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Posts tagged with: electric bill

A/C is on….

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It could only last so long, right?

After our outrageous electric bill back in February I turned the A/C totally OFF and it has remained that way ever since. The impact on our bill has been HUGE! Our most recent bill (to be paid this month) is less than one hundred dollars! I think that’s the lowest electric bill we’ve ever received!!!

In my last budget update I’d mentioned that I wasn’t sure how long it would last. We’ve had a few days in the mid-90’s temperature range, and it’s been a little tough to deal with the heat lingering around well into the night. Even so, I was secretly hoping to leave the A/C fully off until after our cruise (which would put us in early May).

Not so much. heh.

I got home the other day from work after what had been another day in the mid-90s and the FIRST thing I notice is a sound….the sound of the air conditioner running.

Gotta love sweet hubs. He set the thermostat at 80 degrees, so it’s still quite high and the A/C isn’t running for long. But he’d been off work early that day and the house was just too hot to handle. Fine. So we compromised on an 80* setting for the time being.

I don’t anticipate this having a huge impact on our electric bill or anything. Living in Tucson we have some HOT summers so we always have higher electric bills in summer when the A/C is busy cranking away for most of the day. But it makes it a bit more “real.” Summer is right around the corner. The hot temps are already coming in full-force. It will be interesting what next month’s bill will be.

 


Wash-A-Palooza

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Only a couple short days after publishing this post about our outrageous electricity bill, our family was stricken with an evil illness bug that has yet to fully eradicate our home!

First, Child 1 is ill (throw-up type of sickness).

Three days later, Child 2 is ill (throw-up type of sickness).

Two days later, hubs and I become ill (thankfully neither of us actually vomited, but just a general run-down, achy type of exhaustion).

One day later, now Child 1 has pink eye.

One day later, now Child 2 has pink eye.

Two days later, now I’m pretty sure allergy season is kicking in and my seasonal allergies are driving me crazy.
Sooo, yeah. Lots of illness. It’s been quite the struggle trying to balance child-care (obviously cannot attend preschool while vomiting and/or having pink-eye) and work.

And the other big implication is that I’ve been doing a LOT of laundry. Obviously my allergies cannot be passed by contact, but all of the other illnesses I mentioned CAN. And therefore, I’ve been on a house-cleaning rampage:  laundering every towel, pillow case, sheet, blanket, etc. that has come in contact with anyone who has been ill. It’s ridiculous. I think on a single day I managed to do nearly 10 loads of laundry (the majority of which were bedding or towels).

Aside from this little snafu, we’ve actually been doing pretty well trying to keep our electricity usage under control.

I’ve yet to turn on the A/C even a single time since writing about our electric bill. Even though here in Tucson we’re seeing highs already in the mid-80s, I’ve just been living with the warmth, opening doors and windows to let in the cool morning air, and spending time outdoors in the sunshine (where, magically, mid-80s feels glorious! How’s that work? Indoors a mid-80s temp feels sweltering but outside it feels like heaven!?)

I’m going to see how long I can last without turning on the A/C at all. We definitely warm up here much faster than the rest of the country (some of which, I realize, is still below freezing as I’m bragging about our gorgeous weather). So I’ll be happy if I can make it until mid-March. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, excuse me posts are a little less frequent. I have lots of topic ideas I need to actually sit down and write, but time is limited given all the catch-up I’m playing at work since I had to spend so much time in doctor’s offices and at home with sick kids last week. You can all relate, right?

In that regard, is this some type of cosmic come-back? I was bragging just the other day about how long it had been since anyone in the family had been sick. I made it the entire Fall semester without missing work a single day for my own or my children’s health issues. But this semester has been one set-back after another! Ugh! Here’s hoping it quickly passes (and that my allergies don’t flare up just as other illnesses subside. Sigh).

Happy Moan-day! Har har har!


Staying Cool is a Breeze

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Every night I listen to the air conditioning click on and off all night.  I turn it down to 68 at night because I can’t sleep when I’m hot.  But every time I hear it click on lately I’ve been starting to panic about our electric bill because it’s been running ALOT!

