Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This & That

None of these little things warrant a post of their own, but, I've done the following to save money this week/over the past few days:
  • I'm spending a ton of time on our refinance(s). I detest paperwork, but keep reminding myself of the big wins at the end. Paperwork. ICK.
  • I listed a bunch of new books on Amazon last night. I've never used their selling service, so fingers crossed.
  • I thought of Sonya Ann last night, & realized I had enough MyPoints to cash in & ordered a $10 Starbucks gift card. Not exactly on par with her savings, but better than a swift kick to the face. :-)
  • I have several holiday events to attend this week, & rather than shopping for my standard appetizer & dessert selections, I found things I can make using my current pantry/fridge stash.
  • I passed up an opportunity to go to Las Vegas to see Beyonce (for free!) with M for New Year's Eve. For two reasons. 1) Free in Las Vegas speak means you're still gambling, which is always risky, and the airfare for M is free, but not for me. So, not really free. 2) We are planning a family game/snuggle party night on New Years with the kids, & I'm not going to miss that. :-) The boys love New Years Eve
  • M charged a $10,000 business expense (reimbursable) on our Starwood Amex, so we can use the points. That will help tremendously when we are saving Starwood points for our next Hawaii visit. 
  • This wasn't an active "choice" on my part, but a race I registered for got cancelled, so I'm getting refunded $120. (It was a team half marathon.)

In accordance with my plan in December to really dissect our 2013 budget & areas for cutback, I'm posting about one category per day. So far, I've covered mortgage interest (and a potential refi), our grocery budget., dining out, kids activities, & gas.

Today's topic for discussion is . . . utilities at our vacation house. I know, this one is a real thriller. ;-)

And, because this topic is too boring without a photo, here are the boys on the beach, using their metal detector. It was December, hence the bundling. :-)

We spent an average of $212/month in 2012 & want to drop this to $200/month for 2013. We already cut cable entirely (such a waste given how infrequently we're there) & due to the market size, there's no competition & prices are prohibitively high. We'll watch shows for free using our Amazon Prime membership.

Other than that change, the rest of the monthly charges are standard - we're already paying the minimum water bill (charged quarterly), our power bills are relatively low & we make sure everything is turned off when we leave. We have no trash or phone service, which leaves Internet service. Although this is optional, M & I frequently work from the beach house, which allows us flexibility on dates & to extend our trips when possible. Again, this is in a small town, so moving to another provider isn't an option. It's expensive, but we  pay for it.

The last cost that I loosely bucket under utilities is our watch service. We pay one time/year for a local business to provide a handyman/watchman service. Someone drives buy our house every day, and enters the house weekly to look for problems. Additionally, when there is a big wind storm or power outage (3-4x year in our location), they check the status of the house & report any issues, make small repairs, etc. Given our distance from the town (4 hours), this is an invaluable resource for us, which we've used many times.

That's pretty much it on the utilities. How are you looking to save on your utilities in 2013? And, what have you done to save money this week?


  1. Saving money in December? Yah... No. :( The last month has been a bust here & that's ok... January ill start fresh!! :) As for utilities, it's COLD here, so our heat has been going non-stop. Tis the season!

    1. Carla - how cold does it get? We haven't gotten any snow yet, but highs of around 40-45 during the day, & chilly at night. I can only go so low on the heat. Even with bundling & flannel pajamas for the kids, & extra blankets, I want to be reasonably comfortable. :-)

  2. We managed to reduce our gas & electricity costs thiis year but I'm sure it's more to do with Ben being away at University!

    I've set up an electricity monitor now and can watch how our usage moves up and down - it's an eye opener! Blog post to follow.