If your New Year’s resolution was to get your finances in order and save some serious cash, then by the middle of January you might think you’ve covered all the bases and there’s not much left that you can do.
However, chances are there are some money-saving ideas you may have missed – so here we offer a quick guide to some of the best to keep your finances on track:
– Motoring: There’s no denying motoring costs in Ireland are sky high, following increases in both motor tax and fuel costs – AA roadwatch calculated that the average cost of running a car in Ireland is now between €4,500 and €14,000 a year – and this is expected to rise in 2012. However, there are ways to potentially bring your costs down. For example, have you considered car sharing with a colleague to slash your travel expenses in half? If you don’t know anyone you can share with, you can visit websites such as swiftcommute.ie to see if there is anyone available in your area. Also make sure you’ve noted down your car insurance renewal date and that you use a comparison website to compare quotes before accepting a renewal.
– Public transport: If you don’t travel by car, but commute via public transport you’re probably still feeling the pinch with bus and rail prices increasing – Irish Rail for example, recently hiked its prices by an average of six per cent. However, there are ways to save: you could pick up a Leap Card that covers bus, DART, Luas and commuter rail in the greater Dublin area. There’s also the tax saver scheme whenever you commute in Ireland if you buy a monthly, part yearly or annual ticket.
– Tax relief: Make sure you’re claiming all of the tax relief that is available to you. This could include: the flat rate expense allowance for work expenses; tax allowances from the year of your marriage; age tax credit if you’re 65 or over; and tax relief on bin charges, because even though it was abolished in 2011 you can still claim back until 2008 if you haven’t already made a claim.
– Food spending: The likes of Aldi, Tesco, Lidl and Marks & Spencer have announced they will not pass on the increase in VAT to consumers. However, don’t fall into the trap of assuming that their products will automatically be the cheapest – you should still take the time to compare food prices and consider ordering shopping online and getting it delivered to your door.
– Voucher codes: Buying online is invariably cheaper than buying in store on everything from fashion to food; and from electronics to music and DVDs. However, you can bring prices down further by taking advantage of voucher codes that are available online at websites such as Moneysaver.ie – so make sure you use them before you buy.