If you are thinking about buying a house or renting an apartment, you better calculate how much utility cost per month in order to properly draft your household budget. These expenses aren’t negligible, and they can severely affect your lifestyle. They include the electricity and gas bill, the heating and cooling cost, water expenses, trash and recycling, Internet and cable service, and landline phone.
Now, be aware that the amount of money you will be spending on these utilities depends on several factors. First, they are dictated by the place you live in, then by the square footage of the place, but also by your determination, or the lack of it, regarding the steps you can take to reduce the amount of energy your home consumes – through the usage of solar lights, for instance.
Now, you will probably be shocked by this information, but the fact is the average household in the United States spends more than 2000 dollars each year on utilities – that’s according to the federal Energy Star program. But let’s start from the beginning and see how much money each utility will drain from your pockets and what the things you can do in order to reduce these expenses are. This is an overview of how much utilities are on average in the US.
Average Monthly Bill for Water
If you want to calculate how much your apartment or house spends on water supply, you need to take into account the size of your home, where you live, and what your habits regarding water consummation are. For instance, long showers and washing dishes without closing the tap will most definitely increase your bills.
According to EPA (Environmental protection Agency), American households tend to use a great amount of water on a daily basis. Their estimation is that each US home spends around 88 gallons of water a day for each person, which means your water bill will most likely be somewhere between $50 and $60.
In 2018, a family of four members that spend approximately 50 gallons of water for each person a day had a monthly bill of $35 on average. In those households where members weren’t careful about how much water they were spending and where every person used around 100 gallons of water a day, this utility bill raised to $70.
But bear in mind that in some cities water costs more than in some others. That means that even if you make an effort regarding water preservation, there are huge chances you will still have to pay quite an amount for this utility. Also, another thing you should know is that sometimes, when you are renting an apartment, the water bill is included in the rent, which means you won’t have to pay for it separately.
Average Monthly Bill for Electricity
When it comes to the electricity bill, things are pretty much the same. How much you will have to pay for it at the end of the month will depend on the size of your house or your apartment in the first place, but your daily habits will play a huge role as well – whether you turn off the lights when you leave the room or not, for example.
Three years ago, the average electricity bill in the US was $111 each month. That’s according to the US Energy Information Administration. But the thing is, the average cost of electricity is very much determined by the state you live in, and that’s something people in some of these places are furious about. This is something to think about if you are deciding where to live.
For instance, in 2017, the average monthly electricity bill in Alabama was $142, in Colorado $82, in Kansas $114, in Montana $94, in Utah $81, in Texas $122, in West Virginia $119, in New York $103, in New Mexico $79, in Hawaii $149, and in California $101. Certainly, if you take some measures and install solar panels for home, you could have a lot.
Average Monthly Bill for Natural Gas
Now, establishing the average natural gas usage per household can be a bit tricky because it can depend on several variables. First of all, you need to know if the water heater in your new place, the oven, furnace you use for heating, and other home appliances are powered by electricity or by natural gas.
Then, besides the size of your place, it is important where you live as well. The climate in your area will greatly affect your average gas bill. So, if you live in a colder climate, where winter months last longer and temperatures go very low, and your heating system is based on natural gas, your bills will definitely be much higher than if you are to live in some summer state.
In that matter, the size of your home will play a major role also. If your place is big, you will need much more gas to heat it up. Given that these bills can go pretty high, it is recommended to make some steps in order to reduce gas consumption. That includes adding additional layers of insulation or inserting multi-pane windows.
The American Gas Association explains that the average gas bill for US households per month is around $55, or around $660 a year. But bear in mind that each state has different statistics. In 2017 the average household in Arizona spent $419, homes in Alaska had to pay $1609, in Florida, the cost of gas was $399, in Maryland $809, in Nevada $422, in New York $1012, and in Texas $481.
