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Utilities after ER
Old 11-14-2004, 09:28 PM   #1
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Utilities after ER

We both currently work full time and I was wondering what happens to the utilities when someone is home full time. Is it budget altering or neglible?

Our utilities for 1900 sq ft newer home for two people is:
40/mo water
20-40/mo gas (summer/winter)
50-100/mo electric (winter/summer)

I assumed it was neglible and never gave it any though until I heard co-workers mention they pay 300-400/mo for electricity!


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Those are pretty small numbers...
Old 11-14-2004, 09:36 PM   #2
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Those are pretty small numbers...

... it looks like you have an energy-efficient home (or else you're never in it). Even if your energy costs double, will it be a budget buster?

Gas/water probably won't change unless you start cooking extensive lunches or taking extra showers/baths. In fact, in retirement we're actually using less energy for cooking since we can plan ahead and do more in bulk. And we're using LESS hot water since we're showering more often at the gym/beach. Or not showering at all-- who are we trying to impress?!

You'll be using more electricity if you're at home during retirement. But you also have a chance to analyze your expenses, find energy-efficient appliances, purchase compact fluorescent bulbs, and generally whittle away the waste. So although we're home a lot more, our improvements have saved more energy than we're using.
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-15-2004, 05:01 AM   #3
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Re: Utilities after ER

$40-250/mo - per Nord's you can move it all over the map - including (if you're a really cheap SOB) shutting it off. Electricity is overrated - I tumbled to this fact living in the swamp - power failures are the norm.

I won't list the experiments over the last 25 yrs. - but leaving it on with a hot water heater timer gave the most bang for the buck - and minimized the "you cheap frigging bastard' type yelling.

Alas - we have A/C and electric heat nowadays - $190/mo rolling level billing this year.
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-15-2004, 07:14 AM   #4
 
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Re: Utilities after ER

I'm guessin' we average about $120 per month, year round for elect. and natural gas combined. 1100
SF bi-level not that well insulated and without heroic
measures.

John Galt
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-15-2004, 12:14 PM   #5
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Re: Utilities after ER

Thanks for sharing your comments. I guess we have an efficient home, when we are not at work, we are just about always at home.

By itself, I am not too worried about the utilities doubling though more than that would scare me. I got my annual homeowners insurance bill this month, and the premium has increased 33%.

The concern is that earlier/longer you plan to be in ER, the more risk you have because there are more unknowns; it is harder to plan everything out. I am making calculations with one assumption that has our utilities analogous to where we are today. Seems reasonable enough.

One invalid assumption is probably not too a big risk, but several invalid assumptions compounded with the time horizon I hope to be in ER may = later career as a walmart greeter. Eeeks!



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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-15-2004, 12:18 PM   #6
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Re: Utilities after ER

My 750 sq ft apartment averages $55/month and oddly enough is cheaper in the winter in Indpls. I have electric heat & AC. I have 2 computers and some peripherals running 24/7, but I'm fairly constant about leaving lights off unless I'm using them. I don't cook at home much, but when I do it's usually the microwave or toaster oven.

My building is 5 years old and is apparently VERY well insulated; I'm really surprised how little the heater runs. (Maybe the PCs are warming up the place for me.)

The later model heat/AC units and appliances make a huge difference in consumption.

In DFW, Texas, I had a 767 sq ft apartment that averaged just over $100 per month. That building and its appliances were at least 20 years old. If/when I move back there the recency of the AC unit will be a big factor in deciding where to live.
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-15-2004, 01:38 PM   #7
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Re: Utilities after ER

Windedhare, good question. I've been retired roughly 6 months now. I compared that 6 months to the prior year's 6 month period:

5/2003 - 11/2003 (Not Retired):
Utilities: $1,031
Natural Gas: $219

5/2004 - 11/2004 (Retired):
Utilities: $908
Natural Gas: $215

We use natural gas for heat, cooking, and hot water. We use electricity for central air, washer/dryer, and everything else. Prices have gone up since I've been retired, but we spent less, even with the price increases. I think I know why:

--Laundry use drops dramatically without a work wardrobe.

--I cook at least three times a week on the outside grill.

--We spend most of the day on a screened porch, with a cold drink, reading a good novel, and breathing fresh air.

--And the number one reason we're spending less on utilities..... the last three years at work were miserable. I was pissed off most of the time and had zero tolerance for the slightest discomfort. Sweating was unthinkable and would likely launch me into an advanced state of agitation. So the air conditioning was cranked up at all times.

