How to save money
Since the pandemic, our spending habits have changed – maybe forever – with more people understanding the value of having savings. Whether you’re saving for something special or in case of emergency, it’s a good idea to have some savings stashed away. Regardless of how much you can afford to set aside each month, there are saving hacks available and accessible to everyone.
If you need financial inspiration, on this page you’ll find 71 saving strategies of all shapes and sizes that will help you turn pennies into pounds.
71 money saving tips
We’ve based our 71 money saving tips around three areas: lifestyle habits, budgeting and savings accounts, to cover all the areas where there’s potential to save money each month. Whether you’re trying to save money on a tight budget or you’re managing comfortably but have a specific savings goal, our curated collection of money-saving tips is here to help.
What’s on this page
How to save money
There’s more than one way to save money. That’s why we’re giving you 71 different ways to cut your monthly expenses. It might be a cliché, but it’s true: if you look after the cents, the euros will look after themselves.
Saving money by making lifestyle changes
The first 50 of our savings tips are all about your lifestyle. We explore how your weekly shop, bad habits and even your wardrobe can be adjusted to save money.
1. Shop at cheaper supermarkets
Value supermarkets often offer cheaper fresh and perishable products than more prestigious stores, along with bargains on dry goods, toiletries and homeware.
2. Make sensible swaps
Don’t be a snob when it comes to supermarket own brands. They are commonly made by the same manufacturer as branded goods and can save you several euros per shop.
3. Get rewarded for shopping
By joining the loyalty scheme at your local supermarket or any store you shop at regularly, you’ll enjoy points, coupons and exclusive offers in return that can free up more of your cash to save.
4. Combat world waste & eat well with a reduced price food app
Revolutionary food apps are bringing both cheaper food and a better planet to fruition by inviting you to pay a small amount of money for food boxes containing food that would otherwise be thrown out. Rather than turning to your treasured takeaway or paying for expensive meals out, you could be doing both your wallet and the planet a favour.
5. Buy in bulk
While we’re not encouraging you to hoard, it can sometimes work out cheaper to buy products in bulk. Just make sure you calculate whether or not it is cheaper and if you will use all of the products.
6. Use coupons and vouchers
Available online, in local neighbourhood magazines and sometimes posted directly to you, coupons and vouchers are a great way to shave a few euros from your weekly shop. So that you don’t forget the voucher itself, put it straight in your wallet as soon as you receive it or screenshot the code on your phone.
7. Check the reduced section
Another great way to reduce food waste and cut back on your shopping bill is to check out your supermarket’s reduced section for your essentials. It may also be that something has been damaged in store (e.g. a washing powder box) and is therefore available at a reduced price.
8. Share your subscriptions
We all have that one family member or friend who stays signed in to our streaming services. Why not cut your monthly cost in half by asking them to transfer you half of the charge each month? That way you can both enjoy the service for half of the price.
9. Cancel unnecessary subscriptions
Along the same lines, it’s a good idea to have a subscription service de-clutter, as you might find some ongoing payments you’ve forgotten about for a service you never use. You can usually cancel them by either contacting the service provider or cancelling the direct debit with your bank.
10. Write a shopping list (and don’t forget to take it with you!)
By being organised and only shopping for exactly what you need to make meals during the week, you won’t be tempted to buy unnecessary items during your weekly shop.
11. Don’t shop on an empty stomach
One of the worst things you can do is shop on an empty stomach, without a list. You’ll only be interested in what your stomach – not your kitchen cupboards or your wallet – is saying.
12. Make your own lunch/smoothies/cleaning products
Research from 2015 tells us that Irish people were spending an average of €1,300 per year on lunches – an amount that could be even higher in 2021 thanks to inflation and some shortages. However, if you choose to make your own lunch, you’ll probably find that you’ll spend less than €15 per week.
The same thing can be said for other essentials such as cleaning products – did you know that you can make almost any cleaning solution with white vinegar?
13. Stop smoking
Smoking is an expensive habit, regardless of how often you do it. The average price of a pack of cigarettes is around €14 in Ireland. If you smoke one pack per day, that’s a whopping annual cost of €5,110. Over five years of smoking, you could save €25,550 while improving your health
14. Cut down on drinking
Similar to smoking, drinking can be a costly habit, with the average night out costing over €80. If you were to party every weekend each year, that’s over €4,160 you could have saved – not to mention the health risks you’ll be cutting.
15. Limit your social events
Similarly, social events can also chip away at your savings. Rather than heading straight to an event, it can work out much cheaper to do something fun and free with your friends instead.
