Tips on how to be financially savvy during the cold winter months

JOBURG – Check out these tips on how to save during the nasty winter months.

Unlike our ancient ancestors, we do not go into a state of near-hibernation and simply switch off during the cold months.

For many South Africans, spending patterns change during winter and for many households, it is a time when it’s even more difficult to make ends meet.

The main culprit is a surge in household energy costs – an increase of up to 15 per cent, according to information published by Eskom. This increase reflects changes in behaviour. People switch on heaters, take longer baths or hotter showers, use stoves and ovens to prepare comfort food and appliances such as washing machines and tumble dryers work even harder.

The City of Joburg’s spokesperson, Virgil James said, “With the major surge in electricity over the cold periods, the system cannot handle it all and therefore many experience a complete cut-out of electricity.”

Fortunately, it is possible to manage household costs in winter, said Nicole Sanderson, brand custodian at Bayport Financial Services. “The starting point is being aware of where you spend the most money, and then to put measures in place to curb that expenditure. In most households, the hot water geyser is the biggest culprit. It accounts for almost 40 per cent of the average home’s electricity bill. Next is space heating at 16 per cent, followed by stoves and ovens at 11 per cent.”

Sanderson’s tips for saving money in winter:

  • Insulate your doors, windows and ceilings to prevent cold air from entering your home and hot air escaping from it
  • Using heaters with a built-in thermostat and a short warm up time
  • Cooking large portions of food and freezing it, rather than cooking every day
  • Defrost the refrigerator at least twice per year, and do not overload it as it also a major consumer of electricity
  • Flu injections and extra vitamins to boost the immune system can help to avoid a costly visit or two to the doctor or pharmacy
  • Instead of trying to heat up a room, rather heat up the people in the room by wrapping up in blankets, sipping a hot drink or eating a bowl of soup
  • For a long-term investment, consider installing a heat pump or solar panels.

Do you have other tips on how to save money during the winter months? Tell us on Facebook.

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