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Monetary Ouchie From Our Arctic Blast


Earlier in the month, we had some mighty cold weather in the Midwest. With temps hovering around zero degrees, the windy weather made it seem like more than 20 degrees below zero. I knew it would hit us hard with our gas bill. Boy, it sure did.

I opened up the envelope and closed my eyes as I pulled the bill out. Wait, I didn’t just close them…they were clenched shut. I was mentally preparing myself. I opened my eyes and witnessed the highest gas bill we have ever had – just shy of $200. Gulp.

Our usage was up and so was the price of the gas. I knew the day would come where our bill would be that high (bound to happen with the way prices are going lately). But I didn’t think it would be so soon. Times like these really light that fire to get that energy efficient home of our dreams. We’ll also inch down the heat some more than it already has been lowered.

Hopefully, upcoming reductions in our electric usage will help counter the increase in our gas bills. There will be more on that later πŸ™‚


  • Reply Low Income Lady |

    Wow is that for a month. It is summer here in Australia and our household just uses electricity. Our bill is about $260 every 3 months. I am expecting that to go down as we installed a solar hot water heater 2 months ago…

  • Reply rj |

    Well we had the opposite in the summer. The first time we had a $400 electric bill. That made me go on a mission to make sure that lights are off, ac was off when no-one was home (I even auto programmed our thermostat in the winter), and other things. After that our bills definitely came lower so I’d like to think those things made a difference.

  • Reply Da Big D |

    I wouldn’t worry about the bill getting that high. There was nothing you could do about it and that’s why you prepare for times like this.

  • Reply rose |

    We had the lowest bill on the street last month, and it was still the highest bill we’ve had since we moved here. I suggest lowering the thermostat when you’re out of the house. We usually have our heat at 60 degrees. When nobody is home, we lower it to 55. We keep our hot water heater at 112 degrees. Still warm enough to take comfortable showers and it saves money. I sleep with several fleece blankets under my comforter. Socks to bed is a must. We wear layers of clothing during the day, so 60 isn’t uncomfortable. We don’t have a fireplace, but we’re thinking about getting at least one, if not two. Heating just the room we’re in makes sense, especially in the evening. Our house is actually pretty well insulated and for that I’m grateful. Between the frugal practices and the insulation, our utility bill was about $125 less last month than our neighbors. I don’t know how awful it feels to have a monthly bill that’s over $300 and hope to avoid one that high if possible.

  • Reply Tricia |

    rose – Unfortunately, during the week someone is always home. That’s one drawback to working at home. We keep the heat as low as possible while our son is at school, but we have to be able to type since both of our work requires it. So about 63 is as low as we can go during waking hours unless it is sunny out (which isn’t often for us). We could use space heaters, but they eat the electricity.

    As soon as our son comes home, the heat comes up to 66-67, again depending on any sunshine and what we are doing. If we are watching a movie together, we can turn down the heat a little and get under our blankets.

    About the socks in bed, hehe…I cannot do that one. Even if I fall asleep with them on, they are off by morning πŸ™‚

  • Reply Kim |

    Does your gas company have a budget plan? Ours does and we have the same billing amount every month. They equal it out once a year or so. (Our electric company has the same thing.) This makes budgeting so much easier — no budget crashers.

  • Reply emmi |

    Our leaky old house, even with the insulation and replacement window binge we went on while there was a tax break for it…. last month was $350.

    For the record, I’m the one who would happily lower the ‘stat to 62, the partner whines at anything lower than 68. This is an inheritance you pass to your children. My dad was a “thermostat as low as possible guy”, and my partner’s dad was a “let’s all be comfortable” guy.

    Yeah, a new home would be the only way, I think. But, the savings on the mortgage when that is gone (shortly) will pay for a heck of a lot of heat with a whole lot left over. So, we’re still just in the thinking stages of moving to more efficient digs.

  • Reply Steve |

    Our electric bill usually runs in the $200 area and when I opened up our last month bill we hit $430. Wow, and we keep our thermistat at around 70 degrees. The northwest has been very cold this winter. I enjoy your blog and have been reading for some time. Keep up the good work on your finances. We decided about 3 years ago to join a credit service to pay off our bills once and for all. We no longer have credit cards and only spend what we earn. It has been tight but when we are done we will be debt free. We are around $10,000 now starting somewhere around $40,000. A long road but we will make it. I read your blog to get encouragement that there are other people out there with the same issues as what we go through. Thanks

  • Reply momstheword |

    Our bill is on the budget plan so we pay $175 a month. However, our friend’s gas bill runs over $300 a month. Our house is just under 2200 sq. feet but his is much, much bigger so that’s probably why.

  • Reply fitwallet |

    $350 gas bill here, thankfully split between four people. The electric bill was $225. We keep our heat low–between 58 and 64. You better believe after that last bill, we’re not touching the thermostat! It’s set at 58 and never moves. We use a space heater in our bedroom at night and otherwise just bundle up and drink a lot of tea πŸ™‚

  • Reply Ninja |

    I live in a one bedroom apartment that is brand new (I moved in August 2008, and it had just been cleared for occupancy the day before!).Β I’m not sure on my exact square footage, but for electric and water my bill has averaged about $70/month. Not bad, considering I had a washer and dryer installed in November, too! That made it go up a little bit, but not too much.

    I have been lowering my thermostat to 65 degrees while I’m not home during the day, though. When I’m here, it’s at 70. I live in an area where the winters are pretty mild.

    Maybe I should turn it down to 68 whenever I’m home, and just add a layer of clothing to see what it does for my bill! And maybe limit my showers to 5 minutes (easier said than done–I love long hot showers and don’t want to give them up).

  • Reply Kristy @ Master Your Card |

    Don’t feel bad. My electricity bill, in Texas, for a one bedroom one bath apartment was $175. I hit the roof!

    Some of this is my own fault because I’ve gotten careless with the thermostat and turning off lights. But, some of this is simply poor insulation in the apartment. It’s actually inspired a post on how to reduce energy costs in apartments. Of course, I have to research that first. Hehe.

    Sorry about your bill though! I know it isn’t any fun to shell out money for that!

  • Reply VitaminG |

    Wow, I would love to have a gas bill that low in the winter. With the upper midwest temps from last month, a 115 year old house and kids home all day, I’m expecting a bill of nearly $400 for last month.

  • Reply Deby |

    Ok, I’m going to gloat a little bit here: $68 for last month (that’s just for gas, electricty is separate). And that’s with the thermosat hovering between 68-72 when we’re at home. When we’re gone, it’s at 55.
    Our home is nicely insulated and has double pane windows, which helps. So do flannel sheets and electric blankets. Not to mention there’s always a warm dog or cat willing to cuddle when you need an extra body heat. Of course, in our neck of the woods we’re also in the middle of a very dry, rather warm winter as well, but at least the lower gas bills are the silver lining.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Kim – we have the option of a budget plan, but I like having a break from the heating bill in the summer. With how we budget, we overestimate our gas budget. But this time I was off – I only had $175 budgeted.

    Deby – you can gloat πŸ™‚ You made me chuckle about pets. When it’s chilly and I’m working, I call the animals to my office to hang out to try to get some body heat warming up the space some more.

So, what do you think ?