Happy Friday Everyone! We’ve got an action packed weekend planned full of oysters, fancy dress, celebrations and good friends. We can’t wait!
As usual, money has been on our mind this week. After WEEKS of weeding, planting and planning, we’ve finally decided we need semi-professional help. We’ve know for over a year that we’ll need a retaining wall for our slope. There is no way to get around it. We thought about having it poured but that would cost us at least $5,000 plus we’d have to get numerous permits. Instead we’re going with something like this:
The guy who’s building it, Miguel, used to work for a professional landscaping company. He was laid-off recently and needed some work. We agreed that we’d buy the materials and he’d build the wall for $300. Normally we’d do it ourselves but those suckers are heavy and the wall requires a little know-how since it’s loadbearing.
Miguel is an old friend. OK, not a friend but an acquaintance. He was part of the original crew who built our house. He left before we finished because he got a job with a landscaping company and that’s where his true passion lies. Because he knows us and knows we aren’t loaded, Miguel gave us a great deal, $300 and we pay for materials. I know, is that it? A steal, right? Well, yes and no. A steal for the labor. I feel bad paying so little but he won’t take more and even offered us a money back guarantee. If we don’t like it, we don’t pay.
Oh, right, why is it not a steal? Well because each stone/paver thing is $3 each. We need 192 of them. Add tax, a $20 delivery fee and 1/2 a yard of compact stone for the base and well, you do the math. Not cheap anymore but still a deal compared the alternative. We just keep telling ourselves this is an investment and it will last a long time. Say that three times fast.
On the brighter side, I got our gas bill for this month and it was a pleasant surprise. I’m one of those nerds that likes to look at their usage stats. Check it out:
We spent $38 on gas this month and the average home of our size spends $94. Holla! You know what that is? That’s AWESOME windows. I seriously can’t stress how much we love our windows. We spent A LOT of money on windows (we have 25 or something). We could have gone cheaper but energy efficient was important to us. The initial cost was a little hard to swallow but according to this we save $56 a month which is $672 a year. I expect our heating costs to go down as the weather gets warmer. Also, for the record, I use our range at least once a day. It’s interesting that it only costs $2 to cook.
We are on a monthly budget plan. The gas company sets a budget amount based on houses our size and we pay the flat fee every month to make budgeting easier. We were paying $91 a month but we’ve just been informed it has lowered to $55 (because of winter heating costs) and we’re getting a refund of over $150 because of our energy efficiency. Seriously, this has made my week. I know $35 isn’t much but it’s still $35 extra we have every month. We also plan to use part of the refund to pay for the retaining wall. Very exciting.
I know, I’m a dork, but what can I say? It’s nice seeing an investment in quality really pay off.
Anyone else have an good news to share from this week?
p.s. We won the lamp re-do design throwdown! Thanks to everyone who voted and special thanks to Kelsey and Morgana!