The Art of Budgeting: Easy Ways to Help You Save!

Jan 14 . 8 m

Save on your bills

The Art of Budgeting: Finding You Easy Ways to Save!

New Year, New Goals

Out with the old, and in with the new! We’ve never been happier to wrap up a year and start fresh. In a year flooded with doubt and news about Covid-19 but with vaccines being distributed we are finally starting to see a glimmer of hope. Even though we are facing extended lockdown, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Now, it’s time to start planning our 2020 recovery plan.

This year’s resolutions won’t be solely about watching our waistlines. Most of us will be hunkering down over our household bills and looking for ways to tighten the belt on our spending!

WeCompare has put together a list of the easiest ways to save money and start your 2021 budget on track. With a little effort, everyone should be able to trim the proverbial fat.

A Good Budget Includes Absolutely Everything

The first step to managing your spending is by creating an accurate monthly budget. Start with your monthly net (after-tax) income and divide it into two parts. Ideally, the first half of the budget should cover the necessities, such as:

  • Rent/ Mortgage
  • Insurance
  • Utilities- Oil, Gas, Electric, Phone, TV, Broadband
  • Auto/ Transportation
  • Food
  • Property Tax
  • Education
  • Waste Collection

Divide the second half into a further two parts, for the Wants and the Debts/Savings. The wants include the funds we choose to spend on things like entertainment, shopping, books, and restaurants. Lastly, we work towards allocating the balance of 20 – 25% towards debt reduction or move it to a savings account.

By recording your average monthly expenses, you will be able to evaluate your spending. You can choose to look back at previous months for a rough estimate of your bills. Or, review your internet banking for a more accurate understanding of your monthly expenditures.

Include everything in your monthly budget. No need to hide anything from yourself! It’s imperative to gain a firm grasp of what goes out every month. That includes all of the bad habits! Who knows, seeing the numbers may inspire you to quit or cut down.

Ready to start saving money?

Top Tips to Save Money on Your Household Bills

Reduce Energy Consumption

When looking for easy ways to save money, this one’s a no brainer. There is no better time to commit to the environment, and your wallet, by using less water. You can save big from simple things like closing the water while you brush your teeth. Always ensure that your pipes are in working order, and you’re not spending money on a leaky faucet or toilets.

Another great way to save water is by taking a shower instead of a bath. Also, waiting for a full load to wash your laundry can save you heaps in the long run. Moreover, 90% of the energy used to wash your clothes goes towards heating the water, so wash in cold water!

Want to save even more? Invest in a water-saving showerhead that will allow you to save up to 50% more water without sacrificing water pressure.save money with a water saving shower head

Save money with energy efficient bulbs
Save money with energy-efficient bulbs

Another easy way to save money is to switch to energy-efficient light bulbs. These 9-watt bulbs from Amazon are equivalent to 60-watts and can last up to 13 years! They will save you 85% of the energy consumed by a regular bulb, which equates to over 125 euros in its lifetime.

Energy-efficient lighting and appliances will save you a bundle in the long run. Most importantly, unplug all electronics when they are not in use! It will not only protect them from power surges but can save you close to one hundred euros annually.

Eliminate a Service

Many of us may be paying for things that we don’t necessarily need. Did you join a gym and stop going? Cancel it! Are you subscribed to both a streaming service and a TV plan? Cut one!

Sometimes it’s better to pay as you go as opposed to committing to a year’s subscription to save a few euros. Did you know that WeCompare has a great variety of TV plans starting from just €7.00* per month? What’s more, you can find one without a contract!

We’ve compared the best broadband deals in Ireland, and you won’t get better than this broadband and phone plan from eir. Their FTTH (fibre to the home plan) will get you speeds up to 150Mb, a home phone, and FREE Amazon Prime for €29.99 per month!

Perhaps you are paying for a broadband bundle that includes a landline that you don’t use. It might be worth cutting it, as some providers do offer a small discount without the landline. Don’t worry though, we’ve saved you the headache of comparison shopping. WeCompare has sourced the best broadband-only deals in Ireland so that you can save more.

Bundle Your Services to Save

Alternatively, sometimes it pays to bundle your services. If you are a light internet user, you will love eir’s 100Mb broadband, TV, phone, and SIM-only mobile plan. It’s 4 great services for €49.97*/month!

If you need more speed you can get a killer quad-play deal from Virgin with 250Mb broadband, perfect for multiple devices, unlimited local minutes plus 400 International minutes for €84.00*/month.

Don’t need a mobile plan, but require lightning-fast broadband? You can get up to 500Mb speed with Vodafone’s fibre broadband, phone & TV plan. It’s fast enough for multi-device streaming and is perfect for gaming. It comes with unlimited Irish landline minutes and 80+ channels to satisfy everyone in the family- for a budget-friendly €45.00/month.

Don’t Auto-Renew

Yes, we are always on the go, and automatically renewing things like insurance, gas, or broadband seems straightforward and hassle-free. But this is a big no-no when it comes to saving money. When your contract is up for renewal, you have the upper hand! Use it to negotiate your current plan if you prefer to stick with your provider, or switch to a new one for a better deal. You hold the key to saving money once your contract comes up for renewal.

Did you know that you can save a few hundred euros by switching energy providers every year? Most introductory offers end after the first year, and then the price goes up. So, look at your contracts and set a reminder on your calendar for when it comes up for renewal. Then use a comparison site like WeCompare to help you find the best deal!

Shop Around

It pays to shop around, and with comparison sites like WeCompare, why kiss those euros goodbye? As mentioned above, you can save a bundle by switching annually. So, just like shopping around for a new computer, there is no reason that you shouldn’t shop around to save money on your household bills. See what’s out there, and take the time to ensure that you are getting the best deals.

Go Generic

Are you a sucker for brand name products? Don’t judge the tastiness of a product by its label! It’s easy to go with what you know or for the brands you’ve seen on TV. However, it’s an easy way to save money on everyday products by choosing supermarket ketchup over name brands like Heinz!

Make Your List Your Best Friend

When you shop, be prepared. It’s easy to fill up your cart with things you don’t need. So, arm yourself with a list of necessities to ensure that you don’t go over budget.

Take the Pantry Challenge

Since most of us buy more than we need, there is no doubt a stockpile of canned goods in your pantry. For the last week of the month, challenge yourself with creating meals from what’s left in your cupboards. You can imagine yourself on an episode of the Food Network, and be creative with your cooking. This will help you use the food you already have. Thus reducing waste and saving money in the process. You can find some great tips for a successful pantry-challenge here.

Pay in Cash

Before you ask, ‘who pays in cash any more‘, I can answer- not many people. But, by carrying cash, you’ll have a better handle on how much you spend every day. Research shows that by paying in cash, you can save money! Shelling out your euros on something generally stings much more than with the swipe of a card, therefore assigning more value to the purchase. When paying cash, we will generally linger a little longer on the price of something. This reminds us of the value of our euros and helps us decide whether that 4 euro latte is worth the expense.

We recommend keeping your spending money divided into weekly envelopes for the month. Whatever is leftover can be saved or carried over to the following week. It takes time to master the art of budgeting, but with a little practice, you can shop smarter. Just like training your brain to separate the recycling from the rubbish, you can learn how to be thrifty. It’s all about being mindful, and the comfort of knowing you have a little extra in the bank is priceless.

Stick with us, and you’ll never overpay on your broadband bills again! Start saving today!

 

WRITTEN BY

Zoe Theofilou