How Much Should You Be Spending on Utilities Each Month?

How Much Should You Be Spending on Utilities Each Month?

How Much Is The Average Water Bill In The United States?

How much can you expect to pay for your home’s water? That depends on where you live, the size of your home and the ways in which you use water.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average U.S. household uses about 88 gallons of water per day for every person. This means a family of four would use about 10,560 gallons of water in a typical 30-day stretch.

The nonprofit global water research organization Circle of Blue says it could cost you more than $50 a month to pay for water depending on where you live.

Even if you take steps to conserve the amount of water you’re using, you still might spend more than you’d like depending on where you live. In some cities, water just costs more.

For example, according to Circle of Blue, the average water bill for a Baltimore family of four using 400 gallons total per day was $59.39 a month in 2018. In Chicago, the average cost for the same family came in at $46.56 a month. In Seattle, it was much higher at $104.53.

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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.

How to Budget For Your Electric Bill

There are a number of ways to budget your money in order to make sure you have enough to cover unexpected expenses. One method is the . This essentially means that you put 50% of your monthly income towards things that you need, 30% towards things that you want, and 20% towards debt or savings.

For example, if you had $10,000 of monthly income you would put $5,000 towards your needs, $3,000 towards your wants, and $2,000 towards your debt or savings. Budgeting like this every month ensures that you don’t go over what you have to spend and you know how much money you have to use if your needs suddenly increase.

Keep in mind that the amount you pay for your electricity is going to vary from month to month. Summer months typically bring larger electric bills than winter months because air conditioning often uses electricity while heat often uses gas. If you budget the same amount every single month for your electric bill you should have plenty in your account to pay for the higher months when it comes time.

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.

How Much is the Average Internet Bill?

The cost of an internet bill for your typical user will be around $30-$60 a month depending on your usage.

When selecting an internet provider, consider how many devices will be using the internet and what they’ll be doing. If you just casually browse the web or social media, you can make do with a cheaper plan. Speeds of about 6-10 Mbps should be adequate for your usage.

For internet activities that require more data such as video streaming or online gaming, you’re going to need faster speeds. Look for a plan with speeds of at least 20+ Mbps. If you're a remote worker and want to get rid of any lag issues, you’ll want to bump that up to 50+ Mbps.

If your internet connection is spotty, look into Wi-Fi extenders. These can provide you with a more steady connection without you having to upgrade your plan.

How to Save Money on Your Internet Bill

Saving money on your internet bill is difficult, but possible. Here are a few obscure ways to save big on your internet bill!

  • Buy your own modem or router. Avoid paying the monthly rental fee for these devices by making a one-time purchase. Just be aware that you'll have to send back any equipment to avoid accruing fees for the equipment you aren't using.
  • Bundle your services. If you’re working with a provider that offers cellular, cable, or additional services, check out their bundling rates. You may be able to save big on your bill and get higher speeds and bandwidth just by opting into a bundled service.
  • Call your provider. Giving customer service a call to let them know that you’re considering switching services can result in matched or even lower rates than the competition.

How Much Is the Average Wi-Fi Bill?

Depending on your region, you’ll be able to make a selection based on your preferences and WiFi needs. There are a ton of internet providers in the US, so price and download speeds will likely play a major role in your decision in how much your Wi-Fi bill will cost.

Here are some of the cheapest internet service plans offered by the top providers in the US. Keep in mind that some providers offer slower speeds for certain regions. The ones below are the most widely available and offer at least 50 Mbps:

  • Verizon: $39.99 per month @ 200 Mbps
  • AT&T: $49.99 per month @ 50 Mbps
  • CenturyLink: $50.00 per month @ 100 Mbps
  • T-Mobile: $50.00 per month @ 100 Mbps
  • Xfinity: $64.99 per month @ 50 Mbps
  • Spectrum: $74.99 per month @ 200 Mbps

For internet plans, internet providers often run promotions with deep discounts and promotional offers that typically last anywhere from 12 – 24 months. Customers are typically expected to cover the cost of any promotional services and pay the standard monthly rate after this period.

There are a number of different features that can play a major impact on your Wifi bill, including automatic bill pay enrollment, setup costs, equipment rental, and more, so always read the fine print.

