By: Rachel Semple
Bills can be quite the nuisance each month. Between remembering to pay them and figuring out what they should be for your budget, it’s complicated when you first move to a new place and are trying to get settled so you know what to expect.
The standard bills that most people have are usually the same: Rent, utilities (think: water, sewer, electric, gas), cable/TV, internet, cell phone and insurance.
Rental and mortgage prices vary drastically depending on the city in which you live. The median monthly rent in the U.S. is currently at about $934 per month, while the average monthly mortgage payment is around $1,061. Make sure to budget your monthly finances to cover your rent or mortgage payments accordingly.
Utilities can vary, depending on where you live and what the policies are. For example, it’s common for some apartment complexes to roll water, trash and/or sewer fees into monthly rent and coordinate those services for you. Those fees are usually relatively low, around $50 per month or less.
Also depending on where you live, you may pay a monthly utility bill for electricity and/or gas. This will typically be your largest bill each month (next to your rent or mortgage payment, of course) because it’s how you heat or cool your place, how the lights are powered, how the dishwasher operates, how the stove runs, and how your washer and dryer get their energy too. These expenses can vary widely, depending on a bunch of factors:
A first floor apartment is more expensive to heat and less expensive to cool–because heat rises–and vice versa for a higher level apartment. And, electric tends to be a bit more expensive than gas. During especially warm or cool months, your utility bill could be up to $200 or more if you are using the heating/air conditioning a lot.
Cable / TV
Cable is one of the more widely debated monthly utility bills, due to “cord-cutting Millennials” who prefer Netflix, Hulu, nothing, or some combination of streaming services to a traditional cable provider.
But, if you do choose to be a rebel and keep the TV, there are some options. Sling TV, a service similar to regular television that relies on internet streaming, is available for as little as $20 a month, according to a great breakdown by CNET. Traditional cable providers offer a few different plans that can cost you around $100 per month, or more if you want specific channels. There are also options to pair this bill with your internet in most plans. So, your monthly bill could be as little as $20 or even way more than $100.
There’s no denying that the internet is now one of the utilities that most households can’t live without. Depending on the speed you’re looking for, the purpose your internet will serve and whether you choose to buy or rent your router, your monthly internet bill could be around $50 to $100. A good service for streaming and basic use, but not heaving videogaming, tends to run about $60 a month for the first year, and may increase after that. Comcast also charges $10 a month to rent a router, if you choose not to buy one upfront.
If you’re on your own plan, this expense can vary quite a bit depending on your needs. But, it’s safe to say that if you could pay anywhere from $45 - $100 each month for a plan of one, depending on the amount of data in the plan.
Insurance (Rental, Home, & Car)
Rental Insurance: Don’t try to go without this one. It seems like a sneaky way to not have to shell out some extra money every month, but if something bad happens you WILL regret it. What does renter’s insurance cover? Here’s a handy guide on the basics. Your average renter’s insurance will cost you $200 a year, or less than $20 a month.
Homeowners Insurance: Similar to rental insurance, just if you own instead of rent your house. Usually costs a little over $100 a month, depending on the state.
Car Insurance: If you have a car, you need to have car insurance. Here is the minimum car insurance requirements by state. The average car insurance monthly cost is between $100 - $200 per month.