There are so many things that we all do everyday to save money, but there are also things which we do, without realising we are wasting money. This week I looked into the cost of electricity. It was very difficult to find the exact cost of each kilowatt of electricity, but I think it is around 0.34 c.
Load shedding is a sad reality in South Africa, especially now winter is here. http://www.citypower.co.za. Everybody talks about saving electricity to help reduce load shedding. There is a lot of advice on how to save electricity, but even more importantly, when you save electricity you save money. Simple things like turning off the lights when you leave a room, not leaving lights on in an office overnight and changing your globes/ light bulbs to energy saving ones.
Turn off things like the TV and plugs at the wall when not in use. The TV, on standby, uses up to 50% of the energy that it uses when it is on. The same applies to phone chargers and computers.
Stay warm by dressing in layers. Also if you keep your feet warm, your body will stay warm, so wearing socks or pantyhose, even if it is under your slacks, will keep you warmer. Use a hot water bottle to heat your bed, instead of the heater to heat the room. My mom also taught me to put a pillow under the covers at the bottom of the bed, as it warms your feet. Use a gas or oil heater rather than a space heater if you are only going need to heat one room
Keeping doors closed also keeps the rooms warmer. Bathrooms which are tiled, and generally don’t have carpets or curtains, are usually cold. Get door stoppers to prevent cold air from coming in under the door. Ensure that your ceilings have insulation. We installed Thermguard (in 1993), which is environmentally friendly and comes with a lifetime guarantee. When we first moved into our house it was colder inside than out.
When preparing meals, plan ahead and defrost your meat in the fridge. This is healthier, but also cheaper, than defrosting in the microwave or cooking from frozen. Wherever possible, partially cook your food in the microwave and then move it to finish in the oven. Your oven uses the equivalent of 18 microwaves. Use your slow cooker for more than just Shabbat cholent. It is winter now, so soups, stews and curries are perfect to make in the slow cooker. Cooking on the stove, (3 hours per day) costs you approximately R45 per month while the slow cooker (8 hours per day) costs R12. These prices are based on you using these appliances every single day for a month. Cut the food you need to cook into smaller pieces, it will cook quicker. Boil your water in the kettle and then put it in the pot for cooking. The kettle uses less electricity and it is faster than boiling water in a pot on the stove.
A few years ago we changed to bottled gas for cooking so, at least for us, we can still have hot food, even with load shedding.
Use a dishwasher. Washing dishes with a dishwasher costs you less than washing in the sink as the dishwasher heats the water internally with an element, whereas the water in the sink is heated by your geyser.
I have implemented timed showers (7 minutes each). Showering uses less water than bathing, which means less heating. I must admit that It did take a while before everyone got on board with this.
Use the washing machine only when it is full. If the sun is shinning, hang the clothes on the washing line. If you are going to use your tumble dryer, make sure the clothes are not sopping wet when they go in as the laundry will take longer to dry.
If you have a pool, set it to filter once every 24 hours and keep the pool covered. Obviously, if you have a heated pool, the heater should be turned off in winter, unless you swim everyday or have solar heating.
If you can move to solar or gas for your house, it will save you a lot of money eventually. I believe it takes about 3-4 months before you notice the savings.
Remember your load shedding survival kit:-Torches and lanterns, extra batteries, a small gas canister for boiling water or a pot of soup, and games to play to replace TV and computer games. Keep mobile phones fully charged at all times.
As the Scout’s motto says: Be Prepared!