This will be the third time I’ve looked at my annual cost of living for day-to-day essentials. I try to do a little better every year for the environment and for my wallet!
Heating Costs (Heating Oil)
We used 2197 litres of oil this year, a whopping 29% more than in 2012. However, last year was uncommonly warm, and this year was back to normal. The amount was more in line with 2011 and the years before that. The oil bill was only 23% more than 2012, so prices have actually stabilized. We program the thermostat for all the working hours we’re out of the house, but insist on being moderately warm when we’re home. I am willing to wear two layers: a long-sleeved T-shirt and a heavy pullover sweater, and I’ll even wrap a TV blanket around me when I’m reading. If I’m still cold, the heat goes up. The furnace has to work really hard to keep the house warm when it’s minus 10, and I refuse to be miserable.
In dollars: $2363
We paid for 4272 kilowatt hours of electricity, 5% less than last year. The cost was just 1% less, so the rest was rate hikes. No surprise there!
In dollars: $779
We used 153 cubic metres of water (153,000 litres!), about 4% less than the year before. The bill for the year was 5% higher, again due to rate increases.
In dollars: $587
We continued with meal planning and were extra frugal with groceries this year, resulting in a savings of 11%. I’m happy about that! The total included food for meals, food for snacks, and paper goods (TP and tissues).
In dollars: $5158
Until 2009, property values in my city were assessed very low and they rarely changed much. There’s a new system that better reflects market value. However, to protect us taxpayers from the shock, they have capped the assessments for a while. Someday I’m sure they’ll be more in line with reality. Meanwhile, my bill went up less than 1% this year. I’d rather pay more to get better snow plowing services, though!
In dollars: $2233
We have our home and car insurance with the only company that gives Rom credit for his UK driving experience. The rates are terrible, but we are stuck with them for 3 more years, until Rom meets the CDN driving experience requirement. The house insurance went up another 9% this year and we’ve never had a claim.
In dollars: $1036 (!!)
The same company “only” hiked my rate 1.5% this year despite my car being one year older. Rom pays less because his car is now 3 years old. Rom’s rate with other companies would be $4500 (!!) because he would still be classed as a new driver. That is what all new drivers pay now if they have their own car with collision coverage.
In dollars: $974 (mine), $829 (Rom’s)
Gas for Car
I bought 1299 litres of gas this year, which is 9% less than last year. I look forward to calculating the 2014 total since I am no longer commuting to work!
In dollars: $1690
I suppose all of these figures look outrageous to some people; well, c’est la vie for where I live. We are a two-person, two-income household. We compare prices, look for economies, and try not to be wasteful. I know we could save money by having one or no cars, or by shivering all winter, but that’s not in my comfort zone. Everyone makes choices about which areas to scrimp on and which to splurge on. I’ve written about that here and here.
Interestingly, as a civil servant, I received a 1% wage increase this year, but netted less money because of more pension deductions.
If you add all of the above categories and compare the 2012 and 2013 totals, my costs were down 1.5% this year. I didn’t expect a decrease!
I spent a lot more money on discretionary stuff this year: vacations, concerts, a new elliptical exercise machine and a new camera. I maintained the same savings rate, though. This came about because my kid decided not to continue with university 😦
I consider digital TV, Internet and cell phone bills to be entertainment costs, as essential as they may feel!
Do you think your costs went up or down this year? Did your lifestyle change?
I didn’t have to do any calculations for this post (except the percentages) because I could plug in the numbers from my budget software 🙂