$AVING GREEN, GOING GREEN
pt 2 Solar and more.
It seemed that my roof had some damage. I was curious if perhaps it was normal wear or an insurance claim was possible. It turned out that insurance did cover my roof and I found a company able to couple the cost of solar and roof that does both called Southern Sky. Couple that with the 30% tax credit! *By 2020 that credit will scale down to 26%. My roof has a perfect unencumbered southern exposure.
Now that I have solar power, for the next 25-30 years, my power bills should be gone. The first two months have proved that to be true. I only owe $9.56 to FPL in tax and activation. It is called Net Metering. In this process, you total the amount of power FPL delivers to your home and deduct the amount they receive from you. The NET of the two amounts is what you owe. I am able to presently exceed the amount of power sent to FPL that I consume. I have my own power plant at home now and pour the sun generated electricity into my vehicle. I “bank” excess power to the next month much like rollover minutes so in months where it is cloudy and hot using excess AC or rainy. The months you collect lots of sun without running the air conditioner as much, cover the less plentiful cloudy, rainy, and hot ones.
The amount of joy that seeing the sun come up in the morning gives me knowing that it is activating our little residential power plant is so worth it. Coupling the car and the solar, our break even for the solar should be about 5 years, though that won’t completely pay for the outlay of the Tesla. That said, the resale value of the Tesla is maintained so high in 5 years, that comparably when all factors are weighed, such as savings from repairs and maintenance and gas (yeah just tires and washer fluid) make it competitive to most any car I would have purchased.
CORD CUTTING, MOBILE PHONE, HOME PHONE, INTERNET, HOME INSURANCE AND AUTO INSURANCE
This all lead me and inspired me to take stock of other areas of scaling back. My 2 year contract on DirectTV bundled with ATT was about to expire. There were no incentives and my TV bill was about to double. Nope. I had heard about cutting the cord for years now and so many have done it. For the television, we looked at lots of providers like Hulu, Sling etc. Already having Amazon Prime and Netflix is a good start for streaming video. We opted for YoutubeTV for the local channel availability and for the unlimited cloud DVR storage (that made it unnecessary to install HD antenna or several). We purchased 3 affordable Roku devices that plug into the HDMI slots on the TV (not necessary if you have a current smart tv or apple tv etc already). Done. Sure it is $50/month and some cable packages are less, but I can stream on my laptop or phone as well as TV’s and with Youtube it is optimized for mobile. They offer 6 accounts on a family membership and 3 can be used at once. Click the “+ add to library” and the series or your favorite teams are always recorded whenever a game or show is available from now on. I can watch a football game in 30-40 mins this way. The taxes and fees kill you with cable tv otherwise. It looks like you are paying less but you aren’t usually with cable or until they increase your rates. There isn’t a channel I miss yet and I can find everything easier than I ever have by setting up my own order and customizing channels.
PHONE AND INTERNET
We ditched Centurylink home phone and internet (25MB speed) for an affordable Xfinity much faster service (200MB+ speed). That went from $130/month to $62/month. Bundling a VOIP home phone and Internet was cheaper than just having Internet. We have also bundled Xfinity Mobile and we are saving about $130 a month on our cell phone bills. We have gone from $190 with ATT to $60 on Xfinity. We won’t pay only $60 every month, but we realized that 3 of us could get by sharing 10GB last month. If we want more data some months we can pay a little more and if we all want unlimited every month, $135 is the most we would pay for 3. There are potentially less expensive plans, but for our circumstance, you can at the end of the billing cycle switch to what you are using and for instance, share 3GB with two family members at $30 then have another family member at $45 for unlimited at $75 for the month.
How so cheap? Companies like ATT and Verizon have too many towers to profit from. Like having hotels without occupancy. Enter the VMNO or Virtual Mobile Network Operators like Xfinity. They have partnered with Verizon so, you are staying at Verizon’s hotel at budget rates. You enjoy the coverage that Verizon has everywhere they have service. You just pay less. The only exception could be in major cities where in times of great data usage you get pushed to a lesser grade of service occasionally. I have not noticed any degradation of service whatsoever so far. The flexibility in plans has taught me a valuable lesson on just what the price of data is worth to me. There may be months where it’s nice to use data to stream a movie somewhere away from home or convenient. For now I am realizing that there are so many Xfinity hotspots, I am only using about .5GB a month personally. My bill would be $12/month if it was just me! Google Fi might be another viable option for some.
HOME AND AUTO INSURANCE
Since I got a new roof for the solar it was time to do a new wind mitigation and shop for Home Insurance as well. My rates were cut nearly in half saving $1300/yr. I even added some insurance for the solar panels. I did the same for Auto Insurance and managed to save another $400/yr.
After buying a few Rokus (streaming stick for TV), a Cable Modem, and extender and installation of Internet I was out $385. My monthly savings however is $348 without factoring in Solar or gasoline savings. All in all-my annual savings is $6650 with all of these cost cutting measures and, I get to enjoy an electric vehicle, and pay no electric bills. It’s what good mojo gives you. No emissions on one vehicle at least or our home. Our ICE vehicle (internal combustion engine) we use $30 a month of gas on now. It is only for when the other vehicle is unavailable or for family long vacations where we need to bring more than we would want to take in just the Tesla. I am looking forward down the road in retirement to having eliminated monthly expenses or altering them severely to keep more on a budget. I am living a life long dream with many of these changes for the planet at the same time. In the first two and half months of ownership, my solar power plant has saved 2.7 Tons of carbon emissions. Think what would happen if Florida took the lead on solar. That doesn’t even count the 6700 miles already driven on my electric vehicle.
I have since learned that if you use my referral in some of these ventures I can actually benefit. Please consider doing so and helping me out if these suggestions guided you to a particular similar solution with these companies. I would be tickled to hear that you experienced the same level of satisfaction from any one of these changes that I have made for myself and our family. Thanksgiving is about sharing and giving thanks right?
TESLA referral code: https://ts.la/matthew29580
Southern Sky Solar: mention Matthew Sonneborn or Naples Race Director of Gobble Gobble https://www.facebook.com/SouthernSkySolar/
Xfinity: https://www.facebook.com/gobblegobblefourmiler/ and find the link on a post.
YoutubeTV: here’s a place to find discounts for you for a trial. http://www.lyftpromocode2019.com/youtube-tv-promo-code.html