Nationwide loadshedding can be a costly inconvenience for South African households that plan their monthly budgets well in advance.
The timing of the current power cut may lead to wastage as most families would have stocked-up supplies for the duration of the month. More importantly, it may put a strain on households that have tight budgets with little to no room for unexpected expenses which often creep up during long periods without electricity.
South African households are already under pressure due to recent increases in fuel prices and other costs of living. Loadshedding adds to the financial burden, hence consumers need to review and monitor their budgets and allocate funds accordingly to mitigate wastage,” says Ester Ochse, Product Specialist, FNB Wealth and Investments.
Ochse suggests the following to help ease the load shedding burden:
- Understand and know what stage of loadshedding you are experiencing. This will give you an indication of how long you will be left without power. “Power utilities like Eskom and City Power run updated loadshedding schedules on various news sites, so ensure that you know when your area will be affected. Four schedules have been developed based on the probability outages and to ensure that loadshedding is applied in a fair and equitable manner” she says
- Prepare a weekly food/meal planner. This will help you prepare and budget for your weekly food purchases accordingly and will help reduce wastage. Try not to purchase food items that require a freezer as with loadshedding, items which require cold storage could go to waste. Shop on a weekly basis for groceries and certain items. Ensure that you stick to your meal planner and shop just enough for the week.
- Travel plans need to be also be made around loadshedding to avoid being stuck in traffic for extended periods. Allocate enough time for travel purposes to ensure that you don’t miss vital appointments or even dropping and picking your children up from school.
- Consider minimising your reliance on electricity by looking at affordable alternatives such as buying a gas stove, which can be used when you are impacted by loadshedding. This will also help you save food costs as buying takeout daily can be costly and unhealthy.
- There are several back-up alternatives to using electricity, such as generators, battery powered inversion supplies or even solar panels. Depending on your budget, consider purchasing one of these alternative power generation modes.
“It’s hard to predict how long the erratic power supply with continue, but if you prepare in advance you should be able to manage your finances effectively. Savings principles should form part a significant part of the managing your money, by remaining consistent you will begin to realise some savings in your household,” concludes Ochse.