Average Utility Bills: My First Apartment Survey Results

Average utility billHow 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.

utilitysurvey

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.

 

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Author My First Apartment
Jennie

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Jennie is a recent business school graduate living in NYC. She lives with a roommate in a quaint 2 BR brownstone apartment. Jennie is currently working as a start-up/digital marketing consultant while looking for a full time job. She loves bargains and her guilty pleasure is reading the DailyMail.com.

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Comments (74)

  1. Christina

    My apartment in NYC is only about 400sq feet if that. We have 2 small bedrooms a short hall small kitchen and a bathroom and no living room. We have one ac unit we barely use. We rarely use the stove. Everything is included in rent aside from gas and electric. Rent is 1217.50 for me, 2485 total. What should our gas and electric cost per month total?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Christina,
      Start estimating about $100 a month, but if you have to crank up the A/C, then it could double. Cooking gas is probably $20 or less a month, unless you are big bakers. Good luck!

      Reply
  2. Melinda

    My and my boyfriend are expecting and we’re going to be moving into a two bedroom apartment in Michigan. The rent cost is 900 a month and the only utility not included is electric. How much extra would that be a month?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Melinda,
      Your starting point for an estimate is probably in the $100 range, unless the heat is electric. Your best bet is to ask your future landlord and the local utility for an estimate. Will you have cable/internet? Don’t forget those costs, they should be factored in also. Good luck!

      Reply
  3. buck fadness

    Why energy companies urge consumers to conserve energy during peak usage times…

    It’s easy to understand why a conservationist would ask you to limit your energy use – to reduce environmental damage due to energy production, to reduce green house gasses or to reduce the depletion of natural resources. But why do companies like Sempra Energy tell you, the consumer and rate payer, to use less electricity thus paying less on your monthly utilities bill? Aren’t they retailers who depend on your monthly payments for their profit margins? Yes they are and they have insanely high profit margins in all but the poorest markets like the Midwest and east where industry has moved off shore and to China. Even there they are subsidized by Uncle Sam. To keep this rant short and interesting I will give it to you in a nut shell – Equipment Costs!!! To put electricity into your house requires a lot of expensive components to insure that the power that runs your delicate electronics in the average house is the correct voltage and amperage. And why is this necessary? Because the manufacturers of said electronics build the cheapest device they can get away with, which doesn’t include protective circuits to keep incorrect electricity from frying the circuits and components of your IPad or Smart Appliances, etc. Instead, they tell you to buy a voltage correcting device like an UPS, (uninterruptible power supply, or uninterruptible power source), plus a surge protector power strip, both of them are made by the their company and made available for you to buy at an additional cost. So, back to the energy companies, if you and your neighbors use a lot of energy during the hottest part of the day or at 4:00 PM or when everyone is getting home from jobs where the AC was set at 70%, so that the consumer will have a pleasant shopping experience. And then you come home to a house that’s 95% you all want to turn the AC to 70%. This puts a heavy load on the power companies equipment that is conditioning and delivering power to your house. The large surge or load on that equipment will sometimes blow it up, because it was built as cheaply as possible to handle everyday loads. Fixing this causes increased power delivery costs not covered by consumer bills.
    In the long run they will raise the rates to cover the fact that consumers are using less electricity just like the water suppliers have done in the wake of water conservation in the Southwest.
    You Just Can’t Win…
    Buck-O

    Reply
  4. Reeya

    Me&my husband and my 2boys moving 2 bedroom apartment worthington oh for$ 909 a month and all utilities separate. How much would they be?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Reeya,
      Start by budgeting 20% of your rent, or about $180. However, if you also have to pay for heat, living in OH, it could run much higher in winter. Ask your landlord for an estimate. Good luck!

      Reply
  5. Juan Carreras

    My girlfriend and I are moving into a 1 bedroom apartment in Germantown, Maryland for $1210 a month and utilities seperate. How much would they be?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Juan,
      It’s impossible to estimate without more details, but probably somewhere between $100-$200, depending on season. Ask your landlord for an estimate. They will know.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  6. Yee

    MY boyfriend and i are moving into a 700sqft one bedroom for 775, which includes the gas,water,heat,and trash. I think we just have to pay our electricity. How much do you think it’ll cost per month? (Minnesota)

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Yee,
      Probably somewhere in the $60-$75 range, twice that during hot summer months. Ask your landlord for a rough estimate. Good luck!

