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The money doctor's top 100 ways to save your cash in 2021

It's January and we are all feeling the pinch. But with a bit of help we can cut some costs

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There are many useful ways to save money. (stock photo)

There are many useful ways to save money. (stock photo)

There are many useful ways to save money. (stock photo)

Are you having trouble making ends meet? Do you run out of money before pay day? Are you extravagant with your money? Do your current financial circumstances require you to do a complete overhaul on your lifestyle and spending? What are the areas that will allow economies in your spending?

Almost every item of expenditure should be queried - do you really need it and if so, are there better or cheaper alternatives?

Many of the following tips are practical and easily implementable. Some you will know or have heard before but they will give you the impetus to focus on your own finances to start saving money now when it really matters.

Financial

1. PLAN A YEARLY HOUSEHOLD BUDGET

Add all your yearly household bills and divide by 12. That figure is the amount you need to put away each month to meet those bills just to run the home. Any capital or 'luxury' spending must be found outside of this annual budget. You could also adopt a monthly budget if preferred but you should in any event put at least two hours every month into planning your finances to ensure you are on track with your spending. Remember, if your expenditure exceeds income, you have three choices - earn more, cut costs or prioritise. You should in any event query EVERY item of expenditure - ask yourself, do you need it and is there a better or cheaper alternative. Email me for a simple easy to use and understand free budget planner spreadsheet.

2. THINK SMART WITH SURPLUS CASH

Do not leave surplus money in your current account or low interest-bearing accounts. At least transfer it into your bank's best deposit account and when you need funds to meet commitments, transfer money over a couple of days before due. Best demand account currently in Ireland is 0.15pc, net 0.1005pc after 33pc DIRT tax! Some savers are preferring to invest in NTMA's Prize Bonds rather than leave money in current or deposit accounts. You only have to wait the first three months and then give seven days' notice to withdraw it all - but you could win!

3. CHECK YOUR BANK CHARGES ON A REGULAR BASIS AND CUT DOWN YOUR BANKING BILLS

There are too many cases of overcharging from all the banks to accept that your bank is not one of them. Sometimes, these charges can be waived at the discretion of the manager - but if you don't ask, there'll be no waiving. Try to avoid exceeding your overdraft permission if you have an overdraft. The surcharges and fees are punitive. You should also operate online bank accounts - better deals, easier to operate and no waiting in queues, plus you save on time and travel expense. Check out An Post Money's Smart Account, BillPay or www.mybills.ie and for current account comparisons, log on to www.ccpc.ie/consumers/money-tools/current-account-comparison.

4. CHECK YOUR MORTGAGE AND LOAN INTEREST RATES

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Sometimes we go to great lengths at the initial stages of obtaining a mortgage or loan to getting the best interest rate. Once taken out, there is a tendency to overlook the maintenance of that loan. You could very easily find out that your lender's original rate or current advertised interest rate bears no resemblance to your own. This is also a time to check if you are currently on a variable rate, you should go fixed and also if your lender is uncompetitive, to see whether you should switch to another lender. The best mortgage interest rate at the time of going to press is Avant Money's seven-year fixed rate of 1.95pc.

5. AVAIL OF YOUR ANNUAL CAPITAL GAINS TAX (CGT) EXEMPTIONS

The first €1,270 of chargeable gains to an individual arising from the disposal of a capital asset (e.g. shares) is exempt. This is allowable for each tax year but is not transferable between spouses. The rate payable on CGT is 33pc over the threshold. For Capital Acquisition Taxes (CAT), remember the threshold from parent to child (Group A of three groups) is currently €335,000 for each child. The tax rate for CAT is also 33pc over the thresholds.

6. CHECK YOUR LIFE AND HEALTH COVER

You could be over-insured. Do a review on all your insurances. Are you getting the best value? What happens if you or your spouse die or become permanently incapacitated? If you took out life cover (with home mortgages it is mandatory) you may have been a smoker at the time. Once you are smoke-free for 12 months, you could save yourself over 50pc of the annual premiums. It's worth checking out.

