They say that there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes; but there is a third thing to consider in most runs of life, and that is the fact that that the cost of living in any one place only goes one way – upwards.
A considerable number of people tend to scrape by on a week by week basis, just about covering their costs and eking out a reasonably decent standard of existence. But when an unexpected financial demand arises – a larger than usual utility bill or an unforeseen repair to your car, it can quickly throw your finances into chaos. That is why it’s always a good idea to tuck some money away for that proverbial rainy day.
Easier said than done you might think. But in fact, there are some reasonably easy things you can do to cut down your regular outgoings, and here are a few tips to help you on your way.
Reducing your electricity bills
Water heaters or boilers can amount to 40% of your monthly electricity bill. Many people treat them as conveniences, leaving them on all day and night and heating much more water than they would typically use.
Another common mistake is getting the water temperature too high – so high that you expose yourself to the risk of burning your hands if you hold them under the hot water tap for more than a second or two.
There are two straightforward things you should consider doing. The first is to reset the thermostat of your geyser. Even just lowering the setting by a few degrees can make a significant difference. Why heat water beyond its usable temperature?
The other thing you can do is to fit your geyser with a blanket to help stop the heat from radiating away. You can buy geyser blankets as standard, or you can even make one yourself. A popular choice of material is “think pink,” one of South Africa’s oldest and most widely used insulation materials. It’s used primarily to insulate homes but works brilliantly as material for geyser blankets too.
Speaking of insulation materials, “think pink” was originally designed for insulating homes by preventing heat loss through ceilings and roofs. If your home isn’t already insulated to prevent this sort of heat wastage, you can reduce your heating bills considerably by laying “think pink” and keeping that heat where it is most beneficial.
Another simple thing that you can do is to look into changing your energy supplier. The price you pay for your electricity can often be cut by only changing your contract or supplier. There are some great offers out there for those willing to move, so it is always worth taking the time to compare electricity rates and sign up with a lower-cost provider that is pre-qualified.
Teach your children
Children are one of the biggest spendthrifts when it comes to wasting money around the home. Of course, they are not aware that their behaviour may be costing you money, so you need to educate them.
The most common thing kids do that can increase your electricity bills is to leave appliances on. The television is a classic. The biggest bug-bear is when they get distracted. Typically, your child may be watching TV, and in the middle of doing so will pick up his or her iPhone, iPad, or Play-station. Instead of being the main point of focus, the TV just carries on playing to itself.
It’s simply dealt with. Be honest with your kids and explain that you need to cut down the size of your electricity bills, and that they can help by turning off any appliances that are not in immediate use. Involving them in this way gives them an incentive.
Remember that saving energy is ecological too. Tell your kids they will become eco-warriors. That always creates a good buzz. Finally, you are also teaching them useful protocols that they can follow in later life.
Search out online tips for saving money
The internet is the single most significant source of general information in the world. As long as you have access, you can carry out an online search by typing something like “money saving tips” into your browser. You’ll be amazed at how many useful tips and guides you’ll come across. Check out this guide of 40 massive money saving tips from cash loans provider Wonga.
Review your debt situation
The other thing you should do if you are looking to save money is to review any debts that you have. Remember though that not all debts are bad. It’s the debts that charge very high-interest rates over a long duration that you need to watch out for.
You can easily get drawn into a false sense of security because the repayments may seem affordable. But what you don’t realise is the amount of total interest you are shelling over a period of many months and even years. If you’ve got any of these types of debts, you ought to start trying to pay them off as quickly as is practical.