Here’s a collection of some of our favourite purchases that will actually save you money in the long run (and make life easier too in many cases!)
Sometimes you’ve got to spend money to... save money? Yes, the concept might seem strange but it totally makes sense when you think about it. Next time you go to buy an item for your home, instead of worrying about how expensive it is, consider the product’s long-term value to you.
If the product will last a long time and you’ll get great use out of it, super. If it can do both of those things AND save you more money over time than its initial cost price in the process - it’s time to invest!
Why shell out the big bucks for a fancy Smart TV when you can just supe up your regular set for as little as €40?
A Chromecast is a small device from Google that you plug into the back of your TV via the HDMI port. It allows you to mirror whatever is on your smartphone/laptop/tablet’s screen right onto your telly.
Beam Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, the RTE Player, All4 - you name it - directly onto your TV screen and binge away to your heart’s content. Aside from saving you money on a Smart TV, if you find that your streaming subscriptions are fulfilling your TV needs, there’s considerable savings to be made in cancelling your traditional TV package.
2. Coffee machine + reusable cup
This one is a bit of a no-brainer. If you’re the person who can’t wake up properly in the morning without a decent cuppa Joe, if you haven’t invested in some sort of coffee machine you’re missing a trick.
All of those last minute Starbucks tap and go coffees that make you late for work add up!
By making yourself a to-go coffee in the morning and taking it in a reusable cup, you’ll not only be saving money, you’ll also be helping the environment by reducing the waste you produce.
3. Eco shower head
Lots of family members needing showers every morning driving up your water heating bills? Conserve water and lower your energy bills with a high efficiency shower head.
These types of nozzles mix air into the shower water, while still maintaining satisfactory levels of water pressure so that you get a good, even spray.
Some manufacturers claim 70% savings on your water usage (all depending on current pressure and usage).
4. LED light bulbs
It’s well known that LED bulbs use less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs but they are considerably more expensive to buy at the same time. Are they really worth the extra initial cost? Well, according to Pinergy;
“Up to 20% of your household’s electricity bill goes towards lighting - more if lights are left on unnecessarily. LED bulbs are now becoming more and more popular in homes and businesses alike due to their longer lifespan, cost and energy efficiency. Just one LED bulb can outlive 12 regular light bulbs - that's an expected lifespan of 25 years! Their energy efficiency also means that you are using less electricity to get the same amount of light - saving you up to 80% on your lighting!"
There you have it… Time to replace every bulb in your home?
5. Slow cooker
Often find you’ve no time or you’re just too tired or lazy to cook a decent meal after work so you buy a ready meal or order takeaway? The slow cooker is your new best friend.
Calling it cooking almost seems like a cheat because all that’s required to make a great, nutritious and cheap meal with a slow cooker is to cut up some veg and throw it in the pot with some meat, spices and stock, cover, turn on and leave to cook for 4-8 hours.
Turn it on last thing before bed or in the morning before you head off to work and you’ll come back to a delicious meal.
Slow cookers save money in multiple ways. First of all, they’re very energy efficient and consequently cheap to run. Secondly, depending on the size of cooker you buy, they are perfect for batch cooking. Make a big stew at the beginning of the week and then portion it out into individual servings that you can freeze.
Most importantly, slow cookers save you time and effort and as mentioned above - if you’re tired and not feeling up to setting aside time to cook, you’re all the more likely to waste money on expensive takeaways or nasty cheap ready meals.
You can buy a small slow cooker for as little as €30 (or a takeaway for two).
6. Smart plugs and power strips
Smart plugs and Smart power strips allow you to control multiple appliances via your smartphone or virtual assistant (Alexa, Google Home). How can these save you time and money?
Well, let’s look at some examples from this very list! Use voice control to turn your LED lights on/off; use your phone to turn on your slow cooker from work; turn on your coffee maker from bed so your coffee is ready as soon as you go downstairs… the list goes on!
Turns out energy efficiency and making your day easier go hand in hand.
7. Smart thermostat
Similar to Smart plugs, Smart thermostats allow you to control your home’s thermostat remotely from your smartphone, giving you complete and immediate control of your home’s heating from wherever you are.
How can a smart thermostat save you money? Well, with one installed, you’ll never have to worry about heating an empty house when you’re not there. Similarly when you’re on your way home, just click a button to come home to a toasty welcome.
There are quite a few Smart home thermostat models to choose from on the market, here’s a breakdown of four of the most popular; Climote, Nest, Hive and Netatmo. When properly managed, all of these devices claim to help you save significantly on your annual central and water heating bills.
8. Reusable batteries
Let’s be honest - batteries are a nuisance. You always forget to pick them up, they're single use and they're bad for the environment if not disposed of correctly. You probably have a few devices which run on them though, like your TV remote, your razor, or the kids' toys that they got for Christmas.
Well pick up some reusable batteries and a charging station and you won’t have to worry about your TV remote being out of commission until you run to the shops. And you'll save on replacements too.
9. Good clothes
The fashion industry every year generates huge amounts of money. One of their best tricks is convincing people they have to keep up with seasonal trends, meaning if you want to stay at the pinnacle of what is considered chic, you need to pick up new expensive clothes every few months.
What is even more tempting is when you walk into one of those big department stores and see something nice for a bargain. However it is always worth considering the quality.
A few high-quality staple items in your wardrobe can last months or years longer than cheaper alternatives. A good pair of shoes, jeans, or a good jacket can be worth investing in as they tend to last.
Also, it takes a staggering 10,000 litres of water to make 1kg of cotton, and over twice this in developing countries due to inefficiencies. So the more clothes you buy, the more water you waste. So think of the environment too.
10. A good water bottle
On the subject of water...a really good dietary habit is to make sure that you are drinking plenty of it. Water's health benefits are manifold, but it could also be good for your pocket.
Having your own water bottle full and with you as you work and are on-the-go means you're less likely to buy bottled water. It may even help stop you from drinking fizzy drinks, meaning it's great for your health and your waistline!
Plus the less plastic that you use, the less that ends up in the oceans, so this one is a health, wealth and environmental tip.
11. High-efficiency washing machine
This is especially a great money saving tip for new parents, who we know constantly have the washing machine going.
If you buy a large load, high-efficiency washing machine, not only does it mean you'll be doing fewer washes, it also means that you'll be using less water in the process. And as up to 90% of the electricity that a washing machine uses is for heating the water, you'll save on your energy bills too!
12. Dryer balls
You can save money not just on washing your clothes, but on drying them as well.
Dryer balls can save you 25% on drying time meaning you don’t have to spend as long drying your clothes, which means you'll spend less money operating the machine. And as tumble dryers are such energy guzzlers, this could really save you in the longer run.
13. Mouldable glue
The Irish product Sugru has gained favour worldwide for its versatility, and rightly so. This little substance can increase the longevity of your products, saving you money on replacements.
The flexible, adhesive repair putty turns into a strong, durable, silicone rubber when it sets and you can use it to fix fraying cables, holes in shoes, handles for saucepans, you name it!
14. Air-tight dried goods containers
Whether it’s pasta, coffee, cereals or whatever dried goods you have, it’s usually exposure to air that speeds up the degradation process.
Keeping these sorts of products in an air-tight container can help keep them fresher for longer and mean less food waste and trips to the supermarket.
Do you have money-saving gadgets we’ve missed?
We’ve talked about our favourites, but it’s far from an exhaustive list! Do you have any money savers at home that you swear by? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @bonkers_ie. We’d love to hear from you!