Average Monthly Bill for Internet, Phone, and Cable TV
Even though these things aren’t considered to be utilities in that traditional sense, the fact is utilities, as a term, refer to every service that keeps a place running. Today’s lifestyle is unimaginable without the Internet connection, phone service, or cable TV, so we needed to take them into account when talking about this subject.
We all know that people are hooked on TV, so it’s no surprise that according to a report from 2018, around 78% of households in the United States were subscribed to some sort of TV service. Even though that’s a pretty high number, the fact is, in previous years, this trend was even higher. In 2103, for instance, 86% of households had a TV service subscription. When it comes to money, the assessment is that TV service costs around $107 a month, which is a significant amount. If you think about it, some households pay less for water and electricity each month than for TV service.
Regarding the Internet, it’s pretty clear that we cannot live without it. Based on research that was conducted two years ago, 83% of United States households had an Internet connection, so today, the number is most definitely higher. And for that service, American people usually have to pay around $66 each month.
The Most Expensive States for Utilities
Since we pointed out that there are huge differences in utility costs around the US, we decided to take every utility cost into consideration and provide you with a list of most expensive and list of least expensive states in this matter.
Apparently, it is the most expensive to live in:
Most people couldn’t believe it, but this state reports the highest average gas and electricity bills in the US. You will have to pay around $300 for electricity over there, and around $230 for gas. The overall monthly utility cost in Hawaii is $730.
It’s no surprise life in this state can be expensive since it’s cold most of the time, and average heating bills will create a significant impact on your finances. But besides that, what’s also expensive in Alaska is the Internet. People there have to pay around $107 a month for the Internet connection. The overall monthly utility cost in Alaska is $527.
3. Rhode Island
You will have to pay around $521 for utilities if you live in Rhode Island. That’s because the cost of gas and electricity is extremely high. They marked fourth and second place if you look at the nation’s utility cost statistics.
This is another country where life can be pretty expensive due to electricity and natural gas consumption. The average monthly bill for gas is $144 and for electricity $187. That’s way, people there are constantly shifting to other sources of power that are free of charge, like wind or sun.
5. New York
If you wanna live in New York, you will have to pay $477 on average, just for regular utilities. The electricity bills only, on average, are $173 a month, and for gas, you will have to pay around $1000 annually.
6. New Hampshire
Just like in New York, you will have to organize your budget, so you are able to pay around $477 every month on utilities in New Hampshire. The average cost of gas in this state is $107, and the usual electricity bill is somewhere around $169.
7. South Carolina
In order to live in South Carolina, you will have to set aside $473 each month for utilities. That includes an electricity bill of $140 on average and natural gas that’s pretty expensive there. It will cost you around $150 each month.
The costs of the main utilities are pretty high in Massachusetts as well. The gas bills are around $100 annually, but electricity is what will hit your budget severely. The monthly expenses will be as high as $185.
This is another state where living can be quite heavy on your finances. That’s because the average monthly electricity bill goes around $160, and for using natural gas during 30 days, you will have to pay $110 on average.
Apparently, Maine is the state where utilities cost the most. Overall, you will probably spend $464 each month on utilities, where $146 will go for natural gas and $132 for electricity bills.
The Least Expensive States for Utilities
Now, here is the list of ten states where living is more affordable, at least when it comes to utility costs.
If you are thinking about moving somewhere where you won’t have to spend a lot on utilities, Idaho is the place. Natural gas is very cheap, so you will have to spend $52 each month, and electricity will cost you around $93 – it’s the fifth cheapest state in the country by these parameters.
According to our research, the price of electricity, the Internet, and natural gas is above average in this state. You will have to set aside only %52 for natural gas and $81 for the electricity you spend in one month.
Thanks to the fact natural gas costs $52, which was the single most affordable rate in the US in 2018, Montana is considered to be the third cheapest state to live in, in the matter of utility costs. The electricity bill is also something to think about if you are planning to move there – the average monthly bill is $94.
Even though the Internet in Washington is very expensive, the fact other utility bills are pretty low places this state in one of the cheapest states to live in. The price of natural gas there is $823 annually, and monthly electricity bills are around $98.
