If you didn’t have to pay your utility bill, what would you do with the extra money? Maybe you’d put it into relaxing getaways and vacations, or maybe you’d try that hobby you always wanted to start.
The painful truth is that we all have to deal with utility costs, no matter what we’re saving for. But is there any way to cut them down?
If you’re weighing your options for where to move next, or you’re getting into your first solo apartment, utility bills can be a serious factor to consider, especially if you are trying to save money. To make your move easier, consider hiring professional movers so you can focus on other areas of your move.
Here is what you can generally expect to pay in utility costs and how to lower them.
How Much Do Home Utilities Cost Per Month?
There is no set number when it comes to the amount of money you need to set aside for utilities. Many factors affect how much you spend, such as where you live, how many people live in your household, and what you do to save on utility costs (like keeping lights off most of the time or using as little A/C as possible).
Your bill typically includes electricity, gas, internet, cable, and water. According to a utility analysis by Move.org, a typical American household spends $5,064 on utilities each year, which translates to $422.08 a month. And that’s if you don’t include phone costs and streaming services, which ends up adding up to $200 per month per household!
If we look at prices by state, we can see that Alaska residents usually pay the most, while Idaho seems to have the cheapest utility cost.
How To Lower Utility Costs
You can save up to 25% on your utility costs by adjusting your habits. Here are some ideas to help you save money.
Your refrigerator and freezer should be well-sealed to keep the cold air in and the hot air out. Doors and windows work the same. A leaky seal allows hot or cool air to escape, resulting in a drain on your pocketbook as well.
Air conditioners consume enormous amounts of electricity either way, so the last thing you want is to waste it on windows that aren’t sealed properly. It’s essential to seal up any entryways where heat or air conditioning might escape.
If your thresholds aren’t weather-sealed, you can also use door draft guards at all entrances.
Use Energy-Efficient Products
If you’re looking for a new washer, dishwasher, or water heater, choose an energy-efficient model — in the long run, the savings add up. A dishwasher with the Energy Star label must consume 3.5 gallons or less of water every cycle, as opposed to the more than 10 gallons used by some earlier models.
Refrigerators, HVAC systems, water heaters, dehumidifiers, TVs, and washers and dryers are the most frequently used appliances, so you should swap them for energy-efficient versions as soon as you can.
Not every energy-efficient product requires you to invest a lot of money. If you’re still using regular light bulbs, replace them with LEDs and save up to $75 per year. Look for the Energy Star label on them as well.
Optimize Energy Use
Tweaking your energy consumption might seem easy, but old habits die hard. Still, you may find the changes worthwhile after seeing how much money you save — seemingly small changes can pile up and make a significant impact on your utility bill.
Here are some money-saving tips you can start practicing today:
- Take shorter showers
- Don’t leave the water running while you brush your teeth
- Turn lights off whenever possible
- Use cold water when doing laundry
- Turn off heat or AC as much as possible
- Unplug appliances as soon as you’re done with them
Since costs can change based on your location and utility service provider, take a look at the line items on your bill to see which activities will save you the most money.
Replace Old Parts
Fix leaking showerheads and faucets. That dripping is not only frustrating, but it also wastes tons of water.
A water-saving showerhead may save you up to 2,700 gallons of water each year! Find one that has a WaterSense label, as it meets all the efficiency requirements set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
See if Your Utility Company Has Deals
Some utility companies provide lower rates at specific times of the day or on weekends, making washing and other highly energy-consuming tasks cheaper by 5% to 25% during the “cheap” hours.
Also, shop around when your contract ends because utility prices always change — you might be overpaying in general.
Many utility providers will also perform audits so you can see exactly where you’re spending too much.
Is a Move in Your Future?
Many factors add to what utilities cost, but the good thing is, you can help lower them.
You don’t have to jump right away to order a new set of appliances and spend all of your savings. Starting small is enough. Reduce your shower time, unplug all electrical devices after use, and try to at least swap the appliances that you already planned to upgrade soon.
Another option is moving to a cheaper city; it’s a radical step, but if you already plan on moving, it’s a good idea to research places with low costs of living.
If you’re considering relocating to a place with lower utility costs and lower costs of living, here are the six most popular places to move in America.