The Saturday Weekly Review

A Huge Water Bill Could Surprise You If You Don’t Do This Now : The Saturday Weekend Review # 147

The Saturday Weekend Review logo- water billWHY IS MY WATER BILL SO HIGH?

 

Homeowners and landlords must read this about their water bill because as shocking as what I’ve learned this past week it means any of us are at risk.

As a homeowner in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) our water usage in the summer definitely makes a difference on our water bill.

Starting around June we have plants to water and I am a bit obsessive about keeping our front and back grass the greenest out of all the surrounding neighbours. Now that we have a little boy running around he also likes to play in the sprinkler and we fill his water table and kiddie pool up just about daily in the summer so he can cool off.

Even though we have a water barrel on the side of our home which helps save some money it’s just not enough to fill our outdoor water needs. If we had more space I’d add a few more barrels but that simply is not the case for us. Our neighbour is in the same position and would love to use outdoor water exclusively from his water barrel but can’t.

Typically we see a monthly water bill for around $65-$70 which I always shake my head at anyways but pay it because you can’t really negotiate your water bill like you can your cable bill. In the summer we can expect to see our water bill go up about $20-25 dollars if not more. Depending on where you live, how many people live in your house and what you consume your water bill may differ.

So what’s all the huffing and puffing about the water bill?

I was reading a CTV online news story yesterday about a City of Toronto landlord Avra Weinstein who rents out the main level of her Toronto home while she lives out of province in Prince Edward Island. She received a massive $4000 water bill (I know, unreal) from the water company for the months of September-November 2014.

Shocked is an understatement to my reaction and this time period doesn’t even fall on the hottest months in Ontario. My mind starts racing because as a homeowner this is the last thing you want to see when you open your utility bill. Two questions came to mind,”Who on earth uses that much water while renting?” and if I was a landlord, “Would I include the utilities in the rent or leave that up to the tenant to pay?”

After reading this water bill horror story I’d be inclined not to include utilities even though it may be harder to find a tenant when it’s not all-inclusive. It’s a catch-22 situation although in Toronto there’s always someone looking to rent just about anything they can as pickings can be slim depending on where you want to live.

“There was no way they were using $4,000 worth of water. I mean, there’s no pool, there was no leak that was in evidence. There’s nothing we can attribute this situation to,” Weinstein said.

Needless to say the water company says they sent her a couple of excessive water use warnings to no avail as she said she didn’t receive them. It wasn’t until the massive water bill arrived that she jumped into action.

Even Weinstein says she is still not sure where the problem started even after having her house inspected by the City of Toronto for the high consumption readings. They did however say the numbers are accurate even though no faulty fixtures were found and she must pay up. Yes, she has to pay that $4000 water bill and she plans on it because she has no other options. It’s you against the utility company at the end of the day.

“The property had continuous water consumption 24 hours a day for several months. This is usually an indicator of a faulty fixture such as a running toilet,” he said in a statement. – Manager Revenue Services Toronto Utility (CTV.ca online news article)

After I read this I was stunned and wondered if we had any issues in our house that I needed to attend to and fast. The last thing we need is a massive water bill with unexplained reasons even though Weinstein was told that a leaky toilet or water leaks attribute to higher bills.

With the price of water and electricity going up I plan to inspect our house but by the sounds of it that won’t make too much of a difference if there is a problem that we can’t see. Earlier this year I fixed our leaky shower which was driving me nuts because all I could hear was money dripping away night and day. Thankfully we didn’t get a massive water bill because of it. The only way we would know if we had water issues would be if we got one of those excessive use letters from the utility company.

The City of Toronto does have some reasons why your water bill might be high on their website and what you should check to fix the problem. Besides the obvious I’m still not sure though how that helps Weinstein since she can’t find the problem.

What will happen for her next water bill?

Even though the high water consumption on her property has supposedly went away on its own it could reappear just as easily. This all seems a bit out there so unless her tenants are upset with her and left the water running day and night I’m baffled by all of this. In her case I can think of one solution, let the tenants pay their own utility bills.

 

Tips to cut your water bill

 

  • Check all fixtures to make sure nothing is leaking
  • Listen to see if you can hear any type of leaking and look for any unexplained leaking water marks
  • Use less water
  • Watch your water consumption numbers
  • Get a low-flush toilet
  • Get a dual-flush toilet one for #1 and one for #2 (we have this) and check your city website for toilet rebates for homeowners.
  • Get a low-flower shower head
  • Shut the water off when you brush your teeth
  • Wash your dishes with a full sink or a full dishwasher
  • Use a rain barrel or a few if you have the room
  • Shower every other day or take a shower instead of a bath that uses gallons more water every fill

Whether you are a homeowner or a landlord let this be a caution to you and make sure that you check what you need to check before you get a huge water bill surprise. It’s better to be informed and prepared then receiving a bill that eats into your bank account.

What other tips can you think of to use less water? Should she pay that water bill? How will you protect yourself as a landlord or homeowner? 

 

CBB Week At A Glance

 

Hey everyone!

