How much will my average electric bill be? Can I afford to pay both my rent and my utilities? Those are typical questions we get from our readers. While we have covered this topic many times already, we decided to find out what millennials actually paid for electricity, cable/internet, water and garbage collection last month (July).
AVERAGE UTILITY BILLS SURVEY SUMMARY
Average monthly rent reported in the survey was $1,341 and average utility costs were $240 a month, or equal to 18% of the rent. See the chart below for averages for different size apartments and different regions in the country.
The big take-away of the survey is that first time renters should assume that utilities will equal about 18% of their rent, with a range of 11-21%, depending on their location and the type of rental. For example, water and garbage collection are usually included in the rent in your live in an apartment building, but need to be included in your expense planning if you plan to rent a house or a townhouse.
AVERAGE UTILITY BILLS SURVEY DETAILS
The detailed survey results are below. Our 50 survey responses came from 26 different states, so in addition to national averages, we were also able to calculate how the utility costs vary by region.
Only one survey respondent was lucky enough to have all the utilities included in the rent, while everyone else also had to pay for some utilities, typically electric and cable/internet. Renters living on the Southern states also had to often pay for water and garbage collection.
You’ll notice that we did not ask about heating costs in the survey. Two reasons: first, it’s for July (!) and second, heat is usually included in the rent. Only if you rent a house or townhouse, you can expect to pay your heating costs separately. When that is the case, you need to find out from the landlord or the previous tenant how much the heating bills will run.
Also, we did not ask about parking or pet fees that may also get added to your rent bill because they are not really utilities. If we missed any other type of utilities please note in the comments.
Finally, thanks to all the survey participants who shared their actual rent and costs with us. The winner of the $50 prize was Alize from Greenville, SC.