Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Different Set of Numbers

Money; it comes and goes

While condo living certainly has its downfalls, the utility bills are definitely sweet. I took out all my past bills for natural gas, water, and electric usage. These are my monthly averages for the past year:

  • Natural gas: 31 CCF per month

  • Water: less than 2 hundred cu ft per month

  • Electric: 147 kwh per month

The breakdown of my conservative measures are as follows:

  • Natural gas: I have a split furnace - heat and a/c. Heat is set around 68 in winter when I am home and awake, 64 when I'm asleep or out. I don't use the air conditioning in summer, just fans. I live in southern New England, so winters do get cold and summers can get hot and humid.

  • Water: 2 trips to laundromat each month, using 1 small machine each trip. I hand-wash lightly soiled clothing nightly. I try to take 3 minute showers, or will turn water off while soaping up then on to rinse off, and shampoo daily.

  • Electric: I use power cords on every possible appliance, but not the stove, fridge, or built-in light fixtures. (The electric company replaced my meter last year when they noticed the low usage compared to the other meters in the condominium. They must have thought it was defective!)
This has been my "status quo" for over a year, and is unlikely to change. Also, for the month of June I have unplugged the television, so although it was previously on a power cord I have decided not to watch it at all this month. I'm curious to see if this has any effect on the electric bill.

My focus is now turning towards building my nest egg for my future "nest". I need to squirrel away every spare penny. My thoughts are to cut back on my spending during July and August and try a "Not Buying It" style of September and October. (Based on the book from Judith Levine)

Places where I can certainly improve:
  • I fluctuate between brown-bagging my lunch and buying it. Same for coffee, snacks, and sometimes even dinner. (I can easily rationalize eating out to keep my kitchen clean.)

  • Addictive-style spending at second hand stores for vintage items and books. I must have been born in the wrong era. I love anything from the 1920's - 1960's. (Yes, even double-knits.)

  • Unnecessary driving. I make quick trips to the beach or the store, instead of going for a walk. Since gas is getting very close to $3/gallon here, it's time to stop the drain.
At this time I cannot fit a second job in my schedule, but I don't rule that out in the future. My job pays well enough to live, so I need to focus on capturing every spare cent towards the little piece of real estate that I desire.

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