Averaging your bills to even out your monthly expenses
When we lived in our craphole apartment, I dreaded the monthly power bill. I am an energy tyrant, and even keeping our place at a freezing 60 degrees in winter, we would still get bills for $225ish each month from December through March. It was enough to make me throw up in my mouth while getting the mail.
We’ve been renting my parent’s house for a year now (a year!), and like the giant nerd I am, I’ve been keeping track of our monthly utilities since we moved in. On an Excel sheet.
I set up the Excel file to automatically average the monthly cost of ALL our utilities, and to average the monthly cost for each provider. Now that I have one year of data, I’m going to begin paying the utilities the monthly average each time I pay the bill. The idea is that in certain months when your bill is lower than the monthly average, you’re building a “cushion” with the company. During the months when the bill is higher than the monthly average, you’re utilizing the cushion you’ve built. If all goes according to plan, you won’t have to pay over the cushion to pay down the bill. There might be a few months when you pay a few extra bucks, but generally, it should be equal at the end of the year if you’re averaging correctly. Obviously there are factors to consider – if your winter is extra cold, or your summer is extra hot – costs will vary from year to year.
One thing to keep in mind is that not all utilities want you to do this. Some want you to set up a service that kind of does this for you. Make sure you check with your own utility company before starting to pay in this manner.
Here are the details for our place:
Our house and water are heated by natural gas. The stove and oven are electric. We don’t have AC, so in the summer the gas is basically only used for heating water.
June electric– we didn’t move in until the 11th of that month, so it’s not a 100% complete average.
October electric – we bought the new freezer for the basement. Average yearly cost to run it is estimated (by the company) at $56.
January natural gas – during the winter, we keep our house at 67 when we’re awake, and 52 at night. In January work was closed for 3 days because of snow, so Jack and I were home all day for 3 days when we’d normally be at work.
September and October water – why in the world is my water bill the lowest when I was doing the most watering of the gardening?!?!?!?!
June average monthly output is a bit off because we did move in almost halfway through the month.
Monthly average ranges from a low of $80.62 to a high of $211.17. Paying $160.08 per month will help me average out my monthly expenditures so that those higher months don’t catch me by surprise.
We went from a 1,000 sq ft apartment to a 2,000 sq ft house and yet our average monthly utilities for ALL utilities, is still cheaper than our highest electric bill in our old apartment. God bless insulation!