Friday, 2 March 2012

Get on a bus to keep warm

We have cause for celebration in our village, on Monday we have a new bus coming through which will increase the options we have of getting out and about. At the moment we have seven buses to town each day, but they are not evenly spaced, so there are big gaps when there isn't a bus when you might need one. Also we have a good bus service to Hull every half hour but that bus does not come through here, so we have to go to a neighbouring village to get it.

Starting on Monday the new bus will come through six times a day, passing through nearby villages, and linking up with the Hull bus in the next village. It will also give us a lot more options for going to town. I will also be able to use it for my walking days out, I will be able to go to different areas on the bus and walk back. It will be great, I never thought I could get so excited about riding on a bus, ha ha.

My combined gas and electricity bill plopped through the door this week, both meters were read so I know the readings are up to date. For the quarter, 17th November to 17 February, I paid £123.08, which is £3.84 less for the same period last year. So I'm pleased with that, wearing lots of clothes indoors and not putting the heating on pays off for me.

I've just totted up the figures for the year. The four quarterly bills totalled £330.14. The total for the previous year was £312.20, giving an increase of  £17.94. I can live with that. British Gas has estimated that my annual consumption for 2012 - 2013 will be £390.05. I am all set to prove them wrong, it won't rise by that much. I aim to continue my frugal usage, cutting back where I can.

I know a monthly direct debit for utilities is favoured by a lot of people, it helps them to budget when they have a lot of outgoings. But for me the quarterly bill works best. I keep track of all the numbers, I have a very good idea of how much I will be paying each time I get a bill, so I can budget for that. Some people might like the idea that they are in credit with their power supplier, but I do not want to pay in advance an estimated figure of what I might use. I want to pay after the bill period for exactly what I have used. British Gas is not my bank, I don't need to leave money lying around in their account. I will pay for their services as and when I use them, and not before.

I am also not a fan of entering into an agreement with them for a set price for a set period of time. Who knows what the market will do next. You might find that at the end of the period the price shoots up dramatically, in which case that would be the time to change supplier. I personally think one supplier is much the same as another, you can tie yourself in knots trying to work out all the different tarrifs, and still be non the wiser. Lots of numbers baffle me, I like things simple and uncomplicated, so I dont change, I just use less.

I haven't had the heating on for several weeks now, and I doubt I'll put it on untill next winter. My body is acclimatized to British temperatures, I sometimes get a bit cold sitting around so I get up and move about. Now I have the cross trainer I can soon build up some body heat by exercising on that. I haven't had a cold for ages, I can't remember the last time I had one. The elderly and small children are the only ones that need constant heat in the winter, everyone else could manage with less if they wanted to. Right, I'm off outside, more gardening to do. Toodle pip.   

16 comments:

  1. I'm pleased for you MQ - one good thing about my enforced 'downsizement' ! is the convenience, there are no shortage of buses and I can get about almost anywhere I want to - just as long as I don't buy too much stuff to carry home !
    I frequently go on a long bus ride and walk back.
    I can't help feeling just a little smug when other people get on the bus and have to pay -
    it really does save a fortune.
    I agree with you about paying the bills quarterly, I don't like people getting their hands on my bank account - I prefer to pay when the bill comes in.

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  2. Nice going. Do you apply your heating allowance to that bill; how does that work.
    Your right about not paying in advance. Same with income tax, you dont want a refund at the end of the year - its better to pay them a small amount.
    It is a duck shoot with all these carriers, you are right, like anything else, car rental, hotels sites, utilities............very hard to make good comparisons.

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  3. Hi lizzie. My annual heating allowance from the government is £200, and it arrives in December. You can knock that off the £330. I use it to pay towards car tax and insurance :o)

    Wean, I think when it is time for me to leave this house I will move next to a Tesco, ha ha.

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  4. Last year our central heating was broken and we froze all winter, it was miserable but like you none of us had a cold or a cough. This year we've got the central heating mended. Yes it's lovely to be warm but I'm sat typing this with the flu. So reckon you're right about cold keeping off colds Ilona definitely. Enjoy the new bus x Jules

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  5. It will be great, I never thought I could get so excited about riding on a bus, ha ha.

    I know, I can't wait to get mine. I was gutted when I realised I wouldnt be getting mine at 60 due to changes in the rules :-(

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  6. Not too many bus routes in my part of the world...would love to be able to catch a bus instead of driving all the time...

    As for cold...I've always kept my heat way, way down and think my complexion gets the most benefit...no dry air to suck the moisture from your skin...

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  7. You continue to inspire, Ilona. You're right on about acclimating to colder temps. Our NY weather's been very mild compared to other winters...yesterday, aside from bangin' up a toe, the temps were in the low 40's, wet and drizzly. My walk was absolute heaven. What I've been thrilled to discover (first winter I've been out and about) is my internal temperature continues for hours after I return home and keeps me from feeling colder than I ought.

    Was wondering how you've been faring on the elliptical. Ken wants to clear out the spare bedroom (housing a 2nd pantry and...JUNK I'm afraid to admit) and put exercise equipment in so we have no excuse regarding weather.

    Great news on the new bus! ;o)

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  8. That comment about British weather reminds me of a film we were watching a few weeks back.
    It was Pearl Harbour. The American Pilot in it is based in England with the ww2 RAF and writes home to his girlfriend that the weather is so cold he is frozen to his bones
    We laughed out loud ,good thing he wasn't based in Scotland.

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  9. Since I am not familiar with the exchange rate between you and the US, I still think your yearly totally is super cheap compared to mine. I pay $270 a month, I have to do the budget plan otherwise winter heating bills can run upwards of $500. Keep up the good work on being frugal. I try but with a lazy husband who can't shut off a light when he leaves a room, an 18 year old with every electronic known to man in his room and a 4 year old addicted to movies I will need to wait it out a few years before turning down the heat and using one or two electrical items is an option. ;)

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  10. The only bus within an hour's drive from here is the school bus....at 50 Id never convince them to let me on!!
    Jane x

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  11. I am so envious of your new bus service, I can't walk as far as my bus stop most days.

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  12. Wow Ilona, thats a fantastic result on your utility bill.

    Can't wait to get my bus pass next year.

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  13. Yep, as soon as I feel chilly I jump on my bike and get warm. We've definitely used less heating this winter thanks to it being a mild one. Checked with our account online and we are using less and less each year (heating on less, tumble drier rarely on, slow cooker instead of oven, quick showers). But we are still in credit and I agree with you about wanting to pay an exact amount for a service, so I will look into that and see if we can change this over the spring summer.

    Also I know what you mean about adjusting to living without heating, I quickly get hot and flushed if I go to someones house with the heating on - can't bear it. It has to be subzero outside for me to appreciate central heating. I don't get ill very often either. Debs x

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  14. Thought you would like this Ilona. Just read a great motto on a website relating to Amish living, which said "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."

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  15. I like paying each month. We have no opton for paying quarterly. However, we do have a system in my small town. They average last year's bill, predict the increase in costs, and give you monthly bill that is the same each month whether you use more or less. That's not helpful to me. So, I get my bill, cringe, and turn down the heat.

    We have no bus system here in AL.

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  16. Sals View - what a great motto for all us 'fruglies' !

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