With July being National Savings Month, it’s a good time to look at what you can do at home to stretch your savings or put a little extra back in your pocket. “There are various ways you can save money over both the short- and long-term,” says Francois Venter, Director of Jawitz Properties.
The simplest way to save money in the long run is to pay off your bond as quickly as you can. “Make a commitment today to put away at least an extra 10% over and above your minimum bond repayment,” Venter says. “Every little bit of extra money goes a long way to reducing the interest you will pay as well as the remaining bond term.”
Multiply to divide and conquer
Making more than one payment a month also helps reduce your bond as interest is calculated daily. “If you can pay a certain portion at the beginning of the month and another mid-month, you will see a great reduction in payments over time. Try one of the many bond calculators available online to see just how much you can save.”
If you can afford to, have your salary paid into your bond. “Taking a frugal approach to how you use that income thereafter is important as well as when it is put in to reduce your bond costs.”
Warm the cockles of your piggy bank’s heart
The winter months are the easiest time to incur extra household costs. “We end up using more electricity than we do in summer with heaters coming on and having longer hot showers or baths, working our geysers harder, and putting the kettle on more frequently for warm drinks,” Venter says.
“Now is a good time to invest in that gas heater, gas stove or a solar geyser. While these may be pricey upfront, over the long-term they will certainly save you a lot of money.” You can also consider switching to pre-paid electricity to monitor your expenditure, or install a fire place, or even make the most of your indoor braai.
Saving for a rainy day
Consider being pocket-friendly in your garden as well by remembering to switch off your irrigation system when it’s raining, or if rain is predicted. “You can even just reduce the frequency at which it comes on to save on your water bill,” he adds. “If you can add a borehole, the initial expense will pay off.” Another option is to make the most of the rainy months and capture rain water that can be re-used as grey water to water your garden in the summer months, or to be used in your sewer system. “Take a long-term mind-set today to save as much as you can in the future.”
Administration to innovation
A final saving tip can be to review your admin, such as your household insurance policies. “Check you are not overpaying or underpaying for your needs. Being adequately insured means if you ever need to claim you won’t battle to do so. Look at your home insurance, bond insurance and contents insurance,” Venter adds. “Also assess your landline and internet costs; have you got the best deals?”
Keep in mind that every four years property valuations are changed based on averages in your area which affect the rates you pay. “The next review will be in 2016, but remember you can have an independent valuation done to make sure you don’t end up paying more than you have to,” Venter concludes.