Over the last few years we in the CMF household have been working hard to plug the leaks in our financial plumbing. We’ve evaluated our expenses, re-evaluated them, sought extra income streams, gotten rid of crazy life insurance, stopped eating out so much, ditched our newspaper subscription, etc. This has been an ongoing project in our home to find a balance where we are not feeling totally deprived yet managing to optimize things financially.
Which is why I felt so frustrated last month when I found that we were flushing money down the toilet. Literally, we were.
Here’s what happened. Basically, I went to the mailbox and got our water bill. I opened it up. Then my eyes nearly popped out of my head.
Our water bill for last month was more than one and a half times what it normally is! Our city bills for water by unit (don’t ask me how much water is in a unit- I so have no idea). But our average usage is about 6 units per month. That’s for two people and two dogs, and it usually runs us about $39.00 per month. Even in the summer when we were watering our lawn a lot we never went above 8 units.
Somehow in the month of December we managed to use 9 units. The December bill was over $65.00. We had no company staying with us in December. We have most definitely not been watering our lawn! We have not hosted any huge parties or anything like that. How in the world could we have managed to use so much water?
I called the water company to ask. They were actually very helpful and were able to help me identify that the day when we used the most water was December 5. Apparently we used 2 units that day. I immediately looked at the calendar. It was a Thursday. I had been working (so was out of the house all day). Hubby had worked graveyard shift the night before so had slept all day. We went out that night to see The Nutcracker Ballet (which is one of my fav holiday traditions, btw!)
So how did we manage to use all that water when we basically weren’t home (or in hubby’s case, weren’t awake) all day and went out that night?
Regrettably, the answer quickly came to us. Our stupid toilet in the basement sometimes runs after it’s flushed. Unfortunately, because of other things in the basement like the furnace, washer, dryer, space heater, etc, it’s often difficult to hear it running while you are in the basement (sometimes we can hear it when we are upstairs- but we don’t hear it when we are sleeping, of course). The basement is where our office is. I am often down there in the mornings working on the blog. So the toilet probably got flushed in the morning, I went to work, hubby slept all day, and the stupid toilet probably ran all day. Arghh.
Hubby’s solution to this problem is check to make sure the flapper is closed after you flush it. Sound advice. But I am kind of a girly girl I guess, and digging around in the back of the toilet is not my favorite thing. My solution is use the toilet upstairs. Period. Either way, we are now well aware of how much water and money that toilet is capable of wasting- although we are still kind of amazed that just that one thing (we think) was able to increase our water bill by so much.
Has anyone else had the unpleasant experience of flushing money down the toilet, via that or any other household appliances or fixtures?
Photo credit: mrwynd