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March Look Back / April Look Ahead

April 3rd, 2014 at 04:30 pm

March
I have a home I'm renting out to someone who is practically family, so I'm very lenient with them if something comes up and they can't make the rent. They always send something, even if it's just $100, and make up the rest as soon as they can. However, that money goes directly to paying off my family loans, so technically if they're late with the rent, I miss payments on those loans. (The family is also understanding so it's not a huge deal, fortunately.) We had our annual family financial summit at the end of March, and so I adjusted the loan schedules to reflect those missing payments. (A little extra interest accrues, essentially.)

The end result is that it decreased my debt principal payoff for March, so I only ended up paying down $1,464 in principal (it should have been around $2,000). I also paid $801 in interest. (These amounts do not included real estate backed loans.) I also paid $141 extra to the current point of attack (highest-interest credit card).

I did join the DietBet 6-month challenge. The first round closes out this weekend and I'm on track to meet the goal, so I should get a little snowflake for that sometime in April. I also made a bet with Healthy Wage, another 10% in 6 months challenge. My initial investment in both was $275, but if I meet the goal (figuring low-average returns on the DietBet winnings), I should end up with around $600. That is more motivating than "health" "fitness" "smaller clothes" etc. -- I wish I'd found this 'dieting for money' thing a long time ago! I'll consider all of that money as snowflakes for my 52-week Mega Savings Challenge.

We also made a decision that probably almost everyone will say was the wrong one to make, but I'm not ready to talk about that just yet.... Smile

April
I have two more weeks of overtime at work, and then I'm back to my 'real' income. Fortunately we are able to set aside a lot of my overtime pay to cover upcoming expenses in the next several months. I do plan to revisit our budget once things slow down to see where we can cut our spending a bit -- really I think if we just got a little organized we could save a decent amount. (Mostly me, I guess, with breakfasts and lunches on work days. It's been better since I've been trying to eat healthily for the DietBet thing, but I don't always wake up in enough time to make a lunch so end up buying it at $5-8 a day. Lots to work on there!)

I'm also going to see if we can decrease our electric usage; we keep getting letters from the company saying we're using so much more electricity than our neighbors, which I'm sure is true. I know exactly why that is (40+ days in a row of round-the-clock below-freezing temperatures will do that!) and we've already decreased our usage by about 50% from last month, but I might try things like unplugging stuff rather than just turning it off (if the plug is easy to reach, that is!), putting things on a power strip and turning that off (if there are no clocks or programs to reset), etc. We do have one light on a timer and I need to adjust the timing for that now that the days are getting longer. I'll look at putting in those pigtail light bulbs wherever I can, too, since they supposedly save money. Our billing cycle starts on the 26th, so I've got some time to formulate a plan of attack, and then get everything in place. (And talk S into participating!)

What do you do to save on electricity? What tips or tricks have worked well for you? (Or alternatively, are there any you've found haven't really made that much difference?)

4 Responses to “March Look Back / April Look Ahead”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    In the spring when it starts to get hot it is less expensive to run your whole house fan than turning on the air conditioner early. In our old house we switch most of our light bulbs to CFLs, it did seem to make a difference. Use your crockpot rather than the oven, turn up the temperature in your fridge and freezer slightly. There are websites that likely can give you plenty of ideas.

    Now you have me wondering what 'wrong' move you made. I hope isn't too bad. ")

  2. Mooshocker Says:

    Tell you what, since I purchased room darkening shades, I rarely use my airconditioner more than just a quick ten minute blast to take the stuffiness out of the room. Really saves a lot. Also, keep the lights off, hang your clothes outside versus the dryer and of course, sell the kids as they suck the hell out of electricity! Great way to earn a little extra money!

  3. doingitallwrong Says:

    LOL! No kids, fortunately. I do have critters, who are most of the reason for the increased energy use, but I did sell several of them! Wink

    CCF, the 'wrong' move wasn't really horribly bad and a lot better than it could have been. I actually talked a bit about it a while go, you probably gave me some good advice then. Smile In the long run it will be a good thing, I'm sure, we just need to shake out a few details before I'm ready to fess up!

  4. snafu Says:

    Our electric and heating bills doubled mostly because they increase the 'administration' portion of the bill when the KWH JGJ rate increases due to demand. Power bars help incrementally, they really protect your electronics if there is a power surge. LED bulbs cut power usage but are around $ 7. ea. We're currently replacing CFL bulbs two each pay so I'm monitoring actual use which is identified on the bill. We put a motion detector on external lights and like that system for security. Since daylight savings time, sunlight at 7 AM, sunset 8 PM, external lights aren't activated unless we expect guests after dark.

    Lunch out: If you're spending $ 120. a month,; $ 1,244. a year would you prefer to re-direct? Would it help to prepare take away lunch immediately after dinner? Would you prefer to keep lunch items at work to assemble on site? One trick might be to limit lunch out to salad or soup only. Would it help to bake a dozen chicken breasts targeted to lunch. Each cut in half lengthwise, bag & freeze. Chicken combined with anything you like makes a terrific lunch.

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