07 January 2009

What if's

Our energy bill last month was about $3 less than our rent. Yeah, you read that right. 3 bucks. This old house has steam heat. And that, apparently, costs a lot. Luckily, my sister lived here for a year and a half before we moved in, so we were prepared, in theory, for a high heating bill. "In theory", because nothing quite prepares one for paying a heating bill equal to rent.
Hence, I have turned down the heat and spent $5 buying myself some slippers. And we're still not in frigid territory yet. Right now, my nose is freezing but the thermometer downstairs is registering at 62 degrees. That's pretty warm, really. Sweater weather, I guess, and conveniently, I'm wearing a sweater right now.
The heating bill coupled with dire forecasts from economists in the news lately coupled with an announcement from Dennis' company that they are unable to contribute to 401k's next quarter coupled with a decision from him to work longer hours voluntarily, so as to demonstrate his necessity to the company has led me to do some big "what if" thinking. What if Dennis lost his job tomorrow? What if we had an emergency of some sort? What if the baby came early? What if, what if, what it?
The problem for me, is that I can get kind of obsessive what-if-ing. So, tonight Dennis and I tackled the what-ifs. What if he lost his job tomorrow? Turns out, we'd be doing fine. We rent a beautiful house and our rent is low, our landlord generous. We have a six-month emergency fund based on Dennis' current gross salary. Which means that it would last longer than six months. Dennis is a hard worker and would do whatever is necessary. I can be resourceful and may be one of God's most stubborn creatures. We'd maybe buy some space heaters. We'd be fine. Same with the other questions. We'd be depending on others more than ourselves, but we'd be smart enough to do that. We'd draw on resources from family and friends. We'd figure out what needs to happen. We'd be fine.
Heating bills and dire predictions and longer hours and less retirement money are no match for Team McStew. We're in whatever together, even if it becomes more than an "if." I feel better.


Lil said...

$3 less!? Try $150 more!
There is a great plan by Ameren that budgets the yearly average so there are no surprises. It was about $250 and there's no air conditioning, remember?

April said...

Right. Well, we pay more rent than you did and that was for the warm month.

We'll have to look at the Ameren budget plan again. The way our old utility company set up budget plans, one could pay between $150-$300 more per year because of the fine print. Luckily, we had you as our test subjects, so we knew what we were getting into. Aren't you glad you could be of service to us? :)

-M said...

What about some space heaters??? Electricity sounds a lot cheaper and you could tailor your heating to your living space instead of the entire mansion. Anyhoo - love you & I have no contingency plan other than God. GOOOOOO FAITH!!!

April said...

Space heaters would be an option, I suppose. But that really wasn't the point. It's the future anxiety. Heating bills are a microscopic line item, really, in the larger faith issues where you continue to inspire, Roo.

Lucky Fresh said...

We're on the same contingency plan as Roo, and I am a huge fan of the parabola space heater from Costco. They heat up a room like you wouldn't believe. And yes, I understand that isn't the point! But we pretty much only heat the room I'm in (with the space heater), since Todd's office gets all the daytime sun and is fine even when the rest of the house is freezing.

I've never bothered with budget, even it out plans because we have gas and electric and they basically balance each other out seasonally, except they're both higher than they used to be.

I'm glad you've figured out that you're fine though. That's a good thing to know with Baby Number Three on the way!

By the way, my word verification almost spells "dilate" which is probably a sign! (It's off by one letter though...)