in it:

Moving to Montana: Winter Survival Checklist


What To Know Before Moving To Montana: The Facts

Ready to pack your bags and hit the road? To better prepare you for your new life in Montana, we’ve gone ahead and researched the most important things that will help you get settled quicker. Everything you’d like to know, from the price of gas to changing your driver’s license, can be found in the sections below!

Costs of Living in Montana

Montana is renowned for its beautiful landscapes and wide-open spaces. It boasts majestic mountain views, national parks, and ghost towns if you’re feeling courageous. Best of all, Montana is the 4th largest state, but the state’s population just reached a little over 1 million in 2019. Talk about being able to spread your legs and run free in the great outdoors!

Now, let’s talk money. Overall, the cost of living in Montana is below the national average. To give you an idea, the national average for cost of living is 100, Montana scores 94, which means it costs less to live in the Big Sky State than most places in the U.S.

Panoramic view of park in Montana

Housing in Montana

To rent or to buy, that is the big question. When it comes to Montana, 65% of its residents are homeowners whereas 35% of people choose to rent. If you choose to buy, the median price of a home is currently around $320,000. Of course, prices will also vary depending on the city and size of the house you choose to reside in!

If you opt to rent instead, we’ve collected the numbers on median rent in the 3 biggest cities in Montana to give you a rough idea of how much you can expect to pay.

Rent Prices in Billings

Property SizeMedian Rent
1 bedroom$660
2 bedrooms$875
3 bedrooms$1,250

Missoula Rent Prices

Property SizeMedian Rent
1 bedroom$720
2 bedrooms$920
3 bedrooms$1,325

Rent Prices in Great Falls

Property SizeMedian Rent
1 bedroom$569
2 bedrooms$749
3 bedrooms$1,048

Moving to Montana: View of forest clearing with lodges


Given how big and sparsely populated Montana is, you’re definitely going to have an easier time with a car. What’s great though, is that you won’t have to worry about traffic anymore! Montana boasts little to no traffic, and it’s pretty normal for people to drive miles and miles without seeing another car.

Don’t be surprised if people give you a wave as they drive by you –Montanans are known for their friendly character. As they say, cold hands but warm hearts!

Want to talk about money? We went ahead and figured out how much it’ll cost you to drive in Montana.

Car ExpensesAverage Cost
Auto insurance$1,600/annually

In case you’re moving to Montana without a vehicle and will have to rely on public transport, bigger cities like Missoula and Bozeman do have good transportation systems to get you around. As a matter of fact, Bozeman’s Streamline bus and Missoula’s Mountain Line service are provided free of charge —yay!

CityAdult Bus Fare
Billings$2 (one way); $28 (monthly pass)
Great Falls$1 (one way); $30 (monthly pass)

Picture of Lake McDonald in Montana at sunset

Food Expenses

Want to know how much a gallon of milk in Montana would cost compared to your state? We got you covered. Knowing the average prices of groceries is super helpful for budgeting, and, it’s just nice to know what you can expect to pay.

GroceriesAverage Cost
1 Gallon of milk$2.89
1 Dozen of eggs$2.33
1 lb. Ground beef$4.39
1 lb. Potatoes$1.45
1 lb. Apples$1.77
16 oz. Box of spaghetti$1.50
Pack of 24 water bottles$3.99
Loaf of bread$2

If you’re a total foodie like us, we recommend you try out the following foods once you move to Montana (you can thank us later 😉):

  • Berry lover? You ought to try huckleberries!;
  • If you’re not afraid to experiment, you must give bison burgers a try;
  • Is a foot-long sub not enough to satisfy your appetite? Then you’ll be pleased to find out that you can find 17.5-inch long subs in Bozeman, Livingston, and Billings!

Working in Montana

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Montana has an unemployment rate of 7.1% as of June 2020. This number has decreased from 11.9% in April 2020, so it’s good to know their economy is recovering from the impact caused by COVID-19.

If you’re planning to move to Montana without a job secured, we can imagine you might be curious about which are the most popular industries in the Big Sky State. These are the current top 5 sectors for Montanans:

  1. Agriculture and forestry;
  2. Healthcare;
  3. Energy;
  4. Education;
  5. Tourism.

Montana’s top employers are often concentrated in the more populated cities like Billings and Missoula, so just something to keep in mind if you’re still considering where to move! In case you’re going to be job searching when you move to Montana, here are some resources to get you started:

Employment facts that are great to know before moving to Montana

Leisure in Montana

Finally, the fun stuff! If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, Montana is definitely the state for you! Home to 53 state parks, 7 state forests, and 100 species of mammals, the Big Sky State is nature galore –no wonder it’s also nicknamed The Last Best Place! Here’s a list of some of  our favorite attractions and activities in Montana:

Natural Attractions:

  • Glacier National Park;
  • Yellowstone National Park;
  • Garnet Ghost Town;
  • Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center;
  • Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.

Landscape of lake in Montana at sunset


  • Try skijoring —yes, that’s an actual word and sport! It’s skiing but you’re being pulled by an animal or vehicle;
  • Eat a burger at the famous Burger Dive in Billings;
  • Camp under the stars at the state parks;
  • Take a hike on one of Montana’s many trails –-most popular is the Diane Gabriel Trail!;
  • Go fly fishing —Montana has world-famous trout waters!

What Do I Need to Know After Moving to Montana?

  • After you move to Montana, you’re required to change your driver’s license within 60 days for a regular vehicle or 30 days you have a commercial vehicle. Remember to check with Montana’s DMV for the required documents and appointment scheduling, then after that, you can officially call yourself a Montanan!
  • Now comes everyone’s least favorite part, taxes. Here’s a quick breakdown of different tax rates in Montana:
    • Property tax of 0.85%;
    • Progressive income tax of 1-6.9%;
    • Sales tax A of 0% –woo!;
    • Estate tax of 0% —double woo!;
  • To be able to vote in Montana, you must live there for at least 30 days. You can visit your local county election office and fill out the voter registration form, then you’re good to go.

Depiction of Flathead River in Montana: a must see when moving to Montana!

Did You Know…?

  • Calling out to all of our book lovers out there! Montana has higher bookstores per capita than any other state in the U.S.;
  • In Montana, it’s illegal to have sheep in your truck without a chaperone… oddly specific;
  • Not a fan of crowded places? Then Montana is definitely for you, as it is actually home to more cattle than people;
  • In 1916 Montana became the first U.S. state to elect a woman to Congress —making history!

We hope that we’ve helped you prepare for your move to Montana and that you feel ready to pack your bags! If you want more help, be sure to check out our other pages below because one can never be too prepared! 😉