7. HEALTH INSURANCE COMPARISON

With only three health insurers in Ireland (VHI, Laya Healthcare & Irish Life Health), it is really important you continually update yourself on the best deal for you and your family. The Health Insurance Authority does an excellent comparison of all three and updates it - check out www.hia.ie

8. CHECK YOUR GENERAL INSURANCES

Check both your home buildings and contents policies. Is your cover competitive? If you have commercial or residential investment property insurance, is that competitive? Do you require any special risk insurance that you 'risked' being without to date - you may not be so 'lucky' next year. Public liability, professional indemnity, PC hacker - virus insurance, even insuring for that round of drinks after a hole-in-one.

9. AVAIL OF ANY EXEMPTIONS ON INCOME TAX LIABILITY PLUS CLAIM ANY TAX RELIEFS AND ALLOWANCE ENTITLEMENTS UP TO LAST FOUR YEARS

This includes medical expenses, pension relief, EIIS schemes etc). Text MONEYDOCTOR to 53131 (a link to taxback.com) and start the tax refund process (normal SMS rates apply). You may be unwittingly exempt from paying income tax (e.g. an Irish resident artist producing originals that have cultural and artistic merit, income from woodlands, etc). You should also ensure, if self-employed and your partner is working in the business, that the full entitlement of income tax exemptions is taken up by the partner. In other words, pay her/him her/his dues tax free.

10. PRIVATE COLLEGE FEES

Tax relief at the standard rate is available for approved courses undertaken by a taxpayer or dependants in approved private colleges. The courses must be full-time undergraduate courses of at least two years duration. Also, postgraduate courses of between one and four years' duration in public colleges and approved private colleges now attract similar tax relief.

11. HELP YOUR PARENTS OR BE HELPED BY YOUR CHILDREN

Covenants are also still popular with tax relief available for the donor - you. To qualify for tax relief the payments must be capable of lasting for at least six years while the recipient has to have unused tax credits to make the covenant work. If a person is over 65, their son or daughter can pay them up to 5pc of their income under a deed of covenant and the son or daughter will get tax relief on the amount paid. The covenant must be legally documented in order for the person making the payment to receive the tax benefits. Tax at the standard rate (20pc) must be deducted and only the net amount paid over. For example, if a daughter gives her mother €1,000 a year, she makes out a covenant and pays €800 to the parent. The mother then gets the other €200 by way of a tax rebate from Revenue while the daughter also gets tax relief of €200. The net cost to the daughter is €600, while her mother gets the benefit of €1,000. The Revenue regards the €1,000 as the mother's. The daughter has already paid €400 in tax (40pc) on the €1,000 and the tax is now being returned. Effectively €200 goes back to the daughter and €200 to the mother. The person making the covenant should get tax form R185 from his or her local tax office and submit.

12. THINK PENSIONS

If you are self-employed, a 5pc equity holding director or perhaps in an occupational pension scheme where pension holders can make further payments through an Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC), you should review your pension requirements. Age thresholds still apply - e.g. at 50 years old, you can invest 30pc of your net relevant earnings into a pension plan - while for every euro you invest in the fund, you will save tax at your marginal rate depending on the type of pension. Just remember, if you were retiring now, ask yourself could you live off the €248.30 per week from the State pension? More than half the current working population have nothing to look forward to but the State pension on retirement. In 2019, for every person retiring there were five workers while in 2050 with three times the numbers retiring then there will only be two workers. Think about it. The incentives are still there to start. Apart from the tax relief on premiums, all growth in the fund is tax free plus 25pc of the fund can be taken on retirement by way of a tax free lump sum (now capped at €200,000 tax free but any excess is taxed at only 20pc). Still worth it.

