When you are moving whether to a rented apartment, a leased house or a bought home, one of the important things you must settle immediately are the utilities. Now, you might be wondering how much are the utilities that you must consider to include in your budgeting for monthly expenses? Lucky you, I can give you an idea with how much our small family spent on utilities! All you have to do is read on…
When we moved to basement apartment, utilities are already included in our monthly rate. However, that’s not how it worked in our leased house. The monthly utility bills are paid out of our own pockets separated from the lease rate.
So what are the utilities that you must include in your budget? The essential ones are gas, water and electricity. On the other hand, we can put the cable, internet, and telecommunication in non-critical category.
In the Durham Region, the provider of gas is called Enbridge Gas. They provide the water heating, house heating and gas for cooking (in case you are using gas stoves). For a small family like us, 2 adults and a baby, our monthly bill was around $130.
For electricity, Oshawa Power and Utilities Corporation (OPUC) is the provider in our city. Aside from the electricity distribution services, they also develop, construct and operate energy generation projects in Ontario. We pay around $78 every month to OPUC.
Durham Region Water Billing is the agency that covers water distribution system in our region, hence it is what we needed to contact in setting up our account for this home utility. We pay them every 3 months and our average bill amounts to $275 (and that’s $91.67 per month).
Tip: You can actually set up a pre-authorized payment in each of these utilities to avoid late payments. It is so easy to setup, some requires you to send a filled up form to the establishment’s email or you can just call them and let the agent help you all the way!
Now we go to non-critical utilities…
My husband and I don’t usually watch TV shows, and that’s the reason why we did not have this installed. We do have TV but we use it for watching movies and series via Netflix and for playing PS4 games.
But for the purpose of the discussion, I will still cover this to give my readers an idea on how much do you usually pay for this service. Let’s use my in-law’s provider as an example. Bell Canada offers bundle services, and that includes internet, TV and home phone. This is actually a great deal knowing you are paying a single fee for all those services, and of course you are definitely saving some bucks when you get bundles instead of paying them individually.
As of the writing, the lowest monthly fee for Bell bundles is worth $114.90, wherein you will get the major networks in television, upto 10Mbps download speed with unlimited monthly internet usage, as well as unlimited calling within Canada and the U.S. But if you have more money to spend, then you can get their most expensive deal amounting to $204.90. All of these have additional charges, such as tax and installation fee.
If you are like us who completely depend on the internet and gives up the cable TV because we believe we won’t maximize its value, then you are just weighing the opportunity cost of this choice. Deciding to give up an option means you don’t want to lose the potential gain from another alternative. And that alternative could be an emergency fund or budget for eat-out!
My husband decided to sign up with Fido since he has been their customer for more than 5 years. The service was okay and the only problem we had was when the internet connection becomes disconnected, which we experienced 3 times within a year. We just had to restart the modem and it will get connected again to the internet. Other than that, we are happy with $36 a month home internet in which we are very sure that the fee was not put into waste.
The last utility that I will be talking about is the mobile phone network. We ditched the home phone because we realized we only need our personal mobile phones to communicate when we are away from each other.
As I’ve mentioned on Home Internet, my husband was already a Fido subscriber with his phones. Yes, he has changed his phone many times but kept the plan and the same number. Currently, he was given 10 GB data for just a monthly charge of $90.10. In comparison to mine that is worth $72/month but I only have 3 GB data (previously I had 5GB but the promo has ended already). Look how big the difference in our plan is. Both has unlimited calls to Canada, by the way.
Tip: If you have been in a mobile network company for at least 2 years, try asking if the have some offers available specifically to you. Yes, they have offers to the general audience every now and then, but believe me, they might have something in their system that you can pull out just by asking them right away!
I hope you learned something from this post that is part of the Cost of Living in Canada series. Thank you for reading and have an awesome day!