A Look Back at Our Monthly Fixed Bills – How do Your Bills Compare?

Call me crazy, but I think it is fun to compare monthly fixed bills. By “montly fixed bills,” I am referring to the bills for the staples of a household. Usually they are fixed from month-to-month (although the amount may vary based on useage). Anyway, I did a post similar to this last summer but now I wanted to update for the entire 2006 year. Here’s what we spent last year on this portion of our budget:

Monthly Fixed Bills

My phone bill just keeps going up. It is now nearly $50 per month, which seems crazy to me. That doesn’t even include my cell phone bill, which is on my business account. I was going to switch to cable phone service but didn’t because the line closest to my modem is my business line and not my home line.

The cable/internet bill doubled because I FINALLY added digital cable TV.

The rest of the bills stayed fairly consistent except for seasonal changes.

Next we’ll look at property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. That should be loads of fun!

20 thoughts on “A Look Back at Our Monthly Fixed Bills – How do Your Bills Compare?”

  1. Have you looked a VOIP arrangement for your phone service? Time-Warner is our cable provider in our neighborhood, and they offer VOIP as part of their services. We can still do faxing, etc., but our bill is the same every month. We have very fast internet and phone with them (no cable) and we’ve been very pleased.

    One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you don’t have phone service when the cable/internet is out. If QoS is a problem in your area, VOIP may not be your best option. Also, if the power ever goes out, you lose phone service. But we have cell phones, and our new cable has a battery on it so (in theory) you should have phone service even if the power goes out.

  2. For me last month…

    Phone: $14.99 (Voicepulse)
    Gas: $82.06
    Electric: $116.09
    Water/Sewar: $16.67
    Trash: $19.26

    TOTAL: $249.07

    You should definitely look into VOIP if you want to get your phone bill down. I didn’t include my cable bill which is my biggest annoyance (about $68 a month). Ah the price of HDTV.

  3. For us, from last month:

    gas&electric: $60.31
    main landline: $40
    DSL landline: $43
    water/sewer/trash (billed every two months): ~$60
    cable (digital): $70

    For us, the DSL is a business expense, as is our cellphone.

    When our cellphone contract is up next year, we’ll kill the main landline and switch it to the cellphone. We want to keep a landline because cellphones and VOIP don’t work well in earthquakes, but landlines tend to be more robust.

    Also, our local cable modem provider is famous throughout the land for its complete suckitude, while our DSL provider is actually fairly reliable.

    Our maximum gas and electric bill is typically around $175 in December, when all the Christmas lights are on and the weather is coldest. We don’t need air conditioning where we live, so our summer utility bills are quite low.

  4. I’m not really sure why your land line is so expensive – ours is around $20. I wanted to phase it out, but we call overseas with a calling card and using a cell phone is not feasible.

    You can also get your DSL (hopefully AT&T) down to $14.99 or $19.99; the only catch is that you need to renew the special pricing every 8-12 months or so (AT&T will leave you an automated message saying your special pricing will expire in 1 month). This is even for customers already subscribing to AT&T; you just need to ask about it.

    Gas, Water & Utilities, and Electric, are things you can cut down on, but they are still expensive =/ Still, you’d rather have running water than hauling buckets from the well 😉

  5. My regular monthly expenses:

    Gas/Electric $94.00 – see Note 1
    Water/Trash $20.00
    Phone/Cell/DSL $76.00 – see Note 2
    Cable – analog $14.00

    TOTAL $204.00

    Note 1: I have averaged bill pay so I pay an equal amount every month for 12 months, adjusted in February.

    Note 2: I work for a telco, so this reflects employee discounts. It breaks down to $17.50 for my landline, $22.50 for my DSL (which I need to be allowed to telecommute from home at times) and $27.50 for cell phone, plus a special rate for my long distance usage.

  6. I live in a small condo so my utilities are relatively low:

    gas & electric: $30
    phone (cellular): $60
    cable: $23
    public transportation: $60 (pre-tax dollars)
    SUBTOTAL: $173

    My water/sewer/trash, etc., is all rolled into my condo assessments, along with common area maintenance and insurance, so I wasn’t sure whether to include that, but that’s another $200/month. TOTAL including assessments: $373

  7. Oops, I guess I can back out the “public transportation.” For some reason when I read your post, I read “gas” as “gasoline,” as for a car, which I thought was odd. I’m really sharp tonight, apparently.

