More rain on Saturday, too! We received 4.57 inches of rain on Friday and another 2+ inches on Saturday! With January rainfall totaling over 8 inches and more rain expected next week, too, it looks like we will exceed our normal rainfall of just under 15 inches, this season. With any luck, this year won't be considered a drought year!
Our day time temperature was 45F around noon, but, in the afternoon, it went down to 40F. Some parts of Los Angeles received snow, especially in the mountains, but, we just had rain in my area.
Neighbor T's daughter K called me in the morning, to check on me. She said she had stopped by T's house to check on things; she had been concerned about the bottle brush tree in T's front garden, but, it is fine. She said that there were several downed trees in her neighborhood. Gardener M texted, too, to see if I was OK and I assured him that all was well and the eucalyptus tree was still standing. According to the news, we had 50-70 miles per hour wind gusts, Friday night!
I spent a fairly relaxed day, today, watching online videos, reading blogs, trying to figure out a new budget, etc. I know I seem to be obsessing over the gas bill, but, just the first two bills for this year have amounted to 63% of what I paid for natural gas in all of 2022 and 57% of what what I had budgeted for this entire year's gas bills!
The way I budget for most of my expenses, especially utilities, is I add up the previous year's bills, divide by 12 to get a monthly average, and then, add 10% for inflation. I am not on the gas company's monthly payment plan, but, the way I budget for it is similar to how they calculate their monthly payment rates (and then, they bill you for any difference between what you've paid and your charges). Then, I set aside that amount in my monthly budget towards that spending category. Last year's gas bills varied from a high of $351 for January to a low of $30 in July, with an average bill of $135 per month. With 10% for inflation, that comes out to $148.50 per month and I rounded it up to $150 for natural gas in my monthly budget for 2023.
12/19/22-1/20/23 = 32
1/20-2/17 = 28
$1,031.08 = 63% of 2022 total payment
I used 164 therms during the first billing period in 2022 and my bill was $351.62. I used 160 therms during the first billing period in 2023 and my bill was almost double at $693.34! Even with their weekly bill notifications, it was still a shock! This month's bill is not quite as bad, but, these two bills have thrown my 2023 monthly budget into complete disarray! Obviously, I'll need to budget more than $150 a month for the gas bill! But, how much more? As a retired person living on a fixed income, there is only so much I can expand the budget to accommodate higher expenses. Which means I need to cut other expenses, which is going to be rather interesting.
I reduced the thermostat to 60F, today; the electric heater was on for most of the evening, although I've turned it off, now. In the meantime, the gas company sent out a notice today about a public hearing on their proposal to...guess what? Yes, they want to raise the price of gas! No kidding!
I called friend R to check on her in the evening; she's been without internet and TV service all day, but, she had electricity. I tried to call Aunt C to check on her (her backyard gets flooded when it rains, she has told me), but, she didn't answer the phone and I couldn't leave a message for her because I received an automated recording that her mail box was full. Maybe her phone service is affected due to the storms. I will try calling her tomorrow. Later, I video chatted with my daughter.
Brunch was a bowl of soup and I had a piece of cornbread with my cup of tea in the evening. Dinner was leftover pasta with sausage and pasta sauce.
Today, I am grateful for:
- The strong winds didn't cause any visible damage to my house and garden (just a few potted plants knocked over)
- Friends calling to check on me
- I have electricity and internet connections
- I have heating, even though it is costing a lot
- Having savings in place to pay for higher than expected bills!
Today's joyful activity was video chatting with my daughter.
Sunday is supposed to be mostly cloudy with a 14% chance of rain. Plans for Sunday include a little card making.
How was your Saturday? What are your plans for Sunday?