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How to keep expenses down in winter

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There are expenses that naturally tend to decrease over the winter which can be offset against the others.

Some household expenses increase in winter, so homeowners need to leave room for this in their budgets.

Electricity is one of these, says Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive of Re/Max of Southern Africa.

“In winter, we tend to use more artificial lighting more often. We also use more hot water; switch on heaters and electric blankets; stay home and use our electronic devices more often and use the oven and stove to make hot meals more often during winter – all of which leads to a higher electric bill at the end of the month.”

Monthly grocery bills also tend to increase as appetites grow in the colder months.

Another winter expense might be firewood or gas, depending on a household’s preferred heating method.

Luckily though, there are expenses that naturally tend to decrease over the winter which can be offset against the others.

“Petrol is one of these expenses, as one often spends more time at home instead of venturing out in the rain over the weekends. Your entertainment budget could, therefore, also potentially see a natural decrease as you opt for nights spent in front of the television instead of going out to restaurants and shows.”

Whatever the fluctuations, keeping on top of spending is important.

“If you allocate a budget for each of your various household expenses and stick to it, then you can avoid getting into debt to get through the month. This is especially important for those who are hoping to qualify for a home loan in the foreseeable future and need a good credit record to receive approval.”

Goslett also recommends that tenants who are struggling to make ends meet find a cheaper rental property to avoid running up debt and marking their credit record.

“If you hope one day to enter the property market, your best bet is to find the most affordable accommodation option so that you can not only avoid debt, but also have enough left over to save for a deposit and the various other expenses involved in purchasing property.”

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