      Reply
  7. Deana

    I’ll be moving into a 1br apartment in Bristol CT, heat and hot water will be included in the rent which will be $650 how much would you say my electric bill would be?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Deana,
      Budget for electric about $60 a month. If you are also getting internet, then use our formula for utilities, 20% or rent or $130. Good luck!

      Reply
  8. Kim

    I will be moving into a 1500sq ft apartment in MO. Our rent already includes internet and cable, so we’d only have to par for electric, trash and water/sewer. Do you have an estimate on how much that would be? (Keep in mind 3 out of 4 of us are students)

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kim,
      Being students you probably have some equipment charging or otherwise using electricity at all times, so your bill will run $100-$150 a month, more in summer. Trash and water rates wary even more than electric, so it’s hard to estimate. You should each plan to budget at least $50-75 a month for your utilities, depending on season. Good luck!

      Reply
  9. Brianna Laboy

    Me and my fiance our moving out. The apartment we are looking at is 610sq ft for 660. We are trying to move to Concord, NC.How much will electrity and water be?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Brianna,
      Start with our rule-of-thumb, or 20% of your rent = $132 and ask your future landlord for an estimate. Good luck!

      Reply
  10. stephanie

    i will be moving out soon with my husband and i was wondering how much in electricity will i average a month for just us two. he makes an average of at least 2,500-3000 a month and i make about 1600 a month. it will just be us two in an apartment of a one bedroom or 2 bedroom. all utilities included except gas and electricity.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Stephanie,
      Your electric will be in the $100 a month range in most areas, double that during the heavy air conditioning season. If gas is only for cooking and maybe clothes dryer, add another $25 a month. Good luck!

      Reply
  11. Rai'Vaughn

    Hello, I am a student graduating high school this may and currently live in Fort Washington, MD. I am planning on moving to somewhere in North Seattle or somewhere at least 30 minutes or so away from Shoreline Community College. I need help calculating moving costs along with the monthly utilities. Could you please give me an estimate of how much I would be spending during the move and for the year if I moved?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Rai’Vaughn,
      You can calculate an estimate yourself by doing a little online research.
      1.) Find out rent levels in North Seattle. You might even check if the school has a housing office or some advising for new students.
      2.) Decide how you’ll move – by car, U-Haul, etc. Then call for estimates or google.
      3.) We estimate utilities roughly at 20% of rent, but actual depends what is typically included in rent in the area.
      Let us know what you find, and we’ll double check. Good luck!

      Reply
  12. Ashley

    My fiancé and I are moving into a 1 bedroom, 660 sq ft apartment. We will have to pay for all utilities. Any ideas how much it’ll be?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Ashley,
      It’s not possible to estimate this very closely because you did not say where the apartment is located and what utilities you have to pay for. Electric? Trash? Water? Heat? Internet? It could be anywhere from $100 to $200+, if you live in a townhouse type situation in the South or West, with high water costs. Check with your landlord or the previous tenant, if you can, for a closer estimate. Good luck!

      Reply
  13. Emily

    I am doing a project for my duel enrollment course and I need to calculate the amount payed for electric and other utilities per month for a 523 sq. ft. apartment in Tampa, fl. I have tried to look up the averages for electric and other utilities bills per month but nothing has helped. high speed internet, waste disposal, heating, and AC are included in the monthly payments for the apartment.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Emily,
      If internet, waste disposal, heat and A/C are included in rent, you only have to pay extra for electric and possibly water. Assume about $50 for electric, and about $30-$50 for water. Good luck!

