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House Utility bills, water, and other updates

April 6th, 2015 at 06:52 pm

My monthly utility bills have been less than my estimates since I moved in Feb 12. While I estimate the bills to be $225 each month I have spent less than a third of that amount each month. I save the amount not used and have over $400 in the account already.

Since the property has not been transferred with the county I have not received a sewer bill yet. Based on their estimates I've been saving $25 a month. I know the bill will have 3-4 months once it is processed.

Any savings that I came in under my estimate has been swept into a utility savings account for those months when the bills are higher due to extreme heat or cold.

Luckily, every bedroom and the family room has ceiling fans which are much cheaper to run than the AC in summer. I am partial to not using the AC unless it is really uncomfortable or I can't sleep (although the fan in the master is right above my bed like the one I put in my apartment.)

Once the account has about $1200 I will earmark the left over amount to my emergency fund.

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Rain is expected and they estimate .5 to 1 inch of rain in the next 24 hours and rain possible until Wednesday. I planted 6 planters on Friday with 2 kinds of tomatoes, cantaloupe, zucchini, 3 gerbera daisy plants, and something else.

I also planted basil, rosemary and marigolds for bug and mosquito repellant. I want to plant citronella as well and another few marigolds. But I can't find any citronella plants or seeds.

I didn't get the rain barrels put in yet and I am so sad I didn't with this rain. It could have filled several them at least half way.

I jerry-rigged some plastic sheeting over a laundry drying rack and directed it into two planters I didn't use that have no holes so I hope to get some water to use this week. I got about an inch in the empty planters yesterday from the little storm that passed over. Every little bit helps!

I have been collecting water in the morning while waiting for the water to get hot and using that for the plants that need it that the sprinklers are not hitting very well. The grass is not getting enough water (since I only water for 5 minutes twice a week) but since I suspect at some point this summer they are going to suspend grass watering I am not that worried. I hope to keep the rose bushes and other bushes in the back yard and the few plants in front going with water that would have gone down the drain. I plan to put that water into the barrels once they are in.

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My roommate is ready to move in at the end of this month. I will be house sitting for the first 10 days she will be here as I have a two week sit end of April-May. This means that she can enjoy the house a bit alone after getting out of a bad roommate situation.

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I have completed my tax paperwork for Jan-March (for 2016 taxes) and photocopied all the receipts for my records. I have a couple of receipts to do tonight for the plants I purchased this past weekend.

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I am expecting about $710 in payments from house and pet sitting the past 6 weeks. I have little business this month but am very busy toward the end of the month and then through the middle of June.

I need to get moving on hiring some independent contractors for coverage if there is an emergency I need to attend to for the state. I have scheduled a meeting with one of the largest pet sitting companies in the area to ask for her advice. She contacted me several months ago and offered to mentor me after one of her clients used me when she could not accommodate them and got rave reviews for my service. She is a former past president of one of the professional organizations I belong to. As she said, there is more than enough business for us all here in the area. I am grateful she will meet and give me some contracting advice and I am such a small business I can't imagine I impact her at all.

3 Responses to “House Utility bills, water, and other updates”

  1. snafu Says:

    Wow! You've made such fast progress. Appreciate your ongoing list, I too have more spring projects. Which rain barrel types or brands did you settle on? I've been trying without success to convince DH of the practicality of at least one water barrel. There are always some listed for modest cost in CraigsList in this neighbourhood. My #1 chore this week, weather permitting [it's snowing just now] is to clean one or two windows each day. My former neighbour and I split the cost of exterior window cleaning every other year since we live in 4 story townhouse style condo and we're all afraid to work at that height.

  2. Kiki Says:

    I've decided I want them to be esthetically pleasing so I am getting some that are between 60 and 80 gallons, look like terra cotta and have a planter space on top. They must also have no access for mosquitos to lay eggs.

    I want at least three but am not sure if I want more than that. One on each side of the house (the three back sides) and maybe one off the patio where my bedroom door is so I can easily save water each morning.

    My experience with the craigs list barrels have been people selling cracked ones that I can fix myself-I am not interested in having to do that and can't guarantee they would work after the "repair" so I will buy new.

  3. snafu Says:

    I appreciate the information as I was only familiar with the $ 60. basic 'barrel' type and like you would prefer something aesthetically pleasing. Now to assemble info to import from the USA, in USD... gets incredibly expensive and gets more complicated with every step forward.

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