Utility bills are an inevitable expense most Americans have each month. But have you ever wondered just how much people tend to spend on their utility bills?
In this article, we’ll take a look at the average amount that each household spends in the United States on things like electricity, water, and gas services every month. Plus, we’ll discuss what affects utility prices and how you can save money on your bills.
U.S. Average Monthly Cost of Utilities
A recent survey by GOBankingRates asked Americans how much they spend monthly on their utilities. According to the survey, people, on average, spend the following:
- Less than $200: 29.87%
- Between $201 and $300: 30.17%
- Between $301 and $400: 17.83%
- Between $401 and $500: 10.28%
- Over $500: 11.85%
While the price of utilities will vary significantly based on different factors, knowing the average costs for each utility type may be helpful so you can compare it to your bill.
To break things down further, Move.org found what people spent on average each month for individual utilities.
- Water: $45.44
- Internet: $59.99
- Cable: $217.42
- Gas: $63.42
- Sewer: $66.20
- Garbage and Recycling: Between $25 and $100
What Affects the Cost of Utilities?
Utilities costs can vary significantly for each household, and a variety of factors can impact the cost of utilities.
Where your home is located can affect how much you pay for utilities. Different states have different average utility costs.
If you live in a large city with a high cost of living, some things like trash and recycling will probably cost more than in a rural area. If you live in a hot climate, you’ll probably spend more on air conditioning than people in cooler climates.
“Regions that rely heavily on renewable energy sources or have access to cheaper natural gas might experience lower utility expenses compared to areas primarily dependent on fossil fuels or more expensive forms of energy,” says Nathaniel Robinson, founder and CEO of Trustworthy.
In most cases, how often you use your utilities will impact how much you pay. The more water and electricity you use, the higher those bills will be. If you work from home, you may need access to fast and reliable internet, which is generally more expensive. You also may need to run the air and heat more frequently.
The size of your home can impact how much you have to spend on utilities. The larger the home, the more it will cost to heat and cool. Plus, it’s likely to use more electricity compared to a smaller home, which will send your electric bill higher.
Sometimes, your utility bills may be higher than usual due to factors outside your control, like inflation. Utility providers may raise or lower their prices depending on the raw material and labor costs.
How To Save on Utilities
While some utilities are set in their price, there are ways to save money on others.
Plan According to When You Do Certain Chores
You might not think about it, but utilities have variable costs based on the time of day consumed.
“Energy use from 6-9 p.m. is when energy is the most expensive,” says Cisco DeVries, CEO of OhmConnect and former aide to the U.S. Secretary of Energy during the Clinton Administration. “If you’re on a time-of-use plan, this will result in higher energy bills at the end of the month.”
DeVries went on to say, “If people shift their behavior and do laundry in the morning or throughout the day instead of at 6 p.m., their home would be greener — and their bills will decrease.”
Perform Routine Maintenance on Your Utilities
Regular maintenance for your utilities may lower your long-term costs. You may be able to catch an issue during routine maintenance before it gets more extensive and more expensive. Regular maintenance is essential for your HVAC system to extend its lifespan.
Turn Off Appliances When Not in Use
Turning off appliances when you aren’t using them is a simple way to save money on utilities. This means turning off the lights when you leave the room or not leaving the TV on when you’re not watching it. It may be challenging to remember to do this initially, but it will soon become a habit.
Seal and Fix Water Leaks
Check for leaks in your hot water tank, toilets, outside faucets, or bathroom and kitchen faucets. Water leaks can drive up your water bill and waste water.
Replace Your Air Filters
Replacing your air filters every three months can lower your overall energy usage. The system has to work harder when the air filter is dirty. Setting a calendar reminder can help you remember to change the filter regularly.
Adjust the Thermostat
Try turning down the heat in the winter or the air conditioner in summer. This is especially true when you’re not at home or during the night. You can also use fans for air circulation in the summer to help cool down your home.
Replace Old Fixtures or Appliances
If you still have older appliances or lights that aren’t energy efficient, consider upgrading. This can help save you money over the long term.
Install Solar Panels
Solar panels have a significant up-front cost but can save you money in the long run. If your home gets enough sun, you could save on your electricity bill pretty quickly after installing solar. You could also save money on taxes if you are eligible for a state or federal tax credit.
Seal and Insulate Windows and Doors
Air can escape around windows and doors that aren’t sealed and insulated correctly. This means it will require more energy to heat or cool your home. Ensure the weather seal around your doors and windows has a tight seal.
Get Rid of Unnecessary Services
If you don’t use your home phone service, you can call and cancel it. Although some people have their phone and internet bundled together, it could be worth it to cancel your phone service if you don’t use it.
Run Appliances Less Often
Try to run the laundry machine and dishwasher only when it’s full instead of doing small, frequent loads. This could save you water. Plus, wash your clothes in cold water, reducing energy usage.
Shop Around for Competitors
You may be able to shop around for some of your utility providers. For things like your water or garbage, you may not have a choice. But phone, cable and internet may have several providers available in your area. Plus, many providers have introductory rates for new customers that can save you money.
If you don’t want to switch, you can call your provider and ask for discounts that may be available to existing customers.
The Bottom Line
Utilities are a mostly unavoidable part of household bills, so it is essential to budget for them accordingly. If you find that you’re paying more than others for your utilities, look for some ways to save money each month.
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