Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Thermostat Wars

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: In our house, I’m the one who pays the bills. My partner is pretty much clueless about what it costs to run this place. He takes 40-minute showers, leaves lights and electronics on everywhere, and keeps the thermostat up to the mid-seventies all winter long in our old house with oil heat. I’ve installed a timer thermostat, but he just pops it up to his ideal temperature and never turns it back down. Last month our oil bill was nearly $1800, which is way more than we can keep affording.

I’m tired of nagging. How do I convince this man he needs to be more aware of things not being free? --- SWEATING IT IN VERMONT

DEAR SWEATING IT IN VERMONT: Have you sat down with your partner and shared a breakdown of your income against your expenses? If he’s never been the budget-keeper, he may very well be unaware of what it costs to keep your home going. Get him involved, and together you can figure out ways to potentially cut, or at least better manage expenses.

You also might want to shop around a bit for oil companies. Prices can vary. And, to help make payments easier to take, see if your current provider offers a budgeting plan, enabling you to pay a consistent fee throughout the year instead of getting slammed in the cold weather months.

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