We just finished a week of some of the coldest weather in Maine over the past decade. The furnace seems like it is always running and oil and kerosene prices have been going up as the temperature has been going down. I live in a mobile home and must use kerosene, instead of heating oil, to heat my home. Of course there is wood heat and other alternatives, but for this winter it's kerosene.

Last year's mild winter and buttoning up the house with plastic over the windows, closing the curtains at night and keeping the thermostat at 60, saved me money. In the 7 winters that I've lived in my mobile home, it was the first time I had only ordered 200 gallons of kerosene.

This winter, I ordered a 100 gallons on November 16th and that brought my tank to a little under 3/4 filled. I live alone and I decided to try keeping my thermostat at 55 or lower! Yes, it's cold, but I wear a fleece pullover, a winter hat and flannel pajamas at night when I am home. I went two months with that 100 gallons and my tank had gotten down to about a third of a tank.

Normally, I would order another 100 gallons of kerosene (K-1), but I decided at the beginning of January to get $13 dollars worth of kerosene at J & S Oil, where they sell it at a pump, just like gasoline, and do that twice per week. I noticed that I was slowly losing ground with the amount of kerosene in the tank and with this week's cold snap, I put in $13 dollars, five separate times. I am on track for manually putting in just over 30 gallons for the month of January. I think if we have average temperatures, I will put in $13 dollars worth 3 or 4 times a week and make it that way through the rest of the winter. That comes out to $39 or $52 per week, which is easier to deal with than over $400 for a 100 gallon delivery.

There is something about filling the container with my 3.171 gallons of kerosene and putting it in my fuel tank at home that seems old school and manly. It never fails, my hands end up smelling of kerosene and I noticed that if you eat an orange after, the combination gives off a rugged yet fresh scent!

It's been a tough way to get through winter and I don't blame people for not visiting me at my house! I also, keep warm by making chili, soup, and saltines and salsa! I'm rooting for the groundhog not to see his shadow and for spring to get here sooner than later!

How are you battling heating costs? I'd love to hear your stories.