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The Money Doctor's 10 Ways to Save Cash

16-01-2014 11:15

Are you having trouble making ends meet? Do you run out of money before pay day? Are you extravagant with your money? Almost every item of expenditure should be queried - do you need it, and if so, are there better of cheaper alternatives? Many of the following tips from ’The Money Doctor 2014’ are practical and easy to implement. Some of them you will know or have heard before, but they will give you the impetus to focus on your own finances to start saving money now when it matters:

1. Plan your yearly household budget. Add all your yearly household bills and divide by 12. The figure is the amount you need to put away each month to meet those bills just to run the home. Any capital or ’luxury’ spending must be found outside of this annual budget. You could also adopt a monthly budget if preferred; in any event you should put at least hours every month into planning your finances to ensure that you are on track with spending. Remember, if your expenditure exceeds income, you have two choices: earn more or cut costs. You should query every item of expenditure: ask yourself, do you need it, and is there a better or cheaper alternative? If you’re frittering money away, download the free Money Doctor App to track and control your spending.

2. Be smart with your surplus cash. Do not leave surplus money in your current account or low interest-bearing accounts. At least transfer it into your bank’s best deposit account, and when you need funds to meet commitments, transfer over the money a couple of days before it is due. If that deposit account is sizeable, negotiate with your bank; for example, if their rates are much less then, let’s say, KBC Bank (2.3%) they may have the discretion to increase that deposit rate in order to hold on your business.

3. Check your bank charges on a regular basis and cut down on your banking bills. There are too many cases of overcharging from all the banks to assume that your bank is not one of them! Sometimes, these charges can be waived at the discretion of the manager: if you don’t ask, there’ll be no waiving. Try and avoid exceeding your overdraft permission if you have an overdraft, as the surcharges and fees are punitive. You should also operate online banking accounts – they offer better deals, are easier to operate and there’s no waiting in queues, as well as saving you time and travel expenses. Check out An Post’s BillPay ( for the alternative to current accounts and for current account comparisons. Also go to or

4. Always shop with a pre-written grocery list. Stick to what is on the list. (Men in particular are disastrous for impulse buying).

5. Look for special sale announcements in your local store, in newspapers, on the radio and television. It may be worth your while buying a month’s supply of an item you would normally buy if you can avail of a huge discount.

6. Buy in bulk. Economies of scale apply, in particular in non-perishables (tins of beans) and toiletries (24-roll tissue packs). You will need to analyse your consumption to evaluate your bulk needs.

7. Use vouchers and cut-outs. You’ll be amazed how all those little discounts add up to big savings on your shopping bill, and there is no shame in availing of these offers. You may even have a discount offer on the back of your shopping receipt. Watch out for a ‘double coupon’ days too. Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves!

8. Home heating. Turning your thermostat down by just 1% can save as much as 10% of the actual cost. Remember to switch off the heating when away, even for weekends, and especially at the onset of summer.

9. Wheelie bins. Only leave out your respective bins (general refuse, recyclables, etc.) when they are completely full. Collection charges can apply irrespective of weight if you leave the bins out. Remember there is NO charge for the green bin.

10. Subscribe to SKYPE especially if you have to make international calls. SKYPE to SKYPE calls are free while SKYPE to landline are 0.017c per minute, so the savings are very significant. Download Viber and Whats App for the same reason. If you have chatterbox children, block all outgoing mobile calls to save money. You should always check your telephone bill and review the top 10 most called and top 10 most expensive – it can be very revealing!


Read more in ’The Money Doctor 2014. 100 Ways to Save Cash’ by John Lowe. The Money Doctor is now firmly established as Ireland’s most comprehensive annual finance guide. Helpful at every stage of your journey through life – whether you need advice on taxes, pensions, mortgages, debt or your redundancy rights – The Money Doctor provides a simple and easy-to-understand guide to finances, including how Budget 2014 will affect you.

John Lowe, the Money Doctor, has over 30 years’ experience in the finance sector and is a Fellow of the Institute of Bankers. He successfully completed the Chartered Director programme through the Institute of Directors and is a member of the Life Insurance Association. John is also managing director of Providence Finance Services Limited, trading as Money Doctor, which is fully authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

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