On top of that, without a programmable thermostat, I will often forget during the day to turn it back up for just can’t stand the thought of being hot while I work!

So I’ve been anxiously awaiting the bill…it came in today.  $132!  I am so relieved.  This means I don’t have to “sweat” running the a/c as often as I have!

Another argument is my book for staying in our shaded, first floor cozy apartment this year I might add when talking about our Housing Options.


Consumption…

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The roommates have been out about a month now and we are starting to receive our very first utility bills for just the two of us. We all used the same common areas and shared the TV so I didn’t anticipate much of a dip when they left. Sure the water bill would drop a little but that’s it…

Or so I thought.

The water bill did drop a little, only about $20. Since our water bills are sent every two months, this wasn’t a full cycle for two of us, but it’s a pretty good indicator of what we’ll be paying next time.

The cable bill dropped more than $30. They took their cable box and DVR with them and I didn’t realize the monthly expense of the extra cable box. That’s what I get for writing checks and not reading bills!

The most shocking bill of all? Electric. Since we’ve had roommates from the day we moved into our home, we never knew what the total would be without them. The statement would always hover between $135 and $160 per month. This month? $78.

We don’t have roommates to cover half the bills BUT…

Overall, we aren’t that far from what we’ve been paying.

Who knew we were so ‘green’!!??!!


Finding Odd Jobs…

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A reader asked how my husband and I find odd jobs.

First, and most important, we rarely do work for people we, or someone close to us, doesn’t know. I do not trust Craigslist for anything other than used doggie kennels and throw rugs. My husband mainly does work for friends and family – someone always needs a sink fixed or a toilet repaired. Let people around you know you’re willing to help.

I do accounting work for the company I worked for a few years ago. They are often short staffed and need an extra hand. I let them know I’m always available. It makes it easy when they already have my tax reporting information and I don’t have to keep records.

Second, if we do work for someone we don’t know, we keep it under $100. My husband is sometimes approached by fellow customers in home repair stores. There’s something about him that radiates honesty and good heartedness – maybe it’s because he is. If the job is too large, he refers them to a reputable company. It’s not worth the risk of not getting paid.

Third, be good at what you do, stay on top of trends in your industry, and be honest. My husband is extremely talented and is always reading construction magazines. He is never dishonest and will likely throw in work for free. Ninety percent of his work is from referrals. Happy people will tell their friends about you.

Fourth, pay close attention to the laws about certain types of work. California is stringent on almost everything. Working here without some sort of licensing is illegal for many trades. For example, construction work is limited to $500 (including material) if you do not have a contractor’s license. It’s also important to report all income when tax time rolls around. Nothing is worth the risk or penalties of an IRS audit. Also, if you are on unemployment, money from side work MUST be reported and will likely result in a reduction of benefits.

Fifth, don’t expect to make a ton of money. Usually, we make just enough for groceries or to cover what we’re short on an electric bill. It takes a lot of time and the money is little.

Again, I’m no expert. Before doing any type of side work, check with your local government authority and your tax advisor.


Making wise home improvements…

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About a year and a half ago, my husband said, ‘The shower pan is cracked and water is leaking. If we leave it, we will destroy our bathroom and mold will grow. I’m going to take out the bottom row of tiles, replace the shower pan, and replace the bottom row of tiles.’

I left to housesit for a co-worker and came home to …

Bathroom 2

My husband explained that he had discovered mold under the floor and in the walls and decided to replace everything to be safe.

So why… why… why… did I assume that when we intended to insulate the separation closet wall in a 50 year old house, that we would simply be able to insulate the closet wall?

This is our spare bedroom as of today…

P8311412

A few days ago, my husband asked if he could insulate all four walls. We both agreed that as long as we had one wall down, we should take down the remaining three walls, fix the electrical, and fix the phone line. Total tab so far? $142. I am so very thankful to be married to a talented construction man.

When making decisions like these, it’s hard not to want to put it off until later or take the easy way out. What we constantly have to consider is: Is this going to cost more later if avoided?

My nearly $200 electric bill tells me… I should have done this two years ago.

The good news? Energy improvements, including insulation, are tax deductable. Yes!

Want more info? Go to: energystar.gov/taxcredits