Cost of living -

7 Things to know and do before moving to Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a state in the upper Midwestern United States. It’s considered to be a great place to move to because of its affordability, great schools, hospitality and beautiful natural landscapes. The top-notch schools in Wisconsin are what attracts most families to the state. 

Summer offers all sorts of outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, kayaking and more. You will definitely enjoy cheese in Wisconsin, as they have some of the best cheese in the country! 

So, if you are considering moving to Wisconsin, there are several things you need to know and prepare. Here are 7 things you need to know before moving to Wisconsin.

Moving to Wisconsin: Everything to know and do

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1. First steps before moving to Wisconsin

Find a reliable moving company, truck rental or moving container.

For your move to Wisconsin, you will need to hire a reliable moving company or take on the move yourself. To find the best moving company in Wisconsin, look for good reviews, a professional-looking website, and years of experience.

Planning a move to Wisconsin? Take a look at our selection of:

The 5 best moving companies in Milwaukee.

The 5 best moving companies in Madison.

Finding a job 

Wisconsin is projected to add 191,222 jobs, a 6.3% growth rate, reaching a total of 3,231,419 jobs by 2030, based on long-term employment projections for 2020-2030.

Jobs that are often in high demand are nurses, general fitness manager, production supervisor, and staff accountant.

Finding a job in Wisconsin is easier if you search online for job openings. Popular websites for this include Wisconsin Jobs, Indeed, and LinkedIn.

Job Center in Wisconsin (Oct 2023)

Getting there 

Below are some travel options to get to Wisconsin from different parts of the country include:

Flying: Flying is the most convenient way to move to Wisconsin, and the international airports in Wisconsin are the Austin Straubel International Airport at Green Bay and the General Mitchell International Airport.

Train: You can also take the train with Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad as an alternative. 

Bus: If you want another way to travel, Wisconsin cities have bus services like Greyhound, and Jefferson Lines, that can get you there.

If you are flying and require assistance with moving your belongings, you can explore options provided by reputable moving companies.

Must dos before your arrival 

Moving to Wisconsin may be exciting and will challenge you in many ways. By knowing these things beforehand, you will be better prepared for your new life in the city.

  • If you’re moving to Wisconsin permanently and expect significant mail (excluding packages), consider USPS’s mail forwarding service. It redirects your mail to your new address for a specified time. The initial fee for regular mail forwarding is slightly over a dollar for six months, extendable for about $20 for an additional six months. Start the process by signing up on USPS’s website or at your local Post Office.
  • When moving to Wisconsin, sell or donate what you won’t need to simplify your move. Sell or donate household items and personal belongings that won’t be useful. Decide if you want to sell them on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, or donate to a non-profit organization

2. Upon your arrival in Wisconsin

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers.
  • If you roam around the city for work or just simply checking on it, it would be great to purchase a daily pass to save money.
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.

You can easily get around in Wisconsin. There are several options available. 

Valley Transit – provides safe and reliable, public bus transportation service.

Metro Transit– offers bus services across Madison City.

Ryde – You can avail efficient and affordable bus services in the city of Racine.

Exchanging your driver’s license

Once you move to Wisconsin and establish residency, you must transfer your out-of-state driver’s license within 60 days. In order to transfer your out-of-state driver’s license, you’ll need to visit your local WI DMV office in person and submit your old license, take the vision exam, proofs of ID, a payment for new driver’s license fee, and some additional documents. You’ll have to take the driving and written test if your license has been expired for more than 8 years.

Register your vehicle

If you have just moved to Wisconsin, you’ll have to register your out-of-state vehicle immediately after establishing residency. Failure to do so might result in penalties and additional charges. You can register your out-of-state vehicle either by mail or in person. 

Change your address

Along with mail forwarding, you will also have to update your new address with the concerned authorities in Wisconsin, like the DMV. To exercise your right to vote in Wisconsin, you can register to vote online, by mail or in person at your local Municipal Clerk.

To register by mail or in person, you need to submit a completed Application for Voter Registration (Form EL-131) and mail/deliver it to your local Municipal Clerk. You can even register to vote at your local polling place on the day of the election. You should also change your address with your employer, bank, doctor, insurer, and service providers so that you can avoid any complications further down the road.

Changing your address with your employer, bank, doctor, insurer, and service providers so that you can avoid any complications further down the road.

