With the sharp drop in temperatures this winter, you will eventually notice a drop in your bank balance too.
Winter is known to be the most expensive season of the year for South African consumers. With costs such as a higher electricity bills (keeping the heater on is not as cheap as it used to be), new clothes to keep warm and the temptation of comfort food, these costs can easily make you wonder where your hard-earned money went by the end of the month. So, if you are trying to avoid going into debt during this season, then read on to see how you can keep the heat up and your spending down – no matter how cold it gets.
When the morning chill seems to last throughout the day, all you can think of is getting your hands on a hot cup of tea or coffee. That R 10 (average price) purchase each day adds up to R 2 600 for the entire year. Wow, that is a lot of money that could have been used for something more constructive such as the start of your emergency fund, paying your car or credit card installment. You can save a bundle by taking your own mug to work and making a cup of your favorite beverage in your canteen instead of buying it at your work coffee station.
Take the party home
Going out with friends and socializing this winter can mean over-priced meals and drinks to keep warm. You can save yourself the trouble of having to dress up (with so many layers of clothing that make you look twice your size) and paying for a ‘home-cooked’ that you could have cooked yourself. You can save by taking turns with your friends to host social evenings. You don’t need to do a lot to entertain your friends and have fun. You can try a game night or a movie marathon so you can get all the fun without the high price tag. Your friends can bring drinks and you can take care of preparing snacks or it can be a bring-and-share style evening.
Watch the heat
You can keep warm for less this winter by monitoring your heater usage. Yes, we all feel that we might freeze to death if our beloved heater is not on and warming the room at full blast. The average electric heater will cost you R 2.12 to keep on per hour. This doesn’t sound like it will burn a whole in your pocket right? However, if you use your heater for 3 hours per day for the entire winter season, you are looking at paying about R 579.00 extra on your electricity bill. You can save by closing all your doors, windows and drawing your curtains to retain heat in your home. Dressing up warm will also mean that you will need to use your heater less. If you have an electric heater, it will be wise to sell that old faithful gadget and get a gas heater. These gas heaters prove to be just as efficient and will help reduce your electricity costs.
For the love of braai
We all know that it is almost always cheaper to cook at home. To save even more this winter, make braais a part of your cooking method. It will save you the cost of electricity being used by your appliances. You can also keep warm by gathering around the braai and sharing stories of the ‘good old days’. You can braai in your garage or have a smaller indoor braai so you do not have to brave the harsh winter chill just to make sure your chops are cooked ‘lekker’.
Fun for free
We are attracted to the word ‘free’ – like bees attracted to honey. There are plenty of free or even low-cost activities to help make your winter fun. Take up a new hobby, try visiting flea markets and shows, explore a local museum and enjoy the rich South African culture and vibrant night life.
Winter can be a cold and miserable season that leaves much of us in more debt than any other season. You can avoid having a cold and empty wallet by putting a few tips to work for you. Try making coffee at work instead of buying a cup each morning, save electricity costs by monitoring your heater usage and having a braai. You can bring the party home and reap the benefits of hosting fun evenings at a fraction of the cost of going out and lastly, find free fun by visiting local hot-spots to keep entertained on a budget.