What Other Factors Affect My Utility Bills ?  

Your energy costs depend on where you live and the weather there. In warmer states, like New Mexico, South Carolina, or Florida, the climate may not require you to heat your home for as many months as Alaska, Idaho, or Wisconsin. However, warmer weather can also mean higher energy bills during the summer because of air conditioning expenses. 

The key is demand. When the need for energy is high, it costs your provider more to ensure adequate energy supplies. As a result, you’ll see higher prices. For example, a severe cold snap or a heat wave often means people’s energy consumption increases because they’re running their HVAC.  

To a large degree, your water bill will also depend on how you use water and where you live. For example, if you live in the dry West, expect your monthly water bill to be higher than the Pacific Northwest, where water is more plentiful.  

Consumption is just as crucial as location when it comes to the average cost of utilities for a house. It’s simple logic: the more you use, the more it will cost you. 

What Affects the Costs of Utilities?

Location

The location of your apartment will greatly affect your utility bill, especially your electricity and gas consumption. If you’re living in a city with a temperate climate, you won’t need to spend as much compared to living in a city with extreme weather conditions.

The location also refers to where your apartment is located within a building. Top floor apartments generally have higher heating and cooling bills because they are more exposed to the elements.

Energy Efficiency

Check the energy efficiency of the apartment before moving in. An apartment with lots of windows and a high ceiling such as a loft will let in more sunlight and air, so you won’t need to heat the apartment as much. However, during colder months, this can also mean a higher heating bill.

Size of your Rental

Obviously, a larger apartment will be more expensive when it comes to power, heating, and cooling. Even the unit’s layout can play a part; it can be more expensive to heat and cool an apartment with an open floor plan than one with delineated rooms. You only need to heat and cool the areas where you’re staying.

Average Monthly Electric Bill By State

How average are you when it comes to the amount you pay for electricity each month? A good way to determine this is to study how your average electricity bill compares to other consumers in your state.

Here’s a look at the average 2019 monthly electric bill in every state courtesy of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Alabama: $150.45

Alaska: $127.29

Arizona: $126.09

Arkansas: $109.46

California: $101.92

Colorado: $83.07

Connecticut: $150.71

Delaware: $119.16

Florida: $129.65

Georgia: $131.84

Hawaii: $168.21

Idaho: $93.83

Illinois: $92.37

Indiana: $120.74

Iowa: $108.04

Kansas: $113.26

Kentucky: $120.08

Louisiana: $120.70

Maine: $100.53

Maryland: $127.92

Massachusetts: $125.89

Michigan: $100.23

Minnesota: $99.02

Mississippi: $135.87

Missouri: $117.82

Montana: $95.43

Nebraska: $108.08

Nevada: $106.83

New Hampshire: $120.04

New Jersey: $105.07

New Mexico: $80.04

New York: $103.60

North Carolina: $123.25

North Dakota: $114.27

Ohio: $108.15

Oregon: $100.35

Oklahoma: $113.93

Pennsylvania: $115.47

Rhode Island: $121.62

South Carolina: $144.73

South Dakota: $120.60

Tennessee: $132.33

Texas: $134.07

Utah: $75.63

Vermont: $97.18

Virginia: $135.46

Washington: $94.49

West Virginia: $121.90

Wisconsin: $95.52

Wyoming: $96.53

Non-energy-related utilities and their costs

Of course, there’s more to utility costs than just energy. How much are utilities in non-energy areas?

  • Trash/recycling: Curbside trash and recycling services are often included in city or town fees. But those paying independently should budget $10-$40/month.
  • Water: In 2016, American households spent, on average, $15-$77 a month for water, according to the research group Circle of Blue, which focuses on environmental issues.
  • Landline: Many people rely on mobile phones, but for those wanting a landline or needing it for internet service, expect to pay $15-$45 a month; the higher cost includes long-distance services. If you prefer to use the internet for making phone calls, voiceover IP service bundles are another option and cost around $20 a month, depending on the number of minutes you purchase in your VoIP plan.
  • Internet/cable/phone: A triple package of internet, cable, and phone services average $165 per month; without the phone, the average is $132 a month. Online media-streaming services are an alternative to paying for cable, and they cost an average of $10 per month compared to $60 for a basic cable package.

