08 Mar 2017
No word sends a shiver of fear down anyone’s back quite like the word ‘budgeting’. It’s not remotely fun, to talk about or to do but it’s an important life step.
Saving money is integral for the big steps in life, whether that’s going back to college, starting a new business, or even buying your first home. But there are certain steps you can take to help you save without feeling the pinch (you mightn’t have to give up those takeaway coffees or nights out!). Here are a dozen things that might just help you save a little more money each year.
1. Lower your premium
Include a friend or partner on your car insurance policy as it could reduce your premium cost.
Insurance costs in Ireland are at their highest level in years – so take advantage of any and all means you have of lowering your premium.
2. Open your home
If you are lucky enough to own your own home, consider renting a room out. Under the government’s rent-a-room scheme, you could make up to €12,000 per year tax-free. With the current rental crisis in Ireland, rents are high and tenants are plentiful so you should be able to secure a quiet, respectful tenant.
3. Go water-friendly
Remember it costs the same to heat enough water for one bath as five showers. There are loads of ways you can cut down on your water consumption. Even though the proposed water tax didn’t come into play, it makes environmental sense.
And when the charges are eventually implemented, you’ll be ahead of the game. Try a water butt outside your house for gardening. Upgrade your taps, showerheads and toilet cistern to conserve water too.
4. Get a travel pass
Use an annual travel pass as it provides tax relief. According to Dublin Bus and Irish Rail, employers can achieve PRSI savings of up to 10.75% and employees can save between 31% and 52% of travel costs as a result of tax, PRSI and USC savings by participating in the TaxSaver commuter scheme.
5. Regularly service your boiler
According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, a boiler that is serviced regularly “runs more efficiently and uses less energy to heat your water and your home.” Servicing a boiler costs €89 but SEI have calculated that it will save you €150 for the year – so that’s a €61 profit right there!
6. Turn it down by one degree
If you lower your thermostat by just one degree Celsius you can save 10% off your heating bill.
Given the average Irish electricity bill is €2,307 every year,that could be an extra €230 or so in your pocket!
7. Ditch the wheels
Consider a smaller car for less tax, insurance and petrol costs. Also be sure to insure your car only for its replacement value. Maybe consider ditching your car if you only drive occasionally.
There’s an American frugality expert (they exist!) called Mr Money Moustache who says that even swapping to a bike to do daily errands could lead to some serious savings.
Assuming a rate of 60 cent per mile, doing the daily shop on a bike instead of a car (and assuming a four mile round trip) you’d save €2.40 per day. It doesn’t sound like much but if you do it for the full year, that’s almost €900.
8. Shop around
Shopping around for the best gas and electricity prices can save you €321 a year, according to Bonkers.ie. And the same site reckons you can cut another €300 off your bills for broadband/TV deals. You can also check out the various deals on sites such as Uchoose.ie and Uswitch.ie.
9. The early bird catches the steak
You can still eat out when you're saving. Just shift your timing to an early bird menu to get the same food at a big discount. You can get some of the swankiest restaurants in town for a third of the price if you plan it right.
10. Sign up for your local library
Join your local library and read the latest books, films, and magazines for free. Tech- savvy libraries also offer limited-time downloads of e-books.
Libraries are funded by the amount of borrowers they service so if you’re a member, you are helping to keep it open for other users too!
11. Go corporate
Ask for the corporate rate when you are taking out health insurance and you could save on the policy cost. Who knew?
12. Cold-water cycle
Do your laundry on the coldest water cycle possible to save money, as heating water to high temperatures costs much more per load.
You see: becoming a savvy saver doesn’t have to be painful!
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