Friday, January 25, 2013

Changes to the Utilities

This is probably boring....but hey, they all can't be riveting!

I mentioned that we got this weird electric bill.  We have been paying $104 on the budget plan, and this month was settle-up month.  The bill was $213.  I spoke to 3 different people, and no one could explain to me how the system calculated this. 

The closest I could come up with was $206.  I am tired of dealing with this.  So we will pay the $213 to "settle-up" and then go off of the "formal" budget plan.  We will still budget a set amount for us personally, and the extra will go into the "irregular" account, so in the summer when we know the bill goes up, we will have the extra saved up.

I don't know why the electric company makes this so hard.  But when no one can even explain the bill....forget it.

Home Phone
It is gone!  After many years of not using it, we finally pulled the plug on it.  We each have a cell phone, and our plan includes unlimited minutes.  The home phone really only rang when it was a solicitor, and even then we didn't pick it up.

I had kept it around "for the kids" but eventually came to realize that by the time the kids really are interested in the phone....they will probably have their own cell phone, and probably won't even be TALKING, they will be texting.

So we have $36 more in the monthly budget.

So far we seem to be right on track.  We typically get the last fill up of the season in April and from a dollar stand point, we will be right about even (as in we have paid for the oil via budget, without a credit or debit).

Technically our budget plan ends in August, which means we are supposed to continue to pay our $329 a month through August.   If things keep going like this, we will end up with about a $1000 credit going into the next year.  The good thing about this, is that it will help bring down the monthly budget amount for next year.  The bad thing is that is $1000 that could go elsewhere.

We never know what the budget cap rate is going to be.  This year it was 3.74.  One year it was 2.99.  One year it was 4.29.  All of that effects the monthly cost.  I am going to have to decide if I want the credit, or if I want to call them and forgo the credit (by not paying through the summer), and chancing that the rate will stay about the same for the coming year.

The oil company is really good with working with people, but they don't know what the rate is going to be.  It literally changes daily.  If prices soar, and the rate goes up to $5.00, then we will wish we had a credit to offset it.  If the prices drop, then we will continue to have this credit and it will be 18 months before it evens out.

Right now the plan is to wait until summer and see where the prices are.  I would love to take that $1000 and put it elsewhere, but not at the risk that our oil bill goes from $329 a month to $500 a month.


  1. Nice on the phones. The oil part sounds tricky... so expensive if it can go all the way to $500/mo! Glad they're willing to work with you, but wish they could find a way to stabilize it a bit...

    1. The highest we paid was $517 a month....just for oil. It was HORRIBLE. And honestly, that year we used our CC alot because gas and food prices were so high.

  2. We stopped the budget thing with all utilities... We cut the land line a few years back and have never missed it since...We don't have the heating oil you have and your wise to budget that because of the varying price raises... it's like a savings account for you only in oil credit.. not bad to have that set aside..

    I have only been reading your blog for a few weeks and have learned a lot..

    One thing we cut also was the newspaper.. We can get all info on line now.. It was hard at first not having it in my hands... Just like it is with books...I have both and probably will never give up on the real books..

    Stay on track you doing great...Lisa

  3. I so wish you could convert to natural gas oil is just so expensive.

    1. That is a whole other discussion. If we are going to do it, it would have to be this fall. But I am doubtful that we can come up with the money for it. MAYBE next year.

  4. I admire your going forward with getting rid of the phone. Kat and I have talked of doing that for years, and finally last year I called the cable company to cancel, but they offered us an amazing deal on our "bundle" (phone, internet, cable tv) if we kept it. Unfortunately that amazing price is now expired. I really need to get a move on and cancel the phone. Like you, we don't use it.

    1. We went back and forth for years. When the kids were little, I wanted to make sure we had 911 (because, yes....we have had to call them). But we are way past that now, so it was time.

      Good luck with your decision!

  5. I don't think you will miss having land line. We got rid of it 3 years ago and never looked back!

  6. Are you able to lock your rate in? I know my Uncle is able to lock his oil rate in, in June but like he said its like betting in poker sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses. I do know that he always calls them in June and tries for a discount if they come out and fill the tank then. Usually they do. We have gas heat so my monthly budget stays pretty much the same

    1. Yes, we can lock our rate, but it all depends on what the rate is at that moment. The catch is that we actually have to pay to lock in the rate! We have 2 choices....we can lock in the rate, and no matter what the going rate is, you pay XYZ. OR, you can purchase the "protection" plan, and if the daily rate drops below your locked in rate, you get that cheaper rate (on the day that get your oil). It is a total crap shoot. If you lock in and it is on the high tend to pay the protection plan. If your rate is on the lower side, you can gamble it and just lock it.

      I have done it both ways. The year we locked in at 2.99, I didn't get the protection.