If the past year of lockdown has taught us anything it is that we have no idea what is coming around the corner. While the future is starting to look brighter, there are a lot of uncertainties about what the coming years will bring. Whatever happens our economy is going to have a long road to recovery. So now is the time for us to create a rainy day fund. While that might sound like a lot of work there are numerous ways that you can make money with minimal effort. Here are my top lockdown tips to get you started:
1. Stop the Leak
One of the easiest ways to save money is to go through your bank accounts. We recently downloaded our January bank transactions into excel and were shocked. We could not believe some of the recurring expenses that we did not even realise we had subscribed to. While they are small amounts in one month, when you add them up over the whole year you could save thousands. That will well cover your summer holidays when the day finally comes! Stopping any leakage and re-examining your costs is surprisingly uplifting. The summer cocktails that you can buy with the redirected money will be even more therapeutic!
2. Grocery Spend
This is one of the easiest lockdown changes you can make with the highest outcome. Go through your bank accounts for January and add up everything that you spent on food and drink. Let’s say you spent €600. If you reduce this to €300 a month, you will save €3,600 in the next year! Here is how to do it:
- Switch to own brand, lower cost or special offer products without compromising on quality or taste.
- Never go shopping on an empty stomach!
- Making a list stops you from going off track and throwing extras into the trolley.
- Be aware of the supermarket’s agenda. Why is milk at the bottom corner of the shop? Why are the heavy or loose items at the start? Ever noticed that the highest priced products are at eye level? It’s to encourage you to use a trolley and pick up lots of high margin goodies along the way! The biggest culprit is the till itself which is laden with impulse buying snacks. Cover your eyes if you need to!
- Always buy good dates. I couldn’t tell you how much food we have dumped in this house in the last few years. It is shameful. Never buy anything that is close to expiry. Even with the best of intention you will end up dumping half or all of the product. That is literally the same as just tossing your money into the bin!
3. What is your TV Costing?
TV can be a big culprit for unnecessary spend. A Sky account with all of the trimmings and recurring monthly fees for Netflix, Hayu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV etc can cost almost €150 a month! By cutting down to the basic Sky package and just keeping Netflix, you could save over a thousand euro by the end of the year!
4. Clear out the Closet
In the article ‘8 Ways to Beat the Lockdown Blues while Saving Money’ I discussed the therapeutic benefits of cleaning out the closet! What’s better is that you can make decent money during lockdown by selling your good quality pieces online.
5. Spring Clean
A good lockdown Spring Clean is a great way of getting rid of anything that you have been hoarding unnecessarily. But it is also a great way of making some money on the side by selling any good quality pieces, collectors items etc online.
6. Switch Providers
I’ll be honest I hate the time and effort involved in switching providers. If it wasn’t for my husband’s determination I would happily let sleeping dogs lie! But I have to admit that he is right (on this one occasion only obviously! 😉 ). Use lockdown to take a look at your electricity, broadband, insurance and other providers and see if you are paying through the roof. The thought of changing is worse than the process itself. You would be surprised at how much money you can save in a year.
7. Save Electricity
Last year I was really taken aback by the price of our electricity bills. On investigation I was shocked to realise all of the silly ways we were wasting electricity for no benefit. Here are some tricks to cut down your monthly electricity costs during lockdown:
- Don’t leave phone chargers and other devices plugged in for no reason. There is power going to the plug even if you are not using the device.
- Don’t leave laptops and TVs plugged in overnight. Not only is this a fire hazard, electricity is going to them all night.
- There’s a reason our parents used to kill us if we left the immersion on, it eats electricity! So turn it off.
- The tumble dryer is one of the biggest users of electricity. Where you can, hang out your clothes or dry them on the radiators or a drying rack.
- Don’t fill the kettle to make one cup of tea. It takes more electricity to boil more water so don’t fill it unnecessarily.
- I grew up without a dishwasher and only started using one in recent years. It can take 2 hours to do what you would do by hand in 10 minutes! If you must use it then make sure the cycle isn’t unnecessarily long. Never put it on if it isn’t full. And as crazy as this may sound, if it’s only a handful of dishes, just wash them by hand!
- There are lots of energy saving gadgets you can get like energy efficient light bulbs, radiator boosters, solar chargers etc so do your research.
- Reheating food in the microwave is more energy efficient than the oven. It might take you a half hour in the oven versus two minutes in the microwave!
- Don’t leave lights on unnecessarily.
8. Check your Policies
Check your various policies to make sure you are not paying for cover on items or benefits that you don’t really need. Lockdown is also a good chance to check that your details are correct in case of an accident.
9. Check your Entitlements
Are you owed money back? If you have private health care, have you claimed back all relevant medical receipts etc? Are you due back money from Revenue? No organisation is ever going to advertise that they owe you money! So use lockdown time to do your research and you may have some nice surprises.
10. Use all Vouchers & Loyalty Cards
The amount of money lost on unused vouchers in Ireland every year is colossal! Go through any vouchers and loyalty cards that you have or have gotten as Christmas presents and make sure that you use them. It can add up to quite a significant amount.
11.Grow/Make Your Own
This is not just a money saving tip. The unsettling truth of the matter is that the food we eat today has become so processed that it is now normal for you to almost see your reflection in an apple or buy ‘fresh’ baking that holds for 3 weeks! Additives and preservatives are contributing massively to so many of today’s health issues. If you have a bit of space around your home why not use this lockdown time to start growing some of your own produce. If you don’t you can still buy genuine fresh ingredients and make your own produce at home.
12. Book Swap
Reading is without a doubt one of the greatest things that you can do in life to educate yourself and keep your mind, creativity and imagination active. But if you are buying books regularly it can really add up. Why not start a lockdown book club with your close friends and swap books. You could have a whole year of reading for free!
13. Enter Competitions
You cannot scroll the length of a social media page these days without seeing a giveaway. While it can be annoying sometimes, the truth is that someone has to win them and they are a great way of supporting Irish businesses. My advice is to keep to Irish businesses and bloggers (official pages only) and beware of online fraudsters messaging you to tell you that you have won.
If you have a lot of spare time on your hands with lockdown, why not do some online freelancing. You can easily set up an account on websites such as fiverr.com and can start doing freelancing work from the comfort of your own home. If you have a qualification in a certain area or have a particular creative skillset you can make decent money. But if you don’t there are still lots of other jobs you can do. There are always businesses and people looking for help with data entry etc.
15. Create your own Online Store
This clearly is not for everyone but if you have always wanted to start your own business why not set up your own online store during lockdown. If you can make your own products this is a bit of a no brainer. But you can also make a lot of money online through reselling eg. buying for X and selling for Y. There are numerous ways that you can sell online either through selling on existing platforms or setting up your own independent website. If it is a side hobby then I would recommend using an existing platform as it will save you a lot of work in terms of website development and building up an audience.
Have you found this article useful? Are there other great tips that I have left out? Have you started your cost saving journey and noticed some big wins already? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your story. We are all in this together.
All views are my own. All posts on this website and across our social media pages are written for the purposes of supporting Irish people and Irish businesses. Any comments on any of our pages that contradict that message will be removed and I make no apologies for doing so!