Money saving tips
Got any? I am very nearly finished a short little book on how to save yourself anything between €500 and €3000 a year by being just a little smarter with your spending. It’s not the ultimate penny pincher’s guide to thrifty living. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll be glad to know that there are already dozens of such books on the market, filled with thousands of ‘money-saving tips’ which, if followed religiously, will see your annual spend fall dramatically.
In front of me now, I have Mr Thrifty’s How to Save Money on Absolutely Everything, Thrifty Ways for Modern Days and The Penny Pincher’s Book Revisited – so good they wrote it twice.
Mr Thrifty tells me that I should make contact with contact-lens research labs and volunteer to test their products in clinical settings – and in so doing save myself a fortune when it comes to actually buying lenses. Anxious to turn me into a medical experiment, Mr Thrifty also thinks that it would be a fine idea to have my teeth seen to for free by trainee dentists in a nearby dental hospital (presuming there is one nearby) and to get in touch with drug manufacturers to see if they’re trialling any products I might find useful for treating any ailments I may have – like the stress-related ulcer caused by the endless worrying about my new role as a human guinea pig and the sudden onset blindness brought on by faulty contact lenses, perhaps. On top of that, he thinks it’s a good idea to make friends with a pilot for jaunts abroad and to wear flip-flops all year round to save on the wearing and washing of socks.
Mr Thrifty is quite clearly bonkers.
Then there are the Penny Pinchers, a lovely couple in their late sixties whom I spoke to for a feature in The Irish Times recently. They are not mean at all, the nice lady told me repeatedly, it’s just that they never spend any money on anything unless they absolutely have to. No store-bought treats ever darken their doors, no designer labels are ever worn, and no holidays or weekends away in posh hotels are ever taken – although they do like to drive for a few days in one direction in their battered old car before turning round and driving home again. Fun times!
The Penny Pinchers tell me that a dead bird swinging silently from a tree at the back of my garden will serve as an excellent – and free – bird-scarer. They don’t tell me why I might want to scare birds, or where I get my dead bird, or what happens if a cat eats my dead bird, or what I am supposed to use to scare the cats off? A dead cat, presumably and before you know it I’ll have become a latter day old lady who swallowed a fly. The penny pinchers also suggest that I keep my tights (how did they know?) and candles in the fridge to stop them laddering and burning too quickly, and use egg white as glue and beeswax as a cheap chewing-gum replacement.
The Penny Pinchers are quite clearly bonkers. Lovely, but bonkers.
Thrify Ways, meanwhile, is edited by Martin Lewis, a serious-minded British journalist who always has money on his mind. This particular book – which, I should point out, is unlike most of his serious-minded journalism – is made up of homespun tips and tricks posted by readers of his website. This has culminated in page after page of headache-inducing ways for me to can clean and fix my house for nothing, feed my family for peanuts, and dress for buttons.
My book is not that sort of book. It is much simpler.
I’m nearly done with it and would like to include a section with ideas from other people, Pricewatch readers and Today FM listeners, maybe. So if you have any ideas which you think might work just post them here… Everyone whose tip gets included in the book gets a free copy of it once it’s finished. Assuming I get it finished. If you don’t want a copy of the book and your tip is included then you get €100. No, that’s a joke – you only get a free copy of the book whether you want it or not. Thank you kindly!