How much have YOUR bills gone up?? (ARGH! Vent)

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Mattsmom277, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Was reading about unauthorized charge to a phone bill and it got me back to my recurring annoyance about bill increases etc. I've been in a bit of a snit (well more than a bit) about the sheer number of ways that we've been getting increases to nearly everything lately.

    I'm in Ontario Canada, we have a "new" tax that allows tax to be added to previously untaxed items. There is a online tool to calculate the estimated increase each year based on what you spend in your household. It works out to about $2600 per year for my family. This is also being applied to RENT, meaning most landlords are increasing rent to compensate for their increased tax.

    We have had time of day meters installed here for hydro and gas and water. I don't pay water bills since I rent, but my landlord does and you can bet your boots landlords will also increase rent even further to compensate for their increase in fees. The cost for hydro and gas during daytime hours is 4-5 times the cost that it will cost at night. We also have a new monthly charge that is for us to pay off the debt the utility companies incurred by paying for and installing the time of day meters. My last gas bill was $48. Not so bad, but the thing is since it is not winter and my gas pays my heat in winter, the ONLY thing my gas is used for this time of year is my hot water tank. I wash clothes in cold water only. So this bill ONLY pays for hot water for showers and for washing dishes. When I look at the breakdown on the bill, only $9 was for my ACTUAL gas use. The rest was fees for this and that, plus the new tax etc. That is a 400% higher charge than my actual usage. What a racket!!

    My hydro bill is through the roof. I've been trying to adjust my time of day usage, but I'm home all day. This was a record breaking hot summer and I've never used my A/C as much as this year. If I don't keep the house cool, my MS flares and I'm in agony and incapable of doing much more than lay around fighting the tears. So A/C it is. Well my bill was over $100 more compared to last year, per month. Just in actual usage fees. Then the "fees" they tack on drive it up further. I have more than $60 in "fees" per month. I find it disgusting to pay that high for "fees". It is worse when we have zero choice in who provides our utilities. Here it is a monopoly and if you mess up with this company, there is no other option.

    Basically I am paying about $4-500 per month MORE in expenses than a year or two ago. Add in the increased cost of clothing, groceries etc and is it any wonder I want to just toss the bills in the trash unopened?

    Have your bills gone up dramatically?
  2. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Everything has gone up. Even the stinking toilet paper. husband got two paycuts last year, plus no bonus, but the bills keep going up. We went from having outstanding credit to our credit ratings in the toilet all in one year. Lovely, right?
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Everything is going up here too. The electric is a nightmare. I, like you, have got to keep my house a fairly even temp or I get in really horrible flairs. I cant use gas heat in the winter because you cant get gas run to a mobile home here so everything is total electric. My electric bill is way through the roof. It runs in the mid 400s every month from May till October when it will drop to about 150 for a month or two when it will then go back up to about 260 until the next May rolls around. I can do a bit better with the cold because I just wrap up really well and stick a little portable heater in the bathroom for a bit before I take a bath.

    Gas for the car is awful too and I have to go to appts. Food is so expensive. TP, shampoo, soap, laundry soap. Everything.
  4. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Janet, does your power company offer a budget plan? That's where they average out your usage over the year and bill you the same amount every month. It's a lifesaver for me with gas bills in the winter as we have bitterly cold winters up here in Northern WI.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    With us it's the medical bills. As a rule, we haven't had anything more this year, but husband had to have a second sleep study, then the rent on the CPap machine and we're up about $600 a month on that alone. Then there's the increase in gas, water, electric, food, natural gas. And husband took a pay cut last year.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We cant do budget billing because we are always on the month behind cut off notices. I dont know how we got that way but we are. So every month I pay the month befores bill.
  7. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    Do NOT get me started on the HST...oh wait too dang late...

    My dodge caravan was 50 dollars to fill from empty to full before's a whopping extra 25 bucks at 75 dollars now to fill from the empty line. This is a vehicle that is great on gas mileage but holy hannah and extra 25 dollars in taxation? Come on!! My home business will die out because of this new HST, I have to charge my clients extra now because of this stupid tax grab. My grocery bill was 1500 a month (7 unit family) but least an extra 200 to 300 dollars putting me dangerously close to 2 large just to eat.

    Hydro...*grumbles* limey b**tards... those people just applied and received a hydro rate hike...they are applying again for another one in November which they will get from the OEB as they always do. My bill went from 130 a month to 220\300 a month in ranges (yeah we have those "dumb" meters too). It's already slightly more expensive for certain things for a NOR (northern Ontario reszi here). McGuinty is already charging us OHIP taxes and squandered that **** on "EHealth" HST? Then they scrapped an enviro bill to redo it (which costs the tax payers money to scrap and redo), before they the new energy saving bulbs, the ones that are about 6 bucks before the taxes were tagged with a 10 buck enviro tax plus the HST? WTFeck is this government doing to us. We're in a recession dang it...stop kicking us while we're down.