13. ARFs (Approved Retirement Funds) & AMRFs

Recent changes in the pension laws now allow you to decide what you want to do with your retirement fund when you have reached the age of retirement. Up to 1999, the only choice you had was to take out an annuity (a fixed rate deposit account where you receive a monthly interest cheque until you die - a guaranteed income where the rate never changes) with a life insurance company. When you die, however, the capital or fund stays with that life insurance company and your estate loses out. For PRSA and AVC pension holders, that has all changed and that fund can now eventually be passed on to your estate through an Approved Retirement Fund (ARF), introduced in 1999.

Three main conditions apply:

● You must either have minimum €12,700 pension before investing your fund in an ARF.

● If you do not have a pension, you must put €63,500 of your fund into an Approved Minimum Retirement Fund (AMRF) until age 75 or you produce that minimum pension (the current State pension is €12,900 per annum).

● You then must withdraw 4pc annually over 60 years of age (5pc at 71 years of age but 6pc if over a €2m fund) of the ARF each year - called imputed distribution.

It is also hugely important to have growth in this fund otherwise you will run out of money. Contact your regulated authorised financial adviser or your preferred pension provider for further details.

14. OPERATE A CHARGE CARD OR A PREPAID CARD, NOT A CREDIT CARD

You are probably aware that credit card balances are normally charged between 9pc and 24pc depending on the credit card company. By switching to a charge card (e.g. American Express) you must pay your balance when you receive your statement or it is debited to your bank current account. Another option is prepaid cards (e.g. Revolut, N26) where you can only spend what you lodge into the card. An Post Money's Smart account should not be overlooked either.

15. THINK ABOUT OTHER FORMS OF INVESTMENT

For instance, gold, rock 'n' roll memorabilia, philately or forestry investment? Ireland is the least afforested country in the EU with forest cover of 9pc as compared with the EU average of 31pc. The Irish climate is the most ideal in the Northern Hemisphere for tree-growing due to our mild wet climate and trees grow three times faster here than other parts of Europe. Timber products are also the second largest import into the EU after oil. The EU and the Irish Government promote forestry through grants and premia payments. They are keen to reduce agricultural output of which there is a surplus in the EU and substitute it with timber producing forests for which there is a growing internal EU shortage.

16. REVIEW YOUR INVESTMENTS MONTHLY

Products are launched every week and you should be wary of their performance on a regular basis. Rates change, some investments go out of favour - you have to be vigilant. If there is a better rate or greater potential, do not be afraid to move. It is better in your pocket.

17. CLAIM ALL YOUR TAX RELIEFS ON RESIDENTIAL INVESTMENT PROPERTIES

These include:

● 100pc of annual mortgage interest paid.

● Maintenance & repair costs.

● Services charges (including buildings/ block insurance).

● Property management charges.

● Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) fees.

● 12.5pc of furnishings costs for each of the first eight years after purchase (receipts must be maintained).

● Local Property Tax may soon be offset against tax liability on your rental income - at least it was promised but there's still no sign so far.

18. WORKING FROM HOME

The pandemic has seen a huge number of workers switch from their offices to their homes. Normally, the self-employed would be aware of the ability to reclaim partial costs by working from home, e.g. electricity, heat and telecoms. This should apply to the new home-workers too.

19. SAVE YOUR MONEY

You should always have between three and six months' net annual income in a Rainy Day Fund for three reasons:

● Emergencies (your car breaks down).

● Sudden loss of income (a partner loses their job).

● Investment opportunities (buying a rare Arabian oil lamp).

20. RENT A ROOM RELIEF

Renting a room in your home is tax free up to a limit of €14,000 per year - no expenses may be deducted and it is not available between connected parties. One bedroom apartments do not comply!

21. EDUCATE YOURSELF

There is no excuse not to better inform yourself on any financial issue under the sun. Seminars, webinars, the printed works, consultations and good old Google - when it comes to financial information, you are not alone.

FOOD, DRINK & HOUSEHOLD ITEMS

22. Always shop with a pre-written grocery list

Stick to what is on the list. Men in particular are disastrous for impulse buying.

