Easy ways to reduce household bills

Reducing monthly outgoings is
becoming a priority for households throughout the Cayman Islands.

 Making significant across-the-board savings on
household expenses, however, does not have to involve draconian measures.

Canny householders can shave dollars
off their monthly food bills with relatively little effort.

Apart from meal planning, which may
stop unnecessary impulse buys, the Islands’ supermarkets have a number of initiatives
aimed at helping customers save and get value for money.  

Foster’s Supermarket has five
locations on Grand Cayman. According to the company’s Marketing Manager Kevin
Loughery, there are a number of ways shoppers can make savings on their weekly
shopping bills at Foster’s.

“Our weekly fliers come out on
Thursdays and are available at all our stores and in that day’s edition of the
Caymanian Compass. The fliers give customers all the hard hitting sales items
for the week.

“Foster’s other sales initiatives
are the green temporary reduced pricing tags on our shelves, which are our  leader in savings and are our in-store
specials, which aren’t advertised, and our manager’s specials which have yellow
tags.

“Aside from these, Foster’s pass on
all the deals we get from vendors to our customers. We do trade deals and try
and get volume discounts through economies of scale.”

Randy Merren, the managing director
of Hurley’s says: “As well as the store’s 10 per cent Wednesdays, which knocks
10 per cent off shoppers’ grocery bills, we have our specials circulars which
are inserted into the Compass every other Wednesday.”

The store also has a 24-week
advantage card allowing customers to build up points via their bills. The
promotion allows shoppers to build up points, which they can redeem online for
a range of gifts at the hurleys.ky website.

Mr. Merren
said the card can be used “every time you shop… no matter how little or big
your purchase” and is Hurley’s way “to reward and give something back to our
valued customers”.

Energy costs make up a significant
proportion of households’ overall monthly expenses.

According to Caribbean Utilities
Company’s website (cuc-cayman.com), air conditioning units are the largest
consumer of electricity in homes and can contribute as much as 70 per cent of a
household’s total electricity bill.

The company’s energy coordinator,
Kevin Allen, advises customers to sign up for a free energy audit. The
initiative is part of the company’s Energy Smart programme and involves CUC
operatives visiting homes to identify and review with the customer the opportunities
to reduce energy consumption.

The energy provider’s website
energy smart section has tips for reducing electricity bills when it comes to air
conditioning, lighting and the running of major appliances.

The following are among a plethora
of cost-cutting ideas:

▪Householders
should wash or vacuum air conditioning filters and
vents once a month to keep them working at optimum capacity as well as getting
a/c units serviced every quarter by a technician.

Close
blinds and curtains on windows during the day to keep heat from the sun out of
the property. In the evening, open drapes and shades to let heat escape.

If
building or renovating, choose light-coloured roof shingles to reflect more of
the sun’s heat. The darker the shingles, the more heat will be absorbed.

Replace incandescent
bulbs with energy-smart and longer lasting fluorescent ones. Switch out 40 watt
incandescent bulbs for 9 to 10 watt compact fluorescents, 60 watt incandescents
for 13-18 fluorescents, 75 watt incandescents for 19-24 watt fluorescents and
100 watt incandescent for 25-30 fluorescents.

The
average home uses 24 electronic products for up to 15 per cent of household electricity
use. Turn off these products when they are not in use. Or, use a power strip as
a central “turn off” point when you are finished using equipment. This will
help eliminate the standby power consumption used by many

electronics even when they are turned off.

Dry
towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from clothes and lighter items.

Do not
place uncovered liquids in refrigerators. In addition to absorbing undesirable
flavours, the liquids give off vapours that add to the compressor workload.

Allow
hot foods or liquids to cool off before placing them in the refrigerator. The cooling-off
period should not affect the taste of the food and will reduce the load on the
refrigerator.

Water Authority Cayman is also
raising awareness among customers of how to be more cost efficient.

It has several free products that
can help households limit their water bills. These include water conservation
shower heads and literature such as its water conservation brochure and toilet
leak detection leaflet.

The company’s website (waterauthority.ky)
also recommends the following conservation tips:
▪Ensure that faucets are closed off tightly and that there are no
leaks. Toilets, in particular, should be checked often to avoid phantom flushing.
▪Water lawns and gardens before 10am to save water from evaporating.

▪Try not
to overwater lawns and make sure sprinklers are aimed away from paths.

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