A Google employee hit the headlines recently when he was revealed to be living in a truck parked outside his office in San Francisco, as a result of sky-high rent rates in the city. While that might seem like an uncomfortable lifestyle, there was a major benefit – he saved 90% of his income by doing so.
Rents in Ireland, particularly in Dublin, have been rising recently, though some bright light is on the horizon with the introduction of proposed measures which could include landlords having to justify rent hikes. But, if your monthly rental bill is rising, you don’t have to take to DoneDeal to browse for a cheap Ford Transit, nor do you have to downsize immediately.
1 – Focus on energy. It might be winter, and the cold weather is on our doorstep, but there are a few steps you can take to reduce your home energy bill. Turn your thermostat down by 1 degree, for example, as this could see your costs drop by as much as 10%. You should also consider cutting down tumbledryer use (if you have one), and use a clothes line or clotheshorse instead, use curtains instead of blinds to help trap heat, and turn down the pressure on your power shower. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has more great tips and even a free app to help you manage your energy bills.
2 – Shop around. We’ve covered this before in You & Your Money, but when you’re shopping, whether for groceries or electrical goods, always shop around to see where you can get the best value. Don’t forget to search online – you could uncover a great deal or special offer, and most if not all major retailers have a web presence.
When grocery shopping, save money by buying fresh raw materials rather than frozen or pre-packed meals, only buy what you need (to save produce from going out of date while you watch), and pick up a loyalty card for money off discounts or vouchers in future (just be aware that retailers could be using this information for marketing purposes).
3 – Give up the gym. But not for good. Gym memberships can be effective, but are often expensive as well. So take a different approach to your fitness – invest in a bike, go for a run in your locality, or stay at home and search for any number of fitness workouts available on YouTube.
4 – Switch your TV package. Sky is quite handy, particularly if you’re a movie buff (football supporters might be a bit more disgruntled when they realise many of the matches are on BT Sport). But it’s an unnecessary cost, especially when the internet, and Netflix, is only a click away. Grab your laptop and your HDMI cable, and you’re in business.
5 – Rent smart. When it comes to renting itself, it might be tempting to settle on a spot five minutes from work, but if you’re clever you can move a little further out and still have a short commute. Research urban bus or rail links, and you might find a perfect spot along the way. If you’re not too far out then you can always walk or cycle – it’ll keep you fit and active, and save on your fuel costs, though you may have to invest in a rain jacket this winter.
When moving out, do your best to keep your deposit. Check the fine print on your contract, fix any damage like holes in the walls, make sure nothing that came with the property is missing, and take photos to prove you’re leaving your apartment or house in good condition.