independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

a few old chestnuts to help tighten the purse strings

How to Save 5000

By James O'Donovan

James O'Donovan reckons he can save you €5,000 a year. Who wouldn't want to know how you can do that in times such as these?

The Irish software engineer has a penchant for being penny-wise, and in his new book he tells readers just how he does it.

You'd be wrong to expect any major revelations though. Think common-sense stuff that's well trodden ground of other such personal financial management books and TV programmes. O'Donovan works with the small things such as buying a coffee to the more expensive outlays including buying a house.

The coffee trick – stop forking out for a brew on the way to work and instead bring your own – is a very old chestnut indeed. As is his advice that you should bring your own sandwiches to work.

His suggestions on house buying (not many people doing that these days), is to examine local transport options and whether the house is south-facing (less heating required), so that savings can be made in the longer-term.

Unhelpfully, he points out that he has a tracker mortgage but acknowledges that they're no longer available – so what's the point in mentioning it really if only to rub our noses in it? He tells us that the time will come again when switching mortgage will be an option once more, "so be ready to move to a cheaper mortgage/institution when that time comes to save yourself some money".

It's not really fair to include the €1,000 a year he's saved by having a tracker in the €6,741 he saved in a year though.

Other tips include more run-of-the mill suggestions such as seeking the best value for your home phone, broadband and TV packages, as well as your mobile phone. He even tells us that he decided to stop going to the barbers every four weeks and instead now visits every five weeks to save another few euro. This won't be a book for everyone, but there are plenty for whom it will offer food for thought on how to reduce their household bills at a time when every cent counts.

It may just be a handy guide for anyone who wants to keep very close tabs on their spending.

Available, with free P&P, on www.kennys.ie or by calling 091-709350.

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