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Posts Tagged ‘bills’

Budget Update: It’s working!!!

Posted by flsquared on November 2, 2009

As you may remember, my family started living on a budget shortly after moving to Manhattan.  This has been a tough adjustment for us as we are not at all used to tracking expenses, but it has definitely been eye-opening.

In the budget, we only included my husband’s base salary as we are hoping to save his bonus outright.  Our hope is to save 10% of the post-tax base salary, but we will be happy if we just break even and don’t touch our savings or his bonus.

Here’s how we’re doing:

August:          saved 9.7%
September:   saved 13.4% (!!!)
October:        overspent 1%


On the upside, we are net saving about 7% which is not too bad.

Additionally, we also made some big purchases this month like a membership to the Children’s Museum and NYC Rec Center as well as a big $225 application fee for Victor’s preschool next year.  We should definitely save some money this month as we went crazy buying food (nearly $600 this month) at the local grocery store’s huge Columbus Day sale.  Our cupboards, fridge, and freezer are bursting at the seams.

On the whole, I do think that tracking our expenses and being accountable to them is working. It’s difficult to spend money consciously, but it sure does help!

Wish us luck that we get back into the black next month!!


Posted in budget, frugal, money, saving money, simple living | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Sometimes It Takes a Little Push…

Posted by flsquared on March 15, 2009

This winter has been a cold one.

We live in a renovated Victorian, split into 3 apartments.  Our landlord did most of the renovations himself.  You can tell it’s a rental as it looks pretty on the surface, but when you look close, you see that the tile is uneven, the cabinets are misaligned, and the insulation is lacking.  

Really lacking.

So much so that this winter the pipes burst in our bathroom ceiling.  Luckily, I was up nursing a newborn so we were able to turn off the water in the basement and minimize the damage.  Our landlord was great and repaired it all, and purchased a space heater to keep in the common area so that the pipes stay warmer.

At the same time, we had to put a space heater in the boys’ room since it was freezing in there at night.

Then we got our power bill.


Let’s just say that for the last 18 months, our power bill went from $40 to $175.  We started to triple-layer the boys’ pjs and used the gas heat.  We hung our clothes to dry, turned off lights and TV.  We got the bill down to $130.  

Still, ouch!

We called our landlord.  He came by and it turns out that the common area outlet is actually wired to our apartment!  We’ve been paying for the common area space heater!  

So he offered us $100.

Luckily, we had done our homework.  We had our bills for the last 18 months and he could easily see the difference that began as soon as he installed the heater.  After a little talking, my husband persuaded him to allow us to deduct the difference from last year and this year’s bills from our rent.  Yea!

My advice?  Make sure to keep bill records and if they start looking funky, take a stand.

Posted in saving money | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »