What is a Utility Bill: Guide and Costs

By PropertyClub Team
Jun 12th 2022
Public utilities are essential goods or services available to the general public, including gas, water, and electricity. But just because they are open to the public doesn’t mean they’re free. A utility bill is a charge you’ll receive for using one of these services. Typically, you’ll pay utility bills monthly and separately from your rent, as they’re rarely included.

hash-markHow Much Are Utility Bills?

Each utility bill can range from as little as twenty dollars to a few hundred dollars a month, depending on the size of your home and monthly consumption. Overall, the average household pays around $311 in monthly utility bills. 

Utilities are an additional expense you must factor into your monthly budget on top of your rent or mortgage and other essential living expenses, so it’s helpful to know what you should expect.

hash-markMost Common Utility Bills

  • Electricity
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Sewer, Trash & Other Bills
  • Internet
  • Cable


Unless you plan on living by candlelight, you will need to connect to the power grid to light your home. How much you can expect to pay depends on the size of your home and family and your consumption habits. The average monthly electric bill in the US in 2021 was $117.46. Depending on where you live and how much energy you consume, you may spend more or less. But plan on spending at least an additional $100 per month on electricity.

Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill 

  1. Turn off the lights whenever you leave the room
  2. Avoid running the AC longer than its needed
  3. Make sure all your doors and windows are tightly sealed, so no heat leaks out


Water is essential to human life as we know it, so you need to have a solid water supply to live comfortably. Not only do you need drinking water, but you’ll also need it for cooking, bathing, washing dishes, and various other uses. But just because it’s essential doesn’t mean it’s free. The average family spends about $1000 per year on their water bill, which translates to about $83 per month. So, make sure to save room in your budget for this extra expense.

Ways to Save on Your Water Bill

  1. Take shorter showers
  2. Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth
  3. Avoid running half loads of dishes or laundry


Natural gas is often used for heating homes and generating electricity. About 50% of homes in the US are heated using fossil fuels. So if you fall into this category, you will have to pay an additional gas bill each month. The cost of a gas bill can vary and may often be grouped with electricity as one bill. But according to the American Gas Association, the average annual gas bill is $667, which translates to about $55 per month.

Ways to Save on Your Gas Bill

  1. Install a SMART thermostat to automate the heating in your home
  2. Perform an energy audit to see where you are potentially losing heat
  3. Shop around to find out if your supplier is overcharging

hash-markSewer, Trash & Other Bills

In addition to your primary utility bills, there may be other goods and services you may need to access to live comfortably. For example, depending on where you live, you may have to pay for trash pickup or sewer access. Plus, you will have modern conveniences like your phone bill, internet, and cable.


Internet is practically an essential utility these days, so you should factor it into your budget. The average internet bill is around $60 per month, but this can increase or decrease depending on how much broadband speed you need. The cheapest internet plans can start at around $20, while the fastest fiber internet can cost over $100 a month. 

How to Save On Your Internet Bill

Internet is usually a fixed bill that won’t fluctuate with usage, so the best way to save is to choose a plan that makes sense for you or your family. Besides picking a plan that fits your expected usage, the best way to save on your internet bill is to shop around and choose the provider that offers the best pricing. If you also plan on getting cable or phone service, you can often bundle internet with other services to get a good discount. 


Cable is another consideration, especially for families. But it isn’t cheap, and packages can range from $40 per month for basic cable to $200 for premium packages. So, if you watch a lot of television, you should carefully decide whether the extra channels are worth the added expense.

How to Save on Your Cable Bills

Cord-cutting is becoming a regular phenomenon, especially among younger generations who prefer on-demand streaming. So, if you’re looking to save money, a Netflix subscription is cheaper than a basic cable package.

hash-markHow to Budget for Your Utility Bills 

So now that you understand all the standard utility bills, it’s essential to create a budget to stay on top of all your expenses. You can use this guide as a reference to create a rough outline, then adjust as needed. 

If you’re moving into a new home or apartment, you may need to wait a few months to determine how much of each utility you use on average. If you need help creating a budget, there are apps that can help you track your finances. 

Personal finance experts recommend spending about 50% of your income on rent and bills – so to estimate how much you should be spending, just divide your monthly income in half and subtract your ret. That will give you a ballpark figure of how much you should spend on utilities.