Our weekly budget felt like it was under a little more pressure than usual this week. I forgot to budget for elementary school fees ($75.00) that are due next week. I recently heard Dave Ramsey say that budgeting isn’t so much of a ‘microwave’ thing… more like a ‘Crock-pot’ in that it takes a good bit of time to reach perfection. Even after so many years of budgeting we still have mix-ups. We also have a medical bill due in a few weeks so surplus cash will be diverted in that direction temporarily.
Summer Minestrone in the Crock Pot
To prevent us from tapping into savings for these expenses we:
- Got busy and listed a large carpet remnant on Craigslist. I am glad someone can take advantage of it while it is still clean and new. + $15.00
- Listed several clothing items on eBay. I have to say I am surprised at the demand, especially for kids’ clothing, on eBay. The last kids item I sold went for $16.00, plus $4.00 shipping – which is kind of a head-scratcher considering it was not new.
- Planted more arugula – this is our third crop this summer. Also planted some broccolini which is a fall crop for us.
- Ate at home using ingredients we had on hand, including…. Summer Minestrone Soup! I am coming up with new places to put zucchini and kale in next week’s meal plan 🙂
- Made chocolate zucchini cake for a treat. Could not find a good price on chocolate chips so I made frosting instead – a trick a good friend taught me. This recipe is a keeper!
- Were vigilant about waiting for time-of-use-rate to kick in to charge devices and run dishwasher, washing machine, etc. Time of use rate saves us $200.00 a year.
- For some Saturday fun we went to a chalk art festival – free, and no temptation to bring the art home with you.
We were grateful to have some money left at the end of the week to put towards upcoming expenses. We had a Saturday night budget recap and determined we will go back to focusing on our emergency savings as well as holiday gifts in the coming weeks.
It was a short week for us after coming home from vacation mid-week, but we did make some money-saving moves with the days we had available.
- We came home to potted spinach plants gone wild! I got out and planted some new seeds. Spinach grows quickly and you can always find a use for it.
When spinach is left ‘Home Alone’!
- Our electric bill was over 100.00 below what we had saved in our budget. You know I am devoted to the time-of-use rate program! We put the excess money into savings.
- Took advantage of a double-coupon day to stock up on items for this week’s meal plan and also food for our upcoming block party.
- Had a quick budget review with my husband. We agreed to start saving a little bit each week towards Christmas expenses.
- Cleaned the front-loading washing machine in an effort to keep it in good condition.
- My husband found that our car dealer takes oil change coupons from any competitor. We had a $ 10.00 off coupon from another business and used that with no problem.
Hope your weekend was a good one. See you tomorrow for Meal Plan Monday!
I save $200 a year on my electric bill, and I don’t have to forego central air conditioning or sit in the dark at night. I’ve been preaching to friends to check out the electric company’s time of use (TOU) rates, and, so far, I have yet to sell anyone on this amazing way to save.
The low-down: during the weekday when electricity demand is high, we pay MORE than a regular customer. At night and on weekends and holidays, when demand is lower, we pay far LESS. So much less that from 7 pm to 7 am we pretty much can air condition, de-humidify, launder and dry to our hearts’ content.
Last bill: On peak we used 127 kWh at .27 per kWh = $34.00. Off peak we used 336 kWh at .05 per kWh = $17.00. The electric company sends us a summary every year of what we would have paid using the standard rate vs the time of use rate. This past year we saved $200. using time of use AND we had ample air conditioning, dehumidified the basement, and kept the lights on at night! We just did everything after 7 pm.
I know my electric company isn’t the only one who offers this – just google your local company and “time of use rate” and see if it’s available. In Wisconsin, see http://www.we-energies.com/residential/acctoptions/tou_wi.htm. Drop me a comment if you are on a program like this. What kind of savings do you see?