Even without a pandemic, housing costs vary substantially across the country. With millions of jobs in jeopardy these days, uncertainly looms even larger for both families and single people. Many are considering relocating to a different state for better job opportunities, to be closer to loved ones, or just for a new life experience.
Atlanta has experienced unparalleled growth in the past 20 years. The certified city population has remained at around 420,000, but the metro population has grown in the past decade from 2.9 million to 4.1 million people — a jump of nearly 40 percent.
With a median home cost of $275,000, housing costs are lower in Atlanta than they are in many other cities. Of course, you also have to consider the other costs of living here to get a complete picture. Utility costs are especially important, as they are necessary regardless of your other spending choices.
Before you make a big move, consider these facts about the utility costs in the Peach State’s most famous city.
The Basics: Electricity, Heating, Water, and Internet
Atlanta has the fifth-highest overall monthly utility bill average in the country. For a single-family home, monthly electricity costs average $126.38; natural gas costs $99.33; water costs $70.39; internet around $60 a month; and basic cable TV service $85 for a total of $441.10 each month. Nationwide, the average total cost for these services is $384.24.
A Numbeo.com report from May 2019 found that a basic utility package for a 915-square-foot apartment in Atlanta would cost $151.66. That includes electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage. If you want to add reliable internet access, you’ll pay another $64 a month, slightly higher than the $62.51 U.S. average.
How to Save on Utilities
Energy-saving appliances really work. An old refrigerator or freezer can make your electric bill soar, even if it’s in good shape. If you live in a place built in the past 10 years, you may already have energy-efficient appliances. For renters and homeowners alike, it’s a good plan to invest a few hundred dollars in energy-saving washers and dryers, stoves, microwaves, refrigerators, heaters, and humidifiers. Energy Star labels are prominently displayed on new appliances that can save you at least $100 a year on power bills.
In a city like Atlanta, where 90 percent of households have central air conditioning to survive the city’s sweltering heat and humidity in the summer, a smart thermostat can really help reduce your electric bill. Instead of keeping your empty home at 68 so that it’s comfortable when you return to it after work, invest in a smart thermostat. These energy-saving, cost-effective devices let you program temperatures so you don’t waste money keeping your place cool or warm when you’re away. Most models are controllable via smartphone, too, allowing you to control the temperature in your home no matter where you are, so you can always walk into a cool home without wasting that luxury on an empty house.
Compare Internet Providers
As smartphones get smarter and more adaptable with every upgrade, many PCs and laptops sit gathering dust. If you only need an internet connection for kids’ homework, stop paying for fast, reliable connections for all the computers in your home. It’s also a good idea to explore bundle plans that offer discounts on phone, cable, and internet services if you purchase all of them from a single provider.
Unplug to Save Money
Unplugging large appliances when they’re not in use can save you significant amounts of money by eliminating phantom charges that accrue when these appliances are idle. From stoves to washers, dryers, and TVs, every appliance still uses power when it’s turned off. Invest in timer strips so you can easily disconnect these appliances at a prescribed time each day using easy-to-set timers. Of course, you can always use regular power strips and manually turn them off.
Now that you know the basics behind Atlanta’s utility costs, here are a few more facts that may be helpful in informing your decision to move there.
In 2018, data collected by EducatedDriver.org found that the average daily commute in Atlanta was around 62 minutes, among the worst in the US. If you prefer public transit, a 30-day pass for MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) costs $96.
Data collected by Numbeo.com in May 2020 also found that not including rent or mortgage payments, it costs $3,514.33 a month to sustain a four-person family in Atlanta, and $981.05 for a single person. Atlanta’s cost of living index is 75.06 percent, 24.94 percent lower than in New York. The Atlanta ranking is number 61 out of 488 cities worldwide. Average rent costs in Atlanta are 53.51 percent lower than those in New York.