This was one of those blink and you’ll miss it kind of weeks for our family. You’ll be glad to hear that I moved almost all the garden pots indoors finally so I can cross that off the goal list. I’m slowly working on cleaning the garage so I can park our vehicle for the winter. The one side of our garage is now filled with bikes, strollers, wagons and so on. You know what I mean if you have or had kids.

We also had our son baptized in the Catholic church and I will be blogging all about the expenses and experience very shortly so hang tight. I was quite happy with the way it turned out and the priest was very pleasant with a lovely sense of humor.

Other than that we brought our son to play with other kiddos to get some exercise because he loves getting out of the house and just running around until he has no more energy left to give. We aren’t complaining because he crashes as soon as we get home. Mission accomplished!

In the summer I hope to build up the back garden into a little playground oasis for him with second-hand stuff we find online. We have a park close to us but just in case we don’t get a chance to bring him it’s nice to have things for him to do at home outside. I plan to build him a sand pit so he can use his Tonka trucks which I will blog about when it happens. Add that to my list of things to do.

Well, I hope you all have a fabulous week and don’t forget to subscribe if you’re not already getting my awesome posts every week! Thanks for checking in and reading today.. see ya!!

-Mr.CBB

 

Published This Week

 

Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will share them all below. If you are looking for past Saturday Weekend Review posts scroll down to the bottom of this post where I will list up to 5 previous weeks for you to read.

If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the Home Page and send in your questions. If you want to share a story via a Fan Question only please ensure that there is minimum 500 words and lots of details…we love details!

Right now CBB is posting Tuesday (Grocery Game Challenge) , Thursday (Personal Finance Post), Saturday (Personal Finance and Weekly Wrap-Up and a recipe on Sunday!

I also wrote “5 Reasons Your Monthly Budget Isn’t Working” over at She Knows Canada.

 

Budget Brags

 

Submit your Deal or Brag:

Saving money while grocery shopping is essential in the CBB family and that’s why we share our grocery shops every week in The Grocery Game Challenge 2015.

What I love the most is when my fans share their amazing shops with me whether it be groceries or other deals they find at a garage sale, online or freebies!!!

If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder@yahoo.(ca) < remove brackets) or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.

 

Jens deals for November 2015 Canada Vector granola and sunlight tabs(1)

Hi Mr. CBB and Fans,

Here are my awesome shopping deals from this past week!

  • Enfamil A+2 regular $43.99 PM to Babies r us $37.37 – $20 coupon x 2=$34.74
  • Sunlight dishwasher tabs reg $4.94 PM Foodland $3.99 – $6.00 Checkout 51 rebate x 3=$4.47 Overage
  • Vector granola $5.29 – FPC=free
    Out-of-Pocket $30.27

Jen P.

 

Making A Difference (MAD)

 

Note: If you are a personal finance blogger (anywhere around the world) and would like your blog to be MAD featured simply drop me an email and I’ll explain the process to you.

This is my way of giving back to the personal finance community through networking and sharing knowledge with my fans. Today it is my pleasure to share with you Fun Money Mom!

Fun Money Mom Blog

Hi everyone! 

I’m pretty excited to be featured by Mr. CBB this week, especially since I recently celebrated one year of blogging!  I’m Lisa from Fun Money Mom. When I started my blog, we had just moved to Florida and I quit my teaching job of 14 years to be a stay at home mom, something I’d wanted to do since I had my first child. My youngest was two and my husband and I agreed that I would stay home until she started pre-school. I couldn’t have been happier!

However, I wasn’t used to having so much time on my hands and since my husband worked odd hours, I found myself binge watching way too much Netflix and shopping online once the kids went to bed. Not that “Orange Is The New Black” isn’t awesome but I sometimes felt guilty for being so unproductive.

One night as I was shopping online (again!), the proverbial light bulb popped on over my head and I decided out of the blue that I should start a shopping blog. I have no clue what inspired that thought since I had never even entertained the idea of blogging before…I’m pretty sure the wine had something to do with it!

My original intention was to focus on fashion and list all the local shopping deals I could find, with a few national deals thrown in as well. The ironic thing was that since I was no longer working, I didn’t have the extra “fun money” to actually buy anything (a cruel twist, don’t you think)?

I began writing regular posts along with my shopping deals and that’s when I really found my passion.  I started to write more about how to save money shopping and ran a series about the craziness of buying a complete fixer upper. Eventually I dropped the deal section altogether, changed the name from Fun Money Finds to Fun Money Mom and my blog was transformed.

I love being able to write a bit of everything, from useful posts about being frugal and saving money on groceries, to what life is REALLY like as a stay at home mom (trust me…it’s not all bonbons and soap operas). My goal is that my readers come for the useful tips & recipes and stay for the laughs. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that we’re all in this together!

 

Top Recipe

 

chocolate pie shortbread cookies(1)Food and grocery shopping is a BIG part of CBB because food is a large part of the budget which people struggle the most with.

If you are someone who would rather buy convenience meals or products consider cooking homemade meals or baking from scratch.

Not only will you save money but you will be proud of what you accomplished and you’ll see that from the smiles on those you feed.

