average utility costs

Average Utility Costs for a Small Apartment in San Francisco

San Francisco is the city by the bay in California and is often considered one of the most international cities in America. However, there is a cost attached to that. 

It has the fifth-highest cost of living in the United States, so you need to have some money to be able to afford to live in the city. 

Naturally, the rent price is most likely going to be the first thing that people look at when deciding where to live. 

However, an underrated factor here is average utility costs. These may sneak up on you, so you need to pay attention to the cost of utilities. 

So, what are the average utility costs in San Francisco apartments? Let’s take a look. 

Internet

Living in San Francisco, you should know that this is an important utility to consider. The Bay Area is considered to be one of the tech capitals of the world, and one where a lot of startups made their marks like Apple, Google, and Facebook. 

The starting cost of internet in San Francisco is about $35 per month. However, for faster internet speeds such as on fiber internet with 60 Mbps or more, you are looking more at around $63 per month. 

Of course, whether you are living alone may be a factor in your internet bill. If you are the only one using it, then you may have less data used if you are on a limited plan. 

However, if multiple roommates need the same router, you may need an unlimited plan and a package that has higher internet speed, which will increase your monthly bill. 

Electricity 

One big advantage to San Francisco is the fact that the climate is very pleasant. This means that your electric bill will be lowered than in other major cities because you will not need to use the air conditioning nearly as often. 

The average electric bill in San Francisco is about $73 per month.

This includes things such as air conditioning, lighting for every room in your apartment, supplying power lines to be able to use all of your appliances, and certain appliances like a hairdryer. 

California, in general, does not use as much electricity because the heat is very mild in northern California compared to other parts of the country. 

With that said, your bill may vary depending on how big your apartment is. Having roommates may benefit here if you are on the same page about air conditioning. Then, you could split the cost of powering common areas such as a living room, kitchen, or bathroom. 

Gas

The gas bill is also generally pretty reasonable in San Francisco. If you are living here, you can expect to pay around $70 per month. 

This mainly covers things such as your stove and oven. Also, it can cover a fireplace and your heat. However, in California, winters are very mild, so it is not common to have to use your heat. 

Factors here can include how much you or your roommates cook, and if one of you is more sensitive to some mild cold than the others. 

Water

Most of the time, your water bill is included when you rent an apartment. However, if it is not included, the bill is usually pretty reasonable. 

The average water bill for a San Francisco apartment runs around $12 per month

Cable 

This depends on what type of package you want. For absolute basic plans, it can be as low as $25 per month. 

However, if you want all of the channels included, and sign up for subscription packages, you could be looking at a cable bill of $200-300 per month. 

This one greatly depends on you, because the size of your apartment is not really a factor. Ways you can cut down on this one are if you have roommates willing to contribute, or just switch to streaming services. 

Streaming Services

A popular alternative to cable is streaming services. Here, you are only paying for what you want, and it is becoming a bigger and bigger utility to have to factor in.

The cost will depend on what streaming service you go with and how many you go with. 

Netflix has a premium plan for $17.99 per month. HBO Max offers a standard subscription for $14.99 per month. 

Then, there are bundles such as the Disney Bundle, which includes Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+, which is $13.99 per month. 

Parking 

Then, there is parking in San Francisco. This can be one of the most difficult cities in the country to find open land to park in, and it WILL cost you. 

In this city, it will run you about $340 per month. Of course, this is not something that everyone is going to be willing or able to pay. 

Some will just opt to take public transportation with the SFMTA instead, as the city is known to be one of the best in the country for public transportation. 

Total Average Utility Costs 

Now you can add all of this up. But, the truth is, the answer will vary based on what you need. If you add parking to your utilities, then your bill goes up by about $4,000 per year. 

Having cable instead of streaming services can add $150 per month to your utility cost. But, adding all of this up, you could be looking at utility bills of around $9,030 PER YEAR in San Francisco. 

Don’t Forget Your Utilities

It is important to remember that all of these items do have a price. Average utility costs are not cheap in San Francisco, and that $9,000+ total may be too much for some people, considering the average American family spends maybe half of that on typical utilities and cable/streaming combined. 

Do you need to save money on your living expenses, but do not know if you would be willing to take a studio apartment to do it? Check out this guide to typical studio apartment size. 

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