Friday, April 22, 2016

Keeping track of where the money goes

Hello and good morning. It's Friday, and as Ready Steady Go used to say at the beginning of their Friday night music programme, the weekend starts here. Thank you all so much for your comments on the previous post, your words made very useful and enlightening contributions. It's great to get the views of others, adds meat to the bare bones if you like. It's a subject that needs to be aired on occasions, to highlight the good work of Women's Refuge, and to show that if anyone is suffering in silence there are places to get help. 
So, what's on the agenda today? My winter fuel bills, as expected were quite high, so this has prompted me to sort out my utility bill files, put them in order, and work out the figures for the past year. 
Most people prefer to pay monthly by direct debit which comes straight out of their bank account. I am a bit old fashioned, I like to use the utilities first, gas, electric, and water, then pay for them on a quarterly or half yearly bill. The direct debit system works ok for those who have multiple financial commitments and find it difficult to keep track. Not a good idea to miss paying essential bills, they need to be paid. My financial commitments are simple and I find it easy to budget on a monthly and yearly basis.

So what's the situation at Tightwad Towers. I have some figures in front of me.
Four gas bills from April 15 to April 16
£5.30  April to July. Cooking and baths.
£5.84  July to Sept. Cooking and baths.
£32.64  Sept to Dec. Also, bit chilly, some heating.
£98.13  Dec to April. Also, cold bit more heating.
Total £141.91 for the year. Average £11.82 per month.

Four electricity bills from April 15 to April 16.
£26.55  April to July. Longer days, spend time outside.
£38.41  July to Sept  Don't go out much in school holidays.
£23.40 Sept to Nov  Cutting down in readiness for winter.
£71.99  Nov to April  Lights on, staying in. Computer on.
Total £160.35. Average £13.36 per month.

I have two water bills a year from two companies. Water into the house and waste water out  from Anglian. I am on a meter. Surface water removal by Severn Trent.
£35.67 Dec 14 to June 15
£32.55 June 15 to Dec 15
Total £68.22.
Severn Trent
£28.49 Oct 15
£28.49 April 16
Total £56.98
Total water charges for the year. £125.20.  Average £10.43 per month.

The other regular bill coming in is taken by direct debit, my broadband and land line is paid monthly. When I changed supplier this was the only option offered. I get an email every month from EE, which I don't bother reading because I know more or less what is in it. I can confirm the amounts when I get my bank statement. It is usually around £35 a month. I could probably get it cheaper if I shopped around, but I don't want to be tied into any contracts, and then after the one or two year period have to look for another deal. I count my computer as my hobby and entertainment. I don't go out hardly at all in the evenings, don't pay a TV licence, don't go to the pub, don't eat out. My unlimited broadband is as important to me as my gas and electric.

I won't go into detail on my other expenses, I have house insurance but not contents insurance. I have all the costs involved in running a nice car, road tax, insurance, MOT, recovery, and depreciation. For any new people who have started reading, I don't have a mortgage or pay rent.

So there you are. Financial review all done and dusted. Have you looked at your bills lately? Do you keep them in a file? Or are they all computerized? Maybe you do a spread sheet on the computer, I don't. Maybe you do internet banking, I don't. Do what's best for you.

Thanks for popping in. We'll catch up soon.
Toodle pip

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