I have got to post some pics with this, but be patient. Just eight years ago when we moved into this house the world was just going digital, so that means that the little house pics are all non-digital and the new/old house may require some digging through the archives! ;)
The next thing I want to touch on is that as lovely as our extremely low mortgage may seem ($311.33) there is more to the big picture. See, I mentioned that the house is 3, 500 square feet. It is also over 100 years old. It was built in a time when central air and heat were nonexistent... the same was true for insulation. All of those things have been added to this house... thank you Lord! The windows are the original glass, though. You know the stuff... very thin and when you look through them things get somewhat distorted at different angles. Fabulous!... and I would not dream of changing them out, but they are not the best thing for low utility bills. And they all need to be resealed around the edges. My husband attempted to seal them when we did the exterior painting, but he just did not know what he was doing. I could do it, but I have always been pregnant or something... hmmm... not pregnant now though. Maybe I need to add that to my to do list. Some off our floors are really cold right now, too. Those are the areas where insulation needs to be added under the pier-and-beam portion of the home. We keep procrastinating about that one because... well, a few reasons... it will be a mojor pain to do because there is not a lot of space to work in under the house... and no one wants to go under there.... I will not do it and my husband doesn't want to either, but he does not want to pay someone to do it either. Like I said previously... he's gotten cheap, too!
Another issue is that there was an add-on to this house about 25 years ago. That portion of the house is on a concrete slab and is the back portion of the home. When they added that portion they added a second central air and heat unit; however, the two units are not really set up properly for the efficiency of this home. Their origial plan was to have the second unit cool and heat the Great Room that they were adding and then there was to be an attic space above that room. When the owners realize how large the attic space was they decided to make it a room instead and have it share off that A/C unit. The other half off the upstairs has a large window unit (we added one with heat a few years back). All that said... we really need to have all the A/C work redone for better efficiency. We are planning to wait until it is absolutely necessary, though. When one of them dies we will handle that then. ;) Two years ago I had someone come out and look at the units and we formulated a plan, but like I said... when it is necessary then we will do it.
All that adds up to this one thing... Much of the time our utilities (gas & electricity combined) are higher than our mortgage. It's a trade off for having a century old home, but one we did not quite realize when we moved in here. We have adjusted to the initial shock of it and now just see it as part of the package. My frugal side tells me that even if we paid a combined $700 a month for our mortgage and utilities, we still are getting off cheaper than most mortgages today, so that is not too shabby!
After the eye of Hurricane Rita came over our house we decided to add a fireplace to offset some of the rising gas costs that resulted. We had to replace water damaged walls in that room and repaint anyway, so we just did a complete remodel of that room. We burn the fireplace through the night in the cold months to save money on our gas bill. So, that's the comparison for the mortgage versus utilities issue here. Most people do not have these type of issues, so they do not realize the reality of an old home, but we love it overall.
And the next post will be about relationships... hmmm... what's that got to do with being frugal? Well, I'll give you one hint. It's about my daddy.... hmmmm, very confusing....