Although we’re in the dog days of summer, I’m already planning ahead to make sure we’ll be able to pay our home heating oil bill. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that heating oil prices will be an average of $4.34 a gallon, compared with $3.31 a gallon last winter. That’s a 31% increase! I already experienced sticker shock last year when I opened my home heating oil bills, so I shudder to think what we’ll end up paying this year.
Some heating oil customers are signing up for plans to lock in the price of oil by prepaying for a certain amount. That means that whether the price of oil goes up or down, you’re locked into paying the price in the contract. Our oil company offered this type of plan, but because they didn’t accept credit cards for the payments I’m sure a lot of homeowners were left out in the cold, so to speak.
We’ve decided to just sock away as much cash as possible with the intent that it will go toward our winter heating bill. We’re also fortunate in that we have a wood burning stove that can help cut down on heating bills.
People who facing a large heating bill this winter can take some steps to keep their costs down:
Add insulation in the attic and basement to cut down on drafts
Use caulking or weather stripping around windows, doors, and electrical outlets
Install a programmable thermostat to keep temperatures down while the house is empty
Turn down the thermostat at night and invest in some heavy quilts to stay warm.
About the Author
Francine L. Huff is a freelance journalist and the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows.
Chris Rocks is the Regional Director of the National Credit Federation (NCF). NCF is a nationwide membership-based organization that assists consumers recovering from a financial difficulty and those who need a significant increase in their credit score.
Chris began his financial services career as a Financial Advisor helping young families with risk management and asset accumulation strategies. It was during that time that Chris realized that many of these young families also needed someone to guide their choices with regards to debt management.
He made the transition into the mortgage industry where he first worked as a loan originator and later the Vice President of a small mortgage company. As Chris came across clients who had suffered through financial challenges and saw the difficulty they had in re-entering our credit driven economy, he discovered there was a real opportunity to leverage his unique background and help others.
He can be contacted by visiting his personal site, GoodCreditLiving.com.
Francine L. Huff is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Super Savvy Publishing, LLC, which provides editorial and publishing services. She is a gifted author, freelance journalist, and motivational speaker who has entertained and motivated a variety of audiences through workshops, panels and keynote addresses. Francine is the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women, which has inspired and motivated many readers to rein in poor financial habits, become good stewards over their money and work toward a debt-free life. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows. Francine previously worked for the Wall Street Journal, where she was the spot news bureau chief, a news editor and a copy editor. She has interviewed a variety of financial professionals about financial issues and strives to present information about managing money in an easy-to-understand format that is accessible to people of all backgrounds and income levels.
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience working in mortgage banking and loan servicing. She holds BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno. She enjoys writing informative articles about debt management and personal finance.