The Cost of Convenience

Have you considered the “true cost” of convenience charges?

Consider the example of heating oil. We “used” to be on the “convenience” plan (some may call it the laziness plan) which resulted in our handing over extra dollars to our oil company so they would manage the process of refilling our tank. And, by having this on “auto-pilot” (for many years) it was too easy, for way too long, not to investigate the price of oil from other providers. Instead, we just let it ride…

A couple of years ago when I seriously got on my “kick” of looking for ways to shave dollars off our monthly expenses (because it is FUN – just like getting a raise at work, and I wanted to lower our outgo to sure-up our financial independence for the long haul) I investigated heating oil options.

We had been using a local firm for many years, and experienced only 1 “outage” when they miscalculated, resulting in our running out of fuel. Other than that event, our “experience” had been good.

During my investigation I found a website that provides heating oil prices from oil companies in our local area. If you live in New Hampshire, you may find this site beneficial. Upon reviewing options I found a company that delivers oil within 3 business days of requesting a refill (in a non-emergency situation) that costs $0.306 less per gallon than we were paying. The main difference: we had to “call it in” when needed vs. having someone else manage the process. We went for it!

To do so, I simply had to place a “to do” item on my list to check the oil in our tank every 2-3 weeks (during the winter months). Oh yeah, and learn how to read the oil gauge on the top of the tank 🙂

Here is where someone might say “It is only $0.306 cents. What is the big deal, given I don’t have to worry about it?” Well, if we multiply that by the number of gallons on a particular fill-up it starts to make a difference (192.1 gallons times .306 = $58.78). Some might say “Still, it is only $58.78.

During the 2012/13 heating season we needed 4 fill-ups realizing a total savings of $225. The true / total cost over 10 years equates to $2,250. A question I’ve asked before: “Would you leave $2,250 sitting on the table?” Not this guy.

Again, by itself, this may not seem like a whole lot. However, combine this action / savings with other “small items” previously covered (and those that I’ve yet to cover) and it will add up to a small fortune!

In closing, we haven’t run out of oil in the last 2 years which demonstrates someone CAN actually monitor their oil consumption and “call it in” when needed to avoid paying unnecessary upcharges.

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