    Subtotal: $113; total w/assessments: $313.

  8. Have you considered Skype for your land line. We have just purchased a Skype phone and credit and it seems to be working out well. There is no rental for the land line, you already pay for the internet which it may be worth shopping around to find a cheaper price and the cable you can cut back on your packages you have I’m sure many of the channels will never get watched so you are paying for the privilege of having something you don’t use.

  9. I average out my utility bills and save/draw on the remaining balances throughout the year, so my adjusted utilities are:

    Elec: $91
    Gas: 34
    Water: 32 (trash/sewer is included)
    Phone: 34 (mostly fixed)
    Internet: 60 (fixed)

    This is a, 1,800 sqft house in the a hot climate.

  10. To the best of my memory, our most recent bills:

    Electric/gas: ~$105
    Water: ~$45
    Phone: $50 (2 cell phones, no land line)
    Cable (digital, HDTV, DVR) / Internet (cable): $95

    Total: $295. Our peak is in the winter, when the gas bill goes sky high for heating. It can raise our bill another $100.

  11. I feel like I’m cheating the system:

    Phone: $22 land / $75 cells
    Gas & Elec: $30
    Water: None
    Cable: $75
    Internet: FREE

    When my wife and I were looking for a new place last year as we downsized (I went back to school, she got a new job), my main goal was to get an apartment that paid for our heat as I was sick of paying $230 to heat half a house. As a bonus, or because of it, our new place sits atop a coffee house that has free, no holds barred Wi-Fi. As an added bonus bonus, the internet is on all the time and speeds are very good. And as an added bonus bonus bonus, it’s non-smoking and closes by 6p each night.

    If it were up to me, we wouldn’t have the cable (digital) or the land line (Tivo dial up). I bring this up to my wife every chance I get.

  12. My most recent set of utilities:

    phone(cell): $47
    water/sewer/elect: $44
    dsl: $43
    gas: $32

    The gas, dsl, and w/s/e are split two ways ($59 each). The gas goes up significantly in the winter, but since we don’t use AC, the electric doesn’t fluctuate too much, even in the middle of the summer.

  13. Electric peaks at $45 in the summer with the AC on sparingly. It goes down around 30 in the spring/fall and up a bit more in the winter again.

    Phone: ~$65, about $15 of which gets reimbursed sometimes by my company.
    Internet: $32 (DSL)
    Cell: $35 with company discount
    Water/Sewer: ~$20 (paid quarterly, the minimum charge is $60 and I rarely use enough to go above the minimum)
    Trash: ~$4 (taken to the dump, $1 for 36 pounds, rounded up to the nearest half dollar)

    No Cable. The oil bill in the winter is so large I’ve been afraid to add it all up. I use about $40/year in gas for the dryer and stove.

  14. Those electric bills are absurd! Are you running an electron microscope in the basement? I imagine you live in a hot climate, so turn the thermostat up to 76, get a ceiling fan and think about requesting a thermal image of your house from the local utility.

    I’m at 0$ all the way across with about 50$/month for cell phone. (All inclusive studio apt!) But I have to go into the bathroom to get wireless internet.

  15. Ryan,

    We live in the South, our house is nearly 50 years old, and we are also cooling 2,300 square feet. Given that, I don’t think our electric bills are that bad. They could be a lot worse.

  16. Last month’s expenses:
    Cell, landline, DSL = $170
    Gas = $51
    Elec. = $127 (for 2 months’ expenses; August’s bill will be noticeably higher b/c of air conditioner use in June/July)
    Total = $348

    (Cable & water/sewer/trash are included in homeowner’s assc fees)

    I think we have proof that Los Angeles is indeed much more expensive than other parts of the country.

  17. phone/cable/internet $110
    trash $21
    water $26
    electric $158

    total: $315

    Notes: The trash and water are not billed monthly, so that’s what it would be if it were monthly. The electric is an average over the last year. The phone/cable/internet is new – we just switched to FiOS. it cut the bills there a lot, not so much cable and internet, which are about the same, but the phone bill dropped dramatically.

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