Many factors go into the cost of living in various states, including housing prices, state taxes, insurance costs and even the price of fuel. Monthly household bills also play a large role in a region’s cost of living. Digital bill paying service doxo recently reported that 20% of many household budgets go toward bills across 10 major categories.
The company recently put together the 2021 United States of Bill Pay Report, which evaluated the average prices for bills across 30,000 U.S. ZIP codes to find the most and least expensive states in which to pay bills.
Doxo looked at bills in 10 common categories:
- Auto loans
- Auto insurance
- Health insurance
- Mobile phone service
- Alarm and security
- Life insurance
If you’re planning a move in the near future, perhaps because you have the option of continuing to work remotely, consider these statistics if you’re seeking a place with a lower cost of living.
Most Expensive States for Paying Bills
These five states are the most expensive to live in, as far as household bills go — and they’re probably not all that surprising.
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Because the state has to import virtually everything across water, Hawaii is listed as one of the most expensive states to pay bills. The cost of bills in Hawaii totals an average of $2,731 per month, 44.6% higher than the national average, doxo reports.
The average mortgage in Hawaii is $1,878, doxo reports. Real estate prices are so high because it’s such a desirable place to live. Who wouldn’t want to live in a tropical paradise if they could afford it?
One way to reduce costs in Hawaii is to opt for solar energy, as the sun shines 8% more in the state than in other places across the U.S., according to the website RealHawaii.co. By opting for solar panels on your Hawaii home, you may be able to shave some money off your utility bill, which could run as high as $540 if you’re an average Hawaiian household, according to the doxo study.
Of the top 10 most expensive states to pay bills, six of them are located in the Northeast, including Massachusetts (No. 5), Connecticut (No. 7) and New York (No. 8). But New Jersey has the distinction of second-most expensive place to pay bills across the U.S., with household bills totaling an average of $2,562 monthly, representing 38% of a household’s expenses.
Why is it so pricey? The state’s proximity to Manhattan makes it a desirable home for commuters, driving mortgage prices up to an average of $2,029 and rents to $1,334. Cable and internet services run an average of $130, which is higher than the U.S. average of $116, while utilities and various types of insurance also cost substantially more than the countrywide average.
California, especially Silicon Valley and other areas of northern California, is virtually renowned for high real estate prices. Of the 10 most expensive cities based on real estate prices, four are located in California, Rocket Mortgage reports. Similarly, the doxo study found that mortgages in California averaged $2,011, nearly double the national average of $1,279.
Californians also pay substantially more than the national average for their car loans and utilities, and a bit more on cable and internet service, health insurance, mobile phone service, life insurance and alarm and security systems.
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Like Hawaii, the peninsula of Alaska also suffers supply chain woes when it comes to transporting necessary items, which drives up the cost of living. Although Alaska is not an island, only one major road – the Alaska Highway – offers transport from the mainland U.S.
As far as real estate goes, Alaska is only slightly pricier than the national average, with the average mortgage costing $1,505 and rent going for $1,244. But Alaskans can spend an average of $428 per month on utilities, $169 more than the national average. They also spend quite a bit more in virtually every category.
The one place Alaskans may expect to save? Alarm and security systems cost only an average of $43 per month, probably because the state is so sparsely populated that the risk of crime is lower.
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The cost of bills in Massachusetts exceeds the national average in every category except health insurance and mobile phone payments. On average, Massachusetts residents pay over $100 more per month than the national average for utilities. But where Massachusetts residents really suffer is when it comes to housing. The average Massachusetts mortgage runs $1,801, while rent costs an average of $1,282.
And although Boston ranks seventh on the Rocket Mortgage list of most expensive places to live based on real estate, it’s not the most expensive city in Massachusetts based on other bills. That distinction goes to Vineyard Haven, where household bills apart from housing run an average of $1,315 compared to $1,050 in Boston.
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Least Expensive States To Pay Bills
In comparison, these five states are cheaper than most of the U.S., with residents affording the same home comforts for less. It should be noted, though, that cost of living is generally relative to wages in the area, so life may not be all that much easier.
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If you’re seeking a laidback rural lifestyle, friendly communities, and a low cost of living, look no further than the least expensive state to pay bills in the U.S.: West Virginia.
West Virginians can save in multiple categories, including utilities and their car loan. Bills like mobile phone services and cable/internet may cost a bit more than the national average, but you’ll make it up with an itty-bitty housing payment.
The average mortgage in West Virginia costs just $745, which is $534 less than the national average, while rent is only $725, compared to $1,062 nationwide.
Best of all? West Virginia is offering remote workers and independent contractors a relocation bonus worth up to $12,000 in cash if they move to certain mountain cities.
Arkansas ranks second on the list of least expensive places to pay bills in the U.S., with substantial savings on utilities, car loans and car insurance, and some savings in nearly every category except mobile phone service and alarm and security systems.
But you’ll find the real savings in your housing costs; with the average mortgage costing just $837 and rent costing an average of $745.
If you think you may like the Southern lifestyle, Mississippi has the lowest cost of living amongst the states in the deep South. Nearly everything is cheaper in Mississippi, including utilities, auto insurance, car loans, life insurance and alarm and security systems.
Mortgages run an average of $914 per month, while rent sits at $780, well below the national average. If you’re looking for the cheapest city in Mississippi, consider Tupelo, where the average household bills, minus housing costs, come to only $910 per month.
Is the Hoosier life for you? If so, you’ll find substantial savings in housing costs, with an average mortgage of just $899 and rent running an average of $826. You’ll also save on utilities, car insurance, health insurance and cable/internet costs.
On average, expect to pay 15% less than other states, while enjoying a great mix of city and country life, legendary state fairs that are fun for the whole family and fantastic college and professional sports teams.
Like Indiana, New Mexico’s average monthly bills, minus housing, are 15% lower than the national average. Housing costs slightly more than in Indiana, with the average New Mexico mortgage running residents $958 per month and rent costing an average of $844.
Those living in New Mexico enjoy a mild climate with little humidity, lots of sunshine, and the beauty of all four seasons. Southwest living can include lots of outdoor sports year-round, including hiking and skiing.
New Mexico’s bigger and more well-known cities, including Santa Fe and Albuquerque, rank as some of the least expensive places to pay bills in the state, with costs (not including housing) running an average of $864 and $886, respectively.
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