2016 Oil, electricity, water and other bills plus a few 2017 plans

Sorry for no photos on this one, it’s more about keeping records!
In our first year in the house we’ve used 4500 litres of oil and it cost us £1402.02 plus £50.97 in additives for the oil.  There’s enough in the tank to see us until the end of Jan and maybe beyond but as we moved in on 15th Jan, this will balance out.  I shall compare usage and cost with 2017.  I do love doing things like that. 
We bought coal, which I didn’t keep a record for, so have started for 2017.  However we use wood which is free for the most part.
Electricity we used £438 and are just in credit so our monthly payment is about right.
Water was £322.
The septic tank was emptied at a cost of £145.
On top of that we have the usual bills, all of which I knew what the cost would be through the year, so could plan for those.  I am pleased that we forecasted appropriately and things came in on budget.  This year I want to decrease our use of electricity and oil, however will increase the oil savings as we’re just on par with what we saved v what we used and I can’t see the cost of oil going down.  Water is needed.  We’re on a metre and it is for the animals too.  That is what it is.  We waste very little I think.
The groceries came in on budget for the most part of the year and December went right up which I can handle but need to plan for if it is to happen again.  It was out first year celebrating in this house and I refused to scrimp on things.
Hopefully with the plans I have for veg for 2017, our grocery bill will be right down, even further in 2018 when we have more of our own meat on the table.
We’ve also spent a lot to get up and running.  That will continue this year as we continue to get set up in all areas.  2016 saw expenses on things like:  fences, wood, veg beds, an auger, hens, eggs, poultry essentials, decorating, field gates, 3 geese, 3 ducks, 3 sheep and our first cockerel Jto mention a few.  This coming year we are putting up more fencing and gates, buying 2 pigs (weaners), automating water supplies, buying more poultry housing, buying dairy goats, creating a new raised bed area and putting up a polytunnel.  That’s what we’ve already thought about, there will be SO much more comes to mind during the year as always!  Just a few things then J  I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We are hoping to make a small income from egg sales, geese and turkey at Christmas (just a few), selling surplus veg and fruit and even veg plants.  Enough to cover the cost of feed maybe?  We’ll see. 

Aga in the summer

We decided to keep the Aga on during the summer despite many of our neighbours or friends switching theirs off.  Our kitchen is a big old farmhouse kitchen that is north facing.  In the winter, it’s just a nice temperature in there despite the Aga kicking out some heat.  In fact the whole house is cold so we tend to congregate solely around the Aga in the colder months. 
I did think it would be too hot in the summer and although it’s been hot, we’ve been able to manage it.  Now why don’t we turn it off?  Well we use it every single day for a multitude of tasks.  Steven’s overalls for work (he’s a butcher) dry on there a couple of nights a week, the kids clothes that inevitably get wet, dry on there before they dash back off outside, our boots dry in front of it (yes, even in the summer), we have toast on it daily, boil the kettle and every main meal of the day is cooked on it plus the dogs love laying in front of it! 
Now if I switched it off, I’d have to find alternate methods to do all of these things, using electricity instead of oil and to be honest, I don’t want to.  Whether we will feel the same next year, our second summer in the house, I don’t know.  It will also depend on how much the price of oil rises too.  Not to say that we have money to burn on oil this year, we don’t.  I just don’t feel as much pressure from it as I would should I be paying double the amount.  It is a part of the family now, I simply love it and I think I would always have one now. 
Ours is 45/50 years old according to the engineer who services it for us.  He installed it in the farmhouse many, many years ago and it was a good age then as he bought it second hand and reconditioned it.  It’s an amazing little thing. 

When we moved here, well just before, my Mam and Dad bought me Mary Berry’s The Complete Aga Cookbook and it’s extremely good.  It’s very informative and so many recipes in there that I’m working my way through.  I think I will pick a month and make a dish a day (or so!) from it.  This will help me get through the recipes too as I am terrible for having recipes books and then making 1 or 2 from them and shelving it.  I’ll maybe do that through November, when the clocks have gone back and I have less time outside.

Aga toast – from when we first moved in and ever since!

 

Quite comfortable here

 

Poor Buddy!

 

Yummy food from the Aga

 

He seems to be here a lot!

 

See what I mean?

 

The Aga fixes poorly children

 

and sends you off to sleep if you sit there too long

2 weeks, 3 days to go!

Is anyone counting down with me?  We are all super excited here and have got over the lull of feeling like there is aggggges to go and now are starting to think practically as we are down to 17 sleeps.  For example, I have sorted the home insurance and the best deal we could get for what we need (which includes £5000 cover on outbuildings) is with Admiral.  The first payment has been made and the direct debit set up.  I have been in touch with the council re the extortionate council tax – let us see what we get for our money! Also I’ve found out which oil we need for the oil tank which supplies the Aga and the boiler. 

The TV, electricity, water and phone line/broadband etc will all be done on moving in.  When I looked in to the phone and broadband, they set you up within a day or two.  Also we won’t be paying for any TV packages at the farm but will pop an aerial on and get Freeview with our current TVs.

We are wondering what to do re heating the water as the boiler heats a huge water tank which is a lot bigger than a standard tank tat we have been used to in the past.  The showers are electric and the washing machine heats the water as it goes.  Therefore the only water we foresee needing is to wash the pots and wash our hands which makes me think it is a complete waste of resources to heat a whole tank just or those reasons.

Aside from this I am planning for Christmas 2016.  The cards from this year will be recycled to make tags for next years presents.  This will work two fold in that I will use them to create my list of people to send our cards to.  I’d like to do home made cards for family so will give some thought to the design of those. 

This whole process is a lifestyle change for us.  We know it won’t all happen on day one, or even day two, but by day three we should have it sorted 😉  and with that thought, I’m off to drink my merlot and do some more dreaming and planning.