Marcia asked after my last post if we ever got the Solar Geyser – and yes we did, about 6 months ago. I do actually want to share this. As you know I’m a numbers nerd and I love to share financial advice.
We didn’t have R12,500 (after the subsidy) lying around for the solar geyser, who does? But I worked out a way that we are getting the benefits of the solar geyser and it’s not costing us much at all. At the time that we got the solar geyser, our average monthly electricity spend was around R770 a month (since then electricity prices have gone up again). The solar geyser, on average throughout the year, saves you around 40% of your electricity costs, which in our case amounts to R380 a month. So what we did, is borrow the money from our mortgage, and we pay our R380 “profit” back there, by increasing our monthly mortgage repayments. The solar geyser will be paid back in four years with the interest rate at 7%, and after that it’s pure benefit on our part.
I see a solar geyser as a type of small business proposition, and the savings as a small profit. To start a small business, you often need to borrow money, and once you have paid that back, you keep the profits.
That means that right now, the main beneficiary of our solar geyser is actually the planet and not our bank accounts, but that’s already a good enough reason for me. In 3 years time we’ll be laughing 🙂 I should also point out that I think you Joburgers would get a far greater benefit from a solar geyser than we do in the coastal areas because you have more sunlight on average than we do.
We are also considering getting a grey water system that will cut our astronomical water bill by probably more than 40%. We have a veggie patch, and DH waters it every 2 days in summer on a timer. In winter our water bill is sometimes as low as R20 but in summer it can hit the thousands. Ridonculous. The only thing is that I first need to convince DH to use grey water friendly shampoos and shaving creams, because I ain’t eating veggies that have been bathed in chemicals. It’s a work in progress.
I must also point out that I would never, ever, take money out of my bond to buy something like a car or any other luxury that doesn’t produce “income”. And if you do, make sure you pay the car back over 3 to 5 years, and not the full 20 to 30 years of the bond, it’s an extremely dangerous trap to fall into. I don’t care much for cars myself, my personal philosophy is to buy a car you can pay cash for and drive it until it can no longer be repaired. Very few people truly realise how much their car repayments are eating into their retirement savings. And the bonus of driving an old skadonkie is that you are far less likely to get hijacked…