Many of us may feel the January pinch on our wallets, so here our our Top 12 Money Saving Tips for 2016 to help people out with their financials for the year ahead…and most of them are easier than you might think!
Another year has passed, the holidays are gone before you now it and we are all launching into 2016 head on, and hopefully, full of enthusiasm and joie de vivre! Given all the talk in the media about recessions and our most recent budget, it’s a real credit to people up and down the country who are still thinking and living positively.
Make the Switch – everybody’s doing it
We should all have heard of this idea before by now. Shop around for better deals from insurance providers and banks. Whether it is for Life Assurance cover, Mortgage Protection cover, Serious Illness cover or Family Protection cover, there are plenty of savings to be had.
BONUS TIP! Use a financial broker to scout for the best deal and if you took out insurance cover during the rip-off Celtic Tiger years, see how much you can save by doing a quick online check here (It will only take a few minutes and it could well save you thousands !!! We think it’s money better off in your pockets rather than in the hands of the insurer/bank!).
Apply for an Irish Tax Refund
All Irish workers are entitled to certain tax reliefs and credits every year, such as tax relief on medical and dental expenses. Further, you may also have overpaid tax during the year if you changed jobs, were out of work for a period or if your personal circumstances changed.
If you do not already file a tax return every year yourself, its time you started and the good news is you can claim for the last four years if you have not done so before. Also make sure you are getting all of your tax relief benefits and (if unemployed, disabled, widowed etc) your social welfare entitlements.
BONUS TIP! If you are not comfortable filing a tax return yourself, ask a good reputable accountant/tax adviser and they will then help you file your return for a small fee. Try contacting Kinsella Mitchell & Associates who a renowned accountant and tax advisory firm on 01-8685944 or go to www.revenue.ie for further information.
Review your Pension and your Pension Provider
It is important to seek expert independent Financial advice regarding your existing Pension Provision whether you are currently paying into one, you had one in the past that is now frozen/paid up or indeed you are thinking of taking one out now. There are a range of charges and fees that could be eating away at your investment which will have a profound effect on your final pension pot. You also need to make sure that you are investing in the correct investment funds that suit your particular needs. Also, vitally important is to make sure you invest with an excellent Fund Manger that have a proven track record and past performance in producing excellent returns with your hard earned money. This really could see you saving €10,000’s plus come retirement!
BONUS TIP! To make sure you are getting the best deal for your money do a quick online pension review here. You can also contact Ocean on 01-8693400 and we will get one of our Pension Specialists to check and see if you are indeed getting the best deal available in the market and of course making sure you are getting the best investment advice as well.
Come Dine with Me
Stop eating out in expensive restaurants – this is not 2006/7! Get a group of four friends and take turns cooking a slap up meal with a few bottles of vino. That’s five weekends worth of nights out in good company and great food, not to mention the savings.
Bring your lunches to work
All it takes is a little organisation and planning. Consider that if buying your lunch on the street every day averages €5 per day that works out at a saving of €1,250. It does not take much effort to make a double portion of dinner the night before and bring that in for lunch the next day. Alternatively, make sandwiches. Many busy professionals also buy their breakfast on the way to work averaging another €5 per day. Eat breakfast at home or include breakfasts in your weekly shop and bring that to work each Monday. You have just saved another €1,250!
Give up smoking
If you smoke a 20-pack of cigarettes per day, at €9.40 a pack that equates to €3,431 per year. To put that in perspective you would need gross earnings from your salary of €5,500 at the marginal rate of tax to fund your habit. Need we say more? However, if you are under stress (financially or otherwise) it may be difficult to kick the habit cold turkey. So at least try switching to a reputable e-cigarette brand – 80% cheaper than smoking tobacco and better for your health too.
Give up your takeaway coffee
This one is easy. Consider one takeaway coffee each working day at €2.50 each. That’s €12.50 a working week or €750 in the year. Buy yourself a jar of instant coffee, get a French Press and bring your Java to work or get your colleagues to chip in and get an espresso machine for the office. Really, once you break the routine and start on this new coffee bean path, you’ll be glad you made the effort.
Save on your utility and phone bills
For most of us, electricity, gas and phone bills make up a significant percentage of our household spending but making a few simple changes can lead to big savings. If you think you are paying too much for your electricity, gas or telephone services, you can consider switching to a new provider. Switching is easy and more importantly, it is free!
BONUS TIP! The Power of One website from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland has numerous energy saving tips to help you cut costs. And the callcosts.ie site has useful tips to help you save on your phone costs.
Give up your gym membership
SAVE €300 – €750
Again, this one is not rocket science, what percentage of people who sign up to gyms for the year actually end up using it all year round? Ireland is a fantastic place to live with lots of parks, mountains and spaces to run. Do it with a friend if you want a bit of ‘craic’. Download sit-up and push-up apps on your smart phone and you’re half way there. If weights if your thing – see the Argos catalogue. If spinning is your thing – get a bike!
Holiday in Ireland
SAVE €500 – €1500
And don’t start with the weather! If you have the right gear you’ll be grand. Ireland is an amazing country with so much to do and see. Why do you think we have so many tourists every year?
Shop Smart for Groceries
SAVE €1,000 plus
Stop shopping in small local shops on an ad hoc basis. Put a shopping list together based on a dinner menu for the week. Include items for your lunches and breakfasts that you are now bringing to work. Go to the bigger Irish and European supermarkets, do one big shop for the week and stick to the shopping list.
Change your credit card usage
If your credit card balance is so high that you can only pay off the minimum each month, you should switch to a card with a 0% rate on balance transfer. Your monthly repayment will then go towards clearing the outstanding balance, and therefore the debt can be cleared much quicker – once you stop using the card.
BONUS TIP! There is an excellent credit card cost comparison and ready-reckoner which can help you find a better deal on consumerhelp.ie. The reckoner shows you how long it will take you to clear your debt with your current card compared to how long it would take if you switched to a different card.
Finally, It is really just thinking about things in a different way and making the effort to make the changes in the first place. Just think that if you only did five of the items above you could be €5,000 to the good next year.
As they say in business circles ‘any savings made from the top line go into the bottom line’. Similarly if you are paying nearly half of your gross salary in income tax already, by reducing your net expenditure by €5,000, you are effectively ‘banking’ the weeks of work it would take you to earn ten grand!!
In any case, we hope that you have found some of the tips above useful and we in Ocean.ie would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a prosperous and happy 2016.