Setting up a bank account 

Obtaining a bank account in Wisconsin is a straightforward process. You only need to present a copy of your valid state or government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license, military ID, or passport. For convenient branch access in Wisconsin, consider banking with Associated Bank, is the largest Wisconsin-based bank.

Getting health insurance

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you will not have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. The state of Wisconsin proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Wisconsin as your state and create an account.

Type of healthcare

Cost

Employer-sponsored health insurance

$158.91

Non-employer-sponsored health insurance

$568.00

Gym

$33.75

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Oct 2023)

3. Best places to live in Wisconsin

Wisconsin

If you are a couple, you might want to consider living in Elm Grove. It offers a thriving nightlife, a welcoming neighborhood, diverse culture, and a lot of amenities.

If you are a family, you might want to consider Whitefish Bay. Whitefish Bay offers some high-rated public schools, great job opportunities, parks, and a family-centric neighborhood. 

If you are single, you should consider moving to Madison. Madison is home to The University of Wisconsin-Madison, that is why a lot of young professionals live here. It offers a strong economy, lots of bars, restaurants and a wide variety of other amenities.

Setting up home services 

Setting up essential home services like electricity, water, and internet in Wisconsin is a straightforward process. 

  • The Wisconsin Public Service Commission is responsible for regulating electricity, natural gas, water, and telecommunication services in Wisconsin. You can visit their website and search for electricity, water, and gas providers and even reach out to them if you have any inquiry.

When setting up these services, ask about setup fees, installation timelines, and contract terms to avoid any unwanted charges. Additionally, look for special offers or bundles that could save you money by combining internet, cable TV, and phone services.

Should you rent or buy?

The average Wisconsin home value is $193,061, increased by 7.9% from 2022. Wisconsin’s price per square foot to buy an apartment outside the center is $418.33.

To find an apartment for rent in Wisconsin, check out websites like Apartmentguide.com, Apartments.com, and Zillow. For locating a house, use websites such as Zillow, Century21, and Trulia.

Cost of rent in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Milwaukee (Outside of Center)

$1,315.00

$1,863.33

Cost of buying a property in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Milwaukee

$193,061

Numbeo (Oct 2023) & Zillow (Oct 2023)

Consider getting home insurance

Getting home insurance is essential, whichever state you are residing in. It is a kind of financial protection that will cover for your expenses if a natural disaster damages your home. Residents in Wisconsin are at a high risk of severe storms, floods, tornadoes, winter storms, wildfires, earthquakes, and landslides. Therefore, getting home insurance will prove to be valuable.

4. Cost of living in Wisconsin

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$1,315.00

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($55.51 multiplied by 4)

$222.04

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$234.88

Internet with 60 Mbps

$68.67

Transit pass

$65.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$81.00

Gym membership 

$33.75

Total

$2,020.34

Numbeo (Oct 2023)

5. The weather in Wisconsin

On average, there are 200 sunny days per year in Wisconsin. The highest temperature in summer is 81° and the winter low is 07 degrees. Wisconsin averages 48 inches of snow per year and 34 inches of rain. 

Summers are long and warm and winter is the perfect season for skiing, snowboarding and other sports. The residents of Wisconsin experience pleasant weather year-round.

6. What to do as a local in Wisconsin

After you are done settling into your new home in Wisconsin, you will probably want to familiarize yourself with the state and all its attractions. Some of the most popular activities and locations in Wisconsin include:

Common grocery stores in Wisconsin include Marc’s, Save A Lot, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Costco. 

The two most popular big chain stores are Walmart and Costco. 

Must-visit food places in Wisconsin are Stadium Grill and Hilltop Pub & Grill, offering diverse dining experiences.

Visit the popular cities in Wisconsin: Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and Racine.

7. Fun facts about Wisconsin

  • Fun Fact #1: Wisconsin is known as the ‘Cheese State.’
  • Fun Fact #2: The state’s name comes from the name of the Wisconsin River.
  • Fun Fact #3: Wisconsin is the no.1 exporter of cranberries.

Conclusion

Moving to Wisconsin has its pros and cons, and checking the cost of living is essential to make sure you will live comfortably in this city. 

Wisconsin offers beautiful landscapes with lakes, forests, and hills, making it great for outdoor activities. Yet, it’s important to research job opportunities, the climate, and your preferences to decide if it suits your lifestyle.

Need a trusted moving company for the area? Discover the 5 best movers in Wisconsin.

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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