Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Top ten frugal tips – Part I

Local library

Looking to be entertained? You’d be surprised (perhaps not) at how many people wouldn’t consider their local library – a veritable treasure trove of books, DVDs, book clubs, local history groups and free WiFi. Some libraries allow you access online educational resources with your library card, while Dublin City Public Libraries provide free access to Irish Newspaper Archives, the Irish Times digital archive, the JSTOR Ireland Collection and more.

And it doesn’t end there. In Kildare, for example, the Toys, Technology and Training collection is available to be borrowed by parents, carers or occupational therapists to help improve literary, motor and life skills in children and adults – check your local library to see what they offer.

TV catch-up

If you’ve got Sky with the Movies add-on, why not consider seriously cutting your bill by moving to Netflix? Instead of paying €57 a month, Irish consumers can get their hands on Netflix from €7.99 per month (beginning with a month for free) and you can stream it to your TV via a HDMI cable, or through your PlayStation or Xbox.

Learn the basics

Nobody expects you to be able to change your brakes or align your wheels, but it’s possible to save money by learning how to do simple automotive maintenance, like changing, bulbs or fuses, fitting batteries or wipers or refilling the engine oil.

Consider investing in a Haynes manual, while step-by-step instructional videos can often be found on YouTube.

Free software

Microsoft has long been the default provider for word processing and similar software. However, the days of getting full versions of Word or Excel for free with your laptop are long gone. Office 365 Home, for example, is €99 for a one-year subscription while Office Home and Student 2013 will set you back €139.

There are alternatives, however. The free Apache OpenOffice suite offers several Microsoft alternatives like Writer (Word), Calc (Excel) and Impress (PowerPoint). This suite allows you to open Microsoft Office files, and also allows you to save new files in a Microsoft compatible format.

Google also offers a range of online software for free under the Google Drive umbrella, which you can access and edit anywhere – Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. Compatible with Microsoft Office formats, there are also mobile versions available.

Cycle to work

Providing you live within cycling distance of your workplace, cycling to work is a great way to make some savings as well as improving your overall fitness levels. Instead of forking out for fuel and parking costs, all you’ll need to do is invest in a bicycle, safety and security accessories. There’s also a tax incentive scheme to help you save even more – under the Cycle to Work scheme employers can pay for a bicycle and equipment up to the €1,000 limit, with the employee repaying them through a salary arrangement of up to 12 months. However, the employee doesn’t have to pay tax, PSRI or USC on these repayments.

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.