Irish consumers have been hit with ever-increasing prices for various goods and services over the past year. Here we outline the simple tips you can take to beat the rising cost of living.
After years of muted inflation, prices for consumers in many sectors are shooting up. At 5.5%, inflation is currently running at its highest level in over 20 years, and it's likely to creep even higher over the coming months. It’s mainly being driven by Brexit-related factors and supply chain bottlenecks due to Covid. These should hopefully prove only temporary. But in the short to medium term prices are only going one way – up.
So how can you beat the rising cost of living this year?
1. While every company has increased their prices, every company offers substantial discounts – sometimes of over 30 per cent – to new customers. So be that new customer. Moving provider is easy - almost as easy as moving accountants. Just get copies of your most recent gas or electricity bill, or both if you’re a dual fuel customer. Note your Gas Point Reference Number (GPRN) or Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN) and take a current gas and/or electricity meter reading, so your old supplier can provide you with a final bill and your new supplier can start from that point. Then make the call. You will be on hold for some time but if you can save €500 it will be worth it.
2. Another tip is simply turn the thermostat down by one degree you would reduce your heating energy consumption by up to 10 per cent which might save you €100.
3. Do not leave electrical items on standby and look at ways to make your home cosier by plugging gaps – we’re not talking about retrofitting here because, while it makes sense in the long term, in the short term it can be very pricey indeed, even with any grants that are on the table. Try and get your hands on a home energy savings kit from your local library. It allows you to easily gauge how much energy you actually use and work out when your heat is going.
1. The simplest way to save money when it comes to cars is not to use them. If you could reduce the amount of time you used your car by 20 per cent – by walking or cycling.
2. First get out of the habit of throwing €20 or €40 worth of fuel into your car or filling it. Instead buy a set number of litres, which will make you aware of the price gaps between forecourts. Check out pumps.ie for prices, in your neighbourhood.
3. You can also save a surprising amount of money by changing the way you drive. Do not over-rev your engine, drive in the right gear and keep your boot empty. Keep tyres at the right pressure, get the car serviced, do not use air conditioning and remove roof racks.
Let's face it we all creatures of habit, we use the same providers because it's convenient, but more often then not, you'll find that there is a a provider willing to sell cheaper to you. Or even ask your current provider for a discount if you have loyalties.
SEAI grants are helping homeowners, business owners, communities and large industry reduce their energy costs and greenhouse emissions. There are grants for your business, home, your car and the community.
1. Always make a shopping list. Do not let yourself be swept off your feet by the two-for-one or buy-one-get-one-free offers dangled before you as you go up and down the aisle, only buy whats on your list!
2. Before you walk through the supermarket doors do your homework. Survey what you have in your cupboards and your freezer and then make a list based on that and what you plan to eat for the next seven days. Email the list to yourself, then paste it into your notes app and then as each item is added to your trolley or basket delete it from the note. Buy nothing else. Trust us this works.
3. The ole reliable, NEVER SHOP HUNGRY!
4. Experiment more with own-brand products. While we have increased the percentage of generic supermarket shopping from less than 10 per cent little over a decade ago, to around 40 per cent today, we are still a long way adrift of other countries. Making some smart switches could handily see the cost of your weekly shop fall by 20 per cent. For example: Tesco Own-brand Mayonnaise in, for instance, costs €2.60 per litre while a more familiar brand of the same product sells on the same shelf for €5 a litre.
5. Supermarkets are great for convenience - but they're not always great for price. Quite often it's cheaper to get your meat, vegetables or beauty products in the local butcher, greengrocer or pharmacy down the road.
Managing and running a household isn’t cheap and according to Eurostat, Irish household costs are a staggering 82% above the EU average.
Part of this comes down to high rental costs here and high mortgage rates.
The average new mortgage rate in Ireland in October was 2.73% - over double the EU average. However many existing mortgage holders could be paying rates as high as 4% or more.
Yet rates as low as 1.95% are now available to those who switch.
For example, right now if you’re paying an interest rate of 4% and have €250,000 and 20 years remaining on your mortgage, you could save just over €226 a month if you switched to AIB's 2.20% fixed rate over four years! What’s more, AIB will give you €2,000 cashback to entice you to switch.
So that's almost €5,000 in just one year for switching or almost €13,000 over the four-year period. Plenty to help you offset the rising cost of living!
If you’re already with AIB, don’t worry, as there are great rates on offer from other lenders too such as Avant Money's 2.15% fixed rate over three or five years, and Finance Ireland's five-year fixed rate of 2.35%.
Our expert team of accountant are happy to help create a saving plan for you or advise on some money saving options for you and your business.