Being miserable at work has many hidden costs.
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-15-2004, 06:35 PM   #8
 
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Re: Utilities after ER

We're not retired, but I was working at home during the past year and we live in a very hot and humid area, so I had the AC on more than if we weren't home-- we leave it at 85 when we leave the house, 78 when we're home. Having it at 78 round the clock was enough to make our electricity bill $30 higher than the previous year during the summer months.

In the winter, same thing- when we're not home, thermostat is turned down to 50, but we leave it at 66 when we're home (although we turn it way down at night... sleeping in a cold house is so restful!)

Just to be safe, I would budget an extra $25/ month for summer AC/ winter heating bills. You may not need it and it will be extra spending money!
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-15-2004, 08:17 PM   #9
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Re: Utilities after ER

Quote:
. . .
Being miserable at work has many hidden costs.
Now there's an understatement.

I pulled up my power bills to see how they changed in retirement, and noticed that they had dropped dramatically. Then, I also noted that my 20+ year old heat pump suffered severe meltdown shortly after I retired. The new one is significantly more efficient.
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-16-2004, 03:49 PM   #10
 
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Re: Utilities after ER

5/2003 - 11/2003 (Retired):
Electric: $489
Natural Gas: $284
Water: $283

5/2004 - 11/2004 (Retired):
Electric: $425
Natural Gas: $264
Water: $168

Bob,

Is the Twin Cities that much cheaper than Iowa? I live in in a 3600 Square ft/ Place = 1800 each on 2 levels.

Is your Utilities = Electric or other stuff as well?
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-16-2004, 04:57 PM   #11
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Re: Utilities after ER

Cut-Throat, our utilities include water, sewer, garbage, and electricity. Here's a bill from a typically hot month (7/12/2004 - 8/11/2004):

Garbage: $12.00
Electric: $96.09
Water: $16.31
Sewer: $30.55

Total: $154.95

I think mine is very high, expecially when I see yours! And your house is more than double the size of mine! I have 1300 square feet plus a 900 sq. ft unfinished basement that I don't heat or cool directly. I'm getting ripped!

I'm going to get the meters checked and ask around to see if it's just me, or if the rates are just that high here. Thanks for pointing it out!
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-16-2004, 05:35 PM   #12
 
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Re: Utilities after ER

Bob,

One thing just occured to me. My house was built in 1998 and has the new insulation codes and 6 inch outer walls. My Daughter lives in a 1912 vintage house that is half the same as mine and she pays just about double!

So, if you live in an older house that may not be insulated as well, this could very well be the difference.

If your house is newer, I can share the cost per KWHour and Gas with you.
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-16-2004, 10:46 PM   #13
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Re: Utilities after ER

Cut-Throat, I pay 9.6 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity. Is that in line with yours? Thanks!
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-17-2004, 05:03 AM   #14
 
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Re: Utilities after ER

Bob,

We are a little cheaper, maybe because of the locale.

We pay 7.6 cents per KWH from June thru Sept. and the other months are only 6.6 cents per KWH.
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-17-2004, 05:22 AM   #15
 
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Re: Utilities after ER

Well, I went back and actually looked at the bills.
My guess of $120 per month was a little high for last year. Looks like $100 to $110 is more like it. This is natural gas and electricity only. We have a well. Also, our 1100
SF is not all heated as about 350 SF is closed off in the winter and the garage is kept around 50 degrees.
So, our bills look pretty high when you consider we are
only directly heating/cooling a net of 750 SF. We could do better.

John Galt
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-17-2004, 10:24 AM   #16
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Re: Utilities after ER

Quote:
Bob,

We are a little cheaper, maybe because of the locale.

We pay 7.6 cents per KWH from June thru Sept. and the other months are only 6.6 cents per KWH.
Thanks Cut-Throat - that would account for some of it. The energy efficiency of your place probably accounts for the rest. I have been meaning to replace all of the 50+ year old windows and entry doors. Maybe that will help.
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Re: Utilities after ER
Old 11-18-2004, 12:53 PM   #17
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Re: Utilities after ER

It looks that age of the home/efficiency of appliances are more decisive factor more than say usage. My buddy who pays 3-400 mo for electiricy has roughly same sq ft. but the home is 100 years old whereas mine was built in 2001.

On this account, I am put at ease! Thanks everyone for sharing.
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