Wise ways for homeowners to save money

“While there is no quick fix to a high debt-to-income ratio, there are definitely areas where homeowners and other consumers can cut back on their spending. Although factors such as the current low and steady interest rates have been favourable for homeowners, other factors such as the hike in electricity tariffs has continued to place pressure on many South African consumers,” says Goslett.

He adds that homeowners who are looking to save money should consider the following ideas:

Have a budget – As the saying goes, those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Write down all the monthly expenses required to maintain the home as well as all other expenses. Try to be as specific as possible and don’t leave anything out. Rather be realistic or overestimate your expenses than leave anything out. Check previous months bank statements to provide a clear picture of what to budget for each necessity. Once the budget is completed, see what costs can be cut. Once the budget has been set – stick to it.

Go green – Where possible cut down on energy consumption. There are many energy-efficient options available to homeowners that can significantly reduce electricity costs. For example, homeowners can change out old incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescents. Although there may be an initial outlay in terms of cost, this will be recovered by the monthly saving.

Check your insurance - While it is always important to be adequately covered by your insurance, people’s needs change from time to time. It is always a good practice to relook your insurance policies to ensure that you are adequately covered and that the coverage is still applicable to your requirements.

Compare before you buy – Most consumers will compare items that they consider large investments such as property or motor vehicles. However, by comparing smaller items as well, homeowners can save a lot of money.  If two items are of equal quality and market reputation, price will be the only factor that separates them.  The internet is a key tool for comparative shopping before the consumer has left the comfort of their own home. Use it to your advantage when looking for the best deal.

Pay bills on time – Homeowners can avoid interest charges or penalties that may occur due to late payments by paying on time. In some cases, if the account is paid early certain service providers, such as doctors, will give preferential rates or discounts.

Stay healthy – Certain medical aids have reward systems that allow participants to enjoy the benefits of discounts on specific services. Eating healthy food and exercising will also result in better living, which will reduce the chance of sickness and in turn reduce medical bills. Having a proper eating plan will also reduce money spent on unnecessary food and wastage.

Keep it simple – Extravagance costs money. We all enjoy the expensive weekends away and fancy dinners, but deciding to eat in or stay home for the weekend will save homeowners a small fortune. Staying home doesn’t have to mean boring. Be creative and have a candlelight dinner in the back garden.  

“While these tips are more like a first-aid approach rather than a cure, homeowners can benefit from having some extra money and savings for a rainy day. It is important to manage money efficiently to ensure future financial health,” Goslett concludes.

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