Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My Price is Capped

One of my financial strategies of late is to put as many recurring bills as possible on the budget plan. That way, I won’t be hit with big bills, like car insurance or fuel oil payments, every few months, requiring me to come up with a large block of cash. For example, at the end of May, I locked in my oil price for the winter at $3.799/gallon. Actually, I contracted for a price cap, meaning the highest price I will pay, per gallon, for oil from now until May 2009 is the aforementioned amount. If the price goes down, I will pay the cheaper price; if the price increases to more than $3.799/gallon, I will not be charged the higher price point. After I signed the contract, I was concerned that I had negotiated too high a price. Then my good friend, Koalagirl15, called me to say that the going fuel oil price for a “lock in” contract with her oil company was $5.499/gallon! I am so happy I bought early.

Fortunately for me, I only need to heat my house. Here in Connecticut, many homeowners use fuel oil to heat their hot water as well. Translation: they are required to purchase fuel oil all year long. Sadly, many of my friends are in this position. Now, I don’t know how many gallons of oil they use per month, but I can tell you that I use ~600 gallons of fuel oil just to heat my home every winter. At $3.799/gallon, my cost this coming winter will be $2279.40; at $5.499/gallon, it would be $2749.50 (and my house is only 900 square feet). For my friends who live in 3000-square-foot houses, their fuel oil cost this winter, just for heat, could be in the neighborhood of $5000.00...or more. Frightening!

So, what have you done to plan for heat this winter?

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