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Northern Irish families have almost £45 less to spend per week after bills compared to last year – Our ten top tips for saving money

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File photo dated 26/01/18 of money

File photo dated 26/01/18 of money

PA

File photo dated 26/01/18 of money

A typical Northern Irish family has almost £45 less in their pocket to spend each week after a new report revealed discretionary spending has fallen by over 32% in a year.

Supermarket Asda compiled the statistics in their latest Income Tracker Report for June 2022 showing the spending power families have here to splash out on treats and other extras – after the bills are paid –  has fallen dramatically compared to this time last year.

Spending power has dropped below £100 to £93.50 in the second quarter of 2022 - the first time this has happened since 2017 and is £110 below the UK average of £204.

Company Cebr, who independently compiled the data, said the contraction in spending is the biggest drop in the history of the income tracker and described it as “stark”.

Given the increasing pressures on the cost-of-living for households here and the prospect of further price rises and inflation, we have put together the top ten ways for your family to try and save a few extra pounds where possible.

Shop around with energy suppliers:

With the summer warmth and prices for energy falling in recent weeks, now is the perfect time ahead of the autumn to shop around for a better deal.

Using a comparison website such as https://powertoswitch.co.uk/ allows you to calculate how much you can save on the gas and energy bills and could potentially see a saving of hundreds of pounds.

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Shop around for your petrol:

Motorists across Northern Ireland have been hit hard in recent months with record high prices at the pumps.

While the price of diesel and petrol has slowly started to reduce in the past few weeks, the discrepancy at the pump across the province means you can make a big saving just by travelling around.

The Consumer Council have a handy checking tool which shows the most up-to-date fuel prices, with differences of up to around 10p per litre in some areas compared to others.

Cut down on nights out and other treats:

While none of us like to have a boring weekend after a long week at work, it’s fair to say cutting back on the nights out or expensive meals can certainly go some way to saving a few pounds.

One idea might be to try cutting back a Saturday night trip to the pub or a slap-up meal to just once every other week.

Another idea might be the ‘no-spend weekend’, setting yourself one every month in which you spend Saturday and Sunday only taking part in activities like going on walks, a home movie night or visiting a free gallery or museum.

Cut back on the TV subscriptions:

From Netflix, to Disney+ and Amazon Prime – we all have a few too many subscriptions knocking about these days.

Cutting back on even one can make a big saving by the end of the year. It’s also a good idea to regularly review how much you actually use each service and to cancel subscriptions for those you tend to use less.

You can also usually make savings by shopping around your main TV package, with many of the competitors offering benefits to new customers who switch to their particular service.

Making your own work lunches:

There’s nothing that adds up more every week than the daily trip to the café or shop for that lunchtime coffee.

With more of us back in the office, the temptation to grab some food on the go is bigger than ever.

However, with the rising cost of food you can see a potentially big saving by preparing your own lunches with healthy and tasty ingredients that will cost just a fraction of the sandwich you were going to buy.

Take part in the 1p savings challenge:

One neat idea is to take part in what is known as the 1p savings challenge.

The simple idea means you start by saving 1p on the first day, 2p on the second day, 3p on the third day - and so on – saving what you saved the day before, plus a penny more each day.

If you start on the first day of the month, by that time the following year you will have saved a grand total of £667.95.

Take a staycation in Northern Ireland this summer:

While many will be hoping to jet off on a foreign getaway after the years of the Covid pandemic, the high cost-of-living at present means for many this may be a summer to stay at home.

That doesn’t mean a bad summer though, with a period of nice weather recently and a myriad of places to visit across Northern Ireland – many of which can be accessed for free – there is still plenty of enjoyment to be had from staying local this summer.

Switch your current account:

One simple switch to save a few pounds is to shop around the various accounts offered by banks.

Recent figures (Consumer Insight Survey - March 2018) suggest that only 40% of Northern Ireland consumers have switched current account providers in the past.

Switching is quick and easy and many banks pay for your custom with up to £150 cash just for moving to them.

Make sure you are applying for all the money you are eligible for:

From tax credits to other benefits, even if you are in work currently you may be missing out on hundreds of pounds per year just by not applying for the money you are entitled to.

Grants are also offered for school uniforms and the cost of meals for children, meaning further potential savings.

The ‘Make The Call’ service in Northern Ireland can be contacted on 0800 232 1271 with people able to speak to a local advisor.

Shop around for your groceries:

It is tempting to just grab everything you need for the week in one shop at your local supermarket, however in many cases shopping around can save a significant sum of money.

With so many competitors out there and even the so-called budget options upping their game in terms of the quality of products, the competition between the retailers is fierce.

Before you go to the supermarket, it is also worth making a list of items you need and to try and avoid any spontaneous purchases.


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