Learning how to save money is an important skill that makes life a lot easier. Saving money every month may feel impossible if you live in an expensive city such as Dublin but with minor changes to your lifestyle, you will be surprised how much you can save. Living in London since last year, I have first hand experience of living paycheck to paycheck. There’s no worse feeling than logging into your online banking account and seeing just 10 euro left with five days until payday.
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Best Money Saving Tips
1. Keep Track of Spending
The first step in saving money is keeping track of your spending. Use a budgeting app such as Clarity Money to track every single penny you spend for a month, later you can analyse the data and spot areas where you can reduce spending. You will be baffled how much you waste on unnecessary purchases.
2. Switch to Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Energy efficient light bulbs are 20% more expensive but use 20% of the energy and last up to 15 times longer!
3. Night Rate Electricity
Electricity companies offer reduced rates during off-peak hours, typically these are from 9 pm to 7 am but this varies for each energy supplier. Yes, I’m the kind of the guy that does his washing at 1 am, much to the delight of my housemates.
4. Spare Change Can Add Up
By the end of every month, I have stacks of loose change piling up on my desk. Rather than letting your coppers wander around freely, get yourself a penny jar. Cash-in the change at a bank or local coin machine. Six months worth of my loose change added up to a whooping 22 euro.
5. Ditch the Daily Coffee Habit
Stop getting take-away coffees from Starbucks! Buy a travel coffee mug and save yourself a fortune in the long run. Spending three euro a day on coffee sounds small but adds up to an astonishing €1,095 every year.
6. Online Food Shopping
Nowadays it’s perfectly normal to do your food shopping online. It will drastically help cut down on food that will end up in the bin. Supermarkets strategic layout encourage us to spend more money on impulse buys. They use a wide range of sneaky tactics without customers noticing. E.g. placing crisps next to the alcohol or chewing gum at the checkout. Pay attention to price per kg/litre, those chicken fillets may look cheap but spending a little extra to get a whole chicken may be more economical. Also, it’s wise to team up with a housemate to take advantage of discounts for buying in large quantities. Buying laundry detergent in bulk will save you a few bob.
7. Shop Around for the Best Deal
Use price comparison websites to get the best deals on broadband, insurance, mortgages and energy suppliers. Make sure to do research just because a supplier is offering you money to switch, it doesn’t mean its the best deal. An alternative is haggling with current providers to get a cheaper deal, the worst thing they can say is no!
8. Make Your Work Lunch
Paying €4 for a chicken sandwich is completely unnecessary, bring your own goddamn lunch! My girlfriend always cooks way too much food for dinner, I freeze the leftovers and have it for lunch.
9. Full Load
When washing either dishes or clothes, make sure it’s a full load so the wash is energy efficient.
10. Get Rid of the Landline
My family still has a landline at home, the only time I use it is when I can’t find my phone. Depending on where you live, switching to Virgin Media could be a clever choice. They can provide wireless broadband without needing a landline.
11. Check Bank Statements
You will be amazed how often you get overcharged. I was once charged 223 euro instead of 23 euro at a restaurant. I didn’t notice the mistake until three days later. A small mistake by a stressed-out waiter could cost you some big bucks.
12. Take Shower Instead of Bath
While the odd bubble bath after a tough day at work is relaxing, they use significantly more water than a shower. As long as you’re not taking 40 minute showers, you’ll save money on water bills.