Start with $200 per Month

Whether you’re renting or buying a home the cost of utilities is very important to consider.

Experts recommend you set aside $200 each month to cover the bare necessities.

But there are a ton of variables that could make your total monthly utility cost way higher or lower.

Electric alone costs people $1,475 each year on average according to estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Yeah, that’s a lot of money.

If you’re thinking about moving and want to estimate your utility costs, it’s important you consider the many factors that dictate your final costs.

Luckily, we’re going to break it all down in this post.

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.

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Louisiana

Average Monthly Utility Cost: $279 Louisiana’s below-average utility costs may seem somewhat surprising; the state has the highest residential electricity consumption per capita in the entire state. But Louisiana is the third-largest producer of natural gas in the country, and many of the electric power plants in the state use natural gas. After paying some of the highest utility rates in the country 14 years ago, Louisianans are likely breathing a sigh of relief.  Related: The Best Thermostats

Virginia Housing Costs

When trying to determine what is the cost of living in Virginia, housing costs will be by far your biggest expense. Compared to the national average, Virginia housing costs are more expensive. The median home cost in Virginia is $258,400. In comparison, the national median home cost is $231,200. 

Naturally, housing costs will vary depending on the city and neighborhood you’re interested in. For instance, Great Falls is one of the most expensive cities in Virginia with a median home value hitting six-figures at $1,212,347. However, Virginia’s capital Richmond has more affordable housing with a median home value of $247,564.

Throughout the state, the median home cost is $258,400. Home appreciation in the state is also up by 4.1%. 

You won’t fare much better if you decide to rent. Compared to the national average, your monthly rent payment will be more expensive in Virginia. For example, the average cost for a studio apartment in Virginia is $982, whereas the national average for a studio apartment is $821. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Virginia is $1,030. The national average for a one-bedroom is $930.

Rhode Island

Average Monthly Utility Cost: $398 Rhode Island has some of the highest prices in the country for utilities. The saving grace on the wallet is that Rhode Island has the lowest per capita energy consumption of any other state. If this weren’t the case, the average bill would be even higher.  

Cable The Expense You Can Play Around With

Average Cable Bill: $0 – $100 (depending on plan)

Here’s where things get interesting.

Yes, we recognize having cable TV access isn’t a necessity, but it’s definitely a quality-of-life choice that most people find to be well worth the cost.

But don’t worry about not having access to entertainment and information, because there are a plethora of great options for audio/visual content available at many price points.

Digital Antenna:

Digital Antenna:

By far the cheapest option, as long as you’re within range of a local broadcaster, digital antennas allow you to watch a handful of television stations (typically including ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS) for free.

Average Price: $0

Cable Subscription:

Here you’ll see fewer options, depending on where you live, but all companies are required to offer basic cable packages along with additional channels and bundles with internet and phone service.

Average Price: $100/month

Streaming Television:

Recently, many companies have sprung up offering streaming television through the internet, offering customers an alternative to paying whatever their local cable company feels like charging.

Average Price: $25 – $40/month

Dedicated Streaming Services:

And if you’re more into watching things strictly for entertainment, there are plenty of streaming video services that offer a variety of content that appeal to almost every niche from film buffs, to classic television, comedies, and horror.

Average Price: $8 – $15/month (per service)

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.

What Are the Basic Utilities?  

If you’re a homeowner or a renter, you pay for utilities. The essential utilities include gas, electricity, and water/sewage. However, most people also pay for telephone, internet service, trash removal, and cable TV 

If you rent a one- or two-bedroom apartment, your landlord may include some of your utilities in your rent. It’s not uncommon for water and sewage or trash pickup to be included in the rent.  

As a homeowner, you’re on the hook for all of your utility costs. 

The Bottom Line

There are many ways you can reduce your utility costs even if you don’t want to move to a different state. Consider all the ways you can reduce your future utility bills. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also help save the environment.

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.

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 money do you need to live comfortably in Virginia?

