Thursday, November 13, 2008

utilities...

We have been living here just 2 days short or a month. The Gentle Giant has been doing the math on how much we have spent on our utilities living here so far.
  • Cell phone bill: $55 for a month for 2 different phone numbers(we had this already but cut our home phone at old place)
  • Gasoline for the lanterns, the small motor for getting water from the well pit, the lawn mower and the tractor for odd jobs: 5 gallons of gas (Lets say gas is $2.90 a gallon for an average as we paid that at the beginning of the month but gas is only $1.84 today here) So about $15- for the month (we could eliminate the motor on the windmill if we wanted to use a hand pump on the well. We could get a non-electric lawn mower as the Amish use but I think I am just fine with that $15)
  • Propane for stove $24- for the month

Grand total about for the month: just shy of $95-

We had the heat from the wood stove minimally at 72 degrees too!

We will be able to eliminate the propane bill in the winter when we acquire the wood cook stove!

We are very happy with the $95- and felt we didn't miss out on a thing. I heated tons of water for baths, etc.

I JUST REMEMBERD I HAVE GONE TO THE LAUNDRY MAT TO DO WASH A FEW TIMES THIS MONTH. Did not use the dryer though: $30-

So $125 a month. We can eliminate the wash bill when we get that wash machine :)

I am still very happy with the amount of money we have saved. I cannot tell you how much our utilities were before, even with never using a furnance... I will just keep that one to myself but you should know we are saving TONS by eliminating trash, electric, fuel oil for hot water, land line phone and MORE. We never had cable...

18 comments:

Renata said...

Wow - it certainly seems worth the savings! You're doing such a great job. I enjoy reading your blog whenever you post!

Peggy said...

Thanks to your wonderful posts I am trying to cut back more. We hope to get solar and go off grid by next summer. Right now I am using my oil lamps at night and keeping the lights turned off. Cooking on the woodstove as much as possible.I am going back to using my washtubs fulltime. We are cutting of cable at the end of the year. Have to wait or pay for ending contract early. I am so impressed with how well you are doing and how happy you are. thanks for giving the rest of us encouragment.

Lea of Farmhouse Blessings said...

Wonderful! Another positive change.

Smiles,
Lea

thatlady32 said...

I want you to know that I enjoy reading your posts and admire your decision to do something radical to follow your dream. So please don't take offense to this post. However, I would've thought that your savings would be a lot more substantial by choosing to live this way. My family's budget breaks down this way:

electricity $100/month (budget plan)
Gas $149/month (budget plan)
Cable/phone/fax $135 month
Waste removal $35/month
Water/sewer $35/month
cell phone $55/month

Which means that if I were to "live off grid" I would only save @$400 month with extras thrown in there. An interesting comparison would be how much extra time you spend on doing things that you normally didn't do like getting your baths ready - especially if you take them daily, doing laundry, washing dishes, pumping and heating water, etc.

When I figure out all the extra time I would spend on not having the conveniences of being able to do my laundry in the washing machine (in the summer I hang things outside sometimes), use my dishwasher, vacuum, microwave food, take a hot shower, etc. - $100 a week is worth it! :)

What is the benefit to living in this radical fashion? (I'm sure many of your friends and family are wondering this also and is why they make comments like they could never do what you are doing) I wonder if I am missing out on something and may be "in the dark" by not choosing this lifestyle. Would you mind enlightening your "living on grid" readers about why this was a dream of yours? (I know that this has never crossed my mind!)

Ante Family Agrarians said...

Isn't it wonderful to save. We are hoping to cut our gasoline use once we can invest in some solar panels. Our bills are still way cheaper than they use to be though. We've even gotten rid of the mortgage payments and car payments. Which helps sooo much too. Enjoy reading your posts, and would love to see more pics of your beautiful Amish home. Was your home built by the Amish, or am i mistaken. Sorry!
Peace, Kris

Homemaker Ang said...

hi that lady 32, glad you stopped by. This is a long answer and i dont have to much time to answer it completely at all but i will answer briefly.

when we get the was wash machine we will eliminate the laundry mat charge.

Uhm, i think if you saved $400 extra a month that is HUGE! that is almost $5,000 a year. That is a huge amount of money in my book.

It might not seem worth it to you as you may have a very good income or you cannot understand that is a lot of money to some.

We did not decide to go off grid to save money but that is a huge perk. I can take that $400+ a month to pay down my mortgage sooner, invest in our children's future or save it. I could buy a month of groceries with $400 extra dollars so then in actuality is is even more of a savings...

This change has brought our family even closer than we already were. It really has not been a ton more work, but then i may have a different mindset than you do. That is where the answer to the question gets very long and if you are not on the same page, i doubt it may make sense to you. I am not belittling you at all.

It is kind of like homeschooling, it is a lot of work and tons of sacrafice... but you must know people do not homeschool to "save money" it is a lifestyle decison, etc. that in the end has TONS of benefits... That is ultimately why we choose to live off-grid!

