Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Odds & Ends

I have been berating myself for the number of odd little things that need-to-be-done that are simply not getting done. I did some calling today and tended to three of those things on that odds & ends list. I now remember why they weren't getting tended to. Dollars and cents.

I cannot remember the last time the furnace and ducts were cleaned. Our 'new' furnace is now seven years old and it was the previous furnace that was cleaned to give you a vague idea. I set up an appointment for the furnace to be cleaned. And while they are here I asked if they could clean the (interior workings of) the air conditioner and air exchanger as well. Neither of these have been cleaned since we got them either. We bought the air conditioner in 2003 ...

I suppose one could say that if you average the cleaning cost over the course of the nine years of neglect, the annual cost is under $50.00 per year. But today? The grand total is uncomfortably high.

Then there is the carbon monoxide detector that we have with our alarm system that I was told should be tested/replaced. Once again, it is something that has been neglected. Supposedly an alarm will sound when it becomes ineffective. The alarm hasn't sounded yet, but apparently they should be replaced every five years. We got this nine years ago. Did we get four years 'free'? Or have we simply unknowingly been at risk?

Again, if I average the cost over the four years we didn't tend to this and consider the fact that we would have been replacing our second carbon monoxide detector within the next year, I suppose we got a bargain. But for now? It is yet another unbudgeted expense.

Finally ... our cable company sent us a letter which advised us that within the next month or two, none of the optional tier packages (that we pay extra for) will work without a 'digital box' for each TV. Of course most of my favorite shows are on the channels we would no longer receive. As are my son's.  We have one digital box. We have four TV's. I searched Kijiji and found a bargain for one of the three will 'require'. I ordered the other two today. Thankfully because our TV's are so old, we will not require the 'high definition' box (which is over three times the cost) ... so we dodged a bullet there.

It is frustrating to have to pay close to $150.00 simply to receive the cable channels that are part of our cable package though. If I was in an argumentative mood (and willing to give up my and my family's favorite channels), I would have downgraded my cable package for only the channels which we would receive without the digital box. But I just can't do that right now. I'm lovin' my channel selection far too much these days.

So today ... I did not step outside the house and I spent a small fortune by letting my fingers do the walking (dialing). Yes, we can rest assured and know that we will be breathing clean and safe air. Yes ... I can continue to enjoy the luxury of our current cable channels (plus the bonus of an on-screen TV guide). But it was far, far cheaper for me to sit back and ignore the odds & ends that were adding up around here.

I need to add a category onto my current budget. Odds & Ends. I may need one more job to take care of that simple expense.

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