With recent savings made from staying in during the Covid-19 outbreak, you could think households are flush with cash… but you could be wrong. Restrictions bring with them their own specific expenses, but it's not too late to start squirreling away.
So 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.
Any bit of extra money you can save from now will be worth the short-term pain. John Lowe of Money Doctors shares his advice here.
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 €65 per month – or over € 780 per annum or € 1,600 per annum gross. To earn that if you are a top rate taxpayer, you would have to earn over € 134 per month gross.. and that’s just for the coffee!
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 now at last open again – it’s fashionable.
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 especially over the last few months.
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.
4. New clothes
This is a bit of a short-term fix, but if you can you go without adding to your wardrobe between now and the end of the year, it could make a big difference to your savings. Think of it as an opportunity to ditch your fast-fashion habit by taking some time to re-vamp what you already have.
5. Get ruthless about the weekly/monthly 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.
There are many other ways to save money but whatever you do, start!