      Reply
  14. Yamila Serranod

    I’m doing an assignment for economics, and I would need to know what the average apartment utilities would cost.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Yamila,
      It depends on what size apartment, where in the country it’s located and what is included in rent.
      Our rule of thumb is in most areas you should plan to spend an amount equal to about 20% of your rent on utilities. So if your rent is $1,000, plan for $200.
      However, if you live in a large city with high rents, the amount is more like 10% of rent or even less for large expensive apartments. Also, utilities tend to be less in apartments in large rental buildings and more for townhouses and private homes.
      Also, google utility costs on our site for more information.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  15. Sarah Vample

    I’m looking for a 2 bedroom apartment for me, im due December and im not sure how much i.would be paying for electric.. is 150 too high?

    Reply
  16. Shelby

    My parents are charging me rent, even tho I don’t eat there & i work all day and do school at night.. so how much would 1 standard size bedroom use in cost for utilities?

    Reply
    • Shelby

      Also, they think i should pay 300 a month… I think 150 would be reasonable as all I do is sleep, and if I’m there just watch netflix.

      Reply
      • MFA Editors MFA Editors

        Hi Shelby,
        Not knowing where you live it’s hard to tell if a roommate share would be less than $300. In most places, probably not. And the fact that you only sleep in your room has no impact with the rent you’d pay unless you’d be happy with an airbed you use in the corner of someone’s living room. Also, someone has to pay for that Netflix.
        Shelby, parents are funny. Sometimes they have a hidden motive with things they do. If your parents don’t need your rent money for their household expenses, maybe they want you to learn what it is to have to pay rent monthly, before you go out to the cruel real world with a landlord who will not give you any slack. Or maybe they view the rent as forced savings and will help you when move out to your first apartment. Most likely, your parents are asking for the rent for your benefit to teach you what it is to live on your own.

        Reply
  17. Ali

    I’m looking for a 1 bed, 1 bath apartment. Roughly 700-750 sqft. In Georgia. I would like an average mothly break down of utilities (electric, heat/hot water, cable/Internet bundle…) so i can save according to make this move

    Reply
  18. MONICA

    Hello, I live in 1/1 apt n Casselberry FL, we used to have all included in the rent but with the new management everything change, raise the rent, and now e received an online bill, adm fees which is ridiculous they charge fir using the online service. also the way they disclose the utilities is horrible, my question is why the details are so wrong and confusing ( see below), when i ask them they can’t explain it.

    Water Base Fee (6/24/2016 – 7/25/2016) Base Fee Amt $10.72 Water (6/24/2016 – 7/25/2016) Occ: 1 Rate/Occ: 3.5500276 $3.55 Sewer Base Fee (6/24/2016 – 7/25/2016) Base Fee Amt $17.40 Sewer (6/24/2016 – 7/25/2016) Occ: 1 Rate/Occ: 15.1771823

    Do you understand what i mean and every month change.
    Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Monica,
      We are not familiar with this way of billing, but it appears that you are billed a base fee + add-on based on occupancy of one person. So you pay for water $10.72+$3.55 and sewer $17.40+$15.18. These amounts will probably change every month.
      The sewer bill looks very high, but perhaps that’s normal in Florida. Check with your neighbors to see what they pay. Or maybe one of our readers can explain if this is normal in Florida.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  19. Shelly

    I’m moving into a 2 bedroom 1 1/2 bath apartment, 2 adults in Pompano, FL. This is my first apartment so i an trying to get an estimate of the Electric and possibly water bill. While water is currently included for the next couple of months i would like to get an idea of how much water would cost per month. Thank you in advance

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Shelly,
      Since water bill is calculated based on usage, it’s tough to estimate. Ask your landlord what the typical bill is. You probably should budget $150-200 for water and electric, depending on season. Good luck!

      Reply
  20. Krystle V

    I’m moving in a 2+2 apartment 1 adult 2 small children in Lancaster, CA. I’m trying to figure out a average to budget for electric and gas? Help please and thank you

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Krystle V,
      Did you check out our utility survey. http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2015/08/average-utility-bill-survey/
      According to last summer’s survey 2BR/2BAs and apartments in Southwest paid:

      By Apartment Size 2 BRs Southwest
      Rent $1,425 $1,644

      Electric $91 $84
      Cable /Internet $78 $91
      Water 2.) $55 $50
      Garbage collection 2.) $28 $31
      Total Utilities Expense $252 $256
      As % of rent 18% 16%

      Hope that’s helpful.