The main reason Nevada is on this list is because of the low cost of natural gas. Every year you will spend around $422 on this utility, but electricity is affordable as well. In 2018 the average electricity bill in Nevada was $101.
Apparently, two years ago, Louisiana had the lowest electricity bills in the country. Their residents had to pay only $86 monthly. Because of that, this state was ranked as the sixth most affordable in the United States.
Here is another state where living is cheap. The overall utility costs in Oregon are $381 on average, and the prices of gas and electricity are among the lowest in the country. Annually, you will spend around $685 for natural gas and $103 for electricity, but monthly.
8. South Dakota
The truth is, electricity bills aren’t that low in South Dakota – the average monthly bill is $115, but the price of natural gas and the Internet is very affordable. Overall, you will have to set aside $382 for all utilities every month.
The average Internet bill in this state is only $51, the average monthly electricity bill is $89. That’s why Arkansas found its place in the least expensive states you can live in in the United States.
Finally, the last state on our list is Wisconsin, due to the fact you will have to pay around $390 each month on utilities overall. The price of the Internet and natural gas is way below the national average but bear in mind that electricity is pretty expensive in this state.
How Big of an Impact Utilities Are on Your Finances?
There’s no way you can avoid paying utilities every month, and the fact is, they can severely affect your finances every month. That’s the reason why you need to think thoroughly about where you wanna live, and what is the cost of average bills per month in that exact place. There is no doubt that utility costs particularly strikes families with low incomes.
According to several studies, low-income households spend around 22% of their overall tax-free income on their residential utilities, including the usage of natural gas. On the other hand, those households that have a higher living standard and earn more usually spend around 5% of their incomes on things like water and electricity bills.
So the conclusion is that utility costs don’t affect everyone the same way. They are a much bigger burden on people who are on a budget and are living from paycheck to paycheck.
How to Reduce Your Utility Bills?
There are things you can do in order to reduce the cost of utilities each month. Sure, one can always choose to move to another state where costs of living are among the lowest in the country. But if you don’t have that luxury, you can always try to achieve the same by changing some of your habits or turning to some of the energy-efficient solutions.
Avoid Long Showers
By closing down the tap while you are applying the different products on your body and by taking a quick and efficient shower, you will definitely lower down the water bills at the end of each month. You won’t believe this, but if you reduce the shower time by five minutes only, you will cut down the amount of water you consume dramatically.
Install Solar Panels
The answer to the question – is solar power for households worth it, is definitely yes. By setting up the solar system on top of your roof will cut down the amount of electricity you spend on your household. How much exactly depends on many factors like the number of solar panels you use and the location where you live, but the results will be noticeable for sure. And if you wonder how to install solar panels, there is a guide on our site that can be helpful.
Be Careful With the Thermostat
In order to lower your cooling and heating bills, you need to work your way with the thermostat. During the winter months, you can keep the temperature in your home higher when you are in the house and lower when you are out, like during working hours. Also, in the summertime, air conditioning should be on only when it’s needed, not all the time.
Replace Windows and Doors
Another way you can keep your energy bills lower you should think about replacing all the windows and doors that are leaking air with those models that are more energy-efficient. Sure, that will be an investment, but it will pay off in a couple of years. You need to keep both hot and cold air inside your home.
Invest in light bulbs
It is a fact that new LED or fluorescent light bulbs will spend less energy than those old regular ones. It seems like this isn’t a big deal, but if you replace all the bulbs in your home with one of these, you can drastically reduce the energy you spend each month in your household. Also, you should think about investing in solar light for your driveway and your backyard.
We hope we were able to help you with calculating your average monthly utility costs. This is an important subject if you are thinking about buying a new house or renting a new apartment.
The fact is, there are some things you cannot change, like the fact electricity or natural gas usage is more expensive in some states than in others. But there are things you can do to reduce your costs in this matter, and we made sure you know how exactly.