Saving tips for your home
Reduce your use
Energy bills are taking an ever larger slice of our household budget, but one of the most effective ways to shrink your bills is to cut down on your energy use.
You can save up to 10% on your bills by turning down the thermostat, while other small changes around the home could also cut energy costs. Read our energy savings tips to save money for more ways to reduce your use and boost your BER rating.
7 quick energy saving ideas
- Turn it down: Turning down the thermostat by just a couple of degrees could save you major money on your heating bill.
- Get rid of drafts: Cover up any drafty doors and windows that could let in the cold. Letterboxes are huge offenders for letting drafts in so getting a cover could make the room warmer.
- Turn off appliances: When you’re not using your appliances, turn them off at the plug. If an item is on standby it’s still costing you money.
- Kitchen efficiency: Only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need and only have the oven on for as long as you need.
- Heat wisely: It’s more economical to only heat the room you’re in, so consider a portable energy-efficient heater like an oil-filled radiator. Don’t forget a hot water bottle and woolly jumper can keep you toasty too!
- Bleed the radiators: This will get rid of trapped air which could stop the heat from circulating and improve the efficiency of your radiators. Turn them off in rooms you don’t use.
- Keep it cool: In the summer, keep your curtains shut in the day to stop the sun from making the room too hot rather than using a fan. Place your fridge away from any heat sources.
Switch your supplier
If you haven’t switched in 18 months, you’re almost guaranteed to find cheaper deals on your gas and electricity. The CRU calculates the average household can save €589 a year by switching to a cheaper energy plan.
Visit a comparison website, grab your latest utility bills and check out the savings you could make. A change of supplier is a good opportunity to discover the benefits of Smart plans or Time of Use tariffs which are another way to scrimp on bills.
Switch and save up to €589 on your energy bills
It only takes a few minutes to find a cheaper deal and start saving
Trim your waste
There’s no avoiding household bills because they pay for life’s essentials - but waste disposal is one bill you can pare down if you manage your refuse well.
To pay less for a standard service collection, monitor how much waste you create. If you’re regularly under the collection maximum, ask if your waste disposal firm will change your collection frequency or provide a smaller bin.
If your charges are based on your waste output volume, then step up your household recycling and dispose of reusable litter at your local amenity centre. These facilities are free to use, and allow you to dispose of things like plastics, glass and organic waste so you pay less for collection.
Fix your mortgage
Mortgage rates are rising, so if you’re on your lender’s variable rate, you could be paying more than you need to. Check to see how much you could save by switching to a fixed-term deal to lock in a low rate.
You could save €100s or even €1,000s a year, but make sure you’ll still save after any charges. Some lenders offer cashback, which could help cover any fees.
If you’re thinking about buying your first home, maximise your deposit savings by signing up for one of the Government schemes for first-time buyers, and be sure to look for special first-time buyer mortgage deals.
Bundle your broadband, phone & TV
You’ll save money if you bundle your broadband, phone and TV together rather than pay for those services separately. Some providers offer further discounts for bundles that include your mobile plan, too.
Change the channel
If you’re paying extra for channels and services you don’t watch or speed you don’t need, it’s time to look for a cheaper broadband deal elsewhere. If you want to stay with the same provider, ask your current provider if they will price match. Find the best value plan and contact them to haggle - you could still slash your bills.
If you stream your home entertainment look out for free trials and introductory discounts to enjoy cheaper music and movies.
Compare home cover
Always compare the market before taking out or renewing your home insurance. The best-priced cover often gets reserved for new customers, and loyalty rarely pays.
Shop around to get the best quote for the level of cover you need. If you prefer to stay with your provider, use a competitor quote to negotiate a better price.
Claim what’s due
Check whether you’re eligible for any help with your energy bills through the Fuel Allowance or the Household Benefits Package.
If you’re on certain benefits, you’ll qualify for the fuel allowance, which helps with the cost of heating your home during the winter months. If you’re over 70, you’ll automatically qualify for the household benefits package. However, you can also get it if you’re under 70 and meet additional qualifying criteria.
If you own your home and receive certain welfare payments, you may qualify for a fully funded energy upgrade to help you make your home warmer and cheaper to run. An SEAI surveyor will recommend suitable upgrades for your property.
Homeowners with a mortgage between €80,000 and €500,000 can now qualify for a tax break worth up to €1,250.
If you rent your home, you can now claim rent relief. The Rent Tax Credit is worth €750 per individual or €1,500 per jointly assessed couple.
Saving tips out and about
Keep it SIMple
If you’re out of your bill pay contract but happy to stick with your phone you could save by switching to a SIM-only deal. Bill pay contracts cost more because you’re paying for the new device on top of airtime.
With a SIM-only deal you’re only paying for calls, texts and data so it’s cheaper than a bill pay contract and the tie-in can be as short as 30 days, so you’re free to move to a better deal and take your number with you.
Other ways to save if you need a new phone is to consider a refurbished device or trade in your old handset to get money off your newer model.
Get a SIM only deal with the calls, texts and data you need for less.
It only takes a few minutes to find a cheaper deal and start saving.
Drive down cover costs
Car insurance is often a forgotten expense so insurers take advantage of our financial amnesia and repay loyalty by auto-renewing with hiked premiums.
