How Much Do Utilities Cost in an Apartment? Take a Look

How Much Do Utilities Cost in an Apartment? Take a Look

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Apartment Size Affects Your Utility Bill

The general rule of thumb is that the larger your apartment is, the more utilities you will use. Whether it’s more square footage to heat or more residents using power, you’ll typically have a higher utility bill if you rent a bigger apartment.

Average Electric Bill Per Bedroom

  • Studio, 1 resident: $55/mo
  • One-bedroom, 1 resident: $60/mo
  • One bedroom, 2 residents: $66/mo
  • Two-bedroom, 2 residents: $76/mo
  • Three-bedroom, 2 residents: $87/mo
  • Three-bedroom, 3 residents: $93/mo

Average Gas Bill Per Bedroom

  • Studio, 1 resident: $45/mo
  • One-bedroom, 1 resident: $47/mo
  • One bedroom, 2 residents: $51/mo
  • Two-bedroom, 2 residents: $56/mo
  • Three-bedroom, 2 residents: $60/mo
  • Three-bedroom, 3 residents: $65/mo

Utility costs landlords may cover

When shopping around for an apartment, be sure to

When shopping around for an apartment, be sure to ask the apartment manager for details about utility costs before you sign the lease. Find out what the landlord is responsible for and what you’re responsible for. Be sure to get this written down in the lease if you decide to rent the apartment.

In the apartment listing, you may see a short blurb about what landlords cover.

Some utility costs covered by your landlord may include:

  • Water: Landlords usually cover the cost of water each month. The national average cost of water per unit is around $40 per month.
  • Garbage: The average cost of residential trash collection is between $12 to $20 per month, according to the National Solid Wastes Management Association
  • Electric stove: In older units, landlords may cover the cost of an electric stove

Landlords usually won’t cover the cost of electricity, so be prepared to pay for this.

What utility costs are usually covered by the landlord?

In most apartments, landlords typically cover water, sewer, and garbage, which is usually lumped into your monthly rent. You are generally responsible for paying electricity, gas, and any internet, cable, or other bills. 

Cooking gas

In some buildings, if you have a gas range, you’ll have to pay for the natural gas that you use during cooking. (And in some buildings, the natural gas will also provide your heat.) With cooking, the cost is minimal — $15 a month at most, usually quite a lot less. It really all depends how much you cook at home.

Tips for Saving Money on Your Electricity Bill

If you’re looking to save money on your electricit

If you’re looking to save money on your electricity bill, it’s important to reduce your consumption. Specifically, one of the highest energy consumers in your home is the air conditioner, so it’s essential to learn how to optimize its performance. First, change the HVAC filters regularly and adjust the temperature. If you live in cooler places, you might not even need to use the air at all. Otherwise, if you live in the South or other warm areas, make it a habit to leave the thermostat at a higher temperature than what you would typically set it at during the winter months. Just a few degrees will make a big difference at the end of the month.

Another way to reduce your consumption is to swap out regular light bulbs with LEDs. Although they’re pricier upfront, LED bulbs last longer and consume less electricity. Similarly, consider incorporating smart power strips for appliances that enter standby when not in use, yet still consume electricity. These devices account for a significant portion of your energy consumption, which you can easily reduce. Alternatively, you could also unplug them when not in use.

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.

Compare:

  • Installation charges
  • Services provided
  • Fees
  • Length of introductory rates

What seems like a bargain to begin with can quickly shoot up once the initial rate expires.

How much is the average internet/phone/cable/streaming bill for an apartment?

Don’t forget to include additional costs such as internet, cable, streaming, and phone service. These are additional fees that contribute to your overall monthly bill. Put together, the average American spends $290 on these four services. And, just as with your electricity and heating, there are ways to save here as well. 

Internet

The average internet bill is around $60 per month, but that can vary widely based on your type of service and speeds. Ways to save money include shopping for competitive rates, purchasing (as opposed to renting) a modem or router, taking advantage of move-in rates, and buying bundled services.

Cable/Streaming services

With the rapid increase in streaming services, cutting cable from the bill has never been easier. To save time and money, skip the monthly cable package and subscribe only to the platforms that have the content you enjoy. If you prefer the variety that cable offers, work with a provider to select the right tier and see if you qualify for bundling discounts.

Phone

Like the cable option, consider dropping the landline, bundling mobile services, or choosing a prepaid provider. Oftentimes a service provider will throw in extraneous benefits that rack up the cost. Choose the simplest plan that works for you.

Renter’s insurance

Finally, always get renter’s insurance. You never know what may happen, and it’s very affordable, at only about $150 a year. If your apartment is burglarized, you’ll be very thankful you have it.

Average property purchase costs in Chicago

While the majority of people moving to Chicago are looking to rent, some are looking to buy. It is true that Chicago’s real estate prices where are hit hard by the financial crisis. However, the past couple of years have seen the property market rebound. As of 2018, the real estate market is rapidly approaching prices similar to pre-crash averages.

As it stands, you can expect to pay approximately $380,000 for a four-bedroom property. A three-bedroom property is an average of $225,000. For two bedrooms, you can expect to pay $200,000. This gives a total average purchase price of approximately $268,000.

Chicago is definitely a renter’s market. Competition can be stiff, but there are plenty of amazing bargains to be had. Whether you want to purchase or rent a property in Chicago, now is the time to do it.

How Much is the Average Cable and Internet Bills?