16. Use cashback companies
Whether you’re making a large, essential purchase such as a fridge or shopping around for insurance, it can pay off to use cashback companies. The way this works is that the cashback company will receive commission for any purchase you make via their site, which they then share with you. It can take a while for the process to complete, but, depending on what you buy, you can get a good amount of your cash back.
17. Get a cheaper mobile phone deal
If you’re spending more time at home on your WiFi or you’ve been with the same network provider for a while, it might well be worth shopping around for a new mobile deal. You can do this easily online, calling a provider or by going into a mobile phone store. You may also find that your existing provider will match a deal from a competitor so they don’t lose you as a customer.
18. Use pre-owned clothing apps
Rather than splashing the cash on an entirely new wardrobe, you can shop in a more sustainable way (and for a lot less) by using apps – or by going online or visiting second-hand shops.
19. Organise your wardrobe
Having a good clothing reorganisation could mean you find items you’ve forgotten you have. It could also mean that you have lots of pieces to either sell or donate, earning yourself some extra cash in the process.
20. Sell anything you don’t need
From books through to houseplants, you can sell anything that you don’t feel like you need. Social media second-hand stores are great for finding people in your local area in order to save on postage, and some don’t incur fees or take commission. Online auction sites are also good, easy-to-use options.
21. Rent outfits for special occasions
Rather than buying a new dress or suit for every wedding or special event you attend, renting can often be cheaper. You’ll just need to weigh this up against the number of events you’ll be attending and how often you’ll be renting, as opposed to buying outright.
22. Share clothes with friends and family
Even better than renting, you can borrow clothes from a friend or family member who is a similar size. This also applies to shoes, which could cut both your and their costs right down.
23. Weigh in on clothing donations
A lot of companies provide cash in return for clothes, which increases in amount based on how much it weighs. This is great news for those large winter coats you don’t want anymore, along with heavy denim and thick wool items.
24. Shop second hand
Charity shops are a great place to shop for clothes and household items. As well as being incredibly cheap, they often offer a quirk you can’t find anywhere else.
25. Free/cheap parking apps
Parking can be an expensive necessity, especially if you live or work in a city centre. However, there are several apps available that can help you cut costs without compromising the safety of your car.
26. Use hostels/farm stays when travelling
Travel is an experience that many people can’t live without, especially after the restrictions created by the pandemic. However, you can cut the cost of travelling by choosing to holiday with a host family, participate in a house swap or look for bunkhouses and farm stays during your travels. This way, you might even enjoy a more authentic experience and make friends for life.
27. If you’re more of a luxury traveller, sign up to hotel/accomodation newsletters
If you’re more into five stars than freebies, the only way you can save money is by signing up to hotel newsletters and hoping for a last-minute cancellation or discount code. Collecting hotel points and air miles will also save you some cash.
28. See if tourist attractions near you offer ‘locals rates’
Many tourist attractions offer discounted rates for people who live within a certain catchment area or share the same postcode. If you’re looking to stay savings savvy on your next day out, get in touch with an attraction near you to find out.
29. Cycle rather than drive
While you might have to initially invest in a bike for this one, you’ll soon start reaping the rewards in terms of road tax, fuel, insurance and upkeep. You’ll also enjoy the fitness benefits and improve your health.
30. Take advantage of trial periods – but don’t forget to cancel
We’ve all heard the tactic of using multiple emails to take advantage of impressive offers, and trial periods are similar. However, you are often required to input your card details when you sign up, so be sure to cancel before you get charged. A good way to do this is by setting a reminder in your phone or on your calendar.
31. Shop around for the best providers
Everything from your internet to your energy could be cheaper elsewhere. That’s why it’s essential to use comparison sites and contact different companies for quotes. While it may be time consuming, it saves you money in the long run.
32. Before making improvements in your home, check for government grants
Lining your loft with new insulation? Installing new windows throughout your home? There might well be a government grant that can help you with the cost.
33. Seen something you want to buy? Sleep on it
When it comes to online shopping, things can easily spiral out of control due to the ease, accessibility and convenience. Instead of hitting purchase straight away, a good trick is to try sleeping on it. If you’re still thinking about it around a week later, buy it. If not, you never really needed it.
34. Check your workplace benefits & perks
Many workplace schemes offer convenient and cost-cutting services that you might not know about. Have a chat with your employer to see what you might be missing, or what they might be able to help you with.