Check when your car cover is up for renewal and use comparison sites or an online broker to find a better quote. You could save more than you think by simply switching to the best-value insurer.
If you’ve got more than one vehicle or you’re a multi-car household you may qualify for a discount, so check with your insurer or compare quotes online. Multi-policy discounts can also be applied if you add van, motorcycle or home cover.
Do it yourself
Simple lifestyle changes can significantly affect your weekly outgoings. When you’re working, make a packed lunch at home instead of buying lunch, rustle up your own favourite coffee instead of grabbing a takeaway and walk or cycle to work if possible.
Save on eye-watering gym membership fees by investing in secondhand home equipment and walking, running and cycling for free!
Check workplace benefits
Chances are you haven’t properly checked out your workplace benefits, or noticed the smaller perks. Revisit these benefits because you may discover a range of money-saving supports
Handy perks include: * Health insurance * Cycle to work schemes * Discounted healthcare * Childcare support * Retail discounts * Local shopping incentives * Special borrowing rates * Subsidised gym memberships * Travel discounts
If you’ve got a bunch of gadgets, like an iPhone, tablet, laptop and smartwatch that you insure separately, consider choosing multi-gadget cover and save up to 15% on insurance.
Check first that your home contents insurance policy doesn’t already cover your gadgets or you may be doubling up and wasting money.
Remote working relief
There are two ways you can get financial help for working at home, so make sure you get what’s due to you, especially with skyrocketing heating bills.
Your workplace may provide you with a remote working allowance to cover the costs of working from home. If not, you could qualify for Remote Working Relief. This tax relief is available to self-employed, hybrid, and home workers.
Be a savvy shopper
Plan your weekly shop. It’s easy to fall for multi-buy deals or deceptive discounts, but set a budget and just buy what you need.
Look out for the yellow stickers and grab the cheaper wonky veg - it all tastes the same! Remember, ‘eye level is buy level’, so seek the product ranges on lower or higher shelves. To work out the best value items compare the unit price.
Smarter spending, saving and borrowing
Account for everything
Gather your bank statements and comb through your incomings and outgoings; make sure you know where your hard-earned cash is going and look for savings. Check for unused or auto-renewed subscriptions and memberships; if you don’t use them, simply cancel.
Finally, check you’re not paying twice for insurance, streaming services or telecoms because many services are now bundled or thrown in as a perk.
Settle first, save later
If you’ve got money sitting in savings accounts earning less interest than what you’re paying on your debts, settle the debt on your credit cards or personal loans first - this will save on interest. Just beware of early repayment fees and keep a little in your nest egg, in case of emergencies or unexpected bills.
Interest rates are rising so if you have savings, don’t leave them languishing in a low interest account. Shop around for high interest rates savings accounts and watch your money grow.
Transfer your balance
It’s easy to overspend when you’ve got a credit card, but paying back what you owe on time is crucial.
Expensive interest charges can just add to your balance, so if you have outstanding debt, consider a balance transfer credit card to give yourself extra time to repay it. A balance transfer could save you hundreds of euros a year in interest and help pay off your balance more quickly.
Consolidate your debts
Outstanding store cards debts, car finance, or Buy Now Pay Later credit can quickly rack up interest if you don’t pay it back in time or keep track of your borrowing.
What starts as a good deal can rapidly turn into bad debt, so consider transferring all your balances to a low-interest loan or debt consolidation loan. It could save you money on interest, make repayment simpler and give you peace of mind.
Claw your tax back
A simple way to recoup some of what you spend is to apply for tax refunds from the Revenue. Health expenses, education fees, work uniforms, special diets and rent a room relief are just some of the lesser known tax refunds you can claim. Find out more about personal tax credit, reliefs and exemptions at Revenue.ie.
Students who pay rent in a tenancy registered with the Residential Tenancies Board can receive a €750 tax credit per year, and parents who pay rent for their children are entitled to the renter’s tax credit too.
New tax reliefs introduced in the Budget to counter the cost of living crisis have been put in place for mortgage holders and renters.
Mortgage Interest Relief is worth up to €1,250 depending on how much interest you pay on your home loan, and Rent Tax Credit is worth €750 per individual or €1,500 per jointly assessed couple.
You must apply via Revenue.ie and provide documentation to support your claims.
Here’s four simple spending tips to make your money go further.
Track your spending
The more aware you are of what you are spending the less likely you are to overspend. Using a digital bank like Revolut can help you set spending goals and reveal flashpoints or bad habits.* There are lots of free budgeting apps for Android or Apple phones if you’re not ready to open another current account.
It’s so tempting to splash the cash in the sales, or if you have a little windfall, but before you whip out that card, it’s best to pay your bills or other essentials first. Remember to check your refund rights so you’re never left out of pocket if you have second thoughts about a splurge.
Spread spending costs
If you’ve made a large purchase or your cash flow is taking a hit, consider a 0% purchase card to spread the cost interest-free. Remember, whether you’re making a big-ticket purchase or a small treat, always shop around, price match and take time to ferret out the best deal.
Try the 50/30/20 budget
Aim to spend 50% of your pay on basic needs - such as bills, food, housing, and travel to work, then set aside 30% for having fun - eating out, drinking with friends, going to the cinema and days out. Put the final 20% towards savings, investing and your credit balances.
* For general information purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. If you have any questions about your personal circumstances please seek professional and independent advice.