Winter brings with it greater expenses to keep warm and comfortable; our great tips can help you boost your budget during colder weather.
Buy budget meals, or cook larger portions and freeze for later
While setting up a money-savvy eating plan is great advice for any time of the year, it’s not uncommon to find yourself that little bit hungrier in winter, as your body expends additional energy into ensuring that you are always warm.
In winter, consider bulk-buying budget meals that you can reheat later – or, if your time permits, cook larger meals to freeze potions which can be reheated for use throughout the week.
Ensuring that you have a ready supply of food which you can take with you while on the go (such as to your place of work) will prevent you from spending money impulsively on fast foods or snacks throughout the day. Further, by purchasing VAT-exempt food, you can maximise your savings over time.
Use blankets instead of gas or electric heaters
While gas and electric heaters are great at keeping both you and your family warm, consider that when you run either, you’re actually spending money to warm an entire room, and not just your body.
To save money on electricity or gas costs, use blankets, duvets, or warm clothing where possible. By doing so, you’ll only need to spend money once-off to purchase what you need; and what’s even better is that a well-bought piece of clothing can be worn out of the house as well.
Allow sunlight in during the day, but close curtains, doors, and windows at night
In South Africa, we’re fortunate to have an abundance of sunlight, even in winter weather – however, many places in our country can dip into frosty temperatures at night.
To retain as much warmth in your home as possible (without using gas or electricity to heat it), try to trap as much sunlight in your home as possible during the day by keeping windows and doors clear. At night, you’ll want to ensure that all your curtains, doors, and windows are kept closed to retain as much heat as possible.
Switch your appliances off completely (do not use standby mode)
When you’ve finished using a home appliance such as a TV, you may leave it plugged in to an electric socket – however, many modern appliances have what’s called a standby mode; where they’ll draw in an electric current in preparation for when they’ll next be used.
When you’re finished using an appliance, rather turn the socket fixture off, or disconnect the appliance entirely – this can help reduce your electricity expenses and preserve your budget.
Cover your pool over
If you don’t plan on making use of your swimming pool over winter, covering your pool over will not only prevent dirt or debris from littering the area, but can halt the growth of algae and bacteria.
This, in turn, can help lower the costs of maintaining your pool during the months of the year where you won’t use it as much – and can also help reduce the amount of work necessary to get your pool into great shape when spring finally arrives.
Consider insulating your home
If you’re able to, one smart investment you can make is to insulate your home. Insulation is material that is designed to prevent heat from moving from one area to another. When installed in a cavity such as a roof, insulation can help retain heat from escaping – meaning that your house would be more energy efficient.
The good news is that insulation will also help regulate temperatures in areas where it is installed – meaning that when temperatures are warmer in summer, your home would feel cooler.
Installing insulation is an excellent way to invest money that you can save later, as you’ll require less electricity or gas to heat areas in your home in winter, or cool them in summer.
Consider switching to a solar geyser
Another great way in which you can invest to save is to switch from a conventional geyser to a solar geyser, which relies on a solar panel to heat up water during the day. This is a great way to spend less on electricity over time – though you will still need to rely on electricity in the event you either deplete your hot water supply before the solar panel is able to draw enough current to reheat it, or you happen to deplete your hot water supply overnight.