Your questions answered by Ivan Ahern
Whether you decide to stay at home or go abroad for a holiday, changing some of your spending habits could provide enough savings this summer to put towards a well-deserved holiday…
Make your lunch
If you are not already in the habit of bringing your lunch to work or making sandwiches and having a picnic instead of eating out, there’s no better time of year to start. It costs roughly €2 to make a sandwich and between €5 and €8 to buy one. Making your lunch every day could save you up to €780 this year – not to mention you could enjoy the health benefits of eating al fresco – weather and work schedule permitting!
Summer energy saving tips
Take advantage of the (slightly) warmer weather and save on your energy costs by making some minor household changes.
Holiday at home
The best thing about holidaying at home is that you don’t have to spend a lot to have a great time. And, you don’t have the stress of busy airports to cope with. There’s so much going on around the country this summer, from art classes to family festivals, and horse-riding to sailing trips. If being outdoors is part of your holiday plan, Coillte has a list of family cycling and walking trails around the country. There are also some great deals on activities where kids under the age of 12 are free, such as the Croke Park tour, Dublin City sightseeing tour, Lahinch Sea World, the National Wax Museum, etc. For a list of free activities visit discoverireland.ie. Some hotels such as the Holiday Inn and the Armada run ‘kids eat and stay free’ offers for those aged under 12. Check the specials page of any hotel website.
Luas kids go free
Luas has confirmed it is continuing the ‘Kids Go Free Weekends’ every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday until the end of August. Each adult with a valid Luas ticket may take all children under three and up to two children aged three to 15 years free of charge on the Luas.
Plan ahead before you go abroad
Shop around. Check for last minute deals online with companies like Lowcostholidays.ie and Sunway before you visit a travel agent. Research the local area, public transport and places to eat online in advance and consider investing in a guidebook. Also use the free flight comparison site www.skyscanner.ie to check the cheapest flights to your destination. This could save you hundreds of Euro. Don’t forget to tell your bank that you will be using your cards abroad to avoid having your account frozen as a security measure.
Be aware of roaming charges
Text instead of calling, or try to use local pay phones. If you have a smart phone you should think about switching your data roaming off and use an internet cafe instead or find free wifi.
Summer grocery shopping
Did you know that, on average, your grocery bill is your second biggest annual bill after your mortgage? That means it deserves some attention this summer! According to research by the Marketing Science Institute, half of us shop three to four times per week. Shoppers making a quick trip to the supermarket end up buying more than they had anticipated. If this translates to €10 each time, that’s an extra €2,080 annually.* You can do your grocery food shopping online to avoid impulse buys and check your supermarket’s website before you go shopping to view their special offers.
Saving for back to school time
If you can afford to, it’s a good idea to start to put a little money aside now for September school costs. Saving even a small amount regularly can make a big difference. For example, saving €5 each week will add up to €260 over the year. Keep this year’s receipts so that you’ll know how much you will need for next year.
Ivan Ahern is director of Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd
Please be advised that Cornmarket cannot be held responsible for the information contained on external websites. *Source: the Sunday Business Post, April 8, 2013. Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. A member of the Irish Life Group Ltd. Telephone calls may be recorded for quality control and training purposes.
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