Cable and Internet is one of the most often overlooked bills you’ll encounter when renting an apartment. VERY few apartment complexes include cable or internet in your rent.

This may be a relevant time to re-evaluate your specific needs. How much time you’ll be spending at the apartment, whether or not you’re a homebody who enjoys streaming more digital media, or whether there are some things you could cut back on. Typically depending on your usage an average Cable and Internet bill can cost from $75-$180 a month.

In some cases, cutting the cable bill altogether might be the right more. With the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon prime, you might have everything you need elsewhere (and for cheaper).

Similarly, is your cell phone capable of being a hotspot for free? If so, do you even need the internet in your apartment?

Tips for Saving on Your Water Bill

Water consumption can be easily reduced. First and foremost, check for leaks in your bathroom or kitchen and fix them. Leaky faucets aren’t just noisy and annoying. They’re also a waste of water. To address this, replace your showerhead with one that is efficient and, while you’re at it, try to take shorter showers, as well.

Meanwhile, the washer and dishwasher will often have an efficient or eco cycle, which can reduce the amount of water being used. In this way, lower-maintenance clothes and lightly used dishes can be washed at colder temperatures and shorter cycles.

What are The Typical Average Utility Costs?

We’ll get down and dirty with the details in the next part of this guide. But for now, let’s take a look at the average utility bills for apartment renters across the United States.

According to a 2016 report by the United States Energy Administration, the average monthly energy bill an apartment renter could expect is $112. However, this last report was compiled in 2016 (yikes). Energy costs have increased substantially since then, especially in certain parts of the country.

Depending on where you live (region, state, city) and on the type of energy consumed (gas, electric, etc.), renters could expect to pay an average of $150-$200+ per month on utilities not included in the rent.

Below is a Brief Breakdown of an Apartments Average Costs Based on Utility Type:*This is a rough average estimate and to be used for illustration purposes only

  • Average Electricity Bill $40-$70 (excludes that used for air/heat and stove)
  • Average Air conditioning Bill $35-$60 (averaged over a 12-month period)
  • Average Heating Bill $50-$65 (averaged over a 12-month period)
  • Average Cable and internet Bill $75-$180
  • Average Trash and recycling Bill $20-$30
  • Average Water Bill $40-$60
  • Average Renters insurance Bill $15-$25 per month

Utilities

Florida’s energy prices are on the high side. Residents pay an average monthly electricity bill of $126.44, based on information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). That’s 13% higher the national average of $111.67.

The data from the EIA also shows that residents of Florida consume the sixth most kWh per month in the country at 1,089. This is likely due to the hot and humid climate, which has many residents running the air conditioning for most of the year.

Average cost of transportation Chicago

We have covered the average housing costs, utility costs and food prices. Now let’s take a look at Transportation prices.

Those who don’t have their own car will need to rely on public transport. This consists of the subway and bus service. As of 2018, it costs $103 to purchase and unlimited monthly pass. This is available from the CTA (Chicago Transport Authority).

A 5-mile taxi trip will set you back approximately $20. Again, this is dependent on traffic congestion. If you just cannot do without your car, you will need to purchase a Chicago City vehicle sticker. It costs $85.97 for an average passenger car. A mid-sized van or an SUV will cost $136.54.

According to Expatistan, you can expect to pay $3.16 for a gallon of gas. With the national average gas price coming in at $2. 67, this is almost 28% more than other cities in America. It is definitely worthwhile investing in a monthly pass for public transport.

Transportation

According to GasBuddy, Florida’s gas prices average $2.76 per gallon. That’s right below the U.S. average of $2.89. As far as car insurance prices go, Florida has some of the highest average rates based on data from Insure.com. The average annual premium in the state is $2,219, or $185 per month.

Public transportation options in Florida aren’t amazing, as the Sunshine State is a driving state. A monthly pass for public transit in Miami-Dade County will cost you $145, or $72.50 if you qualify for a discounted fare. A 31-day STAR card for Jacksonville’s public transportation costs just $50, with a reduced fare of $30.

How Much is the Average Electricity Bill?

Your electricity bill will likely be the largest portion of your total utility bill. For a typical one-bedroom apartment with no A/C or heater usage, your electricity bill will likely be around $84.

Two major contributing factors of cost include:

1. The Size of Your Apartment: The bigger the home the more space you’ll have to heat or cool if those appliances are electric. Consider both your floor space and the height of your ceiling.

2. The Number of Roommates: Prepare for your electricity bill to be significantly higher if you live with roommates.

How to Save Money on Your Electricity Bill

The best way to save money on your electricity bill is to target habits and appliances that drive costs up.

Here are some of the biggest electricity drainers and how to reduce their use.

  • A/C &/or Space Heater: These two appliances combine for over 32% of residential electricity usage. Though you don’t have to toss these appliances to the curb, simply reduce your use of them for big savings.
  • Water Heater: Water heating makes up 14% of residential electricity usage. Most water heaters are set to 140℉, but only need to be set at 120℉.
  • Lighting: Lighting makes up over 10% of electricity usage in the average American household. Invest in energy-efficient LED light bulbs and remember to turn down the lights.
  • Electricity Provider: Have you done a cost analysis of electricity costs by provider? If not, get on it — you could be overspending. Switching providers takes less than 5 minutes, which can save you up to 40% a month.

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

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.

Streaming Services

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.

Phone Plan

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.

Trash

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.

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