ARTICLES COVID-19 [2020]

Author: property 24
3 April 2020

How to save on your household bill during lockdown

The Covid-19 outbreak has caused severe disruption to society. President Cyril Ramaphosa has instructed non-essential businesses to lockdown as we put social distancing measures in place to reduce the rate of transmission.

South Africans are discovering – this is home – like never before.

We may be spending less on going out, and saving extra cash on transport – but household bills aren’t getting any cheaper during lockdown. Luckily, there are still many ways to save money, even though millions of us mostly stuck indoors.

Read: 4 smart ways to save money during a recession

So how can you keep the bills down, without losing the few things you can still do? Try these tips:

1. Lower you water consumption

Water is a vital commodity that we require to survive. South Africa is ranked as one of the 30 driest countries with an annual average rainfall of 464 mm. In recent times, there has been an increase in droughts across SA, which means that the necessary precautions must be taken to ensure that this essential resource is not used carelessly – especially as water and soap are a major weapon against Covid-19.

  •  Repair leaks

Around half of any household’s water consumption occurs in the bathroom, so it’s easy to understand that making a few water-friendly changes will reduce your overall water usage, says Raymond Oliver of sanitaryware and tile manufacturer, Roca.

 “Much like a leaking tap, a leaking toilet can waste vast amounts of water”.

Read: Easy ways to save water in the home

  •  Water-wise gardening

Gardens can be water intensive.

Homeowners who want to maintain their gardens while being more water-wise will need to find alternative watering methods, such as using water that would normally flow down the drain as a way of reducing your water consumption and your water bill. Every homeowner needs to know is where the main stopcock for the water on their property is, advises Wetec.

Generally, showers use far less water than baths, provided that the shower time is less than 5 minutes long. When you do bath, try to reuse the bathwater by watering your gardening with it.

Read: 4 tips on how to use greywater in your garden

Once you have access to supplies, look to install low-flow showerheads, low-flow faucet aerator, and a dual-flush toilet, you’ll save thousands of gallons of water each year.

 Read: Tips for creating a water-wise garden

“A water-saving toilet is also a good option, but for those who don’t wish to spend money on it, adding a brick or sealed container of sand to the cistern will reduce the amount of water used during each flush,” suggests Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

2. Lower your electricity bill

The amount of extra energy households use will vary from home to home, but you can significantly lower your electric bill by turning off your geyser during the day and unplugging all appliances when not in use so that they do not steal a phantom charge.

Filling your fridge and freezer to its recommended capacity, installing energy-saving bulbs and dimmers and washing your laundry in cold water are all useful ways to conserve electricity.

3. Saving the food

Set up a grocery budget. Ditch the ready-made meals and buy ingredients in bulk instead. Prep and freeze your meals so that you have cheaper homemade ‘ready-meals’, says Goslett.

Also, if the weather is good, why not just have a good old South African braai. You know the food will be tasty and you can prepare enough chops or chicken for a few days. Why not add in a simple pot bread and freeze it? All without using any electricity either.

4. Cut fuel costs

Government has asked us to only go out to buy essentials, this means many people will be saving on petrol. So, travel less by going to shopping centres that are as near to you as possible.

Find ways to make spending the weekend at home interesting so that you don’t feel tempted to go out and spend money: tackle household chores, have a picnic in your backyard, cycle around your neighbourhood – anything that doesn’t cost money, says Goslett.

5. Reduce your cleaning supplies

Another way to save is to keep the cleaning aids down to the very basics.

“Cleaning products are also an immense waste of household income. All you really need in your cleaning supply closet is bleach, vinegar, lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda or baking powder and a bottle of vanilla or rosemary essence if you want that fresh scent you find in cleaning products,” says Goslett.

With all the time you have on your hands, explore ways to make household chores fun. Work with us here.

Think of it as your daily exercise – an energetic break from Netflix. Sweep instead of vacuum to save even more electricity.

Read: Create a zero-waste home with these 3 easy steps

You are going to have to get creative during the next couple of weeks – and the more you do, the more you can save.

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