Let's See How Much on a Budget I Can Live On!

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Ms. I, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I believe that a number of SoCal farmers who sell at farmers' markets sell through something similar, though I'm afraid I don't have details.
     
  2. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I thought about this, and even when we were in an apartment (which was more square footage than the little starter house we currently live in) our electricity was about the same because everything there was electric (now our heat and hot water are gas.) When we lived in a one-room apartment with a window unit, our bill was about $60 a month in the summer. When we lived in a townhouse, our bill was over $100 in the summer. It must just be a southern thing...
     
  3. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    They have something like this in my area. I don't remember the name of it but they have a "produce" box you could buy and also other items boxed by category. I was thinking about signing up but never got around to it.
     
  4. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    My apartment is 1,000 square feet, and my electric bill is about $30 when I don't run the AC, and about $50 in the months I do...
     
  5. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    The only thing I see is a possibility of more budgeting consistency, but even then, I'm really not seeing any savings. Even in longer months the gas cost will either fall in the longer month or the next month.
     
  6. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Our electricity bill is generally around $20, gas is around $15. Varies, but it tends to be low.

    Now, food is where we spend a lot in. We shop at Trader Joes and at a place similar to Whole Foods. We spend around $100 for two of us. Doesn't inlcude eating out, which we do about 2 times a week.

    I get gas every weekend, whether it's low or not. I typically spend around $30 filling it up. So, I spend approximately $120 on gas (I drive anywhere from 60 to 100 miles a day).

    We only have cell phones, no landlines. I haven't had a landline since I left for college back in 2002.

    We have basic cable, but this is our first year with it. Thinking it's not worth it. We watch shows on Hulu and Netflix.
     
  7. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    After May 9th, work (meaning at my job) will be a breeze & I'll be done w/ grad classes for a while, so I'll really be able to start clearing out & packing up, so I can ship out! I won't be able to bring all of my clothing because there just won't be nearly as much room. I'm going from having a closet that's the length of a wall PLUS a walk-in closet to just having 1 closet that takes up the wall. I should get an armoire soon too.

    I plan to buy a bed & have my cable TV & internet hooked up 1st thing. I'm only moving 10-15 min away from where I am now & I won't have many large items to bring over, so this will probably be the easiest move in my life.
     
  8. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Some of you quote very low electricity bills. How come? Ours is over $100 a month and we don't use it for heat?
     
  9. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    We get 'rewards' through our grocery story for every 100 dollars you spend that let you take 10 cents off per gallon. That's only good for one purchase, so it makes more sense to do one large fill-up at the discounted price than two smaller ones if you won't have that discount the next time.
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    amakay, We have that too. There were times with the bonus reward points I had 60 cents off per gallon. It was great. Now, I won't go driving to the gas station for 10 cents off because the distance to the station that works in cooperation with the store I use isn't all that close. By the time you factor wear and tear on the car, the savings is eaten. But what I do is:

    Plan my errands in a loop and all in one day or make sure if I will be passing the store anyway, that is when I go. I don't ever drive for 1 thing unless it is absolutely essential. I've done that for years. The other thing that helps me do is make sure I don't impulse buy as much - not that it is really a problem. It is amazing something you see as a necessity one day may not fit the same level of need several days later.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Blue, I suspect your water and cooking are electric. In any case, you're lighting an entire house, not an apartment. In addition, rates do vary from area to area - though I'd have expected to-you-ward to have lower rates than we do here.
     
  12. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Do you use it for AC? I have a 600 square foot apartment, and one "chandelier light" on in the "dining room" pretty much lights up the entire apartment. So I really only use that light. My bill is typically $20-30 a month.
     
  13. BettyRubble

    BettyRubble Rookie

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    Our electricity bill is always around $150 for our little apartment (everything's electric in it). I fear for what it will be in a house if we don't have gas!

    We also cut our cable TV. I don't really miss it. I have Netflix streaming which isn't great but it's something. But there's also Hulu Plus and so many networks have their shows online almost right away now. You could get a Roku and be able to stream from the computer onto your TV.
     
  14. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Since I think I live in the same region as Ms. I, I just went back and checked our utilities for a 4 bedroom townhouse with four roommates. These numbers all tend to be fairly consistent, although I've been quite liberal in my rounding. They haven't really changed too much seasonally either. It always ends up averaging somewhere near $50/month per roommate, or $200/month for the entire house.
    Gas: $20-30
    Electric: around $70-90
    Internet: $40
    Water: $70-80 billed every OTHER month, so you could say $40/month

    To give some more info, I think we've used the heater maybe three times in the past year, and we don't have AC, which explains the lack of major seasonal fluctuation. We have ceiling fans in the living room and every bedroom and they work great. We don't have cable TV or a landline and we don't miss them. We have a TV that is hooked up to netflix and hulu. We also use mostly energy saving bulbs and try to turn off anything electric when possible. There are quite a few things plugged in though because we all have computers, gaming systems, etc.
     
  15. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I've thought about trying to cut out my TV bill (I have satellite), but I mostly watch sports. I would really miss not being able to watch football on Sunday, and there's no online option for watching them...
     
