Sunday, July 10, 2011

Zero balance budgeting and the cost of electricity

What a difference a few changes made

With the year and a half of zero balance budgeting focus on costs that could be reduced. We began Dave Ramsey's program 18 months ago or so.
Utilities are our only other monthly after the mortgage. I began to focus on what numbers could be whittled down. On our budget we use % based categories. Depending on misc quarterly and yearly bills (that are saved up for on each monthly cycle) some months those %'s alter.

25-35%  mortgage
5-15 %   utilities (Electric, water, phone, internet. We have a pay as you go cell for emergency us only)
5-15%    groceries (people and pets)
5-15%    personal (includes, life insurance, computer, allowance,school supplies, holiday gifts and pet care, mag subscriptions)
2-7 %     clothing (adults, kids)
5-10%    savings (major fund to cover 3 months wage is the goal, kids education)
10-15%  charity
10-15 % transportation (includes auto ins. broken into months and set aside as well as a line if we were to have to pay a deductible, fuel and repair, registration)
5-10%   recreation (movie purchase, restaurants, travel fund, admissions)
5-10%   medical/health (co-pay, Rx, durable medical, dental)

There is  a column for actual and one for the estimates. After studying the estimates the budget is set. Fudge room is added. One upon a time I did not have a line for recreation and learned that it is a very necessary thing that gives muscle to the goal. Something to shoot for.
One day I will do gross instead of net and add a line of all the payroll deduction such as medical ins., taxes, and the like.

This has worked well for us and we were actually able to get a vacation to Disney this year.

We are on a payment plan of the balanced budget with the electric company so we pay the same every month. It is reviewed every four months. Recently it came down $25! a month with a bit of hard work
Hanging out laundry
window awnings
shade screen (came with the house)
duel pane windows ( came with the house)
time of use plan (1-8pm in summer to reduce electric use) run machines at morning of evening hour
Kids training :)
Watch the sun open West windows in a.m., East windows in p.m. Closing east in a.m. and closing West in afternoon.
Run fans and AC is set a bit higher
Chill house during overnight hours
AC is on a timer set to the time of use schedule
as is the water heater
Calking is the last thing yet needed to be done now.

Well now that we....

Brought the freezer 
and refrigerator in from the garage. 

The opening of the laundry room door to the garage every time we needed to fetch something, plus the garage being 120+ during summer gave us pause. It was the last thing on my list. A list that has been a year long goal. It is said that it can save at the least $15-20 a month per unit.

We are now testing the inside temps on each unit.
The freezer of one was set too low.

We extended the light blue valence for the counter was a bit inset of center to the window.
By adding a plant the wall is hidden. I'll miss the window a bit, however the ease of all of the units within a reach is really amazing. It will really make life easy with this knee thing too. It was hard to think of the house looking strange, I let that go. By pulling some tricks out of my hat I think in no time it will look much better.
 Never mind the mess :) a work in progress. The studio was also rearranged last month and has yet to get all ordered. I have done a great deal of fung shui around the house. These areas once organized will really serve us so much better. Making meals is already a lot easier not making trips to the garage.
 The old side by side really looks nice here. 
It is the drinks, everything baking (next to bread counter) and everything sandwiches/lunches.All nuts, yeast, and the like. Right next to the place that they will be made use of. I will wash the lettuce and the kids are able to begin making more things for themselves. This will also keep the snacks like fruit.

This will make mornings of making lunches all in a few steps span. The juice travel cups will be kept here as they were in the garage.
 The fourth of July weekend gave way to soda at $.20 cents a can.
 The old in house refer moved over next  to the dish washer is now the 'meal making center' everything for meal preparations are here. It is also the Ice chest next to the RO water outlet. It is so convenient.
Kept at 40*
 The deep freeze is for long term storage of grains and seeds. 
The meats are also kept here.
this is deep freeze to be kept at 10*
 Fall garden seeds are in the jars for this years planting.
 The white refer's freezer is far too cold.
By testing your units you can fine tune what energy your using.
 The freezer can be 0-30
Refer 30-45 better under 40
See the range of temp for each purpose?
There is no sense in cooling more than you need.
It is imperative however not to let your refer be above 40*
That is what started this whole post. We have been working hard on this job all weekend. It was a concern that the house would look bad. I actually LOVE it!

Well this week as you see will be full of cleaning and clearing up clutter.

1 comment:

Char said...

I adore Dave Ramsey and his advice is spot on. Sometimes not easy to take, but it works.
It sounds like it's all working in your home, and Yippee, a vacation. That is the best.
We also have a freezer and although I wish it were in the garage, it's in the laundry room. We live in the desert and if I had it in the garage, it would never turn off during the summer months.
As it is, I haven't used my drying in years. Everything is hung on a rack.
You have to use the air here, it's 112 degrees today so that is a given, but I watch it closely.
It makes me sad that it's 2011 and prices are as high as they are. Electricity should be a no brainer by now. Good to see it's all working, Char

Older women likewise teach the younger women...

• how to love their husbands
• how to love their children
• how to be self-controlled
• how to be pure
• how to be keepers at home
• how to be kind and submissive (not subservient) to their own husbands. (See Titus 2:3-5)

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