The Scrimp and Scrape thread: tips to save money


I Thought we should share tips on saving money,

So for me:

Shop at Aldi, for provisions (its not bad, honest)
Shop at butchers for meat
shop at grocers for fruit and veg (Note, the fruit and veg shop in midleton is desperate, so i get mine from Aldi, much better and cheaper too)

Take packed lunch to work, (i take soup) no only is it better and cheaper, its to tempting to pick up bars and crisps etc.

cut down on junk and goodies, try doing a shop without picking up crisps, chocolate, sweets, cakes, nuts, soft drinks, you will be amazed

try to make your own, things such as pizza’s salads etc, they are very easy to do and can save a good bit.

Soup is easy to make, cheap, feeds loads and uses up lots of scraps you have lingering around chicken stock is particulally easy to do with used carcass’s

on long trips, take a packed lunch instead of buying the “breakfast roll”
Cut down on the Skinny latte’s. they cost a fortune.


Drive slower, i changed my driving habits from 70 mpg to 55 mph and have Gaiined 25% on MPG

Service your own cars, if its out of waranty, this can save you loads.
its not that difficult, and parts etc are usually easy to aquire.
Use fully synthetic oil, this saves you 4-5 mpg. and resist the urge to change it more frequently than recommended. many people change oil every six months , modern oils can last twelve months/30000 miles.

Have the tyres inflated properly, and ask for more efficient tyres on a change. a propery looked after car will be more efficient, also remove excess weight (youl be suprised what’s in the boot)

(a smaller car can be good but capital outlay is a killer)


don’t :unamused: or buy it from the supermarkets, save the pub for a once a week treat


Ensure your gas/electric system is functioning properly and is well serviced. A NOTE HERE!!!
i bought a brand new house with the latest heating system installed. on closer inspection, the damn thing was wired up poorly, and missing key components (bypass valves/TRV’s etc) ensure your systems are properly installed, (ITs saved me a fortune)

Also, look carefully at the ventalation points in your house, in mine i discovered the outside air bricks were not sealed to the inside volume, thus the cavity was being ventillated and thus loosing tons of heat


~If you are brave, try E-bay, yes i have had a few duds, but the majority has been good and saved me a packet (Kids clothes that is)

Buy clothes for work and clothes for best, this my sound stupid but i work in an office and i have bought two pair of pants and 5 shirts, thus i do not have wear my “posh casuals” to work (wearing them out)


Loans; have your loans rolled up into one top up on your mortgage and avail of the cheaper rate, do not be tempted however to spread them over the life of the mortgage (buying a car over 30 years is a bad idea)
for me, i had a top up for a car loan last 6 years, which is the probable amount of time i thought it would last, i tried to match the repayments to the depreciation, any thing higher and we could’nt afford the car.

I’ll post more as i thing of them, but in truth, stay away from shops, you will only spend money :smiley:


Probably the most important tidbit of financial advice I ever picked up was not to let your salary determine your budget. You get a payrise, do you put it into your pension or rush out and buy a new car to fit your new “status”.


Use old fashioned budgeting also known as “envelope budgeting”. Every week you take the exact same amount of cash from the ATM. That is your money for the week. You cannot spend any more than that.

Split the money into four envelopes marked food, petrol, utilility bills, luxuries. Your goal each week is to come in slightly less than the weekly allocation thereby leaving a little surplus in each envelope for the odd week that your petrol or food bill is bigger than usual.

Your bank statement shows just one outgoing per week. Youll know exactly how much money you will have by the end of the year. There are no unidentifiable withdrawals of odd amounts here and there. You know exactly where youre money is going. It tends to eliminate impulse buying which is where a lot of people haemorrage money.


Half fill your car with petrol and clear all that crap out of the boot. It is all dead weight. And of course use that fantastic site to find the cheapest petrol to you.

Also Lidl does a good range of organic fruit and veg that is the same price as “normal” fruit and veg in other shops. Also the organic milk is good as it doesn’t have all the antibiodics and milk yield increasing hormones that regular milk can have. Now if they would only do some organic meat I’d be all set.

Try and avoid buying clothes in Ireland, If you are going to the states at any time in the next year go to an outlet mall and stock up their, they are about 1/2 to 1/4 of the price you pay here, especially for brands like Tommy Hillfigar, Ralph Loren, Levis, Asics, nike etc.

