It’s getting hot, which means our electricity bill is about to skyrocket. And that leaves me very, very worried. Not so much about the main house. We’re actually keeping it between 80-82 (sometimes a little warmer) and have been pretty comfortable.
No, the problem is the guest house, which just refuses to cool down. So Nadine and Marc got a portable A/C unit. And, in the first two weeks they used it — when it wasn’t even all that warm out — our electricity bill went up by $30.
So I shudder to think what the bill is going to be as the temperatures continue to rise. More importantly, I shudder to think how much of the electric bill we’ll have to pay.
Up until now, Nadine’s been giving me $50 a month. I wasn’t thrilled with it, but they were still trying to pay us back. So I didn’t make a fuss. But that’s done, and I’ve told them we’ll need to get more money for the bills.
I’m just not sure how much more. I need to come up with a percentage — no more set dollar amounts, that’s just so far from fair it’s laughable — that seems fair.
Tim’s worried about their budget. I am to a certain degree, but I’m also tired of our taking the brunt of costs to shield them.
I’ve spent the past year upending our financial stability for them. First, we bought a house a year or so earlier than planned. Then, we had to front them $2,000 to move everything down here.
I don’t want to destroy their budget, but I’m tired of sacrificing our financial stability for theirs.
We may bring in four times as much as they do, but we have more expenses and, perhaps more importantly, we NEED an emergency fund. And a savings account. By not shoring up our finances, we’re putting all of us at risk.
So, what’s a fair amount?
Honestly, if I had my druthers, it’d be 50/50. Why? Because I’m pretty sure they use MORE than half of the electricity around here, even without accounting for the A/C usage.
TV is their main form of entertainment, and they each watch different shows. So, no exaggeration, 12-14 hour a days, they have two TV sets running.
Meanwhile, Tim and I mainly watch TV at night. If our set is on during the day, it’s rarely for more than an hour.
I do have the computer on too much, whereas sometimes Marc and Nadine have theirs turned off. Still, I just don’t think any of that makes up for the double-drain boob tubes.
But they do make significantly less than we do. Also, we don’t want to penalize them for their place being harder to cool. They have no control over that. So 50% is probably out.
Tim suggested 1/3, since that’s about how much of the total square footage the guest house takes up. That would be his maximum. Problem is, that’s my absolute minimum. And a grudging one that that.
I’m betting that getting something other than a flat rate will help ease my resentment a little.
I know this situation and the resulting resentment is partially my fault for not addressing any of it sooner. The grown-up thing to do would have been to sit down and show them the bills and point out that it wasn’t fair for us to shoulder this much of the utilities. And to review their budget until we found a fair amount everyone could afford.
That’s what we should have done.
Then again, they’re adults too, and they’ve been more than happy to keep their head buried in the sand about exact amounts. They’ve yet to even ask how much their TV service tacks on to our bill. $30, by the way.
I also pay $79 a month for Internet, but I write that off as a work expense. So I don’t expect anything from them for it. That said, all up our regular utilities, our TV and our Internet and you’re looking at over $500 a month. And they’ve been giving us $50.
No wonder I’m so pissy!
I could really use some suggestion, folks. About what a fair share would look like. Not about learning how to talk about uncomfortable money issues. I have a therapist for that.