Saturday 5 January 2013

Back to basics

Thought I'd leave family history mysteries for a while as it quite literally is keeping me awake at night.

I was very pleased to receive for Christmas, the book 'Down to Earth' by Rhonda Hetzel. Such a mine of useful information. Many things we practise but it is always good to find new things to have a go at.

I have I think, a subconscious fear of not being able to do the everyday things my husband does, should he die before me. Now that's not a very cheery thought for the start of the year but it is something we have discussed from time to time. No reason why it should happen that way around but we decided to tackle my fears.

Last year saw us sorting out wills, funeral plans, life insurance etc. He normally does the bill/accounts for us on his computer. I have always known how to go into the program to see how we are doing financially but didn't understand the programme itself.

So this year, it is my turn. Every time money is spent, or standing orders/direct debits go from our current account etc, it is up to me to clear those transactions, double check on line and make sure both balances are the same. I am slowly learning how to put these transactions in, transfer money from one account to the other etc.

So far it is going okay and hopefully, I will be as expert as him by the end of the year.

I have always been the one to work out best deals on fuel, food, utilities etc, then we have discussed it, reached a decision and gone with changes if required. He has always been the one to deal with the service providers on the phone - I might do that another year!

A few days ago, we received our estimated water metre bill. It seemed quite high to me for 11 weeks, so mumbling under my breath I got a screwdriver, kneeling pad (it was raining), glasses, pen and paper (oh the joys of changing eyesight as you grow older – such fun). 

My neighbours must have wondered what I was up to but after three attempts, the blasted lid finally came up and peering down into the depths, constantly wiping the rain of the metre window, I got my reading.

They had estimated we had used 23 cubic metres in 11 weeks. In fact it was 15. I know I should have remonstrated with them but I left that to him. It took nearly 5 minutes of waiting for a human before we got it sorted out. End result was that the bill was 2/3rd of what they estimated.

Before we had the metre fitted in June 2011, we were being charged £57 per month (over 10 months) for unlimited water/sewage removal. So, 6 months at that rate would be £285. The same period of metered water equates to £108.41 – quite a difference.

From the cubic metre point of view, we would qualify for the So-Low rate but are holding back for now in case we go up in the last 6 months of this current year. We can change any time we want. The So-Low rate doesn't have a standing charge but charges more per cubic metre.

There you go folks, just a glimpse into our world of dealing with bills. Who does yours? If its not you, have you thought about taking it on for a while so you know how to do things for yourself?


  1. I've always done all the bills.It may be a good idea for me to get J to at least take a look at things. My Mum was okay with bills when my Dad died, it was sorting out the investments, pension plans, insurance policies etc that was puzzling and time consuming particularly when we were grieving.I now sort most things out for her - getting a water meter fitted, her landline removed, insurance renewals etc.Great news about the reduced water bill - they'd overestimated Mum's too and didn't seem to believe the actual reading!

  2. Well, we were waiting for them to query it but they didn't. They asked if we wanted to change to So Low and we said not at the moment. You are correct, it is difficult to do these things when grieving. DB wrote down everything he did after his dad died. When his mum passed a few years later, it was a lot easier. Unfortunately, we have since lost that list!

  3. I have always done the bills so would be okay on that front. It is the more practical things I would struggle with eg filling the water tanks, I don't even know what the code is for the tap! You have actually given me something to think about here xxx

    1. I think it is good to think about these things. Most people I know don't want to know.

  4. I've always done my bills but it isn't something I enjoy. I have to have quiet time and set aside a day just for thinking clearly about how much can be paid on bigger debts, savings & investments. Of course regular bills get paid in full.

    1. At least you are doing them, many aren't.


I love hearing from you, will read all your comments and try and answer any questions you leave. Please leave comments in English. Don't forget to come back and read my reply! All comments are moderated so if you try to link it to a commercial web site, it will not be published.