Updated November 5, 2020

Average Utility Bills Will Shock You

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You pay an average of $2,200 per year for your utilities. $1,200 of that money is for electricity alone. Just where else is your money going?

Read this shocking report to find out more.

Paying for Utility Bills

  • How much do utilities cost on average per month?
    Utilities cost an average family $2,200 per year. Over 10 years, you'll have paid $22,000 in utilities.

    Tip: How to Save Money on Utilities

  • How much is the average electric bill?
    On average, Americans pay $104 per month for electricity.

  • How much is the average water bill?
    The average family pays $70 a month for water. This amount is based on the average person using between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day. Families that consistently use less (around 50 gallons per person per day) spend around $34 per month.

    Note: Not all households pay for water. Many landlords include water as part of the apartment rent.

  • What is the average gas bill?
    The average household spends $83 per month on natural gas bills. Annually, natural gas costs an average of $992. Winter months often have the larger gas bills, while the summer months offer a little break.

  • How much of an average household's income covers energy costs?
    Residents in the lowest income quintile spend more than 20% of their annual income on utilities. Residents in the highest income quintile only spend 5% of their annual income on utilities.

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Utilities in an Apartment

  • How much do utilities cost per month in an apartment?
    Utilities in an apartment may vary. Some landlords cover all utilities. Others make you pay for them on your own. On average, you can expect to pay $150 - $200 for electricity, heating, and air.

    If you want to pay for cable and/or internet, add $65 - $150, depending on the services you choose.

  • What utilities do tenants in an apartment pay?
    On average, landlords include water, garbage pickup, and natural gas in the cost of rent. Many landlords leave electricity up to the responsibility of the tenant.

    Tenants are always responsible for optional utilities. These include internet, cable, and phone.

  • How much is the average rent in an apartment?
    The average rent in the U.S. is now $1,350. This is a 2.6% increase over last year's average rent.

  • What is the average size apartment?
    Shockingly, the average size apartment in buildings built since 2010 is only 917 square feet. This is a drop from the average 988 square feet of apartment buildings built prior to 2010.

Utilities in a House

  • What are the utilities you must pay for in a house?
    In your own home, you pay for all of the utilities. This includes gas, electric, and water. These are the "non-optional" utilities. If you want internet, phone, or cable service, you'll need to add those bills to your budget. In addition, you'll likely have to pay for trash pick-up (unless your city includes it in your water bill).

  • What are the typical bills when you own a house?
    Outside of the typical utilities, you have other bills you must consider when you own a home. Not only will you have a mortgage, but you'll need homeowners insurance. You'll also need to pay real estate taxes. The average household pays $3,296 per year in real estate taxes. You should also budget 1% of the value of your home for maintenance costs.

  • How much is the average mortgage payment?
    Homeowners pay an average of $758 per month just for their mortgage. According to the Federal Reserve Bureau, homeowners pay an average of $350 - $1,000 for homeowners insurance. Adding the average real estate taxes on as well, you have an average $1,088 housing payment when you own a home.

  • What is the average size house?
    In the last 4 decades, the average size home has grown 1,000 feet. Today, the average home is 2,506 feet. This is an average of 987 square feet of living space per person.

Bills Other Than Utilities

  • How much is the average internet bill?
    On average, expect to pay around $40 a month for the standard internet service. But, if you bundle your services with your cable, you may be able to get a better deal.

  • How much is the average cable bill?
    People who have not become part of the cord-cutting craze pay an average of $103 per month for cable.

  • How much is the average trash pick-up bill?
    Track pick-up is one of the most affordable utilities you must pay. Generally, homeowners pay $15 a month or less for this service.

  • How much is the average cell phone bill?
    Today, the average cell phone bill is $73. You can lower the bill by bundling your services with other family members to take advantage of discounts.

Saving Money on Utilities

  • What utilities do you need?
    Certain utilities you can't get around paying for; they are a part of survival. Water/sewer, electricity, and gas are necessities. Other utilities, even trash pick-up, can be optional. It just depends on your budget and the conveniences you want to pay for.

  • How can you save money on utilities?
    The most effective way to save money on utilities is to properly insulate your home. If your attic is not insulated, you could be losing as much as 20% of your energy through it, according to Energy Star.

    Other simple ways to save money include turning the temperature down on your heater, air conditioner, and water heater. Turning lights off when not in use and air-drying your clothes are additional ways.

  • How can you save electricity in your home?
    Electricity can cost you as much as $1,200 a year. These simple steps can help you save:

    • Using natural light,
    • Using one central room as the family hangout at night,
    • Unplugging unused electronics.

  • How can you save energy in your home?
    Saving energy at home starts with you. Wearing the right clothing can help you keep your heater and air conditioner at moderate levels. Also, keeping doors, windows, and curtains shut can keep the warm or cold air in the house.

    Use the shortest cycle on your washing machine and only wash clothes in cold water. Add energy-efficient lightbulbs throughout your home and install a programmable thermostat. You can lower the heat or air when you are not home, decreasing the energy you use.

  • Which appliances use the most energy?
    The appliance that uses the most energy by far is the air conditioner. According to PG&E, air conditioners cost around $137 per month to use. Compare that to a standard refrigerator, which costs $10 per month to use.

Bottom Line

Whether utilities take up 5% or 20% of your income, there's always room for savings. Take inventory of your home and your habits. Are there ways you can start saving today?

Sources and References:

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