Homes

Green saving tips for senior homeowners

The rising cost of living has put tremendous pressure on many people, and senior homeowners are no exception. These are the green saving tips worth considering.

Everyone wants to lower their expenses these days to counter the rising cost of living. For seniors, this is even more important if they are saving for retirement or already living on a fixed income, says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.

Cost saving measures

“With the environment also being a major concern now, cost-cutting measures that are also eco-friendly are definitely the way to go – starting with saving energy by ensuring that your home is really well insulated against the summer and winter variations in temperature.”

For many seniors, it is also a good idea to downsize to a smaller residence and spend less on electricity, water and other services. Smaller homes also come with smaller carbon footprints and will, of course, mean lower expenditure on paint, cleaning and maintenance materials and gardening equipment, he says.

“You will most likely also be able to save on security and insurance costs if you downsize, particularly if you move from a big family home to a sectional title complex or a retirement village.”

Everitt notes that another big item on most household budgets is transport and that while you may no longer be commuting to the office daily, trips to the shops, friends’ homes, the golf course, and the doctor can quickly add up to a sizeable fuel bill.

“But there are several ways to cut this down, too. For example, if you live in a retirement village or estate and have neighbours who want to do many of the same things you do, it’s a really good idea to co-ordinate schedules and car-pool. Some retirement developments also offer organised transport to the local shops and medical facilities on certain days of the week – and this service may even be covered by your levy.”

Many seniors are now also getting rid of their cars altogether and relying on public transport, bikes and E-cycles, golf carts and ride-sharing services like Uber to get around, he says.

“For longer trips, they might hire a car, but in the meantime, they are saving a lot on car insurance, maintenance, licensing and parking as well as fuel.”

A third important way for seniors to save is to avoid food wastage by drawing up weekly or monthly menus and shopping only for the items they need (including some snacks, treats and your favourite drinks). That way, there won’t be anything on the shelf or in the cupboard expiring or going off.

“If you love gardening, growing your own food or at least some of it is very satisfying and will also help to keep your food bills down. Braais or meals at home are a much less expensive way of celebrating with family and friends than dining out – and if everyone brings something, the cost is shared,” says Everitt.

Other tips to help seniors cut costs and be greener include buying a good water filter and using that instead of bottled water, downloading music and books to a smart device instead of purchasing hard copies and reading your news online as well.

“In addition, when it’s time to go on holiday, it’s usually much less costly to explore your own country than fly off somewhere else. You may not exactly fancy eco-friendly camping and sleeping in a tent, but SA has thousands of inexpensive rest camps, guesthouses, BnBs, caravan parks and country hotels to experience as you sample its beautiful beaches, wild animals, history and spectacular scenery.

“And who knows, you might even find your forever retirement home somewhere you’ve never been before,” concluded Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.

Writer: Meg Wilson

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