Every year after the annual budget speech, South Africans become a little more conscious of their money and their spending habits. With an increase in VAT from 14% to 15%, many everyday expenses will soon increase in price, and budgets will become a little tighter. But as we look to cut down on expenses, it’s not just luxury items that can be reduced or adjusted. Making small changes to the running of your home can help you cut down your monthly household bills. According to the 2017 Sanlam Benchmark Survey, close to 73% of professional South Africans experience stress while trying to meet financial obligations as an individual or a household. With this statistic in our minds, here are some tips to reducing expenses within the home.
Adjust your geyser
Geysers are one of the biggest consumers of electricity within the home. Reducing the temperature of your geyser is the fastest, and most effective ways to reduce the amount of electricity used. Turning your geyser down a mere 10 degrees from 70°C to 60°C, can reduce your electricity bill by 5%. Additionally, if your geyser is old and does not have an insulation blanket, purchasing one can save up to R500 per year.
Use LED light bulbs
LED light bulbs are an energy efficient alternative to halogen bulbs. While LED bulbs may cost a bit more than the others upfront, they can last up to four or five times longer, and typically only need to be replaced every two years. Alternatively, using compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s) can cut your costs by up to 75%. In addition to using different light bulbs, it’s always a good habit to switch lights off when a room becomes unoccupied to avoid unnecessary usage.
Reduce pool pump usage
Running your pool pump all day is unnecessary, and even more so when it gets closer to winter and your family starts to swim less. During summer a pool pump only needs to run between four and six hours per day, and in winter, two hours is enough. Reducing the amount of time your pool pump runs for, can save up to 40% of the electricity the pump usually uses depending on the size of the swimming pool. Aside from reducing the amount of time your pump runs for, you can also ensure your pool has a cover, so that the pump works less in order to keep the water clean.
Get an energy audit
An energy audit uses professional electrical equipment to track and log information about how a home is using energy. For two weeks the equipment will be connected to the circuit and board and collect data that will form a report. From the report an expert can determine whether any appliances are using unusually high amounts of electricity or there are any other electricity related irregularities. The report will detail your energy consumption, patterns, as well as suggest ways you can reduce your consumption. An energy audit can be performed by a professional electrician, and can identify ways to save money on consumption patterns or high consumption appliances.
While the drought isn’t affecting the entire country, water is a precious resource that must be conserved. Conserving water not only ensures its sustainability, but also helps to reduce your water usage costs. Installing a rainwater tank might require upfront capital, but collected rainwater can be used within the home for a number of things including washing clothes and vehicles, or even to flush toilets. Rainwater tank sizes range from 750 litres all the way to 10 000 litres, the more water you collect, the less municipal water you will use and pay for. Jojo water savers start at R339 and can reach up to R15 403.
Reassess your phone plan
If you’ve yet to join the digital age fully and still rely on a home telephone line, you’ll more than likely know that phone bills can quickly add up, together with the monthly service fee. Only make calls from your landline when necessary, and ensure you’re not paying for a plan you’re not really using. You might be paying for the premium Telkom Unlimited Fixed Line for R599 per month where users can make unlimited calls to any phones at anytime, but you don’t make lots of calls from your landline throughout the week. If you don’t use your landline very often, reassess what plan you’re on and perhaps downgrade to a cheaper plan such as the Telkom Evening and Weekend plan for R216 per month. This would be both better suited to your needs and cheaper.
While South African consumers are unable to avoid average inflationary price increases on items like food and Household Insurance, it is possible to make a difference to rising costs within the home. Looking at your water, electricity and communication practises, there are ways to decrease usage and ultimately reduce your household bills.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial or legal advice. Hippo.co.za and its affiliates cannot be held responsible for any damages or losses that may occur as a result of this article.