Paying for things like electricity, phone and data bills can leave a bad taste in your mouth – especially in the current harsh economic climate. But there are ways you can save on these essentials. Here’s how

With Eskom in crisis, most of us are already doing what we can to save electricity. Yet for all the inconvenience and damage caused by load shedding, we are still paying dearly for power – and at publication time, Eskom was pressing to double their tariffs. Here’s what you can do to keep your bill to the minimum:
  • Know which appliances use the most power, and use them as sparingly as possible. Geysers use 39%, heaters 16%, stoves and ovens 7%, lights 6%, cold storage (fridges, freezers) 5%, laundry 3%, and others 13%, according to businesstech.co.za.
  • If you can, turn off your geyser and turn it on only a few hours before you’re likely to use it. You can also invest in a geyser timer (available for about 10000 to 50000).
  • To save electricity on heaters, air conditioning or fans, consider having insulation installed in your ceiling – it can prevent about 20 to 35% of heat loss, reports DIY and Industrial Trade News. Keep doors and windows closed when using heaters, to stop heat escaping.
  • When it comes to lights, replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs (light-emitting diodes) or CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) can cut electricity costs by about 80 to 90%, according to Sustainable Energy Africa.

Water is a precious resource, and given recent droughts we should all be saving every drop possible – and saving money at the same time.
  • Washing machines and dishwashers are water guzzlers, so use them only when you have enough laundry or dishes for a full load.
  • Don’t ditch your pasta cooking water – let it cool down to room temperature and use it on plants (but not if it contains salt or oil).
  • Save water on each toilet flush by pouring about 5cm of gravel or sand into a plastic bottle and placing it in the tank of your loo.
  • Put a basin (or basins if you have a double sink) in your sink. Use your dirty washing water to flush the toilet, and the rinse water on plants

Make sure you have the right phone and contract for your needs and you can afford the costs involved. Consider whether you even need a contract to begin with, or if you’d be better off buying an affordable phone and going pre-paid or top-up?
  • Data costs a fortune, so turn it off unless you need to use it. Keep your Wi-Fi switched on to pick up any networks as you move around. Apps can eat a lot of data too, so only keep those you really need; and turn off autoplaying and auto downloading of videos on social media. Download to watch later; don’t live stream.
  • If travelling overseas, don’t use international roaming – it can cost you thousands! Rather buy a local SIM card when you land to make local calls and use local data. Also don’t answer incoming calls from South Africa – rates can be ridiculously high. Ask friends and family to WhatsApp you instead. And turn off voicemail – if someone leaves a message, you’ll pay for the call, at international rates!

Aside from your rent or bond repayment, groceries are one of the biggest expenses. Kick-start savings by planning a week’s meals in advance, and shopping just once a week, with a list of only what you need for those meals.
  • Do a bulk cook weekly and freeze – go big on soups and stews; knowing there’s a meal at home can keep you from grabbing convenience foods on your way home.
  • Keep your fridge organised, so you can see exactly what you have and avoid buying duplicates.
  • Buy fruit and veg that are in season (imports cost extra): download a seasonal fruit and vegetable chart for your region.
  • Use your Jet Club coupons!
  • Best of all, grow your own, in a veggie patch or window box. And start your own compost heap with your kitchen peels – your veggies will taste better and you won’t have to fork out on commercial compost.

This can be a huge expense if you live a long way from work.
  • Think about carpooling with friends or colleagues. If none live near you, explore ride-sharing, which is similar but with people you don’t know; use a ride-sharing
  • or lift club app such as jrney.co or vhuzhi.com.
  • Explore public transport options to see whether it could pay you to use, say, the MyCITI bus, Gautrain or Uber, rather than a car?
  • If using a car, take smart steps to lower fuel consumption: have regular services; remove all unnecessary weight; drive with windows closed to make your car more aerodynamic; check tyre pressure regularly (soft tyres present a larger surface to the road so your car needs to work harder and uses more fuel); and turn off the aircon whenever you can.
  • Avoid peak hours as stop-start driving guzzles fuel. Download an app like Waze to find the quickest, least congested route, and when roads are clear, don’t speed as it uses more fuel.

5 EASY WAYS HOW TO CUT COSTS AND SAVE MORE! 5 EASY WAYS HOW TO CUT COSTS AND SAVE MORE! Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on January 29, 2021 Rating: 5
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