      Reply
  21. Kelsey

    My boyfriend & I are moving into our first apartment it’s a 2 bedroom 1 bath , however is fairly small. How much a month would you say the electric & water will be? Also it is in Cape Girardeau , Mo which is southeast Missouri. thank you!

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kelsey,
      Your best bet is to ask the previous tenant, your landlord or your new neighbors. Our rule-of-thumb is that utilities run about 20% of your monthly rent, but without knowing anything about prices at your location, plan for $100-$150 range a month.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  22. Danette

    I’m considering moving into a 1 bedroom apartment. I’m trying to figure out the electricity bill average in the winter time would be in Blacksburg VA. Monthly. I live is a mobile home now with an old furnace not a heat pump. It’s way to high.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Danette,
      If the apartment does not have electric heating, the bill should not be more than $75 a month. If it has electric heating, then much depends on how well insulated the place is. You’d need to ask the landlord for an estimate or call the electric utility.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  23. jordan

    My friend and I may be moving into a 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom apartment in California. How much would just me have to pay on an average per month including all the utilites?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Jordan,
      There is no way to answer your question without a lot more information. Real estate prices and rents vary widely by market. Also, how much you make determines what rent the landlord thinks is reasonable fore you to carry. In California, a 2br, 2ba could rent for $750 in some area and $6,000 in others.
      Use our affordable rent calculator to figure out what the max you should pay for rent. Then estimate utilities at 20% of rent (10% if you are looking in a high rent urban market.)
      Good luck!

      Reply
  24. Sav

    Hi, is 200$ to much for water/sewage/electricity? I am about to move in my first apartment (1365 sq.ft) with two of my friends and that is the estimate they gave us for all three combined. Just wanted to know if that was to expensive for an apartment of that size?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Sav,
      $200 does not sound unreasonable for 3 people in that size apartment. Keep in mind that electric and water are metered and you pay by usage, so they will also vary by season and how long showers you take!
      Good luck!

      Reply
  25. Tatiana

    Hi, my friends and I are moving into a 4 bedroom apt in Brooklyn this September. The rent is $3000. I believe 1,000-1,200q ft. Heat/Gas and hot water is included. We won’t be getting cable as we have netflix and hulu etc. How much should we expect to be paying for utilities?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Tatiana,
      With 4 people you’ll have a lot of equipment using electricity so figure $100-150 in cooler months and double that in the hottest months if you have air conditioners running. You also need a pretty hefty internet package, so add another $100 for that. As a starting estimate, plan for $75-$100 per person a month, depending on season.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  26. Senia

    I am moving in to my very first apartments this june. It is a studio apartment. My monthly rent will be $495. No gas. its all electric. So I will have to pay for water and electric. So what should I expect my monthly payments be? I am a college student so I plan to work two jobs just to help get the bills paid and also stay in school.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Senia,
      If you cannot get a better estimate either from the previous tenant or the landlord, start by budgeting $100 a month for utilities. If the heating is also electric and you live in a cold climate, you may have to pay even more during the coldest months.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  27. Courtney

    My roommate and I are looking into an 2 bed 2 bath apartment about 980-1100 sq. the total rent is 750 with water sewer and trash included. Gas is paid for and all we would have to pay is electric. About how much would my monthly utilities be? Or should I expect them to be? We would have extra expenses such as cable tv and Internet usage

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Courtney,
      You should budget $75-$100 during 8-9 months of the year and double that during summer. However, if you live in the South and have to run your A/C most of the year, you should plan for at least $200 during most of the year.

      Reply
  28. Mya Mundell

    So me and a friend are getting our first apartment it’s a 2 bedroom 1 bath and its 852 sq. Ft. I was wondering how much I should expect for the utilize.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Mya,
      So much depends where you are located, which utilities are included in rent and which ones you have to pay for. Our rule-of-thumb is that utilities will be equal to about 20% of your rent, for a typical first apartment. If your rent is $1,000 then budget for $200. (It could end up being less if you live in temperate climate and don’t have to pay for water/sewage/trash.) If you are living in super high rent market (NYC, SF), then the estimate is more like 10% of rent.
      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  29. Fernando

    Hello, we are a family of 3, our rent is $1350 in san diego ca. We paid $40 dollar of electricity . Now the landlords is charching us $135 dollars of water, sewer and trash. I want to know if is legal for them to do that. There are families of 6 who paid $125.00, in the same building. Thanks for the help.