    /rant over...for now...sigh!
  8. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Sounds like everyone is taking a hit, not that I believed I was alone. It makes me sad to see how hard hit people really are. It seems that the higher ups are really out of touch.

    Mamaof5, I can't imagine a 2K food bill. I mean, I see how it gets that high. We spend probably 1000-1250 per month for the 4 of us, and easy child spends half the time at her dads. I just flat out refuse to cut out healthy food so the bills climb, meaning we cut out costs in any other area we can (haircuts, entertainment, clothing, gifts etc).

    I figure we'll be getting yet another electric hike come Nov. too. I was so peeved to see the insert about the approved hike in my last bill. Of course we can apply for that rebate they've sent forms out for, but it isn't as if $200 is going to offset the price of heating in the north for much more than maybe 2 weeks. Did you get the form for that? I have mine but keep forgetting to send it in.
  9. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    *lol* What is entertainment again? Yes I did get the OETC form. I haven't sent mine out yet because I need Hubby to sign it as well and he's on shift work. Hopefully he'll sign it this week and we'll send out through our accountant. Did you know you can protest to the OEB about the hydro hikes (mind you they never listen but if enough of us complain maybe they just might...not holding my breath for it though). If for any reason any of my fellow Ontarians need help here: they help with utilities, rent, mortgage even if you are behind, they'll either give a grant (no need to pay back) or interest free, low pay back loan. It is run through the Ontario Works offices but not part of Ontario Works. It takes about 3 hour appointment for the initial appointment, bring all documents, lease, mortgage agreement, income, bank statements, ID of all persons in your household, utilities bills (they don't do phone, internet or tv but hydro, gas and water bill). I've used them in the past and they paid a full 1200 dollar hydro bill almost 2 years ago!!! plus 3200 of rent and my water bill and gas bill!! That was in the GTA and they do grants there rather than loans or a combo of if the need arises. You can only use it every two years... the only good thing that came out of the Harris government!!!

    Just a resource in case one of my fellow Ontarians needs it. They don't like to advert it too much and try to downplay it a bit but be persistent. Don't forget the Salvation Army, they have programs too for help with bills and food. Food banks too!! St. Vincent De Paul also has resources for help and your local Churches too (even IF you are not a part of their congregation or their religion).
  10. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Is this a Value Added Tax you've converted to? I see that coming for the US in the future. It's only a matter of time until they come after the taxpayers for the budget deficit.

    We had new remote water meters installed a few years ago and our fees went way up then. Last month my water bill jumped $30 and all that we can think would account for it is we watered a section of the front lawn twice for a few hours. Few people in my neighborhood watered at all this year--it's just too expensive. Water costs are so high here in summer that gardening doesn't save you money.

    Our food costs haven't increased and in fact went down last year in response to gas prices going down. I also live near stores that run really good sales and I stock up at the sale prices. ie Flour went on sale for $1 for 5 pound bags last week so I bought 12 and I put 10 jars of salsa on my shelf the last time it was $1, etc. Between that, cooking from scratch, and couponing, most of the groceries that come into my house come in at 50% or less of full price.

    What's killing me are the items that used to go on steadily for years, but seem to fall apart quickly now. In the past 2 months our hot water heater died, the 3 year old computer crashed and needed replacing, the transmission on a 6 year old vehicle died (I'M LIVID-especially since my husband's 23 year old car is still kicking), the picture on our 2 year old TV went, and my washing machine needs repair/replacement.
  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I wish we didn't have to eat every day. I mean really, if we could just have one meal a day that would be awesome. Our grocery bill isn't as bas as some of you - my God $2K a month!!!! We spend approximately $400-$600/month and that is for 3 of us. It fluctuates during certain times of the year based on schedule changes, etc. We go through periods where we get takeout or just don't eat dinners or just have salads. Coffee is a killer, but I can't give it up. I've never been a name brand only shopper and I started shopping at discount places a couple of years ago. I went food shopping with easy child yesterday - we shared a wagon. I couldn't believe the stuff she bought. She's using coupons, but the store brand is still less even when using the coupon for the name brand items! And meats. Everyone says that meats are so expensive and it's true, they are. But if you bulk up on your veggies, then you're paying a fortune. There is an Ocean State Job Lot nearby where you can buy fresh fairly inexpensive grains - all organic - and bulk up meals with grains, especially stews and soups. I am so happy soup and stew season is back. No one wants a hearty stew in summer, but lo, fall and winter? Yes, I make lots of hearty stews and soups and chilis and I bulk them up with inexpensive but filling grains and fall veggies like sweet potatoes, cabbage and brussels. And beans - beans are cheap and good for you and filling!