23. Check to see what you need before writing a shopping list

Many shoppers buy items they already have in stock.

24. Create a daily list for updating

If you run short of tea, washing-up liquid, kitchen towels, these can be added to your main shopping list.

25. Look for special sale announcements in your store, newspapers, radio and television

It may be worth your while buying a month's supply of an item you would normally buy if you can avail of a huge discount.

26. Shop only once a month for your non-perishables

This means you have to plan for the full month and should not overspend by additional visits to your local convenience store.

27. Keep your shopping receipts

You should track your spending and compare prices. A little black book might be just the job, or better still avail of the free Money Doctors app to track your precise spending habits. It is available for iPhones and android. Go to your app store, type in 'Money Doctors' and download.

28. Shop at discount stores

This should not mean that you ignore generic products in the main supermarkets. Tesco, Dunnes, Supervalu, Centra & Spar stores, Lidl and Aldi all produce their own generic goods at considerably cheaper prices than the brand names. Input all your loyalty cards on one app - Stocard. It's free and saves you having to carry around all those cards.

29. Buy direct when you can

All vegetables and fruit come from the land. If you have access to a local farm, buy directly. Apart from saving money, you will benefit from the fresh produce.

30. Grow your own

If you have a garden or a plot, try growing a few vegetables, or you could try growing your tomatoes in your house.

31. Buy in bulk

Economies of scale apply, in particular to non-perishables (tins of beans) and toiletries (24-roll tissue packs). You will need to analyse your consumption to evaluate your bulk needs.

32. Don't buy in bulk unnecessarily

A half-ton of nails at a rock-bottom price might be fine if you are a carpenter. Special offers such as '3 for the price of 2' might not suit your palate.

33. Use vouchers and cut outs

You will be amazed how all those little discounts add up to big savings on your shopping bill; there is no shame in availing of these offers. You may even have a discount offer on the back of your shopping receipt. Watch out too for 'double coupon' days. Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.

34. Avail of in-store discounts and special offers

Simply by visiting your local store, you might come across a 'loss leader' that you might have on your shopping list.

35. Shop online

This can be cheaper because impulse buys no longer apply. Delivery charges are negated by the cost of travelling to your supermarket and parking. Not to mention the obligatory latté. Check out all the supermarkets (including M&S) plus coopsuperstores.ie, grocerys.ie (Indian), coeliac.ie and goodfoodireland.ie. Also try the Buymie app.

36. Try online discount websites

Before you shop, you should spend a few minutes checking out some of the discount websites for economies, not just on food - www.donedeal.ie, www.groupon.ie

37. Check the expiry date on all your purchases

There's no point in arriving home with out-of-date food fit only for the bin. The same goes with food in stock - ensure that you consume foods that have been stored the longest and, of course, that are still safe to eat.

38. Avoid buying at the checkout

And never ask for cashback. You are bombarded with offers of chocolates, batteries, magazines, etc, as you wait to pay in the store's last-ditch attempt to lure money from your wallet. Resist the temptation. Receiving cashback only increases the cost of your purchases as the cash is soon frittered away.

39. Take your own bags to the store

There is a 22-cent charge for every bag bought at the checkout used to carry your purchases. You could kill two birds with the one stone by buying only bio-degradable and environmentally-friendly bags.

40. Buy food with balance in mind

Food and drink should be based on a balanced diet. Eating pizzas and drinking cola seven days a week is not going to do a whole lot of good for your diet. Plan your meals to reflect this balance.

41. Avoid snacks after shopping

You have been shopping for an hour and you go to the store café for a coffee and a sit down. Instead, go home and put the kettle on.

42. Don't buy on an empty stomach

You often end up buying food simply because you are hungry.

43. Take your own lunch to work

Prepare your own roll or baguette and refill your water bottle, so long as the water is fit to drink from the taps. Water will soon be scarce, so use it wisely - never run the tap while washing or while brushing your teeth.