I find $400 extra dollars a month a ton of extra money and the time does not play into it as we do not participate in what most do so I dont feel it is extra time for the extra work because i have to run the kids here and there...

i hope i touched a little on your questions.

Thanks for asking!
Angela

ps, if i drop the wash machine that we will purchase as quick as we FIND one, that is only $95 a month spent on utilities on the gracious side. In this day and age that is virtually unheard of.

Homemaker Ang said...

that lady, So basically for your $100 a week on the microwave, hot shower and wash machine is more than we spend a month... it all depends on how you look at it i guess...

Homemaker Ang said...

That lady 32, also, i am always very curious when people do a private profile i am fairly sure they are hiding behind that and i probably know you... you stated "What is the benefit to living in this radical fashion? (I'm sure many of your friends and family are wondering this also and is why they make comments like they could never do what you are doing) I wonder if I am missing out on something and may be "in the dark" by not choosing this lifestyle. Would you mind enlightening your "living on grid" readers about why this was a dream of yours? (I know that this has never crossed my mind!)"

again, a long answer but a quick one

It has never crossed my mind to be status quo as it has never crossed your mind to break out of status quo...

we really do not want to participate in all the extra junk in society. We really like living on 40 acres of extreme beauty, fresh air, a lake and all the freedom we want without everyone watching us. I am not sure if you are numb to the day and age we live in or not, but our home is a 100% safe haven and the land here is absolutely amazing. I love waking up and gathering our eggs and walking the land and picking from our own orchard. I love doing this whenever I want and i love that no one is watching...

We love that our children are free to explore in privacy and we love that we are not dependant on the consumers power to live. What would you do if the power goes out for more than 3 days? Where would you put your freezer food? how could you get water from your own sink? how could you get your garage door open? how could you shower? How could you microwave or cook your food? I am not living in fear at all but it very unrealistic to think the power company will take care of us...

I can see it would not be a good fit for you but you may like going along with the motions of life rather than breaking out of molds possibly?

Mrs Dewey Smith said...

Oh I wish I was in that happy place of few to little bills with you. We're getting there, slowly, but we're getting there.

I have no doubt that one day in our not too distant future here, we won't have to worry about whether or not we 'can' cut back, we'll 'have to' cut back. The economy isn't going anywhere...least wise not back to the better side. Our electric company sent us notices that starting with the December cycle, our rates are going up 25%. Not for us they won't be. We are dropping as much as possible.

The washing machine is on it's last leg, so that was an easy drop :o) Hand-washing is is from now on. The a/c will give me, personally, the biggest trouble. I'm a northern girl -- I am not one for hot and humid summers at all, but we live in Mississippi now so that's all we get here...10 months a year it seems. I'll go out kicking and screaming and crying for my a/c, I think.

Our monthly budget, to really scare some of your readers, is running just over $1600 a month. That includes very high utilities, but mostly it's our stupid tax...we have 2 loans out. Right now we are on a goal to pay both of them off (around $35000 total) by the end of my husband's current job next June/July (he's an electrician, off building a hospital right now). Once those loans are gone, our bills will be those that are totally within our own control. Rather sobering to know that you pay out what you do simply because you live the way you do :o(

That's where our changes come in. We know that our current lifestyle isn't offering any benefits to us as a family, and we are looking to bring Dad home full time and still 'survive' on the homestead. I've seen it done, and we know it can be accomplished. That's our goal.

Great blog -- glad I followed your link in my bunny trails today!
Deanna

thatlady32 said...

"It might not seem worth it to you as you may have a very good income or you cannot understand that is a lot of money to some."

"but then i may have a different mindset than you do."

"It has never crossed my mind to be status quo as it has never crossed your mind to break out of status quo..."

"I am not sure if you are numb to the day and age we live in or not,"

"I can see it would not be a good fit for you but you may like going along with the motions of life rather than breaking out of molds possibly?"

I hope I did not offend you with my post, I merely wanted to know what the benefit was to living this lifestyle because to me $100 a week IS NOT WORTH IT (I will gladly spend that for the modern day conveniences that science has afforded our society!) So I knew that there had to a much more compelling reason for your decision ~ especially when it involves hauling your own @#!$ around.

I did not attack you or get personal in my post at all . . . yet your reply was loaded with zingers amidst the niceties. You have judged my intentions and insinuated that you are better than me with your condescending remarks. I truly am sorry if I offended you, I did not mean too. My job entails motivating people and I was extremely curious as to what motivated you to make such an eccentric choice.

I will pray that God will bless you and your family with much love, health, and happiness along this endeavor. I will also pray that God will give you a heart that does not take offense so easily, a humble spirit, and patience and love in dealing with people that will have difficulty comprehending your lifestyle decision so that you may truly be His witness.

