Content of the material
- What are utilities?
- Tips for Saving Money on Your Gas Bill
- Fintech Statistics
- Electricity The Cost of Powering Your Home
- Calculating Power Usage
- How Much Would You Pay for Cable and Internet?
- How do I calculate utilities for an apartment?
- How to save money on utilities
- Property Tax
- COST OF LIVING IN TEXAS
- What Does It Cost To Get Online, Watch Cable TV Or Make A Phone Call?
- How Much Is The Average Monthly Electric Bill In The United States?
- How Much is the Average Water Bill?
- How to Save Money on Your Water Bill
- How Much Does Heating and Cooling Your Apartment Cost?
- Utility Costs
- Research for low monthly rates
- How much money do you need to live comfortably in Virginia?
- Other Utility Bills to Consider
- Streaming Services
- Phone Plan
- The Power of Negotiating
- Have the Attitude That Everything Can be Negotiated
- Shop Around
- Change Suppliers
What are utilities?Utilities fall into six categories:
- Electricity/gas (in addition to heating/cooling, this covers lighting and general electrical needs)
- Landline phone
If you’re moving into a new place, you can sometimes find out the average cost of utilities in that area by asking a landlord, apartment manager, or realtor.
If you’re renting, the landlord or manager may understand utility costs from other residents or may be able to connect you with someone currently living there. If you’re buying a home, a realtor should be able to provide you with copies of the current homeowner’s utility bills.
Tips for Saving Money on Your Gas Bill
To save money on your gas bill, first check the seals on windows and doors to determine if you’re losing heat anywhere. Mostly used during the winter to warm the home, gas consumption can also be reduced by adjusting the temperature — and a smart thermostat can help with this. Likewise, get used to lowering the temperature during the winter, even if only by a few degrees. The difference will certainly show up on your bill.
With an average annual growth rate of nearly 25%, the financial technology industry is among the fastest-growing worldwide. The latest fintech statistics suggest that the sector should hit a value of almost $310 billion by 2022 if this positive trend…
Electricity The Cost of Powering Your Home
Average Electricity Bill: $65.33 – $88.10
Almost every appliance in your home is going to be using electricity at some point in time, which is why it’s important to know exactly how you’re being charged for your power consumption.
Your electricity consumption is going to be measured in kilowatt hours (kwh), which is essentially a measure of how much power a device uses over time.
Since everyone uses different appliances at different rates, it can be pretty hard to estimate average energy usage, but here are a few constants…
Calculating Power Usage
Determining exactly how much electricity you’re using can be tricky, but there are a few constants you can rely on to give you a baseline.
Here’s the average cost of using some necessary household devices based on data from Duke Energy:
|Ceiling Fan||0.075 kwh/hr||$0.01/hr|
|Energy Star Refrigerator||43.0 kwh/month||$5.72/month|
|Dishwasher||1.0 – 2.17 kwh/load||$0.13 – $0.29/load|
|Laundry (Cold Wash, Cold Rinse)||0.3 kwh/load||$0.04|
|Water Heater||390 – 500 kwh/month||$51.87 – $66.50/month|
|TV (40″ – 49″ LCD)||0.15 kwh/hr||$0.02/hr|
|Computer (Desktop)||0.06 – 0.25 kwh/hr||$0.01 – $0.03 kwh/hr|
|Computer Monitor (17″ LCD)||0.04 kwh/hr||$0.01 kwh/hr|
Still, there’s one major factor to your electric bill that requires special consideration…
Use a calculator provided by Iowa State Extension and Outreach to calculate the suggested grocery spend based on the age and gender of your family members. For example, a family of four can anticipate spending around $650 each month on groceries.
Approximate Cost of Groceries in Iowa Per Month: $650 Approximate Cost of Groceries in Iowa Per Year: $7,800
How Much Would You Pay for Cable and Internet?
If you move to Texas, you should expect to pay a cable bill of around $85 per month . However, some people nowadays say that cable is old-fashioned, so they stop paying for it entirely and instead opt for internet streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and many others. Most of these streaming services cost you around $10 per service each month. It’s also a pretty good argument if you think about it. A ten-dollar Netflix subscription offers you a vast collection of movies and TV shows to choose from. So you watch whatever you want, whenever you want, and pay substantially less. A problem with cable is that some people pay for full cable subscriptions and pay for channels they don’t even watch. If you use cable, we suggest you spend a few minutes thinking about what you pay for, and if it’s useful for you or not. If not, only pay for the ones you find entertaining and watch regularly. As for the internet, the average monthly cost of internet in Dallas is $60 per month . Although a problem some people have is paying for the internet that they don’t use. If you only use the internet to check emails, you shouldn’t pay for the internet like a person who uses it for streaming daily. Check your data usage and pay for what you need, not more. If you need to reduce internet costs, you can opt for less quota or slower speeds.
