We all try our best to budget, and sometimes it can feel like our savings are falling short of what we had hoped to reach. We’ve come up with some simple ways you can save money without feeling like you’re restricting yourself. Our guide is broken down into different areas and how you can try to create some savings in each:
- Shop around as much as feasible. Smaller, convenience or express shops tend to have slightly higher prices than the larger supermarkets. The price of a 2l of milk can vary from €1.20 to €2.30 for instance. You can also visit the websites or social media accounts of different supermarkets to see what special offers each have ahead of time.
- Don’t limit yourself to only purchasing the well-known brands. For example, a tin of peas can vary from €1.10 for a higher end brand, to €0.53c for a supermarket brand tin. To buy one weekly own-brand tin instead of a well-known brand would save you €30 a year. And that’s just for one item on your shopping list!
- Buying raw, unprepared vegetables is usually cheaper than purchasing pre-packed and pre-prepared versions. Frozen vegetables are great value as they have extensive shelf lives and won’t need to be dumped as quickly as unused fresh vegetables.
- Butchers will often have good deals, so are worth checking if buying in bulk.
- Plan your meals in advance, that way you won’t find yourself visiting supermarkets a few times a week and picking up items you don’t really need. Remember to try and not go food shopping while hungry, you’ll be surprised the amount of snacks that can ‘sneak’ into your basket.
- Keep a close eye on ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates. Anything at home that you don’t think you will use in time, freeze it instead of dumping and having to buy more of the same product a few days later.
Heating and electricity:
- Using a half-full dishwasher, washing machine or tumble drier uses the same energy as a full load. Save on electricity costs by only using these when full, or else applying a half-load setting if your machine has one.
- Sites such as switcher.ie allow you to calculate and compare gas and electricity prices, so you can find the best provider for your needs.
- Simple steps at home, can often make a big difference to your pocket, click here to find out 9 energy saving tips to help you save on costs.
- Before setting out on a journey, consider whether you really need to use your car. Maybe you could walk or cycle instead. You could also use public transport and save if you are availing of saver schemes such as Tax Saver, Multi-trip tickets or Leap Cards.
- Making small tweaks to your driving technique, maintaining your car and savvy buying at the pumps can make a difference to your pocket, you can learn more about these tips here.
- On average, Irish families throw out about €400 worth of food each year. This could translate into savings if we kept leftovers and/or froze them for later use. Have a look at our tips for cutting your household waste in half here.
- Make your morning coffee at home or avail of free coffee provided in work. Buying just one coffee every working day can cost you up to €800 a year. 
- Bring your lunch to work, be it leftover dinners or simple lunches you prepare at home. Purchase some BPA-free bottles to fill with water from home or work, instead of purchasing bottled water each day. Purchasing just one bottle of water a day could cost you over €260 a year.
- Put a money-box in the hallway or wherever you tend to take off your coat and empty your pockets at the end of each day. Put any loose change you have into the money-box each day. Even 50c a day would amount to around €180 a year.
With the extra savings you can make from our tips above, why not go the extra mile and use some towards investing for the future events and milestones in your life such as saving for your children’s education? You can learn more about this here.
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 The Irish Examiner, 2016. http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/shoppers-throw-out-400-a-year-in-food-waste-402366.html
 The Irish Mirror, 2017. http://www.irishmirror.ie/lifestyle/family/heres-15-top-tips-saving-9590321