  16. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I have been told that the Pacific Northwest has the lowest electric rates. Yes, we have electric hot water and lights. And we have a big house.
     
  17. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I've heard of Roku, but don't know a thing about it. I assume it's a device you pay a 1x amount for. I should check it out. I don't really care for sitting up at my desk to watch TV. :mellow:
     
  18. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    For Christmas we got my mom a Blu-Ray player that was also Netflix and Hulu enabled. It was around $100, and they use it almost constantly.
     
  19. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Not sure if anyone mentioned this yet (I did not read all of the replies), but have you considered using an antenna for your TV? My boyfriend and I purchased one from Walmart for $30. We get all of the basic channels (Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, CW, etc.) and do not pay a monthly bill. I thought I would miss having so many channels, but you can watch almost anything online these days anyway.
     
  20. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I don't know my bills here, but in the states I paid very little. I lived in a one bedroom apartment with my boyfriend.

    Rent: $515/month
    Gas: <$15
    Electric: <$15
    No cable
    No internet

    I never used heat nor AC. I had a space heater that I used in my bedroom when it got really cold, and I had a fan for when it got really hot. Also, the apartment complex paid for water and the gas in the gas stove. So I used to turn on the oven for 30 min or so, then open the oven door so it would heat the house. I also used to boil pots of water and put them around the apartment to heat. Or just wear my coats and snuggle in blankets. It's not that bad;) I just don't get people who turn the heat on so high they walk around in tshirts and shorts!!

    I'm a thrifty mo fo;)
     
  21. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    The electric bill for my country house is about fifty dollars, and I am only there seven or eight days a month The security lights, water well, and ac that is on 88 when I'm not there are all that stay on the whole time.



    I shouldn't type on my phone.
     
  22. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Do you mean month instead of week?
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    8 Days a week is an old Beatles song.:thumb:
     
  24. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Power bills vary dramatically from region to region. In Miami, my electric bills easily topped $500/mo in the summer and dropped to about $200 in the "winter". My bills here are about $40 in the winter/spring/fall and about $65 in July and August. Of course, in Miami, I had a 2000sq foot house with 16 foot vaulted ceilings, and a pool. Plus, the humidity and heat were so bad that the a/c ran almost constantly just to keep it at a livable 78 degrees. here, I live in an 1100 sq foot apartment, the complex pays heat and I only need the a/c sporadically throughout the summer, and usually only for a few hours during the worst part of the day.

    As for budgeting, if I was walking into a new situation, I'd ask around about what the typical utility bills were, then add about 10-15 percent, just to have a cushion.
     
  25. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I've been to Florida & although it's nice to visit, I'd never want to live there...way too humid!
     
  26. Kangaroo22

    Kangaroo22 Virtuoso

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    I have a Roku and I love it! I got the cheapest version and it was $50, but it still does high definition (just not the best high definition...the picture is more than clear enough for me, though). My apartment comes with basic cable so I supplement that with hulu Plus and Netflix on my Roku for $8 each a month. I love having a huge selection of shows and movies to watch whenever I want to.
     
  27. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    You can just hook your computer up to your TV, and watch things that way. It's pretty easy to do...That is how I watch move of my TV shows.
     
  28. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    BettyRubble, Kangaroo22 & DrivingPigeon, that sounds fabulous to me! You guys are helping me to really save $ ! :D You'll have to tell me about how this all works. So, what do I need to do?

    My leasing agent gave me all the company names & #s to get the utilities in my name BEFORE I move in. She gave me Verizon for phone, internet, & cable, but she said at the complex, people have a few choices.

    So Kangaroo, so I still have to get the cheapest basic cable I can & then go to Best Buy or a similar store & get this Roku for $50 & hopefully the Best Buy employees will tell me what cords & other equipment I need & how all this is hooked up from computer to TV? So rather than paying a certain amt for cable TV & all the extras, I'm paying the cheaper cable monthly price & $16/mo for Hulu Plus & Netflix? Do you subscribe to both because Hulu is for TV & Netflix is for movies? SO altogether, how much are you paying a month to watch TV? Who taught you how to hook all this up? Any info you can give would be appreciated & you can PM me all you want about it! :) In the meantime when I can, I'll read info on the Roku website. After this Sun, I'll be a lot more free to do things.
     
  29. bison

    bison Habitué

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    A roku doesn't have anything to do with cable. It's a device used solely for internet streaming through your wifi network, mostly with Netflix and Hulu Plus. I think it's distributed by Netflix. It also has a few other things, like sports, Pandora, some radio stations, etc. You'd pay for whatever services you were using through the Roku, like Netflix and Hulu. It does have some free "channels" (like internet radio stations) but in my experience those alone would not be worth buying it. You wouldn't need anything to hook it up other than your wireless network and a cable going from the Roku to the TV, which would come with it. My mom has one and it's alright. Edit to add the link so you can learn more about it: http://www.roku.com/

    You might do just as well using a DVD/Blu Ray player with Netflix and Hulu Plus capabilities.

