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It's nice to run across some "found money"
I deal with my finances on autopilot as much as possible. I have a tendency to spend what's available, so the best way for me to make sure everything is going to work is to have lots of things directly paid out of my bank on payday so the money is gone before I have a chance to spend it.

This has worked out well, but I'm finding things a bit tight right now. Yes, all the necessities are taken care of -- the property taxes are being paid, the car loan is being paid, the phone's all right, etc, but what remains for me to spend each week isn't lasting as long as it did. I'm uncomfortably dipping into savings when I shouldn't be. It's not a lot, but it's not good (I'm saving for a reason, on a deadline, so it's dangerous for me to do so).

I looked at my electric bill the other day -- something I don't do regularly, since I'm on budget billing and automatically pay every week anyway. It seems last September, without my knowing it, the budget billing amount fell by about $72/month. My current "account balance" is in the range of -$600 or so. At $128/mo billing, I could just not pay my electric bill for almost 5 months and I'd be fine.

That's a lot of money to just find, and it'll make things smoother for me.

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That's wonderful, but please continue to monitor your bills. I unfortunately had a similar situation rise up to bite me when it changed back without my noticing. It’s horrifying how quickly you can go from not having to worry to “OMG THEY’RE CUTTING OFF THE POWER IF I DON’T COME UP WITH MORE MONEY THAN I CAN GET BY FRIDAY”. It’s why I refuse to use a budget plan even though it would make things easier to pay.

It really helps to spread the way-higher costs of winter heating out across the year, but you're right, if anything changes dramatically, it can come as a surprise.

Of course, this past winter was relatively mild, which probably accounts for the drop, and this summer I'm running the window air conditioners way more than I do most summers.

I wouldn't consider it found money. you have to pay at least SOMETHING every month or you lose the budget plan. nad if you lose it for non-payment, power companies tend to be very leery of letting you get back ON one when you get things straightened out.

and yes, I'm speaking from painful personal experience. When Kory & I ended up unemployed together for nearly a year, I tried the same trick. it didn't work.

what would be a BETTER plan would be for you to call up & re-negotiate the budget payment to a lower amount. that way you DO free up some money, but don't get behind in anything and if your balance zooms, you just call back & adjust it upwards.


I second this comment.

For now I've dropped my weekly payment from $50/wk (or $200/mo for 10 months, $250/mo for 2 months) to $32/wk (or $128/mo for 10 months, $160/mo for 2 months), which will mean I should continue to have a $600 credit, but at least it won't get bigger and free up an additional $18/wk for me.

Based on the Micawber Principle (Annual income £20, Annual Expenditure £20 0/6; result misery. Annual income £20, Annual Expenditure £19 19/6; result happiness) even $18/wk extra in the pocket will make things a lot easier.

The budget billing is scheduled to change in September, so I'm going to watch for that bill and adjust things accordingly.

It would be nice to figure a way to extract that $600 though.

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^_^ <_< >_> ^_^ (Caret happy dance)

LJ markup doesn't like your caret happy dance. But thanks!

I agree that this is not really "found" money -- it all goes from your pocket into theirs, it's just a matter of how and when.

That said, $128/month is a whopper electric bill. Even when I had electric heat, I was not averaging anywhere near that much. I daresay some conservation effort would save you lots more money.

It's not really $128/mo for electricity. It's a predicted $1536/yr for electricity and natural gas, divided into 12 monthly payments.

I don't have the actual bill in front of me, but it looks like the electric usage is pretty much baseload pattern (no seasonal dependence) and the gas usage is a heating pattern (a lot in the winter, virtually nothing in the summer). The actual energy usage this last billing period was more like $70. The overall energy cost is dominated by winter gas heating.

"How and when" can be important, especially when I have already given more than they are currently asking for, and I could use the $50/week for other, more time-pressing things now.

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