Posts Tagged ‘heating oil’

Dealing with heating oil

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Now that we are back from a late summer vacation, it’s oil pricing time.  If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to decide what to do about heating oil for the winter.  Do you lock in? Do you bet that the price will go down during the heating oil season? Do you go with a cap?  And will you be able to afford any of it?

When we first moved to Connecticut in 2002, we locked in at $1.08 a gallon.  I suspect those days are long gone for a long time.  Then, the next year it was up to $1.44/gallon.  Wow, what a jump, we thought.  A a couple of years later, we decided to take the daily rate, which meant that we were subject to market fluctuations.  This worked in our favor until last year.

Last year, toward the end of a rough season filled with high prices, our last fill-up was $4.67/gallon.  I almost had a heart attack. 

This year, with all of the oil price volatility, we’ve locked in at $3.74/gallon.  Not great, but at least it’s a “known pain” rather than an unknown one.  It’s the same reason my tax practice bills on a “flat fee” basis.  You know what it is going to cost–no suprises.

 However, prices aside, there’s always room for negotiation.  If you really like your oil supplier, take 10 minutes to call around and find out what other companies are offering as “new customer rates”.  Then call your current supplier and tell them and ask what they can do to keep you as a customer.  Sometimes, they’ll match their competitors’ rates.  Sometimes they’ll give you a discount.  And sometimes, they will do nothing at all.

 In our case, I went with the company offering the lowest rates.  I then asked for a “new customer discount”.  I promptly received $20 off the service contract (yes, they are worth it) and a $50 credit toward the oil.  Not stellar, but better than nothing!

In more personal news, my son has started to walk!  It seemed like only a week ago he was starting to wobble around; now we are almost at the running stage!!!  They grow so fast.

Copyright 2008-2009 Kristin Delfau, author of Turbo-Mom's Guide to Saving Money Without Wasting Time a womens' personal finance book, and Aji Publishing.

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