Top 5 Money Saving Tips

With the long running Irish recession and budget cuts now a part of everyday life, people are constantly looking at their income to see how much further it can stretch. However, did you know that by following a few well thought out money saving tips, you could give yourself the equivalent of a pay rise of over a thousand Euros a year? Here we look at some easy to implement but highly effective strategies.

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1. Make Your Own Lunch

The average lunch costs over five Euros a day, and with a little organisation and forward planning this is an expense you can easily cut. It takes no extra effort to make a double portion when you are cooking the previous night's dinner, or to quickly put together a sandwich. This simple action can save you several hundred Euros over the year. Likewise, if you're in the habit of buying a couple of takeaway coffees a day, investing in a jar of coffee for your office can save you a further twenty Euros a week.

2. Energy Efficiency

Has it been over a year since you changed your energy supplier? If so, you need to consider switching as most suppliers offer a switching bonus that expires after one year, moving you onto standard rates. Switching to a new provider can save households up to 250 Euros a year on their gas and electricity bills.

Additionally, while you are thinking about cutting your energy costs, when was the last time you serviced your boiler? Research by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has shown that regularly serviced boilers are much more efficient and can save up to 150 Euros per household. A standard boiler service can be found for under a hundred Euros so this will be a money saving investment for most homes.

3. Cutting Your Grocery Bill

For most of us, grocery shopping is one of our biggest areas of expenditure, but with a bit of thought it can be cut by up to a third. Supermarkets are often cheaper than local shops but always check the unit price of what you are buying to ensure you find the best value size of product.

Creating a meal plan for the week takes a few minutes but will help make sure you don't buy food that will end up being thrown away. Cooking meals from scratch and purchasing seasonal items will work out much cheaper in the long run. Also, when you do purchase expensive items such as meat, keep an eye on the use by date. If you are not going to eat it then put in the freezer so it does not get wasted.

Lastly, remember to take your loyalty card with you every time you go shopping as this can earn you money saving vouchers for the future.

4. Holiday at Home

Not only can holidaying in Ireland be much cheaper than travelling abroad, it can also be a lot less stressful too. However, before you start, take a look at your budget and see how much money you have available, then convert this to a daily amount so you know how much you can spend.

Use sites such as Discover Ireland to get the lowdown on all the free events and festivals that are happening across the country. If you like outdoor activities then Coillte has a full list of family walking and cycling trails which can be enjoyed for free. Try and make your holiday a mix of free and treat days so that way you won't feel like you have been deprived of the full holiday experience.

5. Cutting Car Costs

Cars and fuel are a big expense for most people. One of the first steps to take when trying to reduce costs in this area is to shop around for your fuel. Petrol prices between different service stations can vary by up to five cents a litre. Sites such as Pumps.ie. list fuel prices at all service stations to help you find the cheapest.

Always travel light. If you are driving round with a set of golf clubs in the car or a roof rack on the top then you will be increasing the fuel consumption of your vehicle.

Lastly, think about how you drive, as driving at slower speeds can be much more cost effective. In fact, driving at 80 km per hour as opposed to 110 km per hour works out around 25% cheaper.