Purposefully trying to get out of debt is revealing some pretty interesting things. It is amazing how despite practicing frugal living, we’ve thrown money away from being poor organizers of it.
Call it having too much to do or the control freak of the family (me) turning a blind eye to certain areas of our bills, but this month we’ve definitely been seeing how not paying close attention to some things has affected our budget.
Case in point: we got a letter from our oil company saying that they were raising our oil rate, so our monthly bill for the last two months was too low, resulting in an extra few hundred dollars that we had to find. I argued with someone at the company about being on the budget plan. In the past, the budget plan locked us in to a rate during the summer, so we should never seen an increase.
The problem is that they made a change. Instead of the budget program automatically renewing from year to year as it normally did, as of three years ago we actually had to apply to opt into it. This meant that we were no longer protected. The company assured me that they notified everyone.
My husband, who was handling most of the bills, never saw the notice. In fact, he knew nothing of it for three years! He just paid whatever they asked and assumed that we were on a locked in rate budget that adjusted with the amount of oil we were using. Now that we are paying closer attention to what we spend and are taking the time to go over the budget together, the issue was easy to spot.
Just think, we could have been saving hundreds of dollars each year if we were paying more careful attention. If we had a budget, we could quickly see items that didn’t fall into the amounts that they should have. We could have made an adjustment.
Of course, now we know and will take care of this issue, but it just goes to show how just having a budget works and how messy organization cost us real money.
As for the budget allowance, the money had to come from some where, so we opted to forego new paint and a rug for the living room and take the money out of our home improvement fund for the next two months.