A while ago, I was asked by someone on Facebook if I could put together a post with some of the money saving/budgeting tips I've shared on Snapchat. I just want to start by saying I haven't been paid or sponsored by any of the companies mentioned in this post, this is how I manage money for our household and this is what I personally do, it's not in collaboration with anyone.
PAY YOUR ELECTRIC IRELAND BILL BEFORE IT ARRIVES
If you're an Electric Ireland customer, there's a way you can space out your payments instead of having to pay that dreaded lump sum every 2 months. If you email them on email@example.com or ring them on 1850 372 372 (8am-8pm Mon-Sat) with your account details to hand, you can request an EasyPay card. They'll send you out a plastic card the size of an ATM card that you can use to lodge money into your Electric Ireland account at the Post Office. We put €20 in every week and we're nearly always in credit with them when the bill comes in - I think our highest bill since 2014 was €45. It's much easier to budget for €20 a week than it is for a massive lump sum that needs to be paid within a few weeks. They also now have an app available that lets you keep an eye on your usage, so you can reduce bills further.
* Thanks to Dawn Ryan on Facebook for letting me know that if you have an online account with Electric Ireland, you can make payments to your account too if you can't make it to the Post Office.
JOIN THE TESCO CHRISTMAS SAVER CLUBCARD SCHEME
If you're a regular Tesco shopper and you use your Clubcard to build up points, you'll know about the vouchers that are sent out a few times a year. Instead of getting them a few times a year, you can join the Christmas Saver scheme and have them all saved up and sent out to you at the end of November. As well as that, you can top up at the till to a maximum of €360. I started topping up in August last year - even if I didn't do my main shopping in Tesco, I'd nip in and put €5 or €10 (you can put in any amount, from 50c up) and by November I had €153 in vouchers to spend at Tesco. That took a massive amount of pressure off at Christmas - it freed up that week's grocery money for presents, it covered one big weekly shop, plus I stocked up on essentials like nappies, wipes, detergent - all from loose change I'd put in during the year along with my clubcard points and the bonus Tesco give (either €3 or €6) when you top up by a certain amount. You can sign up for the scheme in store, or by phone at 00800 0059 1688 with your clubcard details to hand. The only thing is, I'd recommend keeping a record of what you lodge into the scheme, because there's no way to check your balance. You'll still get money off and extra points coupons with your mailings during the year, just not the cash vouchers.
DO THE 52 WEEK SAVING CHALLENGE
Fancy €260 to spend on something nice? That works out as €5 a week for 52 weeks. You could use that for a bill next January, or to pick something nice up in the sales, or to help with children or an event. The original version of this challenge suggests that you put an amount from €1 to €52 in a jar every week, but there's never going to be a week that I'll be able to save anything above €10 and not miss it. Instead, I save €5 or €4 into a can every week. This is how I was able to afford my Canon camera last January in the sales, there's no way I could have done it otherwise. I haven't started this yet this year, but I'm only 4 weeks behind so I could still have a nice amount saved if I started putting a fiver away now. I tried to do this last year but ended up dipping into it all the time, I'll definitely try and be more rigid this year. Even if you do dip into it, it's really handy to have an emergency can there for an unexpected "teacher says I need €2 tomorrow".
JOIN THE SHOP & SCAN PANEL FOR SHOPPING VOUCHERS
NEGOTIATE A BETTER DEAL WITH SKY (BUT PREPARE FOR A LONG CALL)
SET A WEEKLY SHOPPING BUDGET AND STICK TO IT
|freeimages.com/Suzanne van Hatten|
Hopefully this has given you a few ideas on how I like to save, I got a few comments on Snapchat at Christmas asking me how I could do so much shopping - this is how!