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  1. #1
    Smart Budgeter
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    Default How do you budget utilities?

    I am needing some advice on the best way to budget my utilities. I have electric and natural gas services. Is doing the average monthly payment the best or do you guessimate? The winter is coming up and my gas bill get get pretty steep. The most is quite a lot (200-300) and I could use some tips on how to lower them. I would appreciate your help.


    Thanks

    ?
    Cathy

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: How do you budget utilities?

    To help lower your bills you could use a programmable thermostat. Set it at a higher temp in the warm months and a lower temp in the winter when you are not home. I usually program mine to turn on about 15 minutes before we come home and then set it to higher/lower temps overnight. If you are home all day start by changing the temp about two degrees-your body will adjust then every few days adjust it again. Wear layers in the winter, less in the summer. If you have ceiling fans-use them it will help.

    For budgeting you can look at what each month has cost over the past year and average that to get a per month expense and set that amount back into an envelop and use that money only towards your utility bills. Some companies will do the averaging and monthly billing for you, I chose not to do this because then I feel like I always owe them money. Another thing that will help cut down on the expense is changing your filters out. If you have a 30day filter, mark it on a calendar to change it every single month. A dirty filter makes the system work harder same with dirty vents. If rooms are not in use, close the vents-no reason to heat or cool a room that you don't use. Curtains will also help lower bills open them for sun to warm in the winter but keep them closed if it is really hot out or if there is a lot of wind. Make sure windows and doors seal tightly. Stores sell the plastic for windows which really does work to cut down on wind and cold coming inside the home.

    Hope this helps some.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: How do you budget utilities?

    I have found if I unplug any electrical items we(the family) are not using is a good saver. Our bill went from $500 to 350 average in the summer months to about $200 a month. One or two months during the spring our bill was $120!. We live in an apartment so we are limited to the changes we can make. I have reset our thermostat and change my filter monthly. I brought the filters that I can wash and reuse several times. I also invested in room darken shades for the summer. Texas summers are brutal on electrical bills.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: How do you budget utilities?

    As for budgeting, you can call your local electric company, give them your address & ask them what your average bill will be. My hubbie & I pay the bill monthly, but we budget monthly for a little more than the monthly average is. Months that the bill is lower than the average, we put that money in savings & keep track of it. That way, on months that the bill is higher than average we have that overage to help pay the bill.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: How do you budget utilities?

    I prebuy my propane gas and make monthly payments. How well is your home insulated? How good are your windows? My son just bought a house and it's well insulated but the windows are in bad shape. End of October we'll go cover his windows with plastic inside and out to help hold the heat in. His furnace was put in in 1948 so he's getting bids on a new energy saving furnace and his electric company gives $1500 toward it. He's changing out all the incandescent light bulbs for the 13 watt energy type. Hope you can find ways to save on your utility bills this winter too! You might ask your utility company if they do free energy audits! Many do and they can find ways you can save money also!

  7. #6
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    Default Re: How do you budget utilities?

    The level pay plan is a good way to budget, but I also realized that I needed to cut back on my utility usage and the first thing was to replace two aging refrigerators (one was in the garage). My electric bill dropped almost 50%. Then you start checking room by room to see what is using power. You learn to be frugal also about the time of day when you operate things. I went from about $314/mo on electricity to less than $60/mo and I'm still working on it.
    I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: How do you budget utilities?

    I bought good power strips and plugged in everything in the home entertainment area and also in each computer area so that when we are not using them we can flip the power off to everything easily. DH is currently home and hates this so while he's here our electric bills are $75 higher each month. He ships out again in 2 weeks so we'll go back on our power strips soon to help save this winter. Maybe DH will be in a better frame of mind to save money when he returns next summer!

  9. #8
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    Default Re: How do you budget utilities?

    Thanks for all of your help. Budgeting for utilities has always been my biggest problem. I never know what to expect when I open the bills.
    Cathy

 

 
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