08 July 2022

Be SAVVY and save on utility costs and cost of living

Submitted by Kaylin Van Der Vent
Be SAVVY and save on utility costs and cost of living

“Fuel prices are at their highest rate ever and the cost of living is soaring. The knock-on effects for food inflation will add to the woes of South African consumers, many of whom are still reeling from the economic challenges of the Covid19 pandemic,” says Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property.

“As winter sets in, punctuated by load-shedding hitting an almost unprecedented Stage 6 for most of the country, the outlook is certainly pretty bleak. But South Africa is a nation that can laugh wryly in the face of adversity, send around hilarious memes, take a deep breath and buckle down to make a plan.”

Stevens reminds South Africans, whether property owners or tenants, that savings begin at home. “Many of us learnt to make our own bread, plant veggies and enjoy the simple things in life during lockdown. We can draw on that. But we can also cut our running costs to the bone. And if we continue to make these savings when the good times return, we can save towards that deposit on our dream home.”

But for now, every cent counts, so Stevens and the property experts at Just Property put together a checklist of home areas where savings are to be had.

Small tweaks, big savings

Graham Ross, sales manager at Just Property Blouberg, offers the following saving tips:

Start tracking your expenses: you will be amazed at what you spend your money on. Once you know this, it will be easy to know where to start cutting back. Draft a budget and do all you can to stick to it. Re-evaluate your subscriptions, e.g. DSTV, Netflix, Spotify and now Disney plus. Do you really need all these services to find some entertainment? Find which one offers YOU the best value and cancel the rest. Consolidate your bank accounts. Each account you have attracts banking fees. Try to get your accounts into one account and save on those fees. Once you look after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves. Reduce your insurance premiums by shopping around for cheaper premiums where the same benefits can be achieved. Eat at home. It is time for you to test your cooking skills and leave the takeaways alone. By cooking larger meals, you can also freeze the food to be enjoyed later.

Big steps, big breaks

“As a franchise owner, we have a certain responsibility to educate the consumer (our buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords) on what options are available to them to save money and reduce their carbon footprint,” says Lawrence Homan, frachisee of Just Property Margate, Pinetown and Berea.

He notes that solar energy is becoming a lot cheaper in terms of installation: “In the past, it used to take +- 10 years to pay off. Now, with all the utility increases, your savings you make will have covered the cost within 5 years.” Homan gives the example of a typical installation on an average home for R100 000: “A 5kva inverter with lithium batteries, including solar panels, will give you 10 - 14 Kwh of production per day with a storage capacity of 5.1 kWh storage capacity. We are considering this at our office to reduce our expenses, carbon footprint, and downtime during load shedding.”

He also believes that investing in a good grey-water system for flushing toilets and gardening, and collecting water in a JoJo™ (or comparable) tank, can go a long way. “If more of us did this exercise, it would take the pressure off the grid and municipality. The municipalities would also have more capacity to upgrade the water systems, which would mean fewer water cuts.

More tips for in-home savings

These are some of the other suggestions that Stevens received when he put a call out to agents across the Just Property network of ways to cut back at home:

There’s a reason that wearing a beanie keeps you toasty - heat escapes from the top of your head. Similarly, in a home, it leaves through the roof. Check that your home is properly insulated.Stian Senekal from Just Property Centurion has this tip: “Install a geyser timer on your distribution board. This can then regulate your geyser. Set it up to activate only for an hour at peak times - in the morning before everyone wakes up and gets ready for the day and in the afternoon just before everyone arrives home. Managing the geyser times and activity can save a lot of electricity usage and cost.”“I recently found out that turning your geyser down saves electricity so mine is set to 55 degrees Celsius”, says Tammy Dick, Operations Manager at Just Property N1 City. “And did you know that adjusting your fridge and freezer can do the same? Adjust the temperature of your fridge to between 2 and 5 degrees Celsius and your freezer to between -20 and -22 degrees Celsius. It’s winter. That’s all you need for now”.“I can hear my dad saying: “You weren't born in a tent. Turn off the lights and close the door!” These are great lessons for our kids to be learning. I’ve switched it up and even turn off appliances at night. My “Pops” would be so proud!” says Chris Greenwood, Chief Technology Officer at Just Property Head Office.“Eco-friendly and speedy washing cycles are kind to clothes and pockets”, says Les De Kort, rental agent at Just Property Port Elizabeth.“29% of the water to Nelson Mandela Bay is being lost to leaks, and Day Zero is looming! Let those of us in the Western Cape remember what that feels like. Check your own backyard. Fix leaky pipes and dripping taps and stop unnecessary consumption on your water bills”, says Nicky Hansen, franchisee of Just Property Brackenfell, Durbanville and Kraaifontein.Cobus van den Berg from Just Property Mossel Bay remembers how his grandparents always had those draught excluders that looked like snakes or sausage dogs. “They knew a thing or two about saving money - and keeping the heat in and the cold out! Check the seals around your windows and doors.“Got a bit of spare cash? Install LED lights, dimmer switches and low-flow taps and showerheads,” recommends Yolanda Cornelius, Just Property Zululand and Dolphin CoastMurphy’s law is that just when times are toughest, whatever will break will break. “The good news if you're due for a new fridge, freezer or washing machine is that newer appliances are far more energy-efficient, and certain makes are more energy-efficient than others. They’ll pay for themselves over time, says Justin Netshikulwe, franchisee of Just Property Mokopane. (Appliances are graded from A to G, with A being the most efficient and A+++ the highest grade possible.)

For more information on Just Property, please visit www.just.property  or call (087) 583 3333.

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