Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

It’s all in the mind (and the pocket)



Trying to gather some money for a trip away or a new TV? The hardest part of saving money is often getting in the habit, so get your mind into gear.

1. Set up a savings jar (with a little difference)

The concept of a savings jar isn’t a difficult one – if you tend to prefer cash over cards, just drop in any loose change each time you pass and before you know it you’ll have a substantial amount saved. But you’ll save even more if you forget the change and opt instead for to €5 bills. Each time you find a €5 note in your possession, do you best not to spend it, and instead hold on until you get home. You’ll have enough saved for that holiday in the sun before you know it.

2. Thirty day rule

Impulse purchases can be the ruin of a good savings plan. Most of us have been there at some point – you spot something shiny in a shop window and your brain manages to convince you that this is the one product that could change your life. More often than not, it winds up gathering dust in a corner somewhere. So, the next time you spot something big that you have to have, wait 30 days. By that stage the urge to buy should have passed, and you’ll know if you really need it or not (if 30 days is too much then at least wait for a week).

3. Reliability

When you’re shopping for appliances, for example, it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest option. However, you should really be looking towards the reliability factor rather than simply the cost – there’s no point in forking out for a cheap kettle twice a year where a slightly more expensive version will easily last you two or three. Search and compare appliances online, and try to find reviews from actual customers or product guides like CNET.

4. Holiday shopping after the holidays

Most savvy consumers are already aware that buying holiday decorations immediately after that holiday is over is the best way to find some great deals – we have at least a box or two at home filled with Christmas decorations bought for very little in the January sales. The same goes for Easter decorations, Mother’s Day cards and so on – just stick them in a cupboard for next year.

5. Make a shopping list – and stick to it

This one isn’t too dissimilar from the advice on taking time to consider your purchase. Too often we leave supermarkets with bags of food that are just going to sit in the fridge until their best-by date arrives. Sit down at home, research meals that are nutritious and don’t cost too much, make a meal plan for the week and then write your shopping list. You’ll depart the supermarket with a lighter bag and a lighter wallet.

When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.