If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Food Bloggers from around the world.

I also share recipes on the blog once a week on Sundays either made by my in-house home blog cook Nicola Don or myself. This is a fun, interactive blog where we talk about everything that happens in our world.

This week our Top Recipe Pick goes to Lorinda over at The Rowdy Baker for these mouth-watering looking Chocolate Pie Shortbread Cookies that I can’t wait to make.

I love shortbread as you know from my wildly popular Dundurn Castle shortbread recipe but this takes shortbread to another level and perfect for Christmas. Check it out!

 

Top DIY Project

 

This week I found this wonderful post over at Gurl.com where they share a list of 20 DIY Holiday Mason Jar Gift Ideas which I thought were brilliant for those of you who love to make homemade gifts for the holiday. Below is only one example of snack ideas in a mason jar. I love these ideas and they are all budget-friendly.

snacks in mason jars(1)

Editor’s Pick

 

Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with you and an Editor’s top blog post pick.

Editor’s pick (That’s me Mr.CBB) goes to LSM Insurance for an important article for Life Insurance premiums and medical marijuana smokers in Canada. They say that if you use marijuana you will be charged a higher premium just as a smoker would. Since we quit smoking 3 years ago we had our insurance premiums lowered and know that it’s a nice savings difference.

If vaporizing or consuming edibles does not cause any more damage to the human body then eating a Big Mac or drinking a can of pop for example, it could be argued that these insureds should not be classified along with cigarette smokers.

If by chance you have Chronic Pain and need to smoke medical marijuana you must disclose it to your insurance company and face higher premiums. Forget about lying, they will easily test you for it and cancel your policy if you lie or find out to have lied. Tell them if you use either the smoking version of medical marijuana or the puffer version. Should medical marijuana smokers pay more? Read the full story here.

 

How people find CBB

 

Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog.

  • Dave Ramsay. Is there a Canadian version? – Haha, I loved this one. Thanks for choosing CBB.
  • Some neighbours who brag to be rich- Almost never are.
  • Neighbours house affect value of my home- Ya, I’d say it possibly could at least from an outside perspective.
  • Binder Maroon 5– Hmm, now I’m not too sure about this one. Does anyone know what this one might mean? I know who Maroon 5 is but I’m not sure what the binder has to do with them.
  • Weird ways to make money in Ontario– Now that has me worried or at least curious about what they mean by “weird”?

That’s all for this week friends but be back here next Saturday to enjoy the next edition in the Saturday Weekend Review Series. Don’t forget to subscribe to my daily blog post by entering your email address on the home page and verifying the subscription email once it is sent to you.

-Mr.CBB

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9 Comments

  1. Our water bill comes in higher than yours but there are 4 adults here. What with the laundry, baths/showers, dishes and such we pay just over $100 a month with a bill every two months. We complained to the town and they looked into it but didn’t consider the bill to be excessive. We checked for leaks and such, did the food colouring in the toilets..no leaks and so on. The down stairs unit is newer and a low flush but the upstairs one is much older so it isn’t low flush. I’m not quite sure just how old it is as it was here when we moved in 23 yrs ago. The shower head is a low flow. I hand wash the dishes as we don’t have a dishwasher. With laundry I adjust the water level to the load always…. Bill is still high. Our garden is fairly established with perennials so they don’t normally need to be watered. Don’t have a rain barrel but we manage to collect some in pails that is used to water pots and house plants.
    Looks like I have some things to look into and read!!
    Have a great weekend!!

    1. Hey Christine,
      That’s great that you checked everything but doesn’t this story not sit well with you as a homeowner? I mean no one could find a problem yet she is stuck with a $4000 bill. If that happened to me I don’t know what I’d do. What would you do?

      1. Our bill isn’t that high but we are still not happy with the town reply to our water bill…. I’d flipping hit the roof if we got a bill like that!! There would be hell to pay if we got a bill like that…..

    2. Yes it all depends on how many people are using the water too and in your case you have more people in the house than us. I purposely got rid of most of the plants that need lots of watering in the garden as it was getting to pricey. I hope you had a great weekend.

  2. CBB, I used to have this huge water bill but now it seems like I can manage to have a smaller amount by following those steps you mentioned above. And, I would start with checking all fixtures to make sure nothing is leaking and use less water whenever possible.

  3. I absolutely agree with you about checking your water pipes etc. I live in a small village in France where everyone knows everyone. One day the Maire called me to say he thought I must have a water leak because my bill was double last year’s. (Talk about service). It turned out I had a constant tiny drizzle into the water tank of my toilet (due to calc build up). My son’s friends cleaned it out and also said that you do NOT need 11 litres of water to flush a toilet (which is what I had). So he just put 4 filled-up water bottles into the tank to take up space, and “Bob’s our uncle”. My original bill was around 700 euros, then went up to 1400 euros (with the leak) and now is down to just over 530. So worth a little effort. Anna

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Anna as this can happen to any homeowner who pays for a water bill not just the people of Canada. We just changed our toilets as well which hopefully will make a difference. I agree we don’t need 11 litres to flush a toilet.

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