Money Doctor: Five top tips to save you money by cutting costs
In the present climate, we're all looking to save a few cents wherever we can. But you can show your family the importance of budgeting and saving money.
It is crucial to complete a household budget -- work out exactly what you are spending each month. From this, you'll be able to determine how much disposable and/or surplus income you have -- that is, after tax, and after rent/mortgage, household bills, food, petrol and "spending money". If your expenditure exceeds income, you then have two choices -- cut costs or earn more.
2>Cut down your banking and insurance bills
Overdrafts, especially those exceeding the limits are a huge no-no. Credit cards should always be paid when due and they should not be used for cash. Shop around for mortgage and loan deals and insurance premiums: life, health, buildings and contents, travel, car etc.
3>Find the right bank accounts
The top deposit accounts have minimum and maximum thresholds, so you need to research the best account for you. Just ensure that your deposit taker is regulated -- the Financial Regulator's Deposit Protection Scheme covers you up to €100,000 per person. Save between €100 €1,000 per month for 12 months and receive 4pc interest from EBS Family regular saver account and Ulster Bank's Special Interest deposit account.
4>Cut down on household bills
When you analyse your household bills, you will find you may have left the lights on for too long, or not used the washing machine on the night-time rate or had the central heating blazing while you were away for the weekend.
Buy discounted bus passes, use www.tolltag.ie or use a bike. There are any number of ways to reduce your overheads.
5>Don't be embarrassed
There's no shame in saving money when it comes to special offers and bulk buying. Take advantage of offers. Use coupons and discount vouchers. Go online and use web sites such as www.fatcheese.ie or www.onoffer.ie.
Have fun for free: bring the family to the town library, art galleries, museums or parks.
Buy tough wearing clothes and remember there is no shame in hand-me-downs
Drink water, it's free and better for you than any soft drink.