Another week, another five ways to do something to help improve your situation. This time, it’s less about energy and more about savings across the board. The hike in living costs has a knock on effect across all parts of daily life. The Irish Times recently reported that Bord Gáis Energy have confirmed “the average electricity bill and gas bill is to increase by 27 per cent and 39 per cent respectively from next month” so, here are 5 good habits to form that can help you feel more in control of your outgoings. We’re going to skip telling you not to buy avocado toast or having coffee out, this is a broader offering of suggestions that can have an impact month on month at base level.
1.Use your banking data
Go through your bank statement as if it’s trying to cheat you. Not the most fun task but it pays to go through your statements to see where any fat can be skimmed. Sneaky subscriptions you may have forgotten about, that family may have signed up for or that you don’t see the value in any longer.
Keep a monthly budget. Riding on the back of the bank statement, use your newfound knowledge on what you spend and get to grips with it on a monthly basis.The money management and advice bureau (MABS) has a free budgeting tool that allows you to work out your monthly household spend. They also share lots of money management tips that you might find useful. If you know what you spend, you will have a much stronger grip on your finances.
If you can, open a savings account. If you know your monthly spend and you tend to have something left in the tank each month, set up a direct debit to a savings account. Decide what you can afford to syphon off and let it sit in an account where it can gain interest and more importantly escape yours. If the money is not in your account for daily use, it helps manage the urge to spend and will encourage a deeper understanding of the amount you have to work with every month.
2.Keep an eye on your providers
Switch it up: We touched off this ever so slightly in last week’s blog 5 Ways to Reduce Your Energy Bills. Loyalty doesn’t pay when it comes to your utilities. In fact, your electricity provider is probably taking advantage of you if you’ve been with them for over 12 months. You can save up to €200 if you take the time to shop around each year. If you’re unsure how to start the process visit CRU which will point you in the right direction with some comparison sites. Once you’ve made the move, remember to set that annual alarm to avoid the cost creep.
The same can also be said for your insurance policies. Look at what’s included/excluded – what do you need? What’s relevant to your life and circumstances. Is your policy answering it accurately or are there excesses there?
Are you at the end of your contract with your mobile phone company? If so, opting for a sim only plan can really reduce your mobile spend.
And what about your bank? We tend to lock in to banks in a familial way but times have changed and in some instances, so have bank charges. If you’ve been caught with reviewed, upwardly mobile fees it might be time to jump ship. Look at what’s out there and don’t worry, it’s not as big a task as it might initially seem.
3.That Means All Your Providers…
According to an Irish Times article ‘Spend Less and Better’ (you can delve into that for a few more saving challenges) mortgage broker and managing director of doddl.ie Martina Hennessy maintains that there are thousands of euros of annual savings to be made for those who take the time and overcome the notional complexity of switching mortgages.
4.Separate Your Needs and Wants
We’ll call this point the pulpit point. I know we said we’d skip the modern adage ‘stop eating avocado toast’ but the underlying and sound advice is that we can make alternative choices in some instances. For a lot of people, there are habitual small spends that add up but don’t add all that much to levels of contentment. If the pressure is on, then we’re at a point where we need to forsake some instances of frivolity in favour of financial security. Giving up your daily coffee shop coffee doesn’t mean you’ll be buying a house next year but it could save you upwards of €1,000. Pick your battles, spend less and spend better.
5.Invest if you can
This is the spend to save section and it’s for those who are in a position to do so. If you’re in a position to invest now to assist long term, look at sustainable energy options. While this can hurt finances short term, it helps reduce your outgoings long term and in some instances allows you to avoid the fluctuations of traditional energy providers. Solar energy is a great candidate on this count.
While researching this particular article we found a number of websites particularly useful so we thought we’d list them here for ease
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