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Old 02-01-2014, 01:51 PM   #1
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Trying to lower home expenses .... looking at nearly everything


This NE Texas family has decided to take a fresh look at household expenses to attempt to curtail the seemingly always upwards outflow of money ....

it all started with a bath remod

needed to add a water heater so I researched tankless (about which I knew next to nothing) and ratings of tanked ones
narrowed it down to Rinnai and Takagi for the tankless at around 8gpm
and Bradford White, US Craftsmaster, and American brands

after adding everything up and taking into consideration our ages (73yrs) I decided to go with a 40gal American at below $350 total for new installation with my labor .... pleased with the results

ok .... that led to discussion concerning the household expenses which we could control ....

renewed tv with Dish Network ...... AFTER phone conversation lasting nearly 30minutes .... got the retention CSR to come down to within a few dollars of new promo sign up with Direct ..... saved over $300 per year from present bill

then hard line phone .... had 2 lines ... 1 family and 1 fax/burglar alarm .... dropped down to 1 line and saved $300 per year

changed electricity providers ..... obtained new 12 month contract and according to MY figures based on past 4 years history saved about $300 per year

can't change natural gas, water, sewer or trash due to local monopolies

changed insurance on a warehouse and saved $300

went from 2 cell phones with Sprint to 1 (for headofthehousehold) at $50 per month and 1 with PureTalkUSA for me at $10 per month and saved close to $500 per year

about all I have left to do is get rid of ADT Alarm .... out of contract more than 6 years so no worries there but am really tired of paying close to $600 per year for monitoring

seeking advice here

looking for a dependable and reliable national or large regional monitor for local police notification upon alert from the alarm unit (Honeywell/Ademco Vista 10se)

now, I know this is an outdated unit ..... but it serves our purpose WELL ... just don't like the 50buck monitoring

I'm searching for a company which will let me simply plug in my line coming out of the Vista into my hard line phone connection ....

anyone out here that can help me save some money with a rec for some monitor company?


Last edited by oldncrazy; 02-01-2014 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 02-01-2014, 05:00 PM   #2
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Trying to lower home expenses .... looking at nearly everything


Well, I'd dump the satellite tv altogether. That's what we did about a year ago. We now (occasionally) watch Netflix ($7.99 per month) and free broadcast tv through an antenna. I'm not quite your age (almost 66) and we too are looking to save a bit here and there. Don't really need to; just don't think we need some of the things we have. Other things we've done or would like to do:

1. Cancelled tags and insurance on my motorcycle. It'll be up for sale come spring.
2. Decided to get rid of the RV and pickup used to tow it. Camping's not the draw it used to be for us, and we could pay for every vacation we'll likely ever take with the proceeds since both are paid for.
3. Use the wood stove as much as possible during the winter. Still have several cords of wood cut and stacked so won't need to do any for a while.
4. Switched all our light bulbs to LEDs. Big outlay up front, but saving several dollars a month on our already low electric bill. No option here to change service providers.

Since we're on well and septic, we have no water or sewer bills. Driving to the landfill would cost more in gas than we pay for weekly trash pickup. Would love to dump the landline phone (nearly $90 a month) but it's our only source of internet service where we live. Did negotiate a slightly lower rate since the DSL connection is so slow.

We've had monitored security systems in several other houses, but not here. Being quite rural, police or ambulance response time would be 45 minutes or longer - makes monitering pretty much a waste of money.


Last edited by md2lgyk; 02-01-2014 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:39 AM   #3
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Trying to lower home expenses .... looking at nearly everything


Thanks for some good ideas ...

we have two wood burning fireplaces but switched to gas logs 10 or so years ago ..... don't think I'd save much by going back and I'm too lazy to cut my own wood anymore .... lol

led bulbs .... switched to CFL 3 yrs ago .... savings jump was significant but I'm not sure the up front on led right now would pay off

Direct/Dish .... don't fancy living by myself and that's probably what would happen by cancelling ... hehehe

as I said, ADT is simply too high at $500 per year

I'm hoping that some here will advise me on a decent monitoring company below $15 per month ... have found 4 or 5 that are out there but I'd like some words from some current customers of them

one thing that I did to save a lot on the water bill .... we both are big on flowers .... lotsa and lotsa begonias and caladiums and impatiens and lirope and jasmine
I spent a couple of weeks planting all the flowers into individual pots, then running l watering heads to each pot .... run the water every day to each pot for 1 minute .... then having the groundcover sprinkler cover only five foot area each bringing down the spray floating off in the wind ...... saves a bunch on the bill

built an outdoor kitchen which both cut down on the going out as much and keeps the heat out of the kitchen in the summer
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:43 PM   #4
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Trying to lower home expenses .... looking at nearly everything


If you're big on flowers, try installing a rain barrel on one of your gutter downspouts. Free water.
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