CARS & FUEL

44. Review your car

Does it need replacing? Could you upgrade the model for efficiency purposes (e.g. currently achieving 25 miles per gallon/ 40 kilometres per 4.55 litres. If you were to change, buy a car doing 35 miles per gallon, you would save 40pc on fuel costs )

45. Change your car to an electric model

Apart from the environmental support through reduced carbon emissions, you could save hundreds of euro by such a change. Budget 2019 introduced the abolition of Benefit In Kind (BIK) up to a maximum of €50,000 on all fully-electric company cars. You could pay 30pc in BIK otherwise .

46. Avoid company cars

In about 80pc of cases and outside of all electric cars, it does not pay to maintain a company car. Benefit in Kind (BIK) on company cars is prohibitive - 30pc of the value of the car when first purchased, e.g. a Toyota Avensis, diesel version, at €25,520 means for as long as you have this company car you will pay BIK each and every year of €7,656 or €638 per month irrespective of the falling value through depreciation. It makes more sense to take mileage expenses at €0.6348 per mile.

47. Buy a classic or vintage car

Buy a car over 20 years old and 30 years respectively. Apart from the style, it would be cheaper to buy, and if you deem this car a company vehicle, the tax payable will be based on the value of the car at the time of purchase. Plus they are cheaper to insure while there is minimal car tax payable.

48. Reduce your dependency on car fuel #1

Pool your car and share it with others going the same way or working at the same place.

49. Reduce your dependency on car fuel #2

Charge your colleagues a fuel-sharing fee should they have no car and wish you to drive them to work each day.

50. Reduce your dependency on car fuel #3

Keep your car in top trim by regular car servicing, keeping the correct pressure in your tyres, driving under the speed limit, driving smoothly, and carrying no unnecessary weight inside the car.

51. Check your tyres for wear

New tyres will be more efficient than the worn tyres that currently adorn your car. Over two years old, and under normal annual mileage, your car could be a death trap anyway. Review those tyres!

52. Shop around for fuel

Take a note of your local stations and their fuel prices. Sometimes, to grab greater market share, stations will run a discount campaign to drive custom through their business. Look out for fuel discount cards.

53. Reduce your dependency on cars #1

If you are a two-car family, review the need for the second car. Work out the practicalities. Would public transport - which is improving all the time - be more appropriate?

54. Reduce your dependency on cars #2

Would the purchase of a bicycle be practical? Apart from the obvious exercise angle, the humble bike costs nothing to run and there are even tax breaks for employers to provide same for their staff with the July Stimulus 2020 increasing the tax break for electric bikes up to €1,500.

55. Think electric cars

Hybrid cars are already with us, but the future car will be an all-electric model. In fact from 2030, you will not be able to buy a petrol or diesel car. Electric cars are already capable of reaching 150kph and have a range of about 310-plus miles. They will only improve year-on-year.

56. Car loans are deterrents

If you are a person who changes your car every three years and just renews the existing (and expensive) car loan at that point, try saving over a three-year period so you do not need that car loan. Personal Contract Plans (PCPs) lure you into a never-ending loan.

57. Car loans

Shop around if you must take out a car loan. Ensure you read the small print. Some car manufacturers offer 0pc finance to buy their cars. Expect to be charged between 6.5pc (from some credit unions or if you have a really solid relationship with your bank) and 15pc depending on the institution you approach. Avoid moneylenders like the plague.

58. Walk

It's good for the body, pocket and for reducing your dependence on cars

59. Use public transport

It's great and actually much more economical than maintaining your own car.

60. Home oil

Shop around through the various home heating companies looking for economies. Paying upfront for the year's oil requirements may reap dividends.

61. Home heating

For every degree you turn your thermostat down, you can save as much as 1pc to 3pc of the actual cost. Remember to switch off the heating when away - even for weekends, and especially at the onset of summer.

62. Boiler

If your boiler is more than 10 years old, you could consider replacing it with a new condenser boiler - this has more efficient use of energy and should repay installation costs within two years.

