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Personal finances, ways to save money

  • 16-01-2022 6:27pm
    Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭

    Hi. We've been hit with some unexpected bills (entirely self inflicted and won't happen again) and at the same time our energy bills and childcare costs have gone up.

    I've been looking at ways to save/make money and wondering if anyone else has any tips.

    So far I've gone through all our direct debits and subscriptions e.g. music streaming, amazon prime and axed almost all, stopped getting take aways, stopped my take away coffee habit, cancelled the cleaning lady we had once or twice a month, started producing a meal plan each week and shopping mainly in Aldi, decided no new clothes until the situation improves, started selling unwanted/no longer needed stuff e.g. old baby buggy on Adverts, we're in touch with a broker about changing mortgages to get a better rate, switched energy providers. We do use our dryer quite a lot so I think one obvious thing to do is become much more disciplined about hanging clothes out though with two small children the washing seems endless and in winter it seems to take an age to dry. We also use GoMo for our phones which is pretty cheap.

    One other idea I had was to take in a lodger as we are very fortunate to have a spare room, and I understand this could be tax free under rent a room, though my husband is less keen given we have young kids. We could make about €120 per week for this which would be a huge help.

    We could also cut down on extra curricular activities for the kids as these add up, but I'd rather cut my own expenses first.

    We cycle most places including work and school and Montessori so fuel costs are minimal (in fact I'd happily sell the car altogether but husband would rather avoid this). I help care for relatives in England so I do need to fly back fairly regularly but always spend ages scouring for the best price.

    We both work in professional jobs. Mine has fairly average pay but it is incredibly flexible and family friendly which counts for a lot as we have no family living nearby (hence high childcare costs). I work 80% of full time and look after the children in the other 20%. My husband's pay is better but there's no scope to do overtime or anything like that. Maybe we could look for new jobs with more money, or perhaps I could do some babysitting on weekends, though I'm not sure who needs a babysitter with an 8pm curfew!

    Does anyone else have suggestions for ways to improve your personal finances? Are we missing a trick somewhere? Thank you!



  • Registered Users Posts: 5,162 ✭✭✭SCOOP 64

    I haven't anything to add but must say fair play too you, looks like you have done you homework.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,923 ✭✭✭✭Purple Mountain

    Wow. You really have done your research. I think you would get similar advice from a professional!

    I will add one thing, you touched on it above.

    Most towns/villages have self service laundry drums now.

    In the winter when it's hard to get clothes dry, I load up a bulk of wet clothes and take them to the dryer part. It's a huge drum and you only pay €2 for each 15 minutes drying.

    Bring a book and sit in your car or better still, put it on for 30 minutes and go for a walk for that time.

    To thine own self be true

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,523 ✭✭✭Curious_Case

    You seem to have all the boxes ticked

    Using Aldi/Lidl and GoMo or similar is key

    Change cars if you're paying high motor tax ?

  • Registered Users Posts: 80,497 ✭✭✭✭Atlantic Dawn

    Have you got health insurance, worth reviewing that each year, may be able to get cheaper plan or perhaps choose one that covers more day to day expenses?

  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭Owlet

    Health insurance is a good one. Hadn't really thought about that. Will certainly add it as something to review, thanks.

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  • Posts: 5,121 [Deleted User]

    You have covered a lot, it's a matter of giving it time.

    One other area would be to review your tax credits to be sure you are using them all and efficiently.

  • Posts: 6,192 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    May not work to save as such,but credit union loans were orgainally designed for such situations as this

    It can help spread the cost of the unexpected bills over a longer period to ease pressure,i remember people getting loans to buy likes of a cooker etc

  • Registered Users Posts: 74 ✭✭Arealred

    Well done, you are looking at the right areas. What interest rate are you paying on your mortgage. May be worth considering switching?

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,387 ✭✭✭billyhead

  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭Owlet

    Thanks @Arealred yeah we're in touch with a broker as we are coming to the end of a fixed rate so hopefully can get a good deal. @billyhead Yeah I actually would love to get rid of the car and replace with two decent electric bikes and if there was a car share scheme near us I could maybe persuade my husband but alas we are not quite at that stage yet. I'll keep working on him though!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,062 ✭✭✭✭ted1

    with regards energy bills. Go on to an equaliser plan so you pay the same among each month. In summer you’ll build up a balance so you avoid big bills. Have you replaced all bulbs with LED?

    what type heating controls have you ?

    Post edited by ted1 on

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 6,874 Mod ✭✭✭✭Raichu

    electric bikes & scooters are not currently legal on public roads. So not a good idea.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,577 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    These days, CU loans are expensive and you will probably get cheaper from a bank.

    Not mentioned yet - but if you are holding a credit card balance - stop. This is the dearest money you will ever have. Get a personal loan from anywhere to clear it and it'll be half the cost or less. If your credit history is good, you may get a transfer deal but these are rare and easy to become reliant on

    I'm not saying to get rid of credit cards - I use mine for all day to day spending, but I can and do clear my limit from a months income so never pay interest; and get Aer Lingus points from it - but be super aware of how you use them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,747 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio

    Electric bikes are very legal.

    Looks like Electric scooters may be treated like bikes soon, but it's a legally grey area.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,062 ✭✭✭✭ted1

    fake news. Electric bikes are legal and have been for a long time.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 6,874 Mod ✭✭✭✭Raichu

    You are wrong.

    ebikes are MPVs and therefore you must have valid insurance, tax & a licence. None of which are obtainable therefore you cannot use them on public roads, same as scooters.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 6,874 Mod ✭✭✭✭Raichu

    Another one who’s dead wrong.

    What is the law on eBikes, Pedelecs or battery powered scooters?

