Cash flow problems? Our money-saving tips could be the answer
By Celina Murphy
IRELAND is broke and everyone is desperately trying to think of ways to cut the household budget. We’ve consulted the penny-pinching experts to compile some top tips to help you feel richer within one month.
There are 31 steps – try doing one a day and you should be able to save a lot of money ahead of the annual splurge that is Christmas.
Plan your meals for a month
Buy all non-perishables online and use dry goods that have been in your kitchen for weeks/months in your meals. As well as posting frugal recipes, food blog Cheapeats.ie features a weekly round-up of supermarket special offers.
Book your train and coach tickets online
You can purchase cheap tickets direct from Iarnrod Eireann at the irishrail.ie site, where prices start from a pocket-friendly €9.99, allowing for savings of up to 70 per cent on return journeys. Meanwhile, taxsaver.ie shows train and bus commuters how to save up to 52 per cent on travel costs by purchasing tax and PRSI-free annual tickets.
Start a spending diary
If you find yourself with no money left at the end of the month it’s likely you are over-spending. Carry a notebook with you and write down everything you spend, however small. After a month you will be able to see where you are wasting cash.
Set up a standing order to pay into a savings account
Bonkers.ie can help you compare banks to see which ones offer the best interest rates, even catering the search to your own saving style and account preferences.
Cut fuel bills
Use your day off to plug any gaps that create draughty windows and make your home warmer and cheaper to heat for the winter. Also put tin foil behind your radiators to help maximise the heat they produce. Theradiatorshow.ie sells specially-made radiator boosters starting at €36.99 for five, but good-quality kitchen foil will work well too.
Make money by selling your junk online
Sunday evening is the best time to put things up for auction as that’s when the majority of people are buying. Do a seven-day auction so that you catch the buyers next Sunday. Try eBid.com as its charges are lower than on eBay and the site still has millions of users.
Give money to charity without spending a penny
Visit Ireland’s non-profit marketplace giveandbuy.ie to sell unwanted items online and pledge the profits to charity. You can even choose your organisation from a list which includes Trocaire, Concern and the Irish Cancer Society.
Do a budget
It sounds dull but even a basic scheme will help you build wealth. Use an online planner such as Moneymagpie.com/budget, put in your expenses and income and you will see what you have left over to spend each month. It should spur you on to cut expenses and increase your income.
Try green living
Adopting environmentally-friendly practices can save you good money over time. Energy-saving light bulbs last much longer and are more or less the sam price as regular ones. Make cleaning products with lemon juice, vinegar, salt and olive oil. Recycle everything you can to cut bin costs.
Claim free money
There’s a total of €600 million estimated to be in dormant accounts in the past nine years which has been forgotten about. If you think you might have one, contact the Irish Banking Federation at ibf.ie.
Get set to make a will
Avoiding making a will could mean that one of your inheritors could pay thousands in tax and a cohabiting partner won’t automatically get your money or property. Visit irishwills.ie to make one online for the reasonable sum of €27.95.
Have a zero spend day
Use your library for books, mahazines, music and film. Use your points on your Boots card to buy toiletries, or vouchers earned on your Tesco, SuperValu, Dunnes or Superquinn Clubcards for groceries. Use food you already have in the kitchen to make a picnic and have a family outing in the park for no extra outlay whatsoever.
Save yourself thousands during the course of the year by switching
Pour yourself a nice cuppa and settle down with your computer to go on various comparison sites to change everything including your gas and electricity, all your insurances, your phone and broadband providers and even your bank. Over the next year you should be able to save a large amount by doing this.