The cost of living crisis is getting worse. With many of us struggling with price pressures in the summer, there are major concerns about what we may face in the winter. Irish inflation is now at a record high of almost 10 per cent. The larger and earlier budget will help – but its measures will only go so far.
So now is the time to take action to limit the impact of the rising cost of living. That’s how it’s done.
As the European Central Bank begins raising interest rates this month, many monthly mortgage bills are set to rise soon.
“If you have a mortgage and you’re not in arrears, you should seriously consider fixing your mortgage,” said Michael Laffey, a spokesman for the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS).
Though a number of lenders have hiked their fixed rates in recent months, locking in now can still save you a lot of money in the long run — with a series of rate hikes coming up. Fixing your mortgage for seven or ten years now might be a good move.
2 Get a cheaper mortgage
Get the lowest mortgage rate you’re entitled to — whether you fix your mortgage or not. You may be entitled to a lower interest rate than you currently have if the value of your home has increased since you first took out your mortgage, as lower interest rates are generally reserved for people with low loan-to-value ratios (LTV – the percentage of the home price borrowed). You’ll need to have your home appraised to prove to the bank that your current LTV qualifies you for a lower interest rate – but the long-term savings will be worth it.
3 Shop where there is a price freeze
Boots Ireland recently pledged to freeze the price of 1,300 of its own-brand products until at least the end of the year. Essentials such as toothpaste, diapers and shampoo are covered, as are beauty, wellness and dental products.
While a number of UK supermarkets, including Asda and Sainsbury’s (both of which have branches in Northern Ireland), have committed to price freezes on a number of their products, none of the major Irish supermarkets have done so.
A price freeze is no guarantee that one outlet will be cheaper than another, so always compare prices first.
4 Buy private label
A branded product could cost twice as much or more than a supermarket store brand. For example, a 1kg bag of Dunnes Stores own brand caster sugar cost €1 in store earlier this month; a 1kg bag of Siúcra powdered sugar cost €2.59. A pack of 80 own-brand antiseptic wipes cost €1 in Dunnes stores – you could pay three times as much for a smaller pack of Dettol wipes.
According to a spokeswoman for the supermarket, Supervalu’s own-brand products are up to 33 percent cheaper than the better-known brands.
Most other supermarkets (including Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and Centra) have their own brand products. Many have recently expanded their private label range as well.
5 Buy in bulk
Buying perishable goods in bulk can often save you money over time. For example, a box of 12 100g sachets of Whiskas cat food cost €6.35 in Dunnes stores earlier this month – which is around 53p a sachet. A box of 40 identical sachets cost €15.99 – or about 40 cents each. Always check the price per item before deciding if the larger box is cheaper.
6 Cut out non-essentials
Skip luxury spending (e.g. vacations, dining out, entertainment, confectionery and alcohol) or get back in. “Now is the time to do this before September begins [as September is a pricey month]’ said Jonathan Sheahan, Managing Director of Compass Private Wealth.
7 Grab Grocery Stores
Make the most of supermarket promotions and offers – such as B. the discount vouchers available through Tesco Clubcard, Dunnes Stores’ Valueclub and SuperValu’s Real Rewards; Aldi’s ‘Super 6’ offerings; Aldi’s “Saver”; Lidl’s Big Brand Super Savers; Supervalu 3 for €10 meat offers and Tesco Aldi Price Match.
8 Send regular meter readings
“If you don’t submit regular meter readers, you’ll get estimated bills from your supplier – which can be higher than they need to be,” said Eoin Clarke, commercial director of price comparison site switcher.ie.
By submitting a gas or electricity meter reading before you issue your bill, you ensure that your bills are correct and that you only pay for the energy that you have used.
It will also help prevent a scenario where you are hit with a shock bill because your bills have been underestimated.
Electricity meter readings can be automatically sent to your supplier if you have a smart meter – but you must first contact your supplier to set up these automatic readings.
9 Switch to cheaper energy
According to Switcher.ie, a typical household could save up to €771 per year by switching to a cheaper electricity and gas supplier. So if you’re out of contract, see if you can save money by switching energy suppliers. The best savings are usually those who can switch both electricity and gas. Anyone who is dependent on other fuels such as heating oil for heating should check whether another provider is cheaper than the previous one.
10 change cars for public transport
According to a recent Bus Eireann’s Expressway commute survey, you could save thousands of pounds in fuel costs by swapping your car for a coach on some or all journeys.
According to the survey, commuters making a weekly return trip from Dublin to Sligo spend an estimated €3,750 on petrol annually.
The same trip on the Expressway (Route 23) would only cost €1,534 per year — a savings of over €2,200, according to Expressway.
Another great advantage of public transport is that it’s free for people over 66 (provided they have a free travel pass) and for children under the age of five.
Subsidized public transport fares were also reduced by 20 percent through at least the end of the year as part of the government’s cost-of-living package.
In addition, all adults aged 19 to 23 receive half price on all subsidized public transport journeys.
If you live in rural areas with poor public transport connections, you should check whether a Local Link Bus is an option – even for sections of the journey.
Cancel 11 subscriptions
You can save hundreds of dollars a year by canceling a subscription. “There’s a lot of monthly payments flowing out of bank accounts — like streaming services and music subscriptions,” said Michael Laffey, spokesman for the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS).
“Ask yourself if it’s really worth the money.”
Note that you don’t need to pay an expensive monthly TV subscription to watch TV – you can watch TV for free via Saorview Connect (once you’ve paid your initial purchase and setup costs).
12 Avoid short car journeys
According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), a cold engine uses much more fuel than a warm engine. So if you are going somewhere, once you reach your destination, walk or bike as much as possible.
13 Ride a bike, walk or drive electric
You could save thousands a year if you stopped using petrol or diesel. So, if it’s practical, bike or walk as much as possible. For those who can’t walk or ride a bike, buying the right electric car should be a smart move – if you can afford one.
14 Drive cheaper
The price at the pump can vary significantly from gas station to gas station, so make sure you fill up at one of the cheapest. Check pumps.ie for pump prices in your area. “Fueling up at a supermarket can sometimes be cheaper than at other petrol stations,” said switcher.ie’s Eoin Clarke. “Take advantage of any loyalty programs running in your garage.”
A less aggressive, energy-conscious driving style could reduce your fuel costs by up to 10 percent, according to SEAI.
“Avoid hard acceleration or braking and make sure you’re in the right gear when driving – otherwise you’ll use extra fuel unnecessarily,” says Clarke.
Driving more slowly also helps save fuel. “Try to drive between 40 and 50 mph where it’s safe and practical — or 100 mph on a highway,” said Tom Halpin, spokesman for SEAI.
Have your car serviced regularly. A well-maintained petrol or diesel car has good engine lubrication, wheel alignment and well-adjusted brakes, which in turn reduces fuel consumption.
Plan your trips better to avoid unnecessary car trips. Remove bike racks or roof boxes from your car when not in use because it saves up to 20 percent on fuel, according to SEAI.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/how-to-beat-inflation-here-are-some-top-tips-to-limit-the-hit-to-your-pocket-from-rising-prices-41842414.html How to Fight Inflation – Here are some top tips to limit the impact of rising prices on your pocket