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The 24 money-saving hacks for 2024

Pricewatch: There are ways and means of saving money over the coming year. If you act on several different fronts, you just might save a whole lot

And so here we are. A new year. You may be bleary-eyed right now, and perhaps just a little poorer than you were three weeks ago. Don’t worry – we’re here to help with our top tips for the year ahead.

1. One of the best ways to save money is to not spend it. And yes, we know that sounds a bit simplistic, but it’s harder than it sounds to stick with this one – not least because our world is designed to get us to part with cash. So this month, designate four days every week on which you resolve to spend absolutely no money – no takeaway coffees or packets of chewing gum or jaunts into Penneys, or anything at all.

By making it a challenge – we’re reluctant to say new year’s resolution – you will be more focused, and every week you hit your four-day target you’ll have saved yourself a few bob. If you get into the spend-nothing habit – and spending money often a habit – you could stretch it out for the year and before you know it, it will be next Christmas and you’ll be loaded.

2. Set aside a couple of hours this week to go through your incomings and outgoings. Write down how much money you have coming in and how much money you spend on rent or mortgage, food, utilities, phone, borrowings, credit card bills, savings, socialising and anything else you can think of. Be accurate and don’t lie to yourself. Put all the numbers into a spreadsheet or just on to a page. The very act of getting your finances out of your head will bring a degree of clarity to your world. When you have all the numbers laid out, think about ways you can reduce your outgoings without draining all the colour from your life.


3. After your mini-audit, look hard at your debts. Focus on tackling the highest-interest borrowings first – we’re looking at you, credit cards. When it comes to credit card debt, do not just pay off the minimum monthly amount requested by the bank. They only want small minimum monthly repayments because asking for less makes them more, a whole lot more. If you owe €10,000 and pay off the minimum each month, it will take 20 years to clear the card and cost almost €9,000 in interest repayments.

4. Speaking of debts, there are some people reading this who could save many thousands of euro this year in one single step. According to Martina Hennessy of financial advisers, tens of thousands of people coming off fixed-rate mortgages this year will feel the sting of 10 ECB rate increases over the last 18 months.

“The solution lies in mortgage switching,” she says. “With a 3.3 per cent difference between the highest and lowest rates, a €300,000 mortgage could see a difference of €592 per month, or over €7,000 annually, by choosing the right product. Taking just 10 minutes to review your mortgage terms could result in saving you a substantial amount of money.” Contacting a broker is the first step. The call won’t cost you a bean – but it might save you a mountain of them.

5. Tax credits and allowances often go unclaimed. We’re talking about medical and dental expense relief, rent tax credit, remote working relief, marriage relief, third level tuition fees relief, and flat rate expenses. Some people might be able to get close to €2,000 back in tax. “By identifying and claiming these credits, taxpayers can significantly boost their income,” says Hennessy. She points to married couples who are entitled to tax relief in the year after they get married, “yet this relief often goes unclaimed”.

6. Years ago, Pricewatch was told a story about how a couple had signed up for a life assurance product offered by their mortgage provider. They thought nothing about it for a couple of years but when they did eventually ask themselves if they were getting the best deal for their policy, they realised they were paying well over €200 more year a than they needed to for their mortgage protection. They switched to a cheaper policy offering the exact same level of cover and saved more than €6,000 over the lifetime of their loan.

This story chimes with Hennessy. “Mortgage holders are required to have life cover and often overlook the potential for savings in their mortgage protection policies,” she says. “Many mortgage holders pay higher premiums by opting for policies offered by banks, which provide quotes from a single provider.”

She says that shopping around for life assurance can yield substantial savings.

“For example, on a €300,000 mortgage over a 25-year term, two applicants aged 35 years, non-smokers, could save €1,305 over the policy term by selecting the lowest premium available.”

7. If you are anything like Pricewatch you might spend a good deal of time on social media platforms scrolling endlessly looking at random stand-up routines and Roy Keane one-liners as well as Gary Neville being surprisingly entertaining. You are also being targeted by very “you-specific” ads. The social media platforms know what you like and when to feed you ads. In the weeks ahead you should make a conscious decision to resist the charms of the ads that you see. Don’t look at them, don’t follow the links and don’t buy anything you are targeted with. We’re not talking forever, like, but if you were to say that between now and the end of March you’d not click on a single ad that pops up in your Insta-feed, we guarantee you’d save money.

8. There are a great many people out there who are living from pay cheque to pay cheque, and given the financial pressures people are under and the scale of the cost-of-living crisis, there is absolutely no shame in that. But even when things are tight, it’s important to set aside some money for yourself. How much will depend on your income obviously, but do whatever it takes to pay yourself something each month. It might only amount to a tenner a week, but if you could set aside even that amount and put it into a not-readily-accessible account – such as a credit union or long-term savings account – you’d be that little bit better off at the end of this year than you are now.

9. The sneaky thing about streaming services and subscription models is that they can sneak up on us. Spotify or Netflix or Disney or Prime might not look too expensive when you see the top line figures, but they all add up. Carry out a mini-audit on your usage, and if you are paying for a service you are not regularly using, then get rid of it. The easiest way to do this is to go through your bank and credit card statements for the last 12 months – it will only take you 10 minutes – and note the subscriptions you have. If you are not using them, cancel them.

10. Ring your television, broadband and mobile phone providers this month and see if they can offer you a better deal. If they can’t, threaten to switch. And if they still won’t budge, take your business elsewhere. The reality is that too many companies value new business more than they value loyalty – so if you are not going to be rewarded for staying where you are, simply leave.

11. When it comes to spending money, try to spend at least some of it in your local neighbourhood. Supporting the independent businesses in your community will make you feel better about your purchasing decisions. And there can frequently be good value to be found.

