Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fixing up our fixed costs

Living on one income is not for the faint of heart. This spring we've been taking a closer look at our finances and seeing where we can cut costs. It's easy to fall into a pattern of spending without really thinking about it, and deciding that things just cost whatever they cost. We found two places that we're trying to change, and both of them happen to be fixed-cost items on the budget.

Hubby switched his cell phone plan to a different provider which offered a similar package to what he had, but at a lower monthly rate. I'm still on a 10$ pay-as-you-go. We toyed with the idea of getting rid of the home phone, which we may still do at some point. It's not very expensive though, and we use Skype for anything long-distance.

The second fixed cost that we're attempting to bring down is the hydro bill. I get weekly estimates of what our bill will be based on energy consumption on a certain day, and I'm trying to let that guide the household usage. We already try to limit using the washing machine and dishwasher at off-peak times. Hubby was saying that the two main contributors to a high bill were using the dryer and the air conditioner. With the sunny weather, we're not using the dryer much at all, but in the past that savings was virtually eliminated by turning on the A/C. So, at the end of April, we decided that we're not going to use the air conditioning this summer.

It seems like a ridiculous thing to blog about, given that most of the world doesn't have air conditioning, and our climate only gets hot for a couple of months out of the year. Still, it's going to be a sacrifice for us. Some coping strategies we're using:

-keeping bread and other baked goods in the fridge to prevent them from going moldy
-drinking lots of water
-closing the blinds when the sun is out
-opening the windows at night
-running the overhead fans in our bedrooms (with the doors open) most of the day to keep the air circulating
-using the basement for playtime or rest when it's just too hot upstairs
-spending time outdoors (especially now that we have a backyard fence!) so that when we come inside, it feels cooler

We have discussed the idea of a cut-off, in the event of a heat wave, or if sleep is compromised. If the house temperature gets into the high eighties, we'll turn on the A/C at night just enough to bring it down a few degrees. (Btw, I don't naturally think in Fahrenheit, but we use it in the house because there are more degrees to play around with.) None of this would have been possible last summer, what with my being great with child, and then having a tiny baby around. But the tiny baby is a good size now, and quite resilient, as are his sisters, and hopefully his parents. So here's to a less expensive summer!

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate the reminder to revisit "fixed" costs. It's easy to slip into a mindset of "that's just the way it is", but that's not always the case. Thank you.

    As someone who lives without AC (except for my car - that wasn't negotiable!), I know it can be done, but good luck with the adjustment!