    I am in the process of checking out different electric companies. We have the major big one, CLP/NEU, but we have the option of two others. We still get a bill from CLP, but at the lower rates - not sure how that works, but I'm looking into it. We don't have a water bill because we're on well water, so that's tied in with the electric for the pump. We bought a new burner several years ago and it's helped save money on oil usage but of course, people rarely see the real savings in oil these days. Our budgeted payments for oil are $140/month and our budgeted payments for electric are $140/month. Our phone bill, despite the fact that I keep renegotiating for a better deal, runs about $65/month. H pays the cable/internet bill and screams about it every month - $100/month for 4 cable tvs and internet. If he agreed to cut out the cable channels, we could get that bill down to about $50/month.

    The largest bill we have encompasses the insurance bills. Our auto is $250/month, life adds another $100/month and health is another $300/month = $650/month. H also as to pay for an additional WC and liability policy for his carpentry business.

    What I've really noticed lately, and what really burns my biscuit, is that items are getting smaller as prices are increasing. I bought a case of toilet paper last week and when I had to pull a new roll out I noticed that it seemed smaller. Sure enought, I put it on the roller in the bathroom and there was nearly and inch on both ends of the TP roll that was empty! I wish I had a roll from the prior case I bought to compare it, but I could swear it's width has been reduced by at least an inch! Holy cow! I mentioned it to H and he just went off about everything from canned goods to jars of sauce and salsa - everything that used to be 16oz., is now 13 1/4oz or somthing like that. So, we are either paying more or the same as we were before but getting way less! Oh, I could just go on and on...
  12. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    What I really noticed about TP was that the cardboard center of the roll has gotten much larger. You get a roll that looks to be the same size, but it actually considerably smaller.

    I only noticed because I usually keep a couple of empty rolls because my goofy cat likes to play with them.

    Paper towels are the same. I'm lucky in the meat department as I have a local butcher shop that not only undercuts Super Walmart and Trig's (local chain) that carries locally grown, minimally processed meats for a considerable savings. I don't eat much red meat anyways and Trig's has a nice fish market section, so I get my fish there.

    I live in a trailer park and my water is included in my lot rent. That keeps going up because municipal water keeps going up. My heating and light bills (gas heat) have actually come down as I'm on the budget plan and keep the heat set at about sixty degrees in our winters. I can always pull on a set of sweats and throw another blanket on the bed.

    Gasoline isn't too bad up here. Certainly not the four dollars per gallon we had a couple of years back. I drive an older SUV (2002 Toyota 4-Runner) that is excellent in the heavy snows and ice we get. It could get better gas mileage, but I don't want to take on a car payment. The truck is paid off, runs well, and I've learned how to drive it to maximize fuel usage.

    Dish and laundry detergents have gone through the roof. Fresh fruits and veggies have skyrocketed. I eat a lot of lentils and beans and when I go down South to visit family in Chicago and Milwaukee, I stock up on whole grains to add to stews and soups for the nutritional boost.
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    We have city water... Used to be, it was around $35 a month for 2 months, third was about $130. Then they installed the remote meters and somehow it went to $115 a month. HELLO? I checked usage and no big difference. Hmm.

    We're on budget billing for electricity. Last August it went to $227 a month. OK, fine. Beginning of June we had a $150 credit... So on the catch-up bill last month, it was $455. HUH? Checked usage again, and not much different. ARGH!

    I could go on and on... But soon I won't be able to afford to pay something, and I don't qualify for help (make too much money - somehow).
  14. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    For us, it is not so much that our bills have gone up....because frankly, we just don't have the money - PERIOD. There is no "O I guess we're paying more for groceries this month."

    Instead, we've made more lifestyle changes. We've begun "super couponing". We recycle more - using things twice whenever possible. After all, if I put a sandwich on a paper plate - is it really necessary to throw the plate away after lunch? I can use it again...

    Instead of buying hand soap - we make our own liquid soap by melting down all the little slivers of bath soap and adding a few drops of oil. Instead of buying lunch bags we use plastic shopping bags. And we shop for super sales whenever possible. Staples sells school supplies for a penny each at the end of the summer. We buy the penny items well before we know what the kids will need - but hey, we can assume they'll use pencils and paper and notebooks - right? We always hit the clearance racks. If it's what? We know the weather will change again.

    So that's us...
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I found one super deal that I will be doing as long as I can keep doing it.

    It used to be that the Kmart here would put out their winter coats sometime in Feb or March for like $10 or $14 and I would buy Keyana's coat for the next year. Well last year they didnt do that so I went online to Sears and they had the motherload! I had to pick through a bunch to find her size but I bought 2 coats - one in a 5/6 and one in a 6X - for $6 each with taxes and shipping it came to less than $20.

    I probably have her coats for the next 2 to 3 years..also I hand these down to Hailie. I will be hitting Sears up the end of the year this year for 6x and 7's. We can always use an extra coat because we do have two houses we bounce between. Coats for kids these days are EXPENSIVE!