Utilities are a part of life for almost everyone. Whether you own or rent, you’re responsible for paying for utilities such as electricity, gas, water, sewer, etc. Granted, renters occasionally find leases where some or all utilities are included, but ultimately you’re still paying for them as they are tied into the monthly rent. For those of you who do have to pay for utilities each month based on what you use, how much of your monthly budget is going toward keeping the lights on?
I’m a fan of statistics and love poking around with numbers to see what people are spending their money on and how I compare, so the other day I was looking at the U.S. average in utility spending. So, I hopped over to Bundle to take a look at the total U.S. average. Here are the results encompassing all age and income groups.
Average U.S. Utility Spending: March 2010
As you can see, there’s quite a range. Low spenders are getting by on just $30 a month while others are spending over $400. The average household is spending around $200 and the median household is at $115 a month. It also reflects that people on average are spending 5% of their monthly budget on utilities.
That’s interesting, but where do I fit? That’s what I was curious about after receiving our latest electric and gas bills. Here’s our average monthly utility breakdown:
- Electricity – $65
- Gas – $40
- Sewer – $23
That brings our total to about $128 a month. Of course the electric and gas numbers are averages and they do fluctuate with the seasons. But for us, in the summer when we run the AC but aren’t running the heat, the electric bill may go up to about $90 and the gas may drop to $20 and in the winter the electric bill drops quite a bit while the gas bill goes up. In the end, it tends to average out as a whole. We also have a well so there’s no bill for city water.
So, given our current utility spending it is comforting to know that we are right in the meaty part of the curve. Considering we have long cold winters, some hot months during the summer, and a reasonably large house to maintain it looks like our energy costs are actually pretty good.
Now it’s your turn. How do your utility bills stack up? Does it seem like you’re paying a lot more than you should be? Once you compare yourself to the national average above, be sure to change the data to compare it with your specific location which can give you a far more accurate pictures and put your costs in perspective with your neighbors. For the sake of the poll below, just try to ballpark an average monthly number since there are obviously extremes from one season to the other. And only include things such as electricity, gas, sewer, water, etc. Don’t include things like cable, internet, phone service, etc.
Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle
My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.
Oh, I totally forgot about trash collection. Thanks for reminding me, Jim. Luckily for us that is only about $12/month so it doesn't hurt the budget too much.
We average about $225. $150 for electric, $50 for water and $25 for trash. We have no AC and our heat is electric.
Between $50-$100! Going to try to reduce the electricity bill with summer since we have less usage for our lights!
We only have one utility bill which is electric at $217 per month. Our whole house is electric so we don't have a gas bill. We also have a well so no water bill. Our internet is about $65. We don't have cable so no extra there. Our cell phone package for 2 phones is $75 and we have trash at $45 every 3 months although we're thinking of cancelling that too. We live in the country so we can burn our paper trash and anything left over we can bring in to recycling.
I spent $18 for electricity in May. My apartment doesn't have gas and water is included in rent so that was my total utility bill. I've moved since then so I will be getting a much larger utility bill soon.
$30 annual monthly average for electric, everything else is included in my rent (gas stove and heat too, which is awesome).
On top of that, I pay $60/month for internet, $45/month for TV (and will be canceling in November once my 2 year contract is up) and $45/month for a cell phone - no landline.