PROPERTY NEWS - Take-aways and food spoiling in the fridge can be an expensive inconvenience for South African households already stretched from increases in petrol and electricity costs.
The timing of the current load shedding 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 the unexpected expenses that often result from long periods without electricity.
Ester Ochse, product specialist at FNB Wealth and Investments, says consumers need to review and monitor their budgets and allocate funds accordingly to mitigate wastage.
Here's how to help ease the load-shedding burden:
Know what stage of load shedding 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 load shedding 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 load shedding 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 load shedding, items that 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 also need to be made around load shedding to avoid being stuck in traffic for extended periods. Allocate enough time for travel to ensure that you don't miss vital appointments or dropping and picking up your children up at 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 load shedding. This will also help you save food costs as buying takeout daily can be costly and unhealthy.
There are several backup 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 a significant part of managing your money. By remaining consistent you will begin to realise some savings in your household," concludes Ochse.
'We bring you the latest Garden Route, Hessequa, Karoo news'