Also try not to be a brand whore like me, people trow away stupid money on clothes.

If you are buying anything that is small light and expensive always buy on line. I’m pricing a watch at the moment, 375 euros in Dun drum town center, 220 on line delivered from the UK.


Just keeping track will save you hundreds per annum, so here’s my tip -

Excel, or Microsoft works Spreadsheet.

I know where all my bills, credit cards, savings accounts and wages stand, for the next twelve months. And I’d say to within E50 I can project where our savings accounts for that time will be, for any given week, and cumulative. (An emergency fund is in place, so that makes it easier to predict.)

The only unknown is overtime, which, as a positive number, I can live with ! And I get plenty of that too.

I look at the spreadsheet I would say every single day, and every single outgoing is recorded as and when - shopping, clothes, books the lot. I can tell you the balances of all our accounts, including the current a/c, at any time.

It’s pretty easy to predict, cos food is a budgeted amount, the mobile bill doesn’t vary much etc. It only takes five minutes, but I’m never overdrawn, never get charges, or anything returned etc. All utilities etc are DD, and they’re always covered too.

When you get a visual on the pointless luxuries and bad habits, and how they accumulate over a year - it’s a lot of dough. I probably save an extra 1K per annum, just by gearing down on some ridiculous habits. Straight into the savings account.

Conversely, when you dump the extra twenty quid or whatever into the online savings account - it becomes a self-perpetuating habit, as easy to make as the bad ones.

And saving/budgeting is a habit that a lot of people in Ireland may need to re-acquire.


Raw porridge and dried fruits for breakfast soaked in (goats) milk for 20 mins, brown rice with some sort of pulse for lunch. Not only will you save money, you will also have consistent energy and no downer after lunch and to top it all your dumps will be almost orgasmic.

Trust me.


if the Economy gets this bad you have my permission to to take me handcuffed to the killing fields,trust me you will be doing me a favour!Good Christ!


Thank you for sharing StoppedClock! This post literally brought a tear to my eye. :laughing:


If you make tea with a teabag in a mug, the second and third cups taste better than the first (no kidding), so not only are you saving money, but you are getting a finer cup of tea.

Get a freezer and but two-for-ones when they are on.

Always buy a week’s supply of bread and freeze what you are not currently using. This will save you on those trips to the Spar.

A sunday roast or boiled ham should give you either sangwiches for a few days or an evening meal (lamb makes poor sandwiches, so best to curry any leftovers). The Lidl frozen NZ lamb is good value, Tesco occasionally match the price on ‘special’ for Irish lamb, so stock up when they do!

Swap clothes you don’t like with someone who has no taste. This does have a downside, as you might end up wearing canary yellow trousers if you friend is Bertie.

And in classic Viz form, soaking bread overnight in a bucket of water stops it from being hard.


Buying versus Renting versus Living with Mammy

There are serious quality of life issues to do with living at home with the parents. I ultimately believe that everyone needs to leave the nest at sometime.
However, in the current environment where house prices continue to fall and while I can bear it a little longer, I save quite considerably by living at home.
Yes, I do contribute financially at home but it’s less than I would be paying for rent, and so is a saving of approximately 40 or 50 Euro per week.
Over the year thats 2000 to 2500 Euro. Quite substantial.

Buying will be put on hold until I find the right property, that is affordable to me and that the buyer is willing to sell at a price agreed to the two of us. The situation is improving in my favour by the day!


Agree re keeping track.

GnuCash is a personal finance program that adds a bit extra to the spreadsheet approach, for those interested: … oup_id=192

Knowing what area of spending affords the biggest potential for saving is a useful starting point.


only ever got two useful money-saving tips (three now, after yogan’s tea-bag thing).

These were the old chesnuts:

Never be long in a bear market


If it flies, floats or f**ks, rent it.


All this has been said already, but:

Learn to cook! You save a fortune. I can slap together a fine feed of all fresh ingredients for a couple of quid. Aldi/Lidl, a good local butcher and a good local greengrocer. You really shouldn’t be spending more than €40 a week per person to eat well and healthily, even with today’s increased food prices. I even impressed meself the other day with my entirely-from-scratch pork chow mein stir-fry on a bed of noodles and sliced new potatoes, with an apple and celery salad. Took bout 12 minutes and less than £3, looked like something you’d get in a fancy restaurant, and was feckin delicious.

