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10 easy ways to slash your spending in 2011

With the Budget having left the average family €3,000 worse off, we're all going to have to cut back on our outlay. Here's how...

1 If you are changing your car in 2011 it will almost certainly make more sense to buy a diesel rather than a petrol-engined car.

Not only is diesel, at least 10 cent a litre cheaper than petrol, it is also much more economical. In addition, diesel-engined cars registered after the start of 2008 qualify for the new low rates of road tax while anyone taking advantage of the Government's scrappage scheme will receive a VRT refund of up to €1,250 in the New Year.

2 Anyone commuting to work should consider getting their employer to pay for a travel season ticket. Money spent in this way is not counted as income for tax purposes, saving workers up to 41pc income tax, 7pc universal social charge and 4pc PRSI.

3 Does your family really need a second car? With the AA estimating the cost of running even a small car at €130 per week, a second car is almost certainly an unaffordable luxury for many.

4 Switch gas and electric-ity suppliers. By the end of 2010, 21pc of customers had changed their electricity supplier.

The savings from switching gas and electricity supplier can be significant, in some cases up to 20pc.

5Be absolutely ruthless when shopping. Learn to play the supermarkets off against one another. Special offers and promotions, particularly for non-perishable items such as detergents can save you serious bobs.

However, you should resist the temptation to buy lots of perishable items on special offer, even if the price seems to be very low.

If you do you will almost certainly end up throwing most of them out.

6 Are you on the right broadband/fixed line and mobile phone bundles?

I'm still amazed at the number of people who haven't a clue whether or not they are on the right phone bundles.

By switching from the wrong bundle to the right one you can save a fortune.

7 Do more of your shopping online. Are you still one of those people who insists on trudging out to the shopping centre to do your shopping?

Before you do you should first check the online prices. In many cases you can secure serious reductions.

8 Do your Christmas shopping in the sales. If you have the money to spare, now is the time to do most of your Christmas 2011 shopping.

With most retailers up to their oxters in unsold stock, there is incredible value. This represents the perfect opportunity to do your Christmas 2011 shopping on the cheap.

9 Draw up a budget and stick to it. A lot of people still spend whatever money they have. With cash tight, that's a very, very bad idea. Instead you should look at how much you earn, calculate what your regular bills and then work out how much you have left over. That is how much you can afford to spend. Set yourself a spending limit and stick to it. If you do you'll be amazed how much you save.

10 Tear up your credit card. That little flexible piece of plastic is not your friend. By running unpaid credit balances you are effectively borrowing money at more than 18pc. Bad move. If you don't want to lug around large amounts of cash when paying for expensive items, use your debit card instead.