How to save when you live alone
By André Le Roux
Bank Windhoek’s Manager for Public Relations
Living alone can both be an exciting journey and a challenging one. It gives you a sense of freedom, where you are the sole ruler of your domain, yet it is considered to be more expensive if compared with sharing with someone.
In order to maintain a certain lifestyle, one cannot escape basic living expenses such as electricity, food, entertainment and transport. All of these needs are essential and to stay afloat, it is recommended that you keep them under control by managing how much of your monthly income is spend on each of them.
Below are some of the saving tips:
Electricity and food
Switch off your geyser when it’s not in use. Hot water stays warmer for a long time when only one person uses the hot water tap. Turning on the geyser an hour before it is needed helps you save on electricity. Turn off appliances that are on stand-by.
Plan meals so that when you’re cooking, you can make extra servings to freeze. Meals that freeze well, for instance soups and stews, rice and lentils. This not only reduces the use of electricity, but the amount of time you’ll need to cook on a weekly basis. Boil six eggs at a time and keep them in the fridge. Eat snacks like popcorn, carrots, celery and make your own dipping sauce. It’s cheaper and healthier.
Keep a refrigerated bottle of water mixed with lemon and mint. It is refreshing – no need to spend money on sugary cool drinks. Buy items like cheese, milk and bread in bulk and freeze them for later use. Take a packed lunch to work instead of buying from a kiosk. Use a slow or pressure cooker when cooking. It saves time, electricity and money. Learn how to cook your favourite dishes from restaurants and take-away outlets. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is and how much healthier you can make them. Fill up your washing machine and do only full washes.
Choose if you need uncapped internet or a television subscription. Re-evaluate the different packages on offer. Buy products on promotions – buy one get one half price or free. Get a hobby that you can enjoy at home instead of having to go out and spend money on unbudgeted items or events.
If you own a vehicle, try filling it up early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The temperatures at these times of day influence the volume of fuel you’re able to get into your tank. If you commute using a taxi, make sure that it is budgeted for by striking an agreement with the taxi driver who lets you pay for it at the end of every month. Another good transport option is to share lifts or buy a bike and get extra exercise – it is healthy.
For those just moving into a new place, consider buying second hand furniture. It is far less expensive than buying brand new furniture and depending on where you get it, is very often in excellent condition. In terms of insuring the contents of your home, ask an insurance broker for a quote to insure the contents of your home. This is important because you have to be prepared for unknown associated risks.
Paying close attention to small tips like these could result in substantial day to day savings. When living alone, it is wise to start building and maintaining an emergency fund that you can depend on at a time when unforeseen circumstances occur, such as loss of a job or loss of income due to illness. Your emergency fund should ideally cover three to six months of your monthly expenses and should form part of your monthly savings plan. Bank Windhoek has a wide range of savings products that are tailored to meet this need and are available at any nearest Bank Windhoek Branch.