Spend half an hour on a Sunday throwing together a chilli or a curry, boil up a load of rice, bung it in the fridge in a tupperware container, and bring it to work for your lunch during the week (assuming work has a microwave to nuke it). Or make yer own sangwidges. Make a fresh meal in the evening that involves salads, lightly-cooked stir-fry, or other source of greens. For breakfast, bag of porridge in Lidl is about 35c, bowl of porridge with some toast or some scrambled eggs (2 mins in the microwave for both of them!) will see ye right till lunchtime.

If you are in a relationship, that half-hour of pottering around the kitchen cooking a meal together is fun, relaxing and a cheap-n-easy way to have that little bit of “us time”. I think it’s an old Italian saying, the family that (cooks and) eats together, stays together. Keeping your family bonds strong is good for your mental health and happiness, and therefore saves you money.

If you drive a big car sell the feckin thing and buy a small economical car, you can get great 3/4 year old cars that’ll do 45+ mpg for €3-4K.

Buy electrical goods, DVDs, childrens toys etc online for half the price. Sometimes it is worth having a friend in the North that you see every couple of months anyway, as a lot of the online UK retailers have free delivery to the North. As long as you don’t need it right now and you make a fair few online purchases you can save a good chunk of cash on postage charges that way.

Try to do the “take money out on Monday and make it last all week” thing. It’s not easy but half the stuff you spend money on you’ll realise you don’t actually need if it involves going to the ATM for more cash. You can do without that coffee, Mars bar, bag of Tayto and Lotto scratch card. Really.

Don’t be a fashion victim. Avoid overpriced bling just because it’s from some label that’s cool this week.


I head up to Sainburys in Newry once a month and do a huge food shop. I buy my mince/chicken etc in a wholesale butchers up in an industrial estate near where I live. Do my CD/DVD shopping online and my fruit shopping in Moore St. Saves me a fair bit of money.


Great tips,but before you start scrimping,have you claimed all the tax credits you are due?If you have not then you can back claim them,unsure think its four years
,but its your money lying there unclaimed.


Make your own food. Ready meals are expenisve and are pretty bad for you.

Tinned tomatoes and a few herbs can make fresh pasta sauces that are tastier and cheaper than ragu or the likes.

The same goes for pizza. Much cheaper and satisfly making it from scratch. Pounding the dough can take out all your frustrations from the working day!


Can I ask you, what happens with “There are serious quality of life issues to do with living at home”. What do you do with your parents? They affect your “quality” of fuck. Do you let them stay in their nest? Or, do you outsource them to nursing home? “Quite substantial” part of yiz whinge constantly about HSE and care for elderly. You will be in that place one day. :smiley:


Cooking is another good point, I pretty much get a week of lunches for 10 or 12 euro, and thats using organic mince, organic brown rice and a nice sauce. I could do it for cheaper but as I’m saving money over buying a sandwich I like to use good ingredients.

also an excellent point about claiming all your tax reliefs.



With regard to penny-pinching, for anyone living in Dublin, I would reccommend shopping for fruit and vegetables from the stalls on Meath Street/Thomas Street.

Loads of savings to be made and the stuff is a lot fresher and cheaper than that on offer in Lidl (also on Thomas Street) which in turn is cheaper than the competition. The Lidl fruit and veg tends to go off pretty quickly. There are a number of butchers on the same streets, some of which are better than others but where you can get special offers etc depending on the day. That area is also great for any sort of toiletries which can be had for next to nothing, again on the street in the area.

While I wouldnt be the greatest at managing the finances, a good female friend of mine who is very adept when it comes to such matters, has recently decided to rent in the general D8 area as opposed to D6 on the basis that shopping for such items around there will save her a fortune over time.


I don’t have a car, generally if I need one it’s for the weekend or maybe a week to go tour the country and I hire it.

If you are a member of your local credit union you can avail of cheaper rail tickets (not all credit unions offer this)

For Dublin bus users avail of the taxsaver commuter tickets (or badger your employer/HR department)

For younger Dubliners living between the canals, learn to walk instead of waiting ages at a bus stop and sitting in a traffic jam, you could have covered the distance on foot in half the time.

If you have a load of coppers sitting in a jar or behind the sofa (as Irish people are wont to do), Some Tesco’s now have coinstar machines that will convert these to vouchers (cost 9.3c per €)