The cost of living in Virginia is slightly higher

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.

How Much is the Average Gas Bill?

Hot water, heating, and your stove could all impact your gas bill. Your average gas bill will likely be around $9 to $152 per month, but it'll depend on your appliances, where you live, and usage. Natural gas appliances tend to be cheaper than their electric counterparts, something to consider while apartment hunting.

Your gas bill and electric bill will typically be lumped together. Going on your utility provider’s website and looking at a bill summary will give you an overview of your gas and electricity usage.

How to Save Money on Your Gas Bill

When it comes to gas use, heating and cooling are going to be the primary culprits of a high gas bill. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to reduce gas use.

Here are three heating and cooling tips to help you lower your gas bill.

  • Don't turn your heat all the way down. It takes more energy and gas to heat your home warmer from 50℉ to 65℉ than it would take to heat it from 60℉ to 65℉.
  • Reduce drafts. In cooler months, poorly-insulated windows and doors can be drafty which reduces the efficiency of your heating. Take time to identify and reduce drafts in your home, especially if you live in an older homes or an apartment unit!
  • Reduce oven use in the summer. If possible, stick to stovetop recipes in the summer months. Heating a gas-powered oven can use up a lot of gas and oven use in warmer months can cause your apartment to heat up.

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.

How Much Is the Water Bill in Texas?

Texas has much lower water costs than the US average. The water bill differs a lot depending on the size of the house and its residents. One person would not pay the same water bill as a family of four. The US water bill is $337.60 on average per year per household . In Texas, though, the yearly average is $288.43. Don’t let it fool you, though. The water bill will vary substantially depending on the city. If you were to hire local movers to move to the city of Lubbock, you would expect an annual water bill of around $474.60. Move to Wichita Falls, and you will be finding an average water bill of $516.43. Almost double the Texas average. Reviews of the city you’re moving to will give you an idea of the amount you’re likely to pay in utility costs. The water bill in smaller cities is more expensive than in bigger cities since in a smaller city, the cost of getting water there is distributed among a smaller group of people than in a bigger, more crowded city where the cost is distributed among its many citizens. Your apartment location will affect the amount you’ll have to spend on utilities. Nevertheless, no matter where you live, you wouldn’t mind saving some money on your water bills. So here are a few ways to reduce your water consumption and, therefore, your water bill.

Invest in Water Efficient Shower Heads

Showering accounts for 17% of the overall water bill. Showers are the third most significant source of water consumption after washing machines and toilets. A person showers for 8.2 minutes on average and uses 17.2 gallons (65.1 liters) in those 8 minutes. The water flow rate of showers is approximately 2.1 gallons per minute (GPM) or 7.9 liters per minute (LPM). A water-efficient showerhead can save around 7 gallons of water (26 liters) in a 7-minute shower. Which adds up to 2377 gallons (9000 liters) saved every year.

Want to know the monthly water prices based on the size of an apartment? Here’s a quick list for you:

  • The average water bill for a 1 bedroom apartment is $21.11
  • The average water bill for a 2 bedroom apartment is $36.41
  • The average water bill for a 3 bedroom apartment is $45.79
  • The average water bill for a 4 bedroom apartment is $57.47

It is estimated that an average American uses 82 gallons of water at home on a daily basis. This also leads us to the conclusion that an average American typically has up to $.94 of debt for water use on a daily basis.

Fortunately, there are ways to considerably slash the cost of your water bills. This will not only help you save big per month but will also contribute to saving the environment. Make sure you use the water only when necessary. Other hacks like investing in a dishwasher, taking shorter showers, getting an ENERGY STAR certified washing machine, and fixing all the issues with your water taps can help you save on your monthly water costs.

Moving from One State to Another: The Difference in Utilities Costs

If you’re thinking of moving from one state to another, learning about the difference in apartment utilities cost can help you in designing your budget. We’ve created this calculator to help you get an idea of average utility prices in different states.

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