    I think what DrivingPigeon was suggesting was that you just get cables to hook up a laptop and TV directly so you could just watch movies/tv online and they'd show up on the screen.

    Edit again: Just correcting myself, Roku is not part of Netflix.
     
  30. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    So all I'd need is internet service & susbscribe to Hulu Pus at the least to be able to view all this TV & movies? I really, really need to find out how all this Roku, Hulu, & Netflix works.

    Will I get the following TV channels (amongst a LOT more of course)?

    Lifetime, LRW, LMN
    ABC Family
    E TV
    VH1
    Discovery channels
    Bravo TV
    Food Network
    Cooking Channel

    Anyone know how I can drastically cut my $64/mo cell phone bill? Again, I'm w/ T-Mobile & am in a contract...boo! I have unlimited talk & text only. With my previous cell phones, I used to always be limited to so many minutes a month, which was the pits. I don't like having to constantly watch how long I talk! :mad:

    I'd also really like to try getting rid of my landline when I move.
     
  31. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    How long do you have left on your contract? Pre-paid plans and services have gotten a lot better recently. You can get plans for as little as $40/mo for unlimited talk plans. Granted, it's not an immediate fix, but something to look into in the future.
     
  32. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I got into this 2-yr contract about 5-6 mos ago, so I've got a ways to go. :mad:

    My BF pays an even $50/mo w/ Boost Mobile & if he can't pay one month, he just doesn't have service for a month.
     
  33. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I can absolutely live without a cell phone. But I wouldn't go for a month without access to a phone of some sort-- it's the world's best lifeline in an emergency. There are a whole lot of other things I would give up before that emergency communication.
     
  34. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Oh same here w/ wanting a phone for security/safety.

    I finished w/ an online support chat w/ a Roku rep & he said that regular TV channels are not available through the player...yet the site says they offer over 150,000 channels, so if not regular TV channels, then what? :confused: Yet, I see how it says you can watch all the current TV shows on Hulu Plus. I'm confused.

    So how much a month is Hulu Plus? How much a month is Netflix? Each $8?

    Is it that much cheaper than regular cable TV?
     
  35. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    That's what I do. I have not paid for cable in 3 years and have not missed any of the shows I like.
     
  36. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Ms. I, you won't get those channels or any others. You can't really get regular channels without cable. This is an alternative to TV rather than an equivalent. What you get on Hulu are specific shows and some movies. You can browse the selection on their website (Hulu.com). Much of it is available for free online. That's how I watch most of my shows. A Hulu Plus subscription gives you additional content and the ability to view it on a device other than your computer, like a Roku or gaming system or whatever. Netflix has things that have come out on DVD already. Think of it more like an alternative to a video store like Blockbuster. That means a lot of movies, full seasons of some tv shows that have aired in the past, etc. You can also browse their selection on their website (Netflix.com). The Roku site that I linked earlier shows the other content they offer. I think it's a great alternative to TV but I don't care about getting most channels, and I hate watching ten minutes of ads for every twenty minutes of TV. You might decide that a cable subscription is better for you.

    I haven't had any sort of cable or anything for over a year now, and I don't miss it. There are only a couple shows I can't watch online (Mad Men and HBO shows) and I find other ways to watch them.
     
  37. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I don't have one, so I could be wrong, but my understanding is that the Roku plays hulu plus. Pretty much every show is on hulu after it airs, so you'd watch it through that instead of through cable. The only setback would be that you can't watch it the night it's on- shows are usually put on hulu the next day, or for some networks, on an 8 day delay. I'm considering it for when I move. I almost never watch shows when they're actually on- I watch them through my cable xfinity service which is great but 7 bucks a month on top of what I pay for cable. If you get in a regular schedule of just watching them behind anyway, it's no big deal. Tonight I'm watching shows that were on this Tuesday. I actually kind of like it better because you can pause it if you need to or even stop it and go back later. You're not totally at the mercy of the cable schedule. My only concern is that my tv and internet are bundled, and I wonder how much I'd save just getting the internet and dropping the cable. There is no way I could live without internet!
     
  38. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Thanks bison. Ok, went on hulu.com & I see the shows I watch on regular TV, so I guess I CAN get them with Roku. I don't care about having to watch them days later after they air since I never really watch when something's airing either.

    A 1x fee for the device & $8/mo sounds good to me! :D Maybe I will try this thing out.

    I see that QVC sells the device & there's a video from when they were selling it on the show. This should be informative.
     
  39. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Some tv shows are on Netflix but I think they are all past seasons.
     
  40. janney

    janney Cohort

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    I haven't had cable for over 4 years and never miss it. I have an antenna hooked up to my television so I can watch all the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, etc) and I watch Netflix through my Wii. A lot of the cable channel shows are available online to watch for free on the network's website. Whenever I have control of a tv with cable I just end up watching QVC or HSN for hours anyways. :lol:

    I also haven't had a landline phone for over 10 years and I have never had a problem.

    I suggest that you wait a few months before you sign up for any extras. See if you miss anything and how your budget works out then you won't be locked into any contracts.
     

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