How do I calculate utilities for an apartment?
From a budgeting perspective, you can estimate how much you need to put aside each month for your utilities. If you’re moving into a new place, your landlord may know how much utilities typically cost.
If you have the chance, you’ll likely get a better estimate by asking another tenant. Don’t forget your current utility bills. Those will give you an idea of your usage that can give you a baseline for what it’ll cost in your new place.
If you’d like to calculate this on your own, you can create a budget for things like:
- Air conditioning/heat
You can also use a utility cost estimator or online calculator to assess your projected monthly cost of living. Remember to take these with a grain of salt, as they’re only estimates.
If you want a better idea of how much your utilities will cost each month, see what your first three bills look like and take the average.
Note: You may want to wait a few months if it’s summer or winter and you have your air conditioner or heater running constantly.
How to save money on utilities
Consider the following ways to save on energy costs:
- Appliances: About 13% of a home’s energy costs come from appliances. When buying new models, look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star appliances meet or exceed the federal minimum standards for energy efficiency. For example, a new Energy Star-labeled refrigerator uses at least 15% less energy than one without the label and 40% less than models sold in 2001. Energy Star appliances show their annual energy consumption on their packaging, which lets you compare appliance energy costs.
- Windows: Leaky or old windows can account for 10%-25% of heating costs due to warm air escaping. Consider replacing windows with double-pane windows or installing storm windows in winter.
- Lighting: Lighting accounts for about 12% of a home’s energy budget, so changing to energy-efficient bulbs and remembering to turn lights off when they’re not in use can save money. Switching to smart bulbs is another option that can save on energy costs. If you leave home and forget to turn lights off, simply use your smartphone to shut down the smart bulbs remotely so they don’t run for the duration of your absence.
Knowing average household utility costs can help you reduce your use of energy and save money. Of course, there are other factors that go into home ownership and maintenance. Learn about the cost of homeowners insurance and how you can reduce your premium with Nationwide discounts on home insurance.
Property taxes are based on the assessed value of your home, so the more expensive the home, the more you have to pay in property taxes. Iowa property taxes are primarily a tax on “real property,” which includes land, buildings, structures and other things constructed on land. The median property tax rate in Iowa is 1.29%, and the average home value is $128,700. Based on these numbers, Iowans pay around $1,660 in property taxes a year.
Average Home Value in Iowa: $128,700 x 1.29% Approximate Cost of Property Taxes in Iowa Per Year: $1,660
COST OF LIVING IN TEXAS
The cost of living in Texas can be 8% higher than the U.S. average. According to , Texas is on the rank no. 31 in terms of the average utility bill. The average utility bill per month in the state includes:
- Electricity – $100.91
- Natural gas – $110.58
- Internet – $58.29
- Cable – $100.00
- Water – $40.00
- Total – $409.78
Wondering how much are utilities per month in different Texas cities? Here’s a quick utility cost compilation to help you get a better idea:
Note: The costs can vary based on factors like the size of your apartment, the number of people living, the locality you’re in, and the amount of utility usage.
|City/Utilities||Average Gas Bil, $||Average Electricity Bill, $||Average Internet Bill. $||Average Water Bill, $||Car Gas, $||Total|
The most expensive city in Texas is Austin. When compared to the national average, the monthly bills here cost 21.7% more. You can expect to shell out about $2300 per month to live comfortably in Austin. The cheapest city in Texas, on the other hand, is Amarillo. It has a cost of living index of just 80.1 as compared to the U.S. average of 100. Whether you’re moving to a large apartment or a small apartment, a more expensive city or a comparatively cheaper one – it’s always best to understand the specific costs of your area. This will help you create and execute your budget smartly.
What Does It Cost To Get Online, Watch Cable TV Or Make A Phone Call?
Your phone service, internet connection, cable TV service, garbage collection and recycling pick-ups are all utilities too. When estimating how much you’ll spend on utilities each month, you need to also consider these additional costs.
Consider cable or pay TV. Leichtman Research Group reported in October 2018 that about 78% of U.S. households with a TV subscribe to some form of pay TV service. Leichtman also reported that subscribers spent an average of about $107 a month on pay TV services. That’s a slight jump of 1% from a year earlier.
