If the bills are flying in and you’re struggling to keep on top of your finances, it might be time to look at changing some of your habits. You don’t have to change everything in one go, but employing a few of our frugal tips could make the difference over time.
Learn the ropes
If you’re particularly unlucky, repair bills can quickly mount. But there’s a treasure trove of online information that could help you do simple maintenance or repairs – filling holes in plasterboard, cleaning and oiling your bicycle chain, or changing a flat tire on your car. There’s always a YouTube channel, no matter what you’re looking to do!
Take the bike
Cycling to work is something I’ve recently started doing – not only is it improving my general fitness, it’s a far more stress-free way to get to work, I don’t have to worry about parking, and on bad days it’s also much faster to get into the city. Check with your employer to see if they are part of the Cycle to Work Scheme – employers pay for a bicycle and/or equipment up to €1,000, with employees repaying the cost through salary sacrifices over a period of up to a year. With no tax, PRSI or USC due on these repayments, you can save up to 49.5% on your new wheels.
Use your local library
Are you a member of your local library? You might be surprised at the breadth of materials they have on offer there with a free membership, ranging from books and DVDs to local history and free access to computers and WiFi. Public libraries in Dublin City offer free access to Irish newspaper archives, the Irish Times online archive and more. Libraries also typically offer cheaper photocopying and printing facilities.
Cooking for yourself
You might be surprised at the potential savings you could make by switching from ready meals or dining out to good old-fashioned home cooked meals. You don’t even have to pay for lessons or fork out on a cookbook – plenty of chefs, including Donal Skehan, have YouTube channels to walk you through your next meal.
Plug out as you go
This is something I only truly learned the value of when I got my own place: don’t just leave your electrical appliances on standby – plug them out when you’re not using them. According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), a television on standby can consume up to 50% of the electricity it would use while running.