Here is a question that is often asked by politicians.  Are you better off now, than before?  So, I ask you, are you?

I'm not trying to start a political debate, we know that Montana is mostly red with the exception of a couple of blue spots in Bozeman and Missoula, but seriously, are you better off now than a year ago?

Forget what "team" you belong to or what talking points you are supposed to spout off, and let's look at some facts.

As of today, the average gas price in the state of Montana is 3.40 per gallon.

A year ago, the average was 2.25 per gallon. That's a 1.15 per gallon increase, my truck takes 21 gallons, and doing a little simple math says I'm paying a little over 24 dollars more per tank.  Two takes a month on average, multiply that by 12 months and I'm paying almost 300 dollars more in gas.  Ok, not the end of the world....but it's still a chunk of change.

Let's look at housing, shall we?

According to the Bozeman Real Estate Group, the current median price of a single-family home here in Bozeman is...779,550 dollars. So, I thought, well how much was the median price a year ago?  Ready for this?  As of September of 2020, the median price for a single-family home was 542,000 dollars according to Real Estate Professional Taunya Fagan.

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I mean, if you're selling your home and moving away, I would say things are in your favor, if you are trying to save to buy a home, not so much.

How about rent?  What does that look like?  Well, it doesn't look all that great unless you own apartments.  The average rent price for a one bedroom apartment is 1863 dollars a month, a 13 percent increase over this time last year, or right under a 250 dollar a month increase.

Throw in the fact that utilities have gone up, plus the price of groceries and it certainly seems like all around us, the cost of living is rising.

Now, I understand that Bozeman is one of the most expensive places to live in the State, heck, some of the housing prices here are on par with, dare I say it? California. There are certainly cheaper places to live in Montana, but through out the country, prices are going up, on everything.

So, once again, I ask the question, are you better off now than you were a year ago? For many Montanans and Bozemanites, the answer is no.

Credit: Bozeman Real Estate Group, taunyafagan.com

LOOK: Here are 25 ways you could start saving money today

These money-saving tips—from finding discounts to simple changes to your daily habits—can come in handy whether you have a specific savings goal, want to stash away cash for retirement, or just want to pinch pennies. It’s never too late to be more financially savvy. Read on to learn more about how you can start saving now. [From: 25 ways you could be saving money today]

LOOK: Here are 25 ways you could start saving money today

These money-saving tips—from finding discounts to simple changes to your daily habits—can come in handy whether you have a specific savings goal, want to stash away cash for retirement, or just want to pinch pennies. It’s never too late to be more financially savvy. Read on to learn more about how you can start saving now. [From: 25 ways you could be saving money today]