Our expenses can be divided into several categories, but for the sake of this post I’m going to talk about our fixed housing expenses, the first category on our budget sheet. We spend â‚¬693.80 each month on rent and utilities.*
Rents are going up all around France as the price of real estate goes up, but prices are especially high in the area we live in. This is attributable to two things; first it’s a college town with a very large university, second it’s in a hightech corrider with lots of big companies. We live in a teeny-tiny house, but we only pay â‚¬490 a month. I haven’t quite figured out why our owners haven’t raised our rent in the past six years, but I’m not going to complain.
We pay â‚¬126 a month for electricity and water. I still feel like it’s a lot, even though it’s a low number for the area and type of house, so last year I started trying to reduce our usage. This is the prorated cost throughout the year, so it takes a while to see the effect.
We don’t have gas connected to our house, so we cook and heat with electricity, in addition to our lighting/tv/internet needs. For the past eight months I’ve slowly been doing all those things ‘they’ recommend you do when trying to reduce your footprint: swap out my lightbulbs for CFLs, improve the insulation around the windows and doors, unplug appliances when not in use etc etc. Because we don’t get monthly or bimonthly bills I can’t see if our consumption has gone down, but I hope it has. The meter reader came two months ago, so I’m expecting a (lower) bill anyday now. This is the first time I’m excited about a bill coming… Yippee!
*I’ve included cell phones in this area, just because it’s easier, which is sometimes as good a reason as any to do something!