How much are households paying for internet service? In 2018, personal finance site CreditDonkey said the average internet bill in the United States was $66.17 a month.
How Much Is The Average Monthly Electric Bill In The United States?
Your electric bill is like your water bill: How much you’re charged each month will depend on where you live, how big your home is and whether you leave the lights on all day or flip those switches as you move from room to room.
That said, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said that the average electric bill for U.S. households came in at $111.67 per month in 2017.
Again, how much you pay can vary depending on where you live. In Hawaii, for example, the Administration said that the average monthly electric bill came in at a far higher than the national average at $149.33 in 2017. However, that same figure in New Mexico came in at $79.16 a month.
How Much is the Average Water Bill?
The average monthly water bill is around $28 for a single adult and $116 per month for a family household.
Water use and cost is measured per 1,000 gallons. The average cost of water per 1,000 gallons sits at $11.48.
Additionally, the average American is estimated to use 82 gallons of water a day at home. Combined, this data suggests that the average single American racks up a $.94 water use debt daily.
How to Save Money on Your Water Bill
Careless water usage can not only affect your water bill, but it can have detrimental effects on the environment.
Here's how you can reduce your water usage.
- Invest in a dishwasher. Handwashing dishes can use up to 27 gallons of water, whereas using a dishwasher uses just 3 gallons of water per load.
- Consider getting an ENERGY STAR certified washing machine: Using an ENERGY STAR certified washing machine can result in 25% less energy use and 33% less water usage than a regular washer.
- Fix a running toliet Running toilets are those that continuously use water to fill the toilet bowl. These toilets need repairing or replacement, since can cause a loss of up to 26 gallons of water per day.
- Take shorter showers. A single bath can use up to 50 gallons of water, whereas a 10-minute shower can use as little as 25 gallons of water.
How Much Does Heating and Cooling Your Apartment Cost?
Nearly half of the money spent on an average electricity/gas bill covers heating and air conditioning costs. This averages to over $900 a year for the average American household.
Here's a few tips that’ll help you save big on your heating bill.
- Invest in a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat reduces unnecessary heating and cooling costs by giving you more control over the settings. Some electricity providers offer incentives for customers who install compliant smart thermostats, so it’s a bonus win.
- Heat your home more effectively. Unless you live in a place that experiences freezing temperatures, you may get away with reducing your heating costs by simply bunding up a bit more in the cooler months.
- Don’t rely on A/C alone to cool your home. Limit A/C use by employing other, more eco- and budget-friendly options. Keep your windows open at night to let in cooler air. Then close them during the day to keep warm air out. If possible, keep one room cool and spend more time in there, rather than trying to cool your entire apartment.
While Virginia housing may be more expensive, you may be able to save on your utility costs. Virginia utility costs fall below the national average.
Electricity will be your most costly utility with a monthly expense of $124.54. Natural gas comes to around $74.32 per month and your water bill adds up to around $70 per month. For the internet, expect to pay $60. For cable, Virginia residents pay around $85 monthly.
Overall, your total utility costs will come to $414.25 per month. Of course, this total doesn’t include any streaming services or your phone bill. You’ll want to budget accordingly.
Homeowners should set aside around $400 monthly for utility bills. If you’re in an apartment, budget for $100 to $150 in monthly utility bills.
Research for low monthly rates
Once you’ve determined what you’re responsible for, start shopping around for the best prices. Retail energy providers can help you find the lowest rate and lock it in. Search online for one in your area.
Gas companies are very competitive, with some even offering cash-back incentives to use their service. Cable and phone companies often bundle services for a discount.
- Installation charges
- Services provided
- Length of introductory rates
What seems like a bargain to begin with can quickly shoot up once the initial rate expires.
How much money do you need to live comfortably in Virginia?
The cost of living in Virginia is slightly higher than the national average. But, how much do you need to cover all your basic necessities, enjoy a night out once in a while, and have money left to put in your savings?
Using the 50/30/20 budgeting rule, where 50% of your annual income goes to necessities like housing and food, 30% goes to discretionary costs such as travel and entertainment, and 20% goes to savings, you would need an annual income of $64,947.
Virginia’s median household income is $74,222, making the state a relatively affordable place to live. Granted, if you only make the minimum wage, you may find yourself struggling to earn enough to meet the comfortable living income.
For example, in Richmond, you would need to make at least $15.95 an hour for a living wage. However, the minimum wage in Richmond is $7.25, making it difficult to set aside any earnings for savings.
