The colder it gets, the more you may find yourself paying for heat. While this is to be expected, it’s also something that can absolutely destroy your budget if you do not plan for it. If you’re only paying $40 a month for gas – for the stove and hot water – during the summer months, you get used to it very quickly, but the jump up to $200 or even $300 a month once the furnace starts being used can throw a wrench into your plans. You suddenly have to start getting money from other parts of your budget, desperately scrapping just to get by. What is the best solution to this problem?
As you can see from the ACN Facebook and similar sources, one solution is to look for a fixed-rate plan. With a plan like this, you agree to the monthly cost at the start of the year, and then you pay that every single month, regardless of energy usage. This does mean that you’re going to overpay in the summer; you may end up paying $50 a month, for instance, even though you’re only using $25-$30 worth of gas. However, this is just to balance out the later months so that you can also pay $50 per month when you are using $200 worth of gas. Your budget stays the same, there are no surprises, and you can make everything work perfectly, from a financial standpoint.
Of course, these figures are just examples. The real amount that you are going to pay depends on a lot of different factors, such as how often you turn the heat on, what temperature you keep the house at during the day, how large the home is, and things of this nature. However, the same relative changes will happen for you as are described above, based on your usage totals, so the benefit is still there.
Naturally, there are other ways to try to even your budget out that you can consider. These include putting plastic over the windows and insulating the basement and the attic to keep in the heat. You can also use a programmable thermostat so that the heat can automatically adjust, even when you’re not there. These are good things to do, to be sure, but the only way to really make sure that you have the same monthly payments all year is with a fixed plan.