Every Day

Watching The Large Expenses

I have always said that watching the small expenses is extremely important. Those small ones add up to huge amounts in one year’s time. They can sink your entire budget.

But you also have to watch the large expenses. You may have a mortgage or a home equity loan and could find the money to pay a little extra on the principal each month. This will not only pay off your mortgage early but save you a fortune in interest charges. 

Saving up the cash to buy a new or used car will save you the interest that a car loan will cost.

Watching your grocery budget each month by shopping sales and menu planning will keep you from wasting many dollars.

But one of the largest expenses you have every year are your utility bills. They cost a fortune. It is a battle for us to keep them low. 

We just got our one month gas and electric bill. We  had frigid temps here this past month and I was expecting our bill to be quite large. It didn’t disappoint. The electric portion of our bill was $ 82.10 for 645 KWH. The natural gas portion of our bill was $ 177.24 for 198 CCF’s. Then the company charges us a $ .87 payment charge just to issue the bill and post the payment which I find ludicrous. But NYS allows it. So the total bill was $260.21 for 33 days with an average daily temperature of 24 degrees fahrenheit. It was one of the highest winter bills that we have ever had since we moved back to New York. 

Of course, the company gets a rate increase every year or two because we all know the price of everything always goes up. So between the rate increases and the cold temperatures in the winter and warm ones in the summer, it is an every day battle to keep these bills down.

The last twelve months have cost us $ 2216.33 in just electricity and natural gas.

You all know that we do our best to try to do everything to cut these costs. This winter, we added a storm door to our leaky back door. I closed off 2 bedrooms by closing the heating vents in those rooms so that they don’t cost a fortune to heat when no one is using them. I use cloth snakes against our basement doors to keep that cold air down there. I also put one on the bottom of our back door since we don’t use that door during the winter so it doesn’t have to be moved every time we go in and out.

And we try to watch all of the things that I have written about before: herehere, and here, .

I wish I could turn the heat down but Hubby is always cold. We keep the temp at 71 during the day in our home and even with that Hubby wears a sweatshirt jacket and sometimes a winter jacket in the house. He is always cold. 

I do a pretty good job on the electric bill by washing clothes in cold water and hanging laundry. If I use the dryer, I use my wool balls to save on that energy.  I also try to use small appliances as much as I can to save on that bill because they are cheaper to use. 

We keep lights turned off in the daytime unless it is a dreary day and we need them to read. I try to keep the energy saving shades down in the winter. I defrost my chest freezer when it needs it so that it runs more efficiently. We use power strips on some of our TV’s so I can turn them totally off at night. It is too hard to get everything plugged in that we have in the great room behind the cabinet so we don’t do that one.

When I cook. I try to keep covers on pans especially when I cook on the gas stove. There are so many things that I do that I can’t remember them all.

I hope I am not missing anything but I would love to hear how you keep your utility bills down. Could you please share with me and everyone who reads here how you do it by leaving a comment. I will be checking them during the day to get them posted right away so that they can help other people.


10 replies on “Watching The Large Expenses”

Hi AD, this is Chris. I have my granddaughter today so this will have to be quick. Some things we do to save energy are to keep the temperature at 68 in winter and 78 in summer. In the summer we also run ceiling fans as needed. We keep the filters changed on the furnace. We only run full loads in the dishwasher. I do most laundry only every 2 weeks, except sheets and towels, and this makes for full loads doing it that often. I do laundry all in one day so the dryer keeps running and doesn't cool off in between loads. I am sure there are other things, but these are what I thought of off the top of my head.

Hi American Dreamer! I am so glad to have you blogging again and to have found your blog! In the winter we do the following to keep our costs down (we do live in California so our weather is no where near as cold as you). We take showers every other day instead of every day. I have one room that is closed off (vent is closed and I also put a snake in front of the closed door so that no air goes into that room). We have some older wool blankets that we put on our windows (over the blinds) which keeps our rooms warmer. I freeze fresh fruit and tomatoes in the summer and cook them (jams and sauces) in the winter time which heats up the house. To take the humidity out of the air, I do use a few candles that seem to really make a difference. Before turning up the heat, everyone has to put on a sweatshirt and if they are sitting wrap up in a throw (we have blankets and throws in the family room and living room for this purpose).

We live in a big old house that is difficult to heat. I wear thermal long johns under my jeans (or sweats) every day, with wool socks, and up top I wear a long sleeve T-shirt and either a thick flannel or sweat shirt. When the temps dip below about 20 degrees our heater doesn't even get the temp up to the set 68, it's generally about 65. I put plastic over all the windows, the kind that shrinks, to help reduce the leaks and drafts. Our home is a 1898 Victorian with almost 12 foot ceilings. We use ceiling fans a lot in the summer time, and space heaters in specific rooms for short periods in the winter. Is your husband cold even when he's up moving around? I find that I get coldest when I'm just sitting. That's when I rely on my thrift store purchases of wool blankets or heavy fleece to wrap up in. I was raised in San Diego and always thought of winter as someplace you visit! Living in it year after year just gets harder. But I hope my little tips help in some way.

Hi Rozy,

It is so good to hear from you. Yes, Hubby is always cold whether he is sitting or moving around. Thanks so much for all of these tips. I am thinking that perhaps I will do the windows with plastic next year.

We keep the thermostat on 68 or 69 during the day, and 67 at night. I think I sleep better under the heavy blankets, I've just started doing this. We also wear several layers of clothing to keep warm. I've also started opening the door of the dishwasher once the wash cycle is finished (instead of using the dry cycle). I think the dishes dry just as fast or faster, and it's nice to let the heat and humidity into the room.

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