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Finance - Money Matters - Frugal tips for the festive season

Ivan Ahern has some money-saving tips to help you through the festive season

With all the Christmas cheer, December is an exciting but expensive month. Come January, everyone feels the effects on their wallet. Here are some frugal festive tips to help you gain a little extra money back and minimise the effects of the celebrations.

Last chance to claim for your 2010 tax return!
If you didn’t file your 2010 tax return then you only have until December 31, 2014 to claim. Don’t miss out on a possible refund. To file your return, see www.revenue.ie or contact the tax team at Cornmarket at Tel: 01 408 6291 for more information.

Reduce your phone bill
If you have a monthly phone plan, the following few tips could save you a good deal of money over the Christmas period:

  • Check your account online regularly to see if you are near your limit
  • Refresh your memory as to what is covered on your plan
  • Avoid making calls to directory enquiries and ‘1800’ numbers as they usually cost extra
  • Use free messaging services such as ‘WhatsApp’ and ‘Viber’ to reduce the cost of texting
  • Catch up with family and friends who are overseas via Skype instead of using your mobile or landline.

Credit card*
If you need to use your credit card over Christmas, then take a look at the National Consumer Agency’s credit card cost comparison. There are still some providers offering 0% interest on balance transfers. If you can’t afford to pay your Christmas credit card bill in full, you could take advantage of one of these offers in the New Year. See www.nca.ie for more details.

Top 5 smartphone apps

  • Mydealpage.ie
  • Vouchercloud
  • iTube (music)
  • All Recipes
  • My Fitness Pal.

Shopping for insurance
Always ensure you make like-for-like comparisons when shopping for insurance. The policy offering the lowest premium is not always the best. You should always check that you are getting the best value for money and cross-reference benefits in detail when shopping around.

Be realistic when insuring. Overestimating will increase your insurance premium and underestimating will make it difficult to cover the costs of replacing your car or repairing your home should you need to.

I f you are planning for a tr ip away in the new year, you can canvass all the airlines at the click of a mouse to find out the cheapest flights to your destination by using the f ree comparison site www.skyscanner.com.

When it comes to where you are going to stay, you can save up to 35% on your next hotel as well as adding an element of surprise with ‘Top Secret Hotels’. This offer is available on four and five star hotels in 250 locations. Visit www.lastminute.ie for more information.

Tax relief on home renovations
If you need work done on your home or your rental property in 2015, don’t forget to take advantage of the Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) Scheme. This tax relief scheme was announced last year and was extended to landlords in this year’s Budget.

The scheme will run until December 31, 2015 and allows homeowners and landlords to claim tax relief by way of a tax credit of 13.5% of qualifying expenditure on any repair, renovation or improvement work carried out on a principal private residence or rental property. The work must cost a minimum of €5,000 which would attract a tax credit of €675. For more information, see www.revenue.ie

Get a free financial review
When was the last time you sat down with a professional financial advisor to review your finances? Following the Budget and all the recent changes announced surrounding the public sector, a financial review will give you a clear picture of your sick pay, superannuation and tax entitlements and help you plan better for the future. It could also save you a lot of money and time in the process. To request a free financial review, call Cornmarket at Tel: 01 470 8081.

Ivan Ahern is a director of Cornmarket Financial Services Ltd

*Source: www.nca.ie. This information is intended only as a general guide and has no legal standing. Money saving tips are correct on Nov 6, 2014. Please be advised that Cornmarket cannot be held responsible for the content contained on the websites listed in this article. Members who have specific questions relating to their personal finances, Superannuation entitlements, etc. are advised to seek professional advice and can contact Cornmarket at Tel: 01 408 4000. Midas is a tax based service and not a regulated financial product. Cornmarket Retail Trading Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cornmarket Group Financial Services Ltd. 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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