Friday, January 22, 2010

Keeping Track of Your Utilities

I was a little disappointed when I got my energy bill for this month. It was $278.40. I knew last month was cold and it was going to be higher but it was over $100 higher from the month before. After doing a little research and looking back over the last couple years I realized we had actually done pretty good. Last year our bill for the current month was $340.34, and in 2008 it was $317.23.

I keep track of our utilities. Throughout the year, after I pay a utility I file it away. In December I go through them and write out what I paid each month on a sheet of paper. This way I have a record of what I paid. This comes in handy for a couple of reasons. First, when I go to redo my budget for the upcoming year I can look at our expenses and find the average of what we spent the previous year. Another advantage is for times like this. I was racking my brain trying to figure out what we were doing that could have added to this higher bill. In this case it was our gas usage that was so high. Did we run our dryer more? Could we have a gas leak somewhere?

Now there is alot of variables when it comes to your energy bill. Temperature, number of days in the billing cycle, price increases. After reviewing the previous years bills I realized it was just a really cold month and our furnace was just on overdrive. We have steamed water that runs off gas to heat our home and this is what caused our bill to be so high this month. Having kept those records from previous years help me to realize that.

If it seems like alot of busy work to keep your own utility record you may not have to. Alot of utility companies have that information available to you. My energy company has all this information on their website. I can get statistics clear back to August 2007. It can really come in handy.

Linked to Frugal Friday at Life as Mom.


  1. Nice utility advice! I hate those surprise bills. We had those several times but now I'm on budget billing so I know exactly how much it will be each month. The past couple of years, we actually had a credit when they re-did our budget - that's a nice surprise!

  2. Have you looked into Iowa Energy Assistance? I'm not sure what your income needs to be to qualify, but you can call the Ankeny location at (515)965-0433 during the weekdays.

  3. We keep our bills/info., too. I can't wait every month to see how we've done! We use budget billing, so it's fun to see how far into the winter we can make without using up the overage we aquire during low energy usage periods. We still have nearly $200 left, so we might just make it until April when we seldom use the heat.

  4. Great idea, compiling it all onto one list! I'll be stealing that! ;) Do you just write the total amount or also the KWH and amount per kilowatt?

  5. I just write down the total amount that was due.

    On our statement it gives us a usage profile. This is a comparison of the current month to that of the year before. In that box is the length of days for that billing cycle, the average temp, average cost per day, average kWh per day and average temp for the month. I usually always use this for my reference as well.