The high price of keeping warm

Raissa Tetanish
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With the rising cost of oil, families are faced with tough decisions

AMHERST - Nichole Allen and her fiancÉ Kiley Kierstead are on a strict budget, so when they hear about the rising cost of oil, it has an affect on their family.

The high price of keeping warm

AMHERST - Nichole Allen and her fiancÉ Kiley Kierstead are on a strict budget, so when they hear about the rising cost of oil, it has an affect on their family.

"We started using heat toward the end of August, beginning of September," Allen said while watching her two daughters, Emma, 2, and Alyssa, 11-months, in the living room. "We only had to use it in the evenings, but about two weeks after that we started using it all the time."

Because of the strict budget the family is on, they order their oil when they need to, and at the minimum amount the company will deliver. The company they use has a minimum order of $250 worth of oil, which Allen says lasts them about a month.

"But with the rising oil prices, if we order the same amount of oil, our food goes down, our cost for our kids goes down, everything goes down. GST checks are out today and ours are already gone. We had to put it toward oil."

Allen and Kierstead moved into a small, three-bedroom bungalow in June. This winter, in order to save some cost on heating, they've put plastic on all the windows, adding extra weather stripping around the door and installed a door going down into the basement from inside the house.

There are areas in their daily living that the family doesn't necessarily need but has right now, including cable. Allen says they originally had digital cable, but have downgraded to basic cable.

"Cable isn't a necessity though...heat is," added Allen.

"One thing that really hurts us is that he works and I don't," Allen said, adding that her credit is better than Kierstead's, but because she doesn't work, they can't get an automatic fill-up with the oil company.

"We save up from all of his paychecks so we can order oil because we've been denied automatic fill-up," she said.

Allen doesn't want to think about what will happen if the price of oil rises too high.

"We would have to move," she said to Kierstead. "If oil prices were to rise, we'd get less for $250 and it would go faster."



rtetanish@amherstdaily.com

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