A recent report on ABC Nightly News showed that Americans have been increasing their spending on items like vacations, televisions, and other luxury items. This has been great for the economy, but a closer look reveals that a portion of this has come from money saved by the mild winter.
Most of the country has seen the benefits of a much more mild winter than normal. This is certainly the case for most in the midwest and along the East coast. The news story says that the mild winter is expected to save the average family around $250 in lower heating bills.
If people are taking that money and treating themselves to vacations and televisions, then that’s great for the economy, but I think there are things that should be considered:
First, most of the items discussed, vacations and televisions for example, cost more than $250. A lot more. So, if you use the $250 saved to justify spending $2,000 on a few days away, you’ve blown eight times what you saved. Ouch.
Second, while many people use natural gas to heat their homes and they’ve used a lot less of it, in case you haven’t noticed, there’s another gas price that’s been going up big time. The gas that goes in your car. Wouldn’t it make sense to take the $250 saved on your heating bill to offset the increases you’ll pay at the pump?
Third, there’s going to be a winter, maybe next year, maybe three years down the road, that will be so brutually cold that you’ll pay an extra $250 in heating bills. Or, this summer might so brutally hot that your A/C bill could be through the roof. Why not stash the cash into a ‘utility’ fund so that when your next whopper of a bill shows up, you don’t have to scramble to pay for the big bill?
We’ve saved a couple of hundred dollars on the heating bill so far this year, and I can tell you that the money has largely been stashed away for when we’re not so lucky. And, the way Mother Nature has been, that day probably isn’t too far off!
Thank you for reading.