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Owning a home is a whole new responsibility, as I found out when I moved into my BTO almost 4 years ago.
I’m sure other homeowners will agree that, in the first few years, every single cent counts. A bunch of money was already spent on your wedding, renovation, home furnishings, and perhaps, some couples already have a baby on the way.
As a newly-minted homeowner, I had to juggle various things, such as my mortgage payments, fixed costs such as utilities (water, gas, electricity), property tax, WiFi, as well as day-to-day expenses like groceries, food and other household needs.
And especially now, when we’re all staying at home and working from home during this pandemic, costs such as electricity will surely increase (lights, fan, aircon, charging devices, oven, microwave, etc).
To help you save money, here are some easy swaps you can make:
1. Switch to an electricity retailer
If you’re still paying the regulated electricity tariff each month (currently 24.13c per kWh, inclusive of GST), this is a no-brainer as you can get guaranteed savings up to 27% on your electricity bill each month, translating to over $200 saved a year for a typical family of 4 in a HDB 4-room flat.
As electricity plan prices are always competitively priced with ongoing promotions, it’s really a consumer’s market because you can always pick the one that offers you the best price and/or value.
For example, Geneco is currently offering new customers the highest bill rebate in town (as of 1 June 2021) of up to $165 — $80 bill rebate with promo code GSS80, $50 highest referral rebate, and up to $35 bill rebate with credit card offers when you sign up for their most popular plan, Get It Fixed 24. Plus, you could stand to win free 2 years of electricity worth $2,400.
This is on top of Geneco’s competitively priced electricity plans (as of 4 June 2021):
|Get It Fixed 24||19.58c per kWh (incl GST)||24-month contract|
|Get It Green (100% carbon-neutral electricity)||19.58c per kWh (incl GST)||12-month contract|
|Give Us A Try (Price Match Guarantee)||17.56c per kWh (incl GST)||6-month contract|
|Get It Fixed 36||19.58c per kWh (incl GST)||36-month contract|
|Get Sunny (100% renewable solar energy)||20.88c per kWh (incl GST)||18-month contract|
2. Instead of cash, use a credit card to earn rebates
Do you still insist on paying for everything with cash? I know some of my friends still do, for various reasons including doubting their own self-control and not wanting to expose themselves to the convenience of online shopping.
However, credit cards provide good perks, especially if these are aligned with your everyday spending categories (groceries, petrol, dining, utilities, etc). Since you’re going to spend the money anyway, why not spend and rack up rebates or other credit card perks at the same time?
(You probably already know this, but do remember to pay your credit card bills on time to avoid chalking up high interest fees.)
For example, electricity retailer Geneco has tie-ups with various banks to offer customers up to $35 rebate when they set recurring electricity bill payment via the credit card.
3. Replace your light bulbs with LED
In 2018, the National Environment Agency (NEA) announced that all light bulbs sold in Singapore would be “minimally as energy efficient as LED bulbs from 2023 onwards”. This would save households about $3.5 million in energy costs annually, it said.
If you’re still using non-LED lights in your home, consider replacing them with the more energy efficient LED bulbs. LED bulbs use up to 85% less electricity than incandescent light bulbs to produce the same amount of light, and can last about 20 times longer.
LED bulbs also don’t get as hot as non-LED bulbs (which might be good news if you have a lot of lights in your home and want to save on energy costs when cooling your flat).
While the initial cost of obtaining LED lighting and the physical work of switching out each bulb could be a hassle, you’d save money in the long run. Remember, lower energy consumption also leads to lower electricity bills!
4. It’s okay to buy (some) frozen food
I used to be a naysayer of all things frozen (except for ice cream). Everything must be fresh, I proclaimed, as I turned my nose up at frozen meats, frozen fish, frozen vegetables, frozen fruits and frozen butter.
Now that I manage my own fridge/freezer, I see the merits of having a large-capacity freezer. Frozen berries in my morning smoothie are like the best thing ever; and mushy peas simply taste better when made with the frozen variety. Frozen meats and fish keep well for so much longer in the freezer; I just need to thaw them gently in the fridge overnight for best results.
And what do I do when I bake a large batch of English muffins or if you buy a whole loaf of bread but can’t finish it quick? I store the remainder in the freezer — when needed, defrost and heat, and it’s as good as new.
In addition to keeping longer, frozen stuff is also cheaper to procure. Bye, food waste! Hello, savings! But is it significantly less nutritious than fresh food?
According to an article on ABC News, nutrients are sealed into frozen produce during the freezing process. This definitely cuts down on food waste (who likes to see their vegetables growing yellow and limp in their fridge?) and frozen produce could be even more nutritious than vegetables/fruits that could have travelled a long distance to get to the supermarket.
An article in the Washington Post mentions that, with modern freezing technology, frozen food is not inferior. In fact, freezing kills parasites, and flash-freezing fresh-caught fish on a boat keeps it even “fresher”.
There are some things you should never freeze, though. For freezing could negatively affect their texture and taste.
5. Replace your toilet fittings to save water
In 2017, PUB launched a Water Closet Replacement Project to cater to those living in older homes with non-water efficient toilet fittings such as taps and toilets. The older type of fittings use 9L of water per flush with no dual-flush option, while the new water efficient fittings have a dual-flush option and don’t use water exceeding 4.5L of water per full flush and 3.5L of water per half flush.
Under this project, households residing in HDB flats built between 1987 and 1992 and are currently placed on community assistance schemes will get replacements free of charge. Other households in HDB flats built between the same period can also apply for replacement at special discounted rates.
By ensuring your toilet fittings are water efficient, you could save about 10% in monthly water bills, estimates the PUB. Just imagine, if you use the toilet up to 5 times a day, you could be saving up to 27.5L of water daily.
Start swapping to score savings
If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to score maximum savings in a short period of time, why not begin with switching to an electricity retailer to get the highest rebate in town of up to $165?
Geneco’s offer is available for a limited time only, so do grab this chance to switch now before this deal passes you by.