63. Insulate your house and your pipes

You will save hundreds of euro through limiting your heat loss.

64. Avail of energy grants for improving the efficiency of your home

There are a number available, check out www.seai.ie/grants Retrofitting is the new buzzword and grants galore plus cheap loans are available (e.g. An Post Money - Green Hub)

LIFESTYLE & MISCELLANEOUS NEEDS

65. Brush up the CV - keep your resumé updated

You will never know the day when you may be looking for a job. The most recession-proof employments can be found in education, healthcare, environment, energy and security. If you are not in these industries, you should brush up your skills, go to night classes or take online courses. Whatever you do, don't stay in a sector that is in decline.

66. Buy cloth napkins and nappies, and stick to your annual clothes budget

Limit your spending on clothes to a budget rather than impulse buying for that special party.

67. Look after your clothes

Change into casual clothing after work. Hang up everything rather than leave on the floor or throw on a chair.

68. Use charity shops

There is no shame in buying clothes from these outlets as firstly you are helping the charity but secondly the clothes, often with designer labels, are far cheaper than buying new.

69. Sell on eBay

Watch out for special offers throughout the year e.g. 50pc off normal advertisement placements. Great for selling unwanted clothes, electrical and electronic goods, concert tickets, etc.

70. Buy generic medication

You will always find brand name medicine is more expensive. Ask your doctor to prescribe generic medicine.

71. Visit your library

All your magazines, movies and books are there and they are free. Soon you will be able to order online and just collect. The good news for authors is royalties are now being paid, albeit minuscule, when books are taken out. You could even read newspapers online.

72. Review your club memberships

If you enjoy memberships, ensure you are getting value - could there be a better deal across town, or in a nearby town? Monitor your weight and fitness. The same applies to golf clubs, or any sporting or social membership. If you are not using it, cut it out.

73. Entertain at home

Game nights, movie nights, music soirées. As entertainment outside the home becomes more expensive, the simpler life beckons but it can also be much more fun and much more social.

74. Plan your annual gifts

Family birthdays and Christmas presents, special friends' gifts. You know you will have to buy, but why wait until the week before Christmas to buy - the most expensive week of the year?

75. Review your cable & telecoms

Do you really need the movie channels and if you are a golf buff, are you really going to spend that much time on Sky Sports and BT Sports, let alone the Golf Channel?

76. Get free calls

Try Skype (www.skype.com) especially if you have to make calls from your laptop/PC outside of the country. With over 310 million subscribers and 15 million online at one time, the savings are very significant (Skype to Skype calls are free while Skype to landlines cost 0.017c per minute). If you have chatterbox children, block all outgoing mobile calls - the saving could be significant. You should also always check your telecom bill and review the top 10 most called and top 10 most expensive - it can be very revealing.WhatsApp and FaceTime are equally efficient and are free as is the less-used Viber.

77. Shop around for broadband

Check with ComReg's web site (www.comreg.ie) Shop around also for your broadband. This site gives you all the broadband operators and various costs associated. The eurotariff legislation on roaming charges may make it cheaper to phone home than send a text message (which is not covered under the current legislation).

78. Shop around for handsets

Mobile phones incorporating mp3 players, internet, email, camera, video and radio are becoming cheaper and more sophisticated by the year. Some of the electronic equipment you now have is either out of date or incorporated in new gizmos. Sell it. Also use rechargeable batteries - even placing batteries in a fridge will prolong their life.

79. Social networking

Use these websites to your best advantage. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram. Putting your name in front of millions can reap dividends whatever your purpose.

80. Friends' holiday homes

You may find that your friends are under financial pressure and would welcome offers at a discount to rent their foreign holiday homes. A win-win situation for them and you.

81. Do your own jobs

Garden jobs and work around the house will tone your muscles, get you fitter, plus your garden will positively bloom - not to mention attracting the admiring glances from your neighbours.

