Utility Bills, Budget plan or Actual?

ChrisinNJ

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 2, 2008
Do you pay your utility bills through a budget payment plan? Or do you just pay the monthly amount?

I alway pay by month, wondering if budget is better...

If you do pay by budget, did you ever go higher on usage & then have to pay a big bill to balance back out?

My electric bill is the my highest overall utility. My highest electric bill in the summer is higher than my highest heating bill in the winter.
 

JerJan

<font color=blue>I need the sunshine to SURVIVE!<b
Joined
Nov 10, 2004
I have Ohio Edison and I use the budget plan....I have a VERY large home 5 bedrooms and 3.5 baths...my budget bill is currently $128.00 monthly.

Initially they took my last 12 monthly bills totalled them then divided by 12 to come up with my monthly payment amount. They review it every 3 months and adjust it accordingly. It seems to vary about $5.00 per cycle (3 months) up and down. If you know that your usage will not dramaticaly increase/decrease your fluctuations should be minimal.

I can also cancel my budget plan at any time with no penalty, good luck in your decision.
 

ward306

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 12, 2009
Some people swear by the "budget amount" method for utilites because well, it helps them budget better. For us though we like to pay the actual amount each month. I guess we're just hard-headed but we like to pay for what we actually use each month.

Even so, there are those high-usage months where I always say - "oh, it would have been nice to only have to pay the budget amount"!
 

Metro West

Nothing to see here...move along.
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
I have the budget plan for my electricity and wouldn't switch back for anything. It's nice not having to worry how much the bill will be month to month. Mine is $122.94 which includes the wiring protection and hot water heater warranty.
 

kacaju

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 4, 2007
I do the budget plan. Here in NJ i have PSE&G for electric and Elizabethtown Gas.
On both of my monthly bills they show the actual usage amount and how much the budgeted amount is and the difference.
With PSE&G I did have to pay the difference when my yearly review came up. Elizabethtown gas reviews every 6 months and ajusts then (up or down) so I don't end up have to pay *extra* or get a credit.
I LOVE it. It just makes paying the bills easier, I never worry that I will have an extremely high bill one month
 

Mrs. Bradbury

It will ALWAYS be the PeopleMover!
Joined
May 11, 2009
When we owned a house that used natural gas that was billed by the city and had a separate electric bill, in the winter my electric bill would be lower and the natural gas bill would take up the savings. In summer, little to no gas bill but a much larger electric bill. So, it kinda regulated itself and I was afraid of having a larger electric bill in the winter as well as having to pay for gas, so I didn't use budget billing. But now that I'm in a total electric house, I love budget billing. No surprises!
 

JoanneNC

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 7, 2008
I do both...

I have a yearly budget plan and have my expected monthly amount for my utilities based on previous year use with increases, etc

I pay exactly what is on my bill each month so I only pay for what I use but I save the difference in a separate "bucket"/column in my savings account spreadsheet for my utilities. So if I budget $300 for electricity and water for one month and only spend $175 - I have $125 saved in my utilities savings bucket. This helps cover any overages and at year end - it's rolled into my non-allocated savings account. I never would want the utility company making money off of me or a year end surprise if they set my plan too low

I do this with a lot of things - monthly gas budget, monthly food, etc. I basically make sure that all of my money is accounted for at the beginning of the month as well as any extra's at the end..

I guess I like how it helps me feel in control.
 
  • srwarden1928

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2008
    Our local utility used to put a budget plan amount on your bill so you could choose to pay budget or regular. The budget amount was ALWAYS significantly higher than the regular. I always said there is no way Im giving them the use of my money. I can just keep it until I owe it. They still offer budget billing, but they dont put it on everyone's bill anymore. Much less hassle to me to just pay every month. I know when the higher electric bills and the higher gas bills are, so I just prepare for them.
     

    NewWorld Traveler

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 17, 2009
    I prefer to pay as I go. Although the budget plan is maybe a bit more convenient, I like the idea of maintaining control. There is always a base amount of utility that we consume; however, I always have the benefit of pulling back on a monthly basis if I want to conserve cash.
     

    Darcy03231

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 1, 2006
    I do the budget plan for gas (I live in NE) but all other bills are just paid monthly. Cable, phone, water/sewer stay pretty much the same. Electric gets a bit higher during the summer months because of the airconditioners, but stays pretty much the same during the rest of the year.
     

    FLAngie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 18, 2008
    We have the budget plan for our electric. I love it. Our actual bill will vary anywhere from $60 in the winter to over $200 in the summer. The way it is set up we almost always have a deficit from the summer months that we make up in the winter. It is really nice knowing how much you will have to pay every month (within a few dollars) than to be hit with a $250 bill that you were not expecting.
     