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Fernando,

      What does your lease say? If it says that you have to pay for water, sewer and trash collection separately, then you have to pay it. But you could always try to negotiate for a lower amount, if others are paying less. Perhaps the water usage, the biggest expense, can be separately metered for your unit.
      If the lease does not say anything about you having to pay for these expenses, then you can argue that they were included in your rent. In real estate, what is written in the lease or other contracts is usually the last word.

      Reply
  30. Alisha

    So I live in a 2 bedroom 1 floor apartment I pay $800 a month but my gas bill we’ll come out at $400 to $500 monthly I’m trying to figure out why and what I can do to stop this the radiator heaters are pretty or no, peco only be about $50 this is so sad PLEASE HELP

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Alisha,
      Where do you live? In Alaska? In a house with no insulation? Your gas bill sounds far too high for a 2BR apartment. Is it possible that someone else is tapping into your gas line? You need to ask your gas company to come ad check it out. They may be able to do an “energy audit” and tell you how you can lower your bill.
      Please let us know what you find out.

      Reply
  31. Summer harris

    If rent is 550/month and its me and my roomate splitting it. How much do you think utilities would be?

    Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Summer,
      So much depends what size apartment and what is included in the rent. Let’s assume a 1BR and you need to pay separately only for electricity ($60-75) and internet ($50), without cable TV. With that assumption, plan for $110-125/mo.
      If you can ask the current tenants what they are paying you’ll get the best estimate.
      Good luck.

      Reply
  32. Tina

    I don’t see how an average person would be paying over $1000 for a 1 room apartment. There are PLENTY of apartments in my area for well under $600, with “some paid utilities,” and I’ve lived in a house where the mortgage was $750 a month, for a duplex at that…

    Reply
    • Graham

      I agree, my apartment is one of the more expensive apartments in the area and I pay 800 a month. This article must cater to Jersey and NYC. Luckily for those kids a lot of them are trust fund brats.

      Reply
      • MFA Editors MFA Editors

        More likely, they are sharing a 2BR apartment with four roommates! You are very lucky to live in an area with great $800 apartments.

        Reply
      • Nicold

        That is a very arrogant comment to make. I live in jersey and that is not the case. And I do not know many people who are as you call it ‘trust fund brats’. I have worked very hard to accomplish what I have accomplished. I am a full time college student and have maintained a 3.8 GPA while holding a full-time job. Because without my job I cannot pay for college or pay my bills. So I resent your comment. My question is why you think this is the case! The only thing I can think is you are uneducated on the people here in jersey!

        Reply
        • Vanessa S.

          Good Lord, calm down. My question…. why are you so offended by their ‘assumptions’?? Which actually make sense because many know that both in NY and/or California, the apartments ARE a lot higher than say Florida or other states. It’s not like they’re attacking you personally. & they’re NOT arrogant for saying what they said.

    • Sandra

      FYI…the average cost of rent in San Francisco is $3,500. If rent cost $800/ month we would not have so many people that are homeless or on the verge of losing their home.

      Feel blessed.

      Reply
    • Holly

      It 100% depends on the area. Where I live (In Northern Virginia) if you can get a 1BR 1BA for only $1000 that’s a crazy find and you better take it quick! In order to get anything halfway decent (and this is coming from a 24 yr old, so halfway decent, isn’t that nice) you’re going to have to spend significantly more than that unless you are only renting a room (single rooms usually run 700-1200). So be grateful, haha.

      Reply
    • MFA Editors MFA Editors

      Hi Kathleen,

      Cooking gas is typically included in rent. If your apartment is heated by gas, you should find out from your future landlord or the previous tenant, if possible, how much you should expect to pay a month. We are planning to survey utility costs again in the middle of the winter, including heating costs around the country.
      Did you notice that we have made an infographic of the July Utility Survey results.
      Good luck to your first apartment from the MFA Team.

      Reply