Keeping warm with forethought

02:40, May 20 2014
Sarah and Dave Anderson
WOOD STOCK: Joan Jellyman, 89, uses a woodburner in her home to cut down on power bills.

Senior citizen Jean Wilson uses simple but sensible tactics to be ready for winter.

The 82-year-old said older people should be preparing now to keep warm, safe and healthy before the cold weather bites.

Wilson's philosophy is that savings now mean long-term gain.

"I saved up and spent money on double-glazing the house two years ago. That has really cut down on power bills."

She spends less than $100 a month on power and said people should shop around for the best deal.

Wilson does one large cook-up weekly to prepare meals that will last her several days, and saves on power.


"I have to be strategic," she said. "I will roast a chicken and do a load of vegetables at the same time. On top of the stove I will make a shepherd's pie or add a curry to it. It means I can have a hot meal every lunchtime."

She insulated the walls and roof space to keep the house cosy.

She uses sunny days to heat her front room, supplemented by an electric heater she bought in the 1950s. She only puts her heat pump on at 10.30pm to heat the house and switches on an electric blanket 30 minutes before bed.

Joan Jellyman, 89, from Blenheim said a woodburner had saved her from rising power bills. She spends $530 on a winter's worth of gum wood to heat her two-bedroom house.

By using a friend's discount she gets on average $30 off her monthly power bill and uses her Grey Power card to get discounts off chemist goods.

"Living off one pension I have to live within my means. I don't smoke or go to the pub. I know how to make my money stretch."

The Marlborough Express