82. Take fewer haircuts

Instead of every six weeks, make it every 10 weeks. Better still, cut your own hair or ask a friend to do it. Don't wait for pandemics to grow your hair.

83. Garage sale

Rather than storing, hoarding or dumping your prized possessions, sell them from your garage or car boot.

84. Wheelie bins

Only leave out your respective bins (general refuse, green and brown bins) when they are completely full. Collection charges apply irrespective of weight if you leave the bins out.

85. Enter competitions

Scratch cards and competitions in newspapers, magazines, on radio and on TV - someone has to win and it could be you. Remember, if you're not in, you can't win it!

REDUCE YOUR ELECTRICITY & HEATING BILLS

86. Review your gas/electricity utility provider

Since the successful Big Switch campaign in 2009 from Bord Gáis Energy, competition has been intense. Electric Ireland came back onto the field (they had to wait until 40pc of their business had migrated to other providers before being allowed back in the game) and with Airtricity, Energia and Flogas, the consumer now has choice. Keep checking and install a meter - pinergy.ie and prepaypower.ie are the two main pre-paid electricity suppliers.

87. Changing your bulbs to CFLs

This will save you up to 20pc of your annual bills. They may not look as pretty, but they will put money back in your pocket.

88. Only use washing machines and dishwashers with full loads

Like your dustbin, it will pay you to optimise the load.

89. Never have the immersion on with your central heating

The immersion should only be used during the summer or when you do not need your central heating. The immersion is like a kettle - it should be switched off when you have heated the water you need.

90. Turn your thermostat down

Reduce by 1° and you will save 10pc of your annual heating bill.

91. Use timers, night timers and dimmers

Also leave those washing loads for the night time. Heavy sleepers never hear the din but count the savings Better still, install Bord Gáis Energy's hivehome.ie or similar technology, a system that allows you to control your heating and hot water through an app for your mobile, tablet or PC from anywhere in the world - it's simply brilliant.

92. Use nightlights

Especially in the bathroom. They are efficient and cheap to run.

93. Avoid peak time

Limit your energy usage as much as possible to between 5pm and 7pm.

94. Turn off all lights in rooms that are not being used

Children especially should be encouraged to turn off lights, especially in their own bedrooms when they leave for school on winter mornings. Minimise lighting where you can. Think of using candles - it's more romantic.

95. Watch that kettle

There is no need to put on a full kettle of water when you only want a cup of tea.

96. Take short showers

Taking shorter showers can save a substantial amount of money given the high cost of running electric showers, especially in a house full of teenagers.

97. Ensure your fridge and freezer are full

If you cannot fill it, place jugs of water inside. It is cheaper to run a full freezer than an empty one.

98. Use the clothes line

It is much cheaper than using the expensive tumble-dryer. Only use that tumble dryer off peak and preferably at night-time rates.

99. Switch off all electronic equipment when not in use

Leaving them on 'stand-by' mode uses 20pc of the normal output.

THE FINAL TIP

100. Use a little common sense

With the previous 99 ways of saving or making money, remember there is one word that you need to keep in the back of your mind - balance. Food on the table or a roof over your head is more important than, for instance, maintaining the maximum contributions for your pension to avail of your tax relief.

Being sensible about money includes completing a proper budget so you don't spend what you haven't got, protecting your dependants by protecting yourself, never undertaking a commitment you cannot see your way to fulfilling and not depending on the Government to give you either a job or a pension when you retire - it may not be there.

Finally, enjoy life - we only have one and every day counts.

John Lowe, QFA, APA Debt Mgt, Dip.IoD, Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) & Fellow of the Institute of Bankers (FIB), is founder and managing director of Providence Finance Services Limited trading as Money Doctors, regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and author of the best-selling Money Doctors 2021 (Providence Press) now available for webinars, seminars and consultations: email jlowe@moneydoctors.ie or call Dublin 278 5555. Follow John on Twitter (@themoneydoc) Facebook and LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest.


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