How does it happen every year? One minute it’s Halloween and you’re sitting at home eating sweets, and the next you realise you’ve 15 presents to buy and €0 to buy them with. Every year! With Christmas a couple of weeks away (eek) there’s still plenty of time to save and gather a few extra pennies for Christmas shopping. I’ve a few tips (some which I need to take on board myself) that’ll save you some dollar, and maybe leave you with a bit extra for a new outfit too.
1. Cut back on buying coffee – *ahem* The amount of money I spend on coffee a week makes me feel a little ill. There’s nothing wrong with a cup here or there, but realistically there’s no need to be buying over priced cups of coffee every single day. I love using latte sachets that you just need to add boiling water to, or bring your coffee with you in a reusable cup in the mornings.
Save: 1 coffee a day = €2.50. €2.50 x 6 days a week = €15. €15 a week x 4 = €60 a month!
2. Put money aside at the start of each month – It’s all well and good saying that you’re going to put some money aside when you get paid, but 9 times out of 10 that doesn’t actually happen. Especially if you go to Topshop as soon as payday comes around. Choose an amount and take it out of your account as soon as you get paid, like you would with a bill. Or set up a direct debit. That way, you don’t have the money to spend in the first place and you won’t notice it’s gone.
3. Quit the gym – I’m all for being healthy and exercising, but if you don’t get your money’s worth out of your gym membership, then quit. It shouldn’t work out to be costing you €12.50 each time you go. I recently quit the gym and have started doing pay as you go classes for €5. That means I’m not under pressure to make it to the gym and I’m only paying for what I actually do.
Save: €55 a month
4. Switch your phone plan – Most phone networks allow you to look at your data usage, calls and texts online. Have a look at what your plan covers, and whether you get value out of it or not. If you’ve to pay €10 extra a month on top of your plan for extra data, look and see if there’s a more affordable plan that includes high data usage. Similarly, if you never make phone calls, check that you’re not paying for 100 minutes of calls per month. Look around and you’ll be sure to find a money-saving plan that suits you.
5. Buy a travel card – If you use public transport a lot, chances are it’s cheaper to use a travel card than to pay in cash each time you go on the bus. In Ireland there are Leap cards, which can save you up to 20%.
Save: €2.55 cash vs. €2.05 Leap card one way. Save €1 per journey x 12 = €12 per month
6. Pack lunches and snacks – This is the one I find hardest. It’s easy to spend €10 on lunch a couple of days a week and think it’s nothing, but when you check your bank balance you see how much it adds up. Make soups, salads and bring granola bars or nuts for snacks. Always bring your own water, too.
Save: €10 lunch x 2 per week = €20. €20 x 4 weeks = €80 a month
7. Walk when you can – Between bus fares, petrol and parking tickets, travelling places can get expensive! Get your exercise after quitting the gym (see what I did there? ;)) by walking places when you can. We’ve all become so accustomed to getting the bus or driving that it’s easy to forget how we could actually get to a lot of places by walking there instead.
8. Think before you buy – Another tip I need to take onboard myself. I’m an advertiser’s dream and get sucked into buying things really quickly, when a lot of the time I don’t really need them. If you’re buying clothes, think of three different ways you can wear the item with stuff you already have. Spend a bit of time thinking “do I really need this striped top that I have six of at home?” and you’ll be sure to save some extra $$$.
9. Look for discounts – Especially if you’re buying things online. Use your student discount, search for student discount codes if you don’t have your own, look for promotional offers – Google is your best friend. There’s nearly always discounts floating around on the interweb.
10. Carry cash – I’m not saying to carry hundreds of euro in your pocket, but we all know that it’s easier to swipe your card than to hand over cold hard cash. Carrying only what you plan on spending helps to avoid impulse buys, too.
Some of these tips might be totally applicable to you, and others not so much. But there’s nearly always room for saving a few extra euro, even if we don’t know it!
What are your tips for saving money? x