Eat less. Gym more. Find that dream job. Lose the bad habits. Stop biting your nails. Start getting up earlier. Sounds familiar? Yup… we’re all guilty of making New Year Resolutions that are most likely going to be broken within the first week of January.
If you’re tired of setting personal goals that you know will never last, then it’s time to shift your focus from self-improvement to home-improvements – because home is really where the heart is! Here are just six ideas that will not only inspire a fresh way of thinking about resolutions but also help you become a better person in 2017!
Goal 1: Learn how to cut your utility bills in half
It’s rare nowadays to not find someone from a family exclaiming: “the price of everything is rising with each passing month!” And sadly, while not much can be done about the price of food and petrol , there is something you can do about what you pay towards water and electricity in a month. We’re not necessarily talking about installing solar panels – although, if you can afford it, it’s a great idea with many financial benefits.
Here are a few other ways can save on water and electricity:
Switch off lights when you leave a room (or when you’re not in it).
Switch off any non-essential appliance (including computers) at the plug when not in use – electrical devices still consume energy when plugged in yet turned off at their on/off button.
Replace your electrical heater with a gas heater; or only use your electrical heater when really necessary.
Replace all your traditional light bulbs with energy-saving ones – it might be an expense to do this in one go, but these will last for many years and will help save plenty on your bills.
Use your bath water to water your garden (you can even install a pipe that leads the water from your bath directly to your garden).
Choose to shower instead of making use of a bath tub; and use a bucket to catch the excess water (this can be used to water your plants).
Only run your dishwasher or washing machine when the load is full; and avoid doing smaller washes more often – this will not only save water but also lower your electricity bill significantly.
Goal 2: Budget for home improvements
So, you’ve been dreaming about a kitchen makeover for what feels like forever and a day. Or, perhaps, you’ve been fantasising about giving your bathroom a facelift since you moved in five years ago. Maybe your home is just in need of a fresh coat of paint. Whatever it may be, make this the year that it becomes your reality.
How? Create a yearly budget that will allow you to put money aside every month for those home-improvement projects you’ve been yearning for or any other small DIY maintenance jobs that might pop up. It might mean less Chinese takeout, but when you’re lounging in your new tub, it’ll feel like a small sacrifice!
Goal 3: Put a little extra money into your bond
Ever get the feeling that your monthly bond repayments are just not making any dent in your capital amount? Hear! Hear! But while a bond is still the best way to borrow money to buy a home, it can rack up serious interest over a typical 20-year loan term – truth be told, if you were to pay the minimum amount over the maximum period, it’s likely that you might end up paying almost more than double on your original loan in interest. Gulp!
So, this year, why not aim to eat out less or forgo those takeout coffees, and rather invest that money into your bond? We know what you’re thinking: what difference can R250 make in a month? Well, it can really save you thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of rands in interest as well as helping you cut down your loan term significantly.
Goal 4: Clear the clutter
If you’re anything like us, you probably also get to the end of the year and wonder how your home mysteriously acquired a mountain of (unnecessary) stuff! You know, those things that end up on the kitchen counter, lounge coffee table, TV cabinet and, worse, under your kids’ beds.
This year, use each month to work through a different room and clear out all those things that clutter it. Also, make it a rule that if you’ve not used any item for 6 months to a year, that you either throw it out (if it’s broken) or donate it to charity.
Then, make sure that you organise those items that you keep, put them into easy-to-store-but-still-easy-to-access containers, and start a habit in the family to clear all their things from counter tops before going to bed each night. Bye-bye clutter, hello sanity!
Goal 5: Make your home a safe space
While it may seem gloomy, it’s unfortunately a reality that anyone living in South Africa needs to fit their home with good-quality security measures to fend off any potential break in. So, if you’ve been meaning to replace the rusty burglar bars on your bedroom windows, make it your goal to do so as early as possible in 2017; if you’ve been wanting to put up that security gate outside your front door, aim to do so in the first three months of the year; and if you’ve been wanting to join your neighbourhood watch, give them a call immediately!
Alternatively, make sure your home is fitted with smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in case a blaze breaks out. Also update your home insurance policy to make sure your cover is up-to-date in case of any house emergency, and make sure that your First Aid Kit is replenished and restocked with all those must-have emergency medical supplies. There’s no easier way to make 2017 a safe and sound year!
Goal 6: Get the family involved in DIY
We understand that getting children involved in just about anything may end up in more of a mess than a masterpiece… But including them in those simple home improvement projects are not only a fun way to spend valuable family time together, but also teaches them the importance of maintaining a home and, most likely, great motor skills too.
Take a look around your home and see what tasks you can involve them in! Think: get them to help you paint the base coat to those walls that you’ll rejuvenate with a fresh colour; show them how to sand a bookshelf; teach them how to plant a tree while you’re giving your outdoor landscape an update; explain how to change a plug and replace a light bulb; and demonstrate how to screw that cupboard door that keeps falling off. You might be surprised to learn that your kid has a knack to work with his hands!