So Christmas and New Year have left cobwebs in our wallets. Have you noticed yourself getting overly excited about finding a euro coin in you jeans pocket? Do ESB and Internet bills send shivers down your spine? Do you fear the end of the month when the landlord comes knocking? Never fear! Using my years of experience being poor, I have come up with a few pointers on how to save money so that your bank balance can start its road to recovery!
Step One: Bargain Websites/Facebbok Pages
So your landlord is coming in two weeks and your 50 euro short on rent, what do you do? Well I bet you have a load of old clothes/unwanted Christmas presents that you were planning on letting hibernate at the back of your wardrobe. Solution: Sell them! The internet is full of bargain websites and facebook pages where people can sell their unwanted items. Not only will you get some money but it will also help you clear out your unwanted stuff. Make sure it is a safe website though and you trust the person you are selling to. If you live in Galway I recommend the ‘Galway Official Online Jumble Sale’ facebook page. Link below!
Step Two: Smart Shopping
So the weekly food shop is leaving you strapped for cash. It might be time to rethink the way you buy your food. Start shopping in cheaper stores such as Aldi or Lidl, especially for your fresh fruit and veg. Buy off brand products that taste the same but cost much less. (I got off brand Bran Flakes for three euro cheaper yesterday!) Also look out for reduced sections in supermarkets. Many will be selling food that is close to their sell by date a lot cheaper than usual. It is a great way to bag a bargain!
Step Three: Buy Less, Cook More!
We are all tempted to go out for lunch every day when we are at work or college, but at the end of the day, it lands up costing us a small fortune. It is a lot cheaper to cook for yourself and bring meals with you than to spend up to ten euros a day on lunch. Make large dishes like Cottage Pie or Lasagne that you can split into portions and freeze. Most work places and colleges will have microwaves that you can use for free to heat them up. If not you can always prepare a salad or sandwich the night before to take with you. If you are too tired to cook when you get home most evenings, then prepare meals you can freeze at the weekend so you can just pop your dinner in the microwave or oven when you get home.
Step Four: Stop Spending!
At the end of the day it is very simple: you will save money if you don’t spend it. If you have trouble with this there are a few ways to break the habit. First of all don’t take too much cash with you when you are in town with friends. Set yourself a limit and only carry that amount with you. If you are tempted by the ATM, know which ones will give you ten euro notes so you can avoid withdrawing large amounts. Also get into the mind set of saving your two euro coins. Have a piggy bank (preferably one that you cant get into without breaking it) and put all the two euro coins you come by into it. You will be surprised how much money you will gather from this simple trick!
Step Five: Bring The Party To You!
Going out drinking and partying can be fun, but if it is done too much your money wont be around for long. Start inviting friends over for movie/game nights instead. If you still want to party then party at home! Alcohol will be a lot cheaper if you are splitting a bottle with a friend instead of paying around 5 euro per drink in a club. Watch out for the noise level though as you don’t want to annoy sleeping room mates or neighbors!
Step Six: Get The Electric Bill Down.
Electric bills can be the scariest thing to come through the letter box, so getting it as low as possible is a must. Here are a few things you can do to save electricity! If you only need hot water for a few dishes then boil the kettle instead of turning on the immersion. Take out the plugs and switch off the sockets you aren’t using. Make sure electrical items aren’t left on standby. Turn off the TV if no one is watching it. Dry your clothes on a clothes horse/washing line instead of tumble drying them. Don’t leave the immersion on for hours! Only leave it on for the amount of time it takes to heat the water you need. Don’t have the heating on when no one is in the house. Make sure you have energy saving light bulbs. If your immersion tank isn’t insulated than ask your landlord to insulate it for you. It will keep the heat in the tank for longer.
So those are my handy tips on how to save money this year. I hope they help you save some money so you can treat yourself every now and then! I had a few more but I might save them for a future blog post. If you have any money saving ideas then let me know. I’d love to hear them!
So long for now!