35. Switch suppliers
By remaining loyal to your suppliers, whether that’s energy, broadband or your mobile phone, you might be missing some good deals. It’s worthwhile shaking things up every now and then to see where you could be saving money, or use a competitor quote to haggle with your existing supplier.
36. Shop around for your insurance
As well as providers of utilities and phone networks, insurance policies and breakdown cover might be more reasonable elsewhere. See if you could save money by using a price comparison website.
37. Give more meaningful gifts
Birthdays and special occasions can drain your bank account when it comes to gifts. If you’re trying to save money, you could try something original and authentic from the heart, rather than trying to impress with a big price tag.
38. Charge interest on late payments
If you freelance or are self employed, chasing up invoices can be time-consuming and frustrating. A good way to make some extra money out of negligent clients is to implement an interest charge on any late payments. That way, your clients will be more inclined to pay you on time and if not, they’ll have to pay extra.
39. Remortgage to avoid ‘loyalty’ penalties
Many banks and mortgage lenders charge a ‘loyalty penalty’ to people who stick with the same deal after their fixed term expires, making it essential to shop around for a cheaper deal based on your term.
40. Implement a no-spend day
In an age where we have our digital cash at our fingertips, it’s very easy to spend every day and go over budget. However, if you implement a strict no-spend day once a week, you’ll soon stack up savings.
41. Earn more than you spend
A good habit to get into is to focus on earning more than you spend. That way you’ll never be left in a tricky financial spot and will probably have left over income to use each month. You can work out how much you earn vs. how much you spend each month with our easy budget planner.
42. Be tactical about shopping online
If you have an account with an online retailer, try leaving items in your basket for 48 hours or more. Chances are that the retailer will send you a discount code to close the sale.
43. Rent or holiday-let your spare room
If you want to earn extra income with little effort, you could rent out your spare room, providing you have enough space and can cope with someone else living in your home.
44. Remove your card from instant payment like Apple Pay
Many of us now enjoy easy spending thanks to services such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and contactless. However, this can lead to overspending quite easily if you often give in to temptation. When trying to save, you could remove your card from your Apple Wallet (or similar), and avoid taking your contactless card out with you.
45. Turn off electrical appliances when not in use
Being savings-savvy around the home will free up some income over time and allow you to save. Even simple tricks like turning appliances off at the wall when they’re not in use will save a little on your energy bills.
46. Put on an extra layer
Don’t rely on your heating as soon as the temperature drops by one degree. Reach for a jumper instead and you’ll thank yourself when you get your bill later.
47. Have cold showers in the summer
During the hotter months of the year, you can save some pennies by opting for a cool shower over a hot one. Many people even find it much more refreshing and invigorating in the heat.
48. Invest in solar
While the initial outlay of investing in solar might be high, you’ll reap the rewards in free energy. With many organisations looking to champion sustainability, it may even be the case that you can get a grant for your investment. Contact your local authority to find out more.
49. Invest in a log burner
Similar to solar, a log burner will allow you to cut down on your gas bills throughout the winter, but it will require logs. Weigh up the cost differences and ensure you buy wood from FSC-certified sources.
50. Make sacrifices where you can
A lot of saving comes down to common sense and self-control. There are some sacrifices that can be made which may seem difficult at first, but just require a period of adjustment. For example, by avoiding buying your Friday night bottle of wine, you’ll be saving around €10 per week, which is €520 a year.
Saving money with the right savings account
When it comes to saving money, especially if you’re trying to save money on a tight budget, organisation is key. The next 25 savings tips explore how planning to perfection and a little research on the best savings account for you can mean your spare cash piles up.
51. Schedule a regular financial admin day
A regular financial admin day gives you the time you need to review your finances and get things in order. It will also help prevent any unwarranted spending if you have a clear figure in mind. If you’re self-employed, this is also a good time to update your income records and ensure you’re ready for the next date in your self-assessment calendar.
52. Set out your budget
Having a good budget plan is non-negotiable for savers. In short, your budget plan should be your bible in terms of expenses, income, the amount you are able to spend, savings expectations and details of any debts you have.
53. Fix your current finances
You won’t be in a good position to save if your finances are a mess. Catch up with your credit cards, make details of your income after all of your household expenses and see what you can realistically save based on your budget plan.
54. Pay off any debt
Based on interest you’re likely accruing from credit card debt and loans, it will often work out more beneficial for you to pay off your debt before you start to save. This is because you might end up having to eventually use your savings to pay off your debt anyway, so it’s better to start with a clean slate.