Other Utility Bills to Consider
Electricity, gas, water, and internet cover the main essential utilities. However, there are a few other bills you'll want to consider.
Cable is nearly obsolete as there are more streaming alternatives available than ever before. The number of cord-cutters in the US is expected to grow to 40.1 million this year.
If you can’t live without cable, consider what you’re watching. Lower tier packages might suit your needs just fine and can be as cheap as $20.
Average cable bills are around $50 a month, and adding on the extras can put you in the $70-$80 range. The top-tier packages could put you over $100 a month.
Let's face it. You've probably ditched cable TV for a variety of services years ago. These services offer a ton of variety and often have full seasons of shows that you may watch on cable. Better yet, all these streaming services have costs under $18 a month. Here's a look at some popular streaming service options:
- Netflix: $9.99 – $19.99
- Disney+: $7.99 – $12.99
- Hulu: $6.99 – $12.99
- Apple TV+: $4.99 – $19.95
- HBO Max: $14.99
- Amazon Prime Video: $9.00
- Paramount Plus: $4.99 – $9.99
- Peacock: $4.99 – $9.99
- Discovery Plus: $4.99 – $6.99
Also, look into bundle packages. Many cable providers offer discounts when you bundle different services including internet and cell phone service. If you’re having a great experience with your provider, then switching all your services to a single provider can help you maximize your savings.
According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends $94 a month on their cell phone bill. This translates to $1,128 a year, which is around the price of most smartphones these days. Most families don't use landline phones anymore, so we've only included data for cell phone plans.
Generally, cell phone bills include the cost of the rented or leased device, carrier service, taxes, fees, and the cost of any add-ons you may have.
Your phone bill can be pricey, so here are a few of our favorite tips on cutting back that cost.
- Calculate the costs of leasing or buying your device. Many cell phone service carriers enable you to lease your current cell phone for a fixed monthly rate. You can then opt to buy the phone outright or upgrade to a newer phone. Unless you need the newest phone, purchasing your phone outright may save you money and interest in the long run.
- Shop around. Many consumers benefit from great savings and decent service by opting out of yearly cell phone service providers. If you prefer the guaranteed speed and reliability of a contract-based plan, shop around to catch a deal.
- Add service lines. Most cell phone service providers offer deep discounts for those who add more lines to their plan. You can stay on a plan with your family to reduce costs, or you may be able to add roommates/significant others to your plan.
- Consider your data usage. Look at your data usage trends on your phone or on your profile with your provider. If you’re paying for an unlimited data plan, but only use 2 GB a month, you can save big by switching to a plan with lower data limits.
For most renters, your trash collection will not be a part of your total apartment utilities bill. The fee is commonly bundled in with the price of rent or the owner may pay the bill out of pocket. If you'll be in charge. of the trash collection bill, here's what you should know.
Trash rates are typically determined by local-level governments or private waste collection companies. As a result, the amount you'll pay for waste collection is essentially a roll of the dice.
For example, Sunnyvale, California residents pay a set garbage collection fee based on their resident type and the size of their cart. A multifamily unit with a large cart must pay a monthly fee set at $115.68. Those in Athens County, Georgia must pay $37.60 a month for a large 64-gallon cart.
The Power of Negotiating
Do you realize that the $200 suggested at the beginning of this article may not be enough to meet your utility bills every month? But there is no need to despair because you can put on your negotiating hat and bring those costs down.
It’s much easier to negotiate before moving in than trying to do so after. Here are some things you can do.
Have the Attitude That Everything Can be Negotiated
They may think you are unreasonable for asking for a discount for the lawn service or the electricity bill. Still, there is also a possibility that they actually charged you more, expecting that you would ask for a discount. If you don’t, it’s your loss.
To negotiate, you will need to know the possibilities by researching the competing service providers. This is the reason why you need to do your research beforehand. Well, if they are not willing to offer a discount, you can always move to the next best offer because you have several of them down your sleeve.
In states that have what is called an “energy choice,” you can negotiate the cost of utilities like electricity and gas. The arrangement allows you to switch to an energy supplier that offers you the best rates.
And that’s…all there is to it?
Look, we get it. There’s a lot to consider here, but hopefully, this guide gives you a decent idea of where to start in budgeting for utilities wherever you’re living.
And if you’re in the midst of planning a move, check out our moving cost calculator for some help with getting everything where it needs to go. You really don’t want another thing to worry about, do you?