Gas

Average cost: $30-50

Gas bills can range widely depending on how many sources of heat in your home are powered with gas. Some common household utilities include hot water, your stove, and heating. Depending on where you live and your provider, your gas and electricity bills can be lumped together.

Money-Saving Ideas

  • Invest in a smart thermostat that can adjust the heat settings of your home when you are not around.
  • Turn off the heat when you leave.
  • Check the insulation in your home. Cracks in windows and doors can let in drafts that can cause your heating bill to skyrocket.
  • Wear warm and comfortable clothes during the colder months. Reducing your gas bill can be as simple as bundling up in a thick sweater, fuzzy slippers, and a comfy robe.
  • Consider using an induction cooker. It heats up much faster compared to a regular stovetop and newer models don’t cost much electricity.

Key factors to consider

There are other factors that can play into your costs, too. For instance, do you work from home? If so, you’re using more electricity and water than people who work outside the home. The number of people in your home can have an impact on your utility costs. And the average temperatures in your area during the hot or cold months can play a big part in the cost of your electric and gas bills.

Breaking Down the Average Electric Bill

Multiple factors affect the size of your electric bill. But the two most important things that determine how much you pay are energy consumption and electricity rates.

The more people you have in your household, the more electricity you’ll likely use. So if you should expect to see increases in your electric bill if you plan to have guests staying with you for an extended period of time. If you can’t decide whether to buy a house or continue renting, consider the fact that you’ll probably see your electric bill go up if you choose to become a homeowner.

Weather plays a role as well. You might pay the most for power in the summer when rates are higher due to an increased demand for electricity and the higher cost that comes with needing to generate more electricity for air conditioning. If bad weather knocks down power lines or more people need to use electricity to keep themselves warm during a snowstorm in the winter, your bill could also be higher than normal.

Electricity rates can also change depending on fuel costs and the cost of delivering electricity and keeping power plants running. While the price of supplying electricity can rise and fall from one minute to the next, in most cases, that cost is based on seasonal averages. Rates differ by region and state due to factors like differences in climate, ease of distribution, local price regulations, and access to natural gas.

The electricity rates that utility companies charge are measured in kilowatt-hours. A single kilowatt-hour provides enough power to keep a 100-watt light bulb shining for 10 hours. That’s the equivalent of using a computer for five to 10 hours and watching 10 hours of TV.

Average Utility Bills by City

Making a move to a new city, and not sure how much your new utility bill will be? Find out how much the average utility costs will be in your next home to properly map out your monthly budget.

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Cities Average Electricity Bill Average Gas Bill Average Water Bill Average Fuel Bill Total Average Utility Bill New York, NY$144.72$83.44$39.70$15.80$283.65Los Angeles, CA$139.16$47.38$58.68$0.45$245.67Chicago, IL$110.49$79.70$47.92$0.58$238.69Dallas, TX$169.77$31.15$59.63$0.50$261.05Houston, TX$165.16$28.30$46.20$0.49$240.15Philadelphia, PA$144.67$71.84$48.82$13.46$278.80Atlanta, GA$149.91$58.15$40.86$0.86$249.78Washington, DC$144.79$54.36$47.41$4.50$251.06Miami, FL$160.05$5.72$52.87$0.33$218.97Boston, MA$144.90$79.25$49.16$29.57$302.88

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Frequently asked questions

What are utilities? 

Utilities are basic services provided to residents, including government-sponsored services such as water and services from private companies such as cable and internet.

Are utilities cheaper in an apartment? 

If you’re comparing two different properties, know that utilities are almost always cheaper in an apartment than a house. Apartments tend to be smaller than single-family homes, and apartment complexes often qualify for different rates than individual homes. Apartments are also more likely to include one or more utilities in the rent than rental houses.

How can I save money on utilities? 

As a general rule of thumb, the more you use, the more you’ll pay. Cut your consumption to save money. Turn off your lights to cut down your electric bill, or choose a basic cable plan. Smaller homes also tend to use less electricity, natural gas, and water than larger ones.

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