MD pig

Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it is one mantra I believe in. There are times in your life when proactivity has to be the priority. If you have a goal, that at least crystallises the task – you know what you have to do to achieve that goal. With savings, it is not just about shaving off a percentage off your weekly/monthly net income into a Rainy Day Fund (RDF – generally an amount between 3 and 6 months net annual income in a completely accessible demand account for emergencies, sudden loss of income or that investment opportunity) but it is also about examining and reviewing on what you are currently spending your hard-earned income and taking steps to increase your savings by reducing that spending.

So here are four immediate ways to build up those savings :

  • Reduce your visits to restaurants and takeaways.


Eating out always costs more than eating at home. Setting up a limit for the number of times per week you eat out can seriously reduce your dining expenses. Even selection of the restaurant can have a dramatic effect on your pocket. Perhaps you should leave Guilbauds to just once a year ? As regards takeaways, apart from the health issue, they are also draining your wallet. We are in the Lent season where most people either give up something or do something positive as an act of repentance and penitence. Avoiding takeaways would certainly be a win-win if selected with one of the wins on your pocket !

  • Review your TV cable costs.


Do you watch all of those channels? You can save big by switching to a basic package, which often still include the popular channels. Maybe you do need the Sports channels but have you even time to watch the movie channels or vice versa ? Some of the cable companies also offer broadband – if they save you money, consider same.

  • Shop around for all your insurances


Maybe it’s time to get a new quote from a different insurer. Shop around to find better rates. Applicable to all types of cover

Life…. have you stopped smoking more than 12 months ? Your life policy premiums will now be 50% cheaper. Separate stand-alone life cover for dependents ? Only cover them til they complete 3rd level – they should be out of your hair by age 30 !

Serious Illness cover … this is a time to read the small print…fellow club golfer had one stent put into his heart after his heart attack – he needed a minimum of two stents for a pay out ! Income protection ( pays out 75% of your monthly income less any social welfare entitlements til you resume work or your pension kicks in – whichever is the sooner ) sometimes is more appropriate and also more tax efficient – all premiums attract tax relief at your marginal rate.

Car insurance – NEVER pay the renewal without at least checking two comparative quotations. This insurance is the least loyal of any of them but it is not always about cheapest ( e.g. Setanta )

Buildings and contents – insurance companies are notorious for increasing unnecessary cover.. have a look at your contents on your next bill – probably enough to furnish the house a couple of times ! Do your own simple inventory of what it would cost to replace furniture, belongings etc and check with the policy for economies. Also check your all risks section – are those golf clubs really worth         € 2,000 or are you just hoping someone steals your valueless clubs to allow you buy the latest hi tech ones ? Pipedream – it never happens and it’s also dishonest.

Health…there are only four companies offering private health insurance. Massively confusing even if you visit – the Health Insurance Authority website that compares the four..e.g. VHI alone has 93 separate plans BUT wade through it for economies and keep the eyes peeled for public announcements of special deals – your timing could be very pecuniarily advantageous to you.

  • Examine your clubs and membership subscriptions


Some companies automatically renew your subscription and you pay Benefit In Kind (BIK). Are you using that health club ? Would you be better off running round the local park every morning instead ? Perhaps cycle to work ? How many golfers pay up to € 2,000 a year for their golf club subscription and at the end of the season boast they only played twice – two very expensive games.

A review of all cards and memberships will elicit savings. Do you have two credit cards, both perhaps gold. Maybe you are only really using one – the company one and the other is held just in case… and just for holding it, it is costing € 100 annual fee.

Look at all the direct debits on your account. You might have let one or two slip through the cracks where they should have been cancelled years ago.

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