  • MSSANDRA

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 2006
    In our old house we were on the equal payment plan. Now we pay what we use and I think it has been an way to help us to reduce our cost knowing we can control the bill. Right now I have told the family if our next bill is below 100.00 we will go out to eat. Might not be much savings that month but we are getting into better habits that I hope will last.
     

    yitbos96bb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 30, 2005
    Do you pay your utility bills through a budget payment plan? Or do you just pay the monthly amount?

    I alway pay by month, wondering if budget is better...

    If you do pay by budget, did you ever go higher on usage & then have to pay a big bill to balance back out?

    My electric bill is the my highest overall utility. My highest electric bill in the summer is higher than my highest heating bill in the winter.
    I pay on budget. I like having a set price every month to plan out our monthly budget. Yes we have gone over in our usage... our Electric company gives us the choice of paying it all or building it into the budget plan for the next 12 months.

    We have also gone UNDER, in which case we usually apply it toward our account, which decreases our budget plan.

    Really its all how you like to pay bills. Both are the "right" way to do it. If you want a fixed cost, do budget. If you want high some months and low the next, just continue as you are.
     

    yitbos96bb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 30, 2005
    I do both...

    I have a yearly budget plan and have my expected monthly amount for my utilities based on previous year use with increases, etc

    I pay exactly what is on my bill each month so I only pay for what I use but I save the difference in a separate "bucket"/column in my savings account spreadsheet for my utilities. So if I budget $300 for electricity and water for one month and only spend $175 - I have $125 saved in my utilities savings bucket. This helps cover any overages and at year end - it's rolled into my non-allocated savings account. I never would want the utility company making money off of me or a year end surprise if they set my plan too low

    I do this with a lot of things - monthly gas budget, monthly food, etc. I basically make sure that all of my money is accounted for at the beginning of the month as well as any extra's at the end..

    I guess I like how it helps me feel in control.
    So basically you do what a lot of the utilities do for their budget plan (build up the bucket for the heavy months) but do it in your own savings account. Good idea... not disciplined enough myself to pull that off.
     

    Taylors6

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2005
    We do budget- our company adjusts it every 3 or 4 months- so we might go from $320 to $370 (electric and gas)depending on time of the year- but it helps keep it level- anything you are behind you have to pay up in Nov- I hate that being close to Christmas- but for us its usually not much- maybe another $150 or so- one year we were paid ahead and had a smaller bill!

    We suffered thru some killer bills for a few months a few years ago and just about died because we seriously just about could not pay them (thank goodness for stocked pantries!) and went to budget billing then and I wouldn't do it any other way.
     

    carj

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2008
    Our electric bills vary from a low of about $175 to a high of about $450. I pay the actual bill. We usually have 4 really high bills. July, August, September and February. We get 3 that are pretty low, March, October and November.

    I budget for the larger bills and then it is like an unexpected gift in the low months.

    I don't know that there is a right way to do it, more of just a personal preference.
     

    ChrisinNJ

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 2, 2008
    Our electric bills vary from a low of about $175 to a high of about $450. I pay the actual bill. We usually have 4 really high bills. July, August, September and February. We get 3 that are pretty low, March, October and November.

    I budget for the larger bills and then it is like an unexpected gift in the low months.

    I don't know that there is a right way to do it, more of just a personal preference.
    Our bills are similar to yours, low of $175.00 highest last summer $489.00. I am trying to conserve, I am going to start unplugging electronics overnight to see if that helps.

    Our gas bills are not as bad, as low as $30.00 in the summer, highest bill last winter was just under $300.00. We prefer to be cold rather than hot, so I keep the heat at 66 degrees & use the woodstove to supplement the heat & keep costs down.

    I guess I never did budget because the highest gas bill coincides with a lower electric bill & the highest electric bill comes with the lowest gas bill...
     

    disneymom2003

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 10, 2008
    Here in California it is called level pay. Yea I do it with both gas and electric. It is nice when it it low in the winter but not so nice to get that big bill in the summer when it is hot. They will adjust your bill during the year if there are to many months where you use a lot more or a lot less but mostly they settle up at the end of the year. Last year we did really well in conserving during the summer and did not have to pay our electric bill for 2 months. Yahoo!:banana:
     

    RobinFabulous

    I like french toast!!!
    Joined
    Apr 18, 2008
    We do budget because our home is mostly electric with a gas heater and gas hot water. When we didn't the gas bill would be $15 during the summer then $400 during the winter. I think it helps control costs.
     

    FoundMyPrince

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 17, 2007
    We do budget billing - and wouldn't have it any other way! Right now we have paid $90 too much, but haven't turned on the a/c yet. At the end of our year (March), if we've paid too much then that amount comes off that months bill. If we are short, then we pay more and the bill goes up a few bucks for the next year.
     

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