Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How I got a 76% off my electricity bill!

Several days ago, I received my energy bill for the month of June and to my surprise I only had to pay $20.06!  This is how I got a credit for $65.

First I bought a lawn mower.  Although, your first reaction might be, why or how does a lawn mower affect your electricity Bill?!  My answer is simple.  My electricity company, and I'm sure many of yours as well offers credits for purchasing lawn mowers (or some kind of appliance) that is energy efficient or electric instead of gasoline powered.  When we purchased our lawn mower, we specifically made sure that it was on that list of being able to get a credit back. Our final purchase was a push reel mower (similar to the one I've linked above) which I absolutely love!  I'd like to note that even my wife is able to mow the lawn, so it's not like the days of old where it's brutal to use this type of lawn mower.  This rebate, as you can see from there website shown to the right, is one of many rebates available and gave us $60. back on our bill.

The smaller portion of the bill, $5, was credited back to us due to a free do-it-yourself energy checkup. This energy check-up goes through the basics of your home: asking how large it is, how many people live there, location, windows, orientation, down to the bones of it all such as how much insulation is in your attic, walls, what type of windows you use, etc.  It's very thorough and in the end it gives you a list of things that you could do to your home if you'd like along with the estimated savings of each option.

Has anyone else used these rebates from the energy company?  I'd really like to hear about people using the solar panel option and how it's worked so far for them.  How about a professional energy audit?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Websites I frequently log into....

There are many things I do to keep myself occupied online and I thought I would share some of the website I frequent.

Mint.com - I check in almost daily to make sure accounts are in the positive (and our cash reserve is there), see how our budget is doing, that nothing fraudulent has happened with our credit card, and that our goals are on track.

news.google.com - I like to know what is happening around the world, see what new medical developments are happening and what's happening in our local area.

amazon.com - My general website to check prices on items and usually purchase them. However, before I purchase an item, I usually google it to check that amazon has the lowest prices and if not, I'll go to the lowest website (assuming it doesn't look like a scam) and hit up my next site...

retailmenot.com - A great website to check the latest coupons on websites.  This website allows you to enter the website that you are shopping on and check that there are no coupons or giftcards that are available for you to enter to help lower the price more. Frequently I'll get free shipping or 10 to 20% off an order by using this website, and it's completely free!

bugmenot.com - Another great website to bypass those annoying logins or get free access to some restricted content.  You just type in the website and it will give you a list of usernames and passwords that have access to that website.

linkedin.com - Amazing professional networking website for everyone! I recently asked my peers a question regarding my thesis and some software suggestions. They responded in full answering my question with a full spectrum of software, further questions some of which I had answers to, others I did not. They provided me with articles and publication that would further help me and my research.  I posed anther question to my local group on what doctors I should use in this specific area. Again fully answered with dozen of suggestions and websites to investigate.  I fully recommend taking advantage of this website by joining not only your professional groups and corporate groups, but also join a few local groups and a few groups that you enjoy, like your favorite sport or hobby.

facebook.com - Another great networking website but much less so for professional and more for personal contacts.  I love to hear the updates of my family and friends.  :-)

diyornot.com - Although I may not check it out daily, I like to look at this website to learn (or double check) the process on how certain things are done and also if it's even recommended for me to do it!  I take it as a grain of salt if I go with a contractor or not, but the process seems to be usually accurate for the projects and it is nice to see such a wide range of topics on the home, garden, etc readily available.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July everyone!

I just want to wish everyone a safe and happy fourth of July!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Net Debt- July 2011

Student loans: -$77,809.34
Car loan: -$3,836.49
Revolving Credit card debt: $0.
Mortgage: -$139,228.54

Net Debt: $220,874.37

It has been several months since my last net worth update and you'll likely see some dramatic changes that have happened in these numbers. So, let me explain a few things from top-down.

The student loans have been on deferment so I haven't made any payments to those; however, I have another 4 years or so left in school. So I will likely try to pay off at least some of the higher interest loans that are sitting at 6% and of course pay the interest while in deferment so it wont get added into the total again once I graduate.

Next the car loan. I was a naughty boy; I got into an accident and it was my fault and sadly, I totaled my beautiful car. Although I was starting to save for a new car, I didn't have enough saved at the time to purchase a car, hence the car loan. The car we did purchase though, I did extensive research into in regards to recalls, overall cost of ownership, mpg, etc. and will hopefully last a long time and save us some substantial money (over the life of the car) as the previous car was a gas guzzler. Likewise, you can see the loan amount is small, I'm hoping to have it completely paid for by the end of this year. Once it has been paid for, I will begin the process of saving for another car, hopefully save $12,000 or more and get a reliable car when needed.

Lastly, we purchased a home! Yay! We love our home and the mortgage principle and interest is actually less than the rent, however because we only did 3.5% down, we have a larger monthly than our rent due to the taxes, escrow and insurance along with all of the other prepay things. :-(

I am a bit disappointed with myself because we didn't pay 20% down, but I'm not sure when we would be able to save 20%. The home we purchased, as you can see wasn't an overly expensive home, and we plan on living here for AT LEAST another 5 year or so until my wife and I both finish our Ph.D.'s. Afterwards, we are hoping that we'll both be able to find a job locally, however, we are prepared, if necessary to sell and move.

However, I don't care much because we now have the freedom of doing what we want in our home. It is an energy star home (I'm too green not to go energy star) so our utilities seem to be staying around the same even though there is a lot more space in the home than the apartment.  We've also retrofitted in water saving devices into the home like the aerators and shower heads which  you can see all of those things in my previous post on how to save money, water, and the environment.  Likewise, because it is my own home I can do a lot more car repairs and maintenance at home saving us additional money!