55. Set savings goals
Having clear goals can help you stay motivated when you start to see your euros grow. If you don’t have a goal, it’s easy to become demotivated and end up spending your savings pot. On the other hand, if you are saving for the trip of a lifetime or a deposit for a house, you can have a clear, set amount that you want to reach and a real reason to get there.
56. Use online banking
While you don’t want your savings to become an obsession, it can be motivating to regularly check the amount in your savings account. Using online banking will not only allow you to do this quickly and easily, but will also enable you to transfer money directly into your savings account without leaving the house, making saving even easier.
57. Be aware of your online safety
In an age where hackers and scammers are only becoming more sophisticated, online safety is paramount. Ensure that you’re doing all you can by browsing in incognito mode, checking the URLs of each site you visit and never clicking on links in suspicious emails. After all, you don’t want to lose your hard-earned savings to cyber criminals.
58. Use budgeting apps
There’s a vast selection of budgeting apps available, with each one offering a different service to help you save. For example, there are apps that find wasteful subscriptions, and ones that automatically accumulate your spare change by rounding your transactions up and saving the difference.
59. Make a rainy day fund your priority
If we’ve all learned anything from the financial fallout of the pandemic, it’s that you really do need to be prepared for anything. That’s why, unless you have a more pressing savings goal, it’s always best to start with a rainy day fund. The aim of a rainy day fund is to cover your expenses should the worst happen, such as an injury or job loss. For that reason, most experts recommend saving enough to cover three to six months of bills and outgoings.
60. Pay in on payday
By automatically paying into your savings account on every payday, you’ll ensure that your savings are prioritised and that you are immediately used to coping without your monthly savings amount. It will also prevent you from splurging on an unnecessary purchase.
61. Start small if you’re saving on a tight budget
While saving might seem impossible for those on a smaller budget, it can be done. Certain types of savings accounts allow you to start saving with just €1, and have a small monthly deposit requirement so you can save at your own pace.
62. Take the 50/30/20 approach
A manageable approach to saving, the 50/30/20 approach suggests that every time you get paid, 50% should go on living expenses, 30% on fun things you want to do or buy, and the final 20% on savings. This will allow you to both have fun and save without compromising on your lifestyle.
63. See a financial advisor
If you have a lump sum or you’ve recently come into money, you might understandably feel overwhelmed at the sheer range of options available to you. It might be an idea to visit a financial advisor, who will be able to recommend the right financial products for you based on your savings goals.
64. Adapt your approach when your circumstances change
Some things in life can’t be planned for, such as your car breaking down or your washing machine needing to be replaced. In these circumstances, don’t feel bad about adjusting your savings so you’re not going short on essentials. Conversely, if your income goes up, you should adjust your savings to put a little extra away each month.
65. Keep a loose change jar
A savings tip as old as time itself, throwing all of your loose change into a jar can give you a surprisingly big amount when you come to empty it. You could also have fun with family and friends, implementing ‘charges’ around the house – like a swear jar – to encourage a joint savings pot.
66. Compare savings accounts online
Savings accounts are just like any other product, each subject to their own terms and offering their own perks, and should therefore be compared carefully before you commit. You can easily compare savings accounts online to ensure that you find the right one for you.
67. Don’t always stick with high street banks
While high street banks are the most well-known, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they offer the best rates or customer service. In fact, relatively new challenger banks have recently scored higher in terms of customer satisfaction and can even offer higher interest rates.
68. Don’t expect overnight success
When you open a savings account with the intention of growing your money, you’ll often be in it for the long haul. It’s important to be realistic about how long it takes to save and avoid putting any undue pressure on yourself.
69. Plan ahead for Christmas
Christmas is an expensive time of year and can often leave you struggling throughout January. However, this doesn’t have to be the case if you can start saving early enough. For example, if you start saving for Christmas by putting away just €100 a month from January, you’ll have €1,200 to spend on your loved ones in time for Christmas.
70. Use a spend-what-you-load service
If you’re really worried about your self control when it comes to saving, you could use prepaid cards for your shopping and groceries. That way, you’ll have a set limit that you’ll be physically unable to exceed.
71. Opt for a savings account that won’t let you withdraw money
If you don’t need to access your cash and might be tempted to make withdrawals from your savings account if you can, you might want to look into no access savings accounts. This type of savings account locks your money away for a specific period of time, normally six months to five years, and typically offers competitive rates of interest because of this restriction. This could be a great choice if you feel you lack the self control to save but have enough income to do it. Examples of this type of account include deposit accounts.