    Regardless of the type of bike, its speed or whether it requires a push start, the rules are as follows:

    • If it can be powered by mechanical or electrical power alone (i.e., it can continue without you pedalling or scooting it) then it is considered to be a ‘mechanically propelled vehicle’ (MPV).
    • Under road traffic law if an MPV is used in a public place it is subject to all of the regulatory controls that apply to other vehicles i.e., it must be roadworthy, registered, taxed and insured.
    • The driver of the vehicle must hold the appropriate driving licence and is obliged to wear a crash helmet.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,577 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    You're the one aggressively ranting when you're being "dead wrong"

    250w pedal-assist electric bikes with a speed cutoff are absolutely legal and considered bikes, not MPVs. No licence, no insurance, no nothing. You need to be pedaling for the power assistance to be legit, but that is what they all do unless illegally chipped.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 6,874 Mod ✭✭✭✭Raichu

    Irish law says they’re not legal. Try arguing with a garda about it using EU law, I’m sure they’ll definitely not seize your bike then.

    as a garda told me when I argued a similar situation with EU law, “I get my laws from the Irish Statue Book”.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,211 ✭✭✭Sunrise_Sunset

    How long are you expecting to have to make cuts; a few weeks or a few months? It sounds like you are going all in, so I'm presuming you need to make quite big savings.

    Meal planning, and shopping in places like Aldi/Lidl. Try to only go to the supermarket once per week too. When you run out of something, it's gone til the next shop. Keep a budget, either written or on a spreadsheet. Analyse your spending each month, after a couple of months you will see any patterns of overspending in certain areas. Only shop in sales for clothes, the kids clothes in particular. Plan the seasons ahead. Buy next winter's clothes in the sales now in whatever sizes they will be in a year (If you are really tight right now this might not work, more of a long term plan). Alcohol is pricey now, could be one to cut. Set up sinking funds for any necessary upcoming spending, set your budget for each category and do not go over. Would you be able to arrange a short term mortgage break and just pay interest only for 3 - 6 months? You may have to wait a certain period of time afterwards before switching mortgages so just keep that in mind. Do not be tempted by wasting money on the lotto. Sounds like you have 1 day of parental leave pw, would it help to increase your hours to 100% or would that cancel out with creche fees?

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  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 66,577 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    That European law IS Irish law and has been for 20 years

    The Gardai are interested in escooters, eskateboards and electric motorbikes that are not legislated for.. Electric pedal assist bikes are legal, have been for two decades, and they do not ever care about them.

    You can just admit you didn't understand the law here, or you can continue to rant with no basis and look like ever more of a fool

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,062 ✭✭✭✭ted1

    That is not describing an electric bike.

    under the road traffic act. A electric bike needs to match 3 criteria

    1. no throttle, so the motor only works when the pedals are being turned
    2. the motor must assist only up to 25 km/h
    3. The output of the motor must be no more than 250w

    what the piece you posted tenanted to point 1. That is if it can be powered by the motor alone I.e operate without the user pedalling. Then it’s an MPV. If it’s an MPV, the following 2 points apply

    so in summary electric bikes are legal

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,708 ✭✭✭BabysCoffee

    You mentioned not buying new clothes until the situation improves however if you do need new clothes you could probably try buy secondhand in charity shops at a lower cost than brand new

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,887 Mod ✭✭✭✭shesty

    I have a dryer, 3 kids here.Two clothes horses on the go.It's not that big a deal tbh, I just move the clothes horses outside if the weather is in any way good, easy to bring them back in if the weather changes.Dryer is only for sheets and towels here really.

    Extra curriculars for two small you mind me asking what these are??If the kids are that small, the extra curriculars should be very minimal....My elder two are 5 and 7 and it is only in the last year to two years that they are really doing extra curricular stuff and benefitting from it, my three year old does nothing.

    As regards the rest, I would agree with one weekly shop, freeze any leftovers you can, definitely check health insurance and do an equaliser payment for your energy bills.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,092 ✭✭✭lau1247

    Check if you have claimed all the government reliefs etc that would be applicable for you, then process form 12, you might get some refunds.

    West Dublin, ☀️ 7.83kWp ⚡5.66 kWp South West, ⚡2.18 kWp North East

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,489 ✭✭✭bb1234567

    You say you like cycling, could look into doing a few hours of deliveroo each week seeing as the hours are completely flexible? I do 3-4 or so hours at the weekend on my bike and I treat it as my exercise for the weekend, whilst making 40-50 quid or so for the weekend. Over the course of a month it's a good supplement to my day job. I take it easy and don't over burden myself. Works for me, something to consider potentially, I know it's not for everyone of course.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,770 ✭✭✭Alkers

    You need to make a budget before you can truly understand where your money is going, the impact of changes such as you've proposed and how long you need to keep them up for. Put money towards saving / paying off bills or whatever you situation as soon as you're paid as opposed to leaving it for the end of the month

  • Registered Users Posts: 5 PocFada

    Review and switch electricity, broadband, phone providers....big savings to be had

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,159 ✭✭✭Citrus_8

    Well done. Just a suggestion: even in Aldi is easy to overspend. Always make a grocery list before leaving home. Plan, what can be made for the following days out of what's in the fridge, freezer and cupboards, buy only what's necessary to avoid waste. Brings meals to work for lunch, if working in office.

    As someone suggested, make an Excel spreadsheet and track you household income and spendings. After a few months you will be able to easily see where most expenses go and justify if can be saved even more money.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,426 ✭✭✭maestroamado

    I cannot offer advise as this is a difficult one... you likely have big mortgage as two professionals should be able to live comfortable i would have thought...

    good luck...