With Christmas less than 12 weeks away, any bit of extra money you can save now will be worth the short-term pain. And what’s the easiest way to save? Spend less.
It doesn’t have to be difficult – one of the biggest stumbling blocks people meet arises as a result of setting unrealistic goals. You don’t need to go without your day-to-day essentials in order to save money; but tightening up what meets your definition of "essential" can certainly help.
Here, John Lowe, the Money Doctor identifies six things you can feasibly go without today, to help you save money…
1. The daily coffee
It’s the number one recommendation when conversations like this arise. If you’re spending €3 each workday morning on a takeaway coffee, that’s €60 per month – or nearly €180 by Christmas.
Consider getting your caffeine fix at home and taking it with you in a travel mug. If you really can’t sacrifice your daily café trip, at the very least, bring a keep cup – many places now offer discounts to people who don’t require a disposable coffee cup.
2. Bottled water
In a similar vein as above, but a much easier option: there should be no need to buy bottled water in Ireland – it’s one of the biggest marketing coups of all time! Invest in a safe, reusable bottle or canister and drink tap water to your heart’s content. Look for tap water in restaurants – it’s fashionable.
3. Anti-bacterial wipes
They’re bad for the environment, they’re single use and they’re not as tough as the humble J - cloth. Anti-bacterial wipes don’t offer anything you can’t get from a cloth and some disinfectant, except a higher price and a ticket to the landfill. You can do without.
With services like Deliveroo and JustEat meaning you can get anything to eat, from anywhere in your locality, without leaving your chair, takeaway food has become easier and easier to source – and rely on.
Of course it’s nice to treat yourself on a Friday, but takeaways are not the cheap option they once were, nor are they the healthiest. Set yourself the challenge of cooking in batches and preparing your health-driven meals at the weekend – and see how much money you save, not to mention your health.
5. New clothes
This is obviously a short-term fix: can you go without adding to your wardrobe between now and December 25th? I think so… And remember, this includes Black Friday AND Cyber Monday, complete with all the "great bargains" they promise!
6. Get ruthless about the weekly shop
If you know how much you usually spend on grocery shopping, make a note of it; if not, take a look back at your recent receipts. Then cut that figure by 10%, and stick to it.
If that means buying own-brand products, switching to a discount shop for certain items like household cleaning, or cutting out unnecessary purchases like sugary snacks or drinks, so be it.
Then, commit to making a list before stepping into your local supermarket. Be strict with yourself: if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t go in the trolley. I guarantee you will save money.