Homemaker Ang said...

i am not here to fight you at all

but you say your job is to be motivating and encouraging. we arent hiring motivational speakers here and I am just about sure you still are hiding behind your hidden profile....

you did say, "I hope I did not offend you with my post, I merely wanted to know what the benefit was to living this lifestyle because to me $100 a week IS NOT WORTH IT (I will gladly spend that for the modern day conveniences that science has afforded our society!"

then you should... why would you even read this blog if you are not interested in the lifestyle

and this comment

"So I knew that there had to a much more compelling reason for your decision ~ especially when it involves hauling your own @#!$ around" was a total slam which is why you originally posted here. i have no idea to what this means???

it might fry you we live like this but we are 191% happy :)... just because its not for you does not mean that i care. I am not offended by the least, you took it wrong. you seem angry...

i hope you are truly enjoying your life as much as we are. life is to short to be status quo.

you are welcome here but you are not allowed to swear here so please keep your comments in check along with your christ like comments...

Homemaker Ang said...

you did say, "I hope I did not offend you with my post, I merely wanted to know what the benefit was to living this lifestyle because to me $100 a week IS NOT WORTH IT (I will gladly spend that for the modern day conveniences that science has afforded our society!"


good for you... this life is not for you then and i am not judging you for your choices or am in even remotely interested in your choices...

Swylv said...

maybe you've answered these but how do you keep food frozen/fridged when it's hot out? Also is cell phone considered off grid? Just wondering as I read that electricity is being attached to the grid, but cell phones track to, or did I read that correctly? Also how would one vacuum if they decided to use less electricity while living in an apartment?

I enjoy your weblog!

Homemaker Ang said...

hi, on the vacuums, they have those push vacs that you see restaurants using so they do not make the noise to disrupt the customers meals although i do not know how well they really work.

We do not have any carpet here so the broom and dust pan is ok for us. I do have a rug and plug into a generator on occasion for that.

the cell phone is a must have for us in case of emergencies. I would not consider it "on grid" really as we can charge it by our car but i understand what you mean by that.

the fridge has been fairly easy this time of year as it is kind off cold out. I do have a 7 day cooler with ice for meat. But we must can most of our meat, like I did already when we hit the deer in the van :)

the amish say you never butcher animals in the summer as you do not have any time to can them. They do most butchering from december - march etc.

we will have an icehouse (we brought one with us) and as soon as we can cut ice from our pond we will fill it and that should last almost a year then.

Dani said...

I think its great what your family is doing...and $100 a week savings seems like a small fortune to me...
and well worth it. We all need to cut back and rethink our priorities, don't we?
I love the country and can only imagine the tranquility you all are experiencing...God Bless

SK and Family said...

Ang, how did you learn to can? I am interested in trying canning, but have no idea of where to start (especially with meats!).

I am enjoying reading about your lifestyle adventure so much. I don't know if we will ever live "off the grid" (I have had a passion for pioneer history, but don't know if my dh would ever agree, LOL), and I know that there are many variations of living off the grid, but I can see us possibly living the way you all are--it sounds like a perfect combination of pioneering and taking advantage of modern blessings! (super-long sentence there, LOL).

You mention that y'all lived without central heat for several years--was this with a wood-burning stove or fireplaces? How did you get heat to all of the rooms? I ask because we have house plans and I am wondering if we can incoporate this somehow...

Thanks so much--please answer at your convenience, I know you are limited on time! ;)

Homemaker Ang said...

hi sk and family

water bath canning is easy. i have been doing about 5 years. i found all info online but recommend the blue ball book.

meat also, i recommend that book and in the deer and apples post there was a 1800number and they can answer both questions on water bath canning and pressure canning.

you should know there are some veggies, fruits and ALL MEATS must be pressure canned for safety and cannot be water bathed canned as they could kill us if not canned properly so i would ask the experts (not me :) for sure) and they can tell you.


we heated with 100% wood over 4000 sq feet and never skipped a beat. but you must buy a very good wood stove, etc. we had a free standing wood stove solid cast iron. dont buy one from the local farm store or anything. personally i think those corn stoves are for the birds as you are forced usually to buy your source of fuel and that defeats our purpose for heating with wood as we find drops or free wood or cut from our property. i think the same of the stoves that hook to the furnance or the outside stove as they take electricty or some sort of fuel to get the heat to the house then. i figure i could just turn the furnance on to do that plus they definately are not that efficient. we had a 2 story at that time with 5 bedrooms up and the stove on the mainfloor and it did FINE. i was home all day to load it though and it was always over 70 degrees, usually 2 warm but just right upstairs to sleep with it cooler. you can regulate heat by closing doors up and down etc. we wouldnt do it any other way and enjoy the true warmth of wood for free :)

excuse all spelling errors, grammar errors and so forth as i am chasing a 1 year old as i am typing

SK and Family said...

Thank you so much for your response, Ang--very helpful!!
:)Kat

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