12. In the past we have documented how supermarkets get us to spend more money by laying out their stores in a very particular way – fruit and veg in aisle one for instance, with all the booze and chocolates in the last two aisles. As an experiment, next time you are in a supermarket doing the big shop, start in the last aisle and go the wrong way around. We’ll wager you will find you spend a few bob less. You might get some odd looks – but hold firm and stick it to the man!

13. While we are on the topic of shops: experiment with different retailers in your neighbourhood this month. If you normally shop in one of the big three – Tesco, Dunnes and SuperValu – try doing your weekly shop in either Aldi or Lidl in the weeks ahead. While they have become increasingly popular in recent years, they still only have about a quarter of the market here. Not only might you save money – as long as you resist the allure of the middle aisles – you might also find you are in and out quicker because they have a lot less stock than a more traditional big supermarket. And if you are already enamoured of the charms of either Aldi or Lidl, swap around and visit the other one. They are almost always located side by side in Ireland’s towns and cities, after all.

Don’t let this year be the year when you are scammed. Criminals are getting better are at stealing from people, so keep your guard up and be wary

14. Be more mindful as you shop. Irish households end up throwing out hundreds of euro worth of food each year, but you can cut out the waste by being a more careful shopper and being better with leftovers. Shop with a list, be suspicious of two-for-one deals on fresh food, don’t shop hungry or on impulse, and draw up meal plans before you walk through the door of the supermarket. Make more effective use of your freezer. If you are not going to use a full sliced pan before the bread turns mouldy, put a few slices in a freezer bag. Don’t pile food on to plates – serve it in communal bowls. That way people can eat what they want and what is left in those bowls is more likely to be reused. Not only will you save money – you will also lessen your carbon imprint.

15. It is hard to escape the climate crisis now, and it will only get harder. With that in mind, consider cutting back on your meat intake for the rest of the month. As much as 25 per cent of the average Irish person’s carbon emissions comes from diet and, by becoming a vegetarian, a person could dramatically shrink that number. Now, we are not going to suggest you simply stop eating meat – quite apart from the fact that to say that would be incredibly hypocritical – but if we were all to reduce the amount we eat it, would save money and be better for the planet. If you spend €20 a week on steak and mince for two dinners and you replace that with a fiver’s worth of beans, vegetables or pulses, you will save yourself €750 over the course of a year.

16. Don’t be an impulsive shopper and allow yourself the time to think about whether or not you really want or need the thing you are buying. When it comes to online shopping, fill your cart with all the things your heart desires, then simply log out for 24 or 48 hours. If you return to your virtual cart and still really want what’s there and believe you can afford it, then maybe you should hit the buy button. But we’d wager that after the passage of time, you’d be happy to get rid of some of the things you thought you wanted. And in the real world, just make a habit of asking yourself two questions before any fairly large purchase. Do you really need it? And is it good value for money? If the honest answer to one or both of the questions is no – then just walk away.

17. Don’t let this year be the year when you are scammed. Criminals are getting better at stealing from people, so keep your guard up and be very wary of unexpected text messages, social media posts or promises of offers and deals that seem too good to be true.

18. We’re very fortunate to have a decent supply of good-quality tap water, so there is no reason to buy bottled water. It is bad for the planet and bad for your wallet.

19. If you were to cycle rather than drive to work on just one day a week you could save hundreds of euro each year. And if you live in a city with a bike rental scheme, sign up. It is by far the most economical – and often fastest – way to travel comparatively short distances. Not only is pedal power better for your wallet – it is also better for your health.

20. Which takes us on to health insurance. Anyone who hasn’t switched provider since 2020 or earlier is probably paying over the odds. And the longer you have been on the same policy, the higher the chances that you are paying hundreds of euro more than necessary for possibly a reduced level of cover. It is essential you move before your next renewal date – which for most people is before the end of February. if you switch from a comparable plan with company A to one with company B, you don’t lose any cover and don’t have to endure any waiting period.

The key question to ask the providers is “Do you have any policies on your books that are comparable to mine that cost less, and what are they?” Once you are armed with some policy names, go to the Health Insurance Authority website,, and use their comparison tool to assess the policies side by side.

21. The good news is that electricity and gas prices have been coming down in recent months. The equally good news is, the discounts on the table for switchers are climbing again. By switching from a gas or electricity provider charging you the standard rate to one offering a discounted rate, you could easily save at least €300 over the next 12 months. The price comparison sites and can help you do the heavy lifting, while the site offers to save you money not only this year but every year.

The idea is pleasingly simple. You sign up with them and they find you the best-value provider each year as your contract renewal date comes closer. They charge 10 per cent of the savings they make. So, if they can find a way to see your annual bill fall by €400, you pay them €40.

22. Vintage, pre-owned, preloved, second-hand, new to you: call it what you will, the charity shops of Ireland are coming into their own like never before thanks to the popularity of the circular economy. Buying second-hand does less damage to the environment and to your wallet. It has also never been easier to find what you are looking for, with Irish start-up allowing you to check multiple charity shops all over the country for what you are seeking and have it delivered to your own home.

23. And while you are busy buying new-to-you stuff, you might also consider contributing to the circular economy in the other direction by decluttering your wardrobe. Go through all your clothes and if you find any that you did not wear in 2023, donate them to a shop that might be able to raise money by selling them to someone who might love them like you used to.

24. The new-year, new-you notion shouldn’t stop at your wardrobe. Use the month ahead to declutter your house. Be ruthless. Go through your home room by room getting rid of the stuff you no longer need. Selling has never been easier thanks to multiple online platforms, or you can simply give it away or recycle it, allowing you to make your way through the year free from the clutter of times past.

And there you have it. Have a happy new year – and spend well and wisely.