Start off on the right foot with your Finances – 5 Top Tips

 

Happy New Year!  

Welcome to the first blog for 2023 from MABS. We hope that you kept safe and healthy over the festive season.   

We want to start the New Year with good intentions, especially regarding our money. Committing to New Years’ resolutions of things we want to do and new habits we want to make. We understand that energy costs and utility bills, for example, can dampen your optimism. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t think about some manageable goals for the year ahead.   

We’ve pulled together 5 useful tips to help get started on planning. 

 

1. Make a Budget 

Due to the cost-of-living crisis, many people are managing their households on reduced incomes or increased expenses and wondering what the future holds. Now is the time to take control of what you can.   

First step, make a budget 

Take a pen and paper. Gather your physical bank statements or open them online along with any social welfare payment receipts or payslips. Make a line down the page, and on one side, put any income (and dates if you have them). On the other side of the page, write a list of all your bills and spending, and add up the columns. Take away the outgoings from the income.   

Now you have a basic snapshot of the amount of money coming in and money going out. This is a good starting point. You can see if it is possible to increase the money coming in or reduce the money going out.  

 

2. Maximising  your income  

Rights and Entitlements   

Take some time when looking at your entitlements – you may miss something you have a right to or entitlement. For example, are you a Carer for someone? If you are on Carer’s Allowance, you may also be entitled to the Household Benefits package, Carer’s Support Grant and free travel. This is just one example of how  you can begin to explore any additional supports  linked to specific social welfare payments.   

Health Expenses   

Do you have an account on Revenue.ie? If not, now is the time to sign up. You can claim back 20% of the medical expenses you’ve had over the past four years. If you already have an account, then the New Year is an opportunity to submit those receipts.   

You can now do this in real-time too. If you’re going to see the doctor, you can upload your receipt on the same day and see the credit applied on your next pay packet.  

Income Tax Credits   

If you and your partner are jointly assessed, and one of you is not working at the moment or have decided to stay at home, you could transfer the credits for 2023., Doing this will raising your standard cut-off point for income tax. 

 

3. Shop around to make your money go further  

Compare prices for food, gas, electricity, phone and internet. Contact your provider and ask what they are offering. If you don’t ask, you won’t know. Websites, such as, Bonkers offer cost comparisons which can help you decide. We’ve also got how-to guides on how to switch and save:  

It’s not just your utility bills you could be saving on. Pull all your annual statements together and note the renewal dates on your calendar or set a reminder on your phone. You will then know when to shop around and possibly save more money.   

Here’s a few annual bills that are worth checking if you can save on:   

  • Motor Insurance   
  • Health Insurance   
  • Home & Contents Insurance   

While it’s not a utility bill, it can be a big bill that comes out every month – your mortgage! If you’re not in a fixed-rate term, you could make savings both monthly and annually on your mortgage repayments by switching to a lower interest rate. You may not even need to switch your mortgage to another bank. A call to your bank might be all it needs. Check out Bonkers to compare mortgage rates.  

 

4. Start a Rainy-Day Fund  

You’ve likely heard this phrase when you were a child, but how many of us have the money to buy a new washing machine if it breaks? Many of us would struggle to pay for something like a new washing machine without using a credit card, savings or asking a friend/family member to help out. 

So, if you’re able to save, even just a little bit, it all adds up, for example, €20 a week is over €1,000 in a year. Having a regular saving habit and watching your money grow is a great incentive not to spend (unless you absolutely need to).   

Remember that it’s not all about saving.  

If you need a few things and have the money to hand, focus on the things you need rather than just a want. Make sure you are getting value for your money and not just buying for the sake of it. The money you save by resisting the temptation or by only buying what you need can go into your rainy-day fund. 
 

 

5. Get advice if you’re worried   

Help is available. If you would like help with budgeting or some tips on spending, advisers from MABS are available by phone on our National Helpline on 0818 07 2000 from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday. Or you can email helpline@mabs.ie to answer any personal money and debt questions you might have. MABS is open and ready to provide the full range of money, debt and budgeting support.   

MABS can help! Check out our useful tools and tips: 

You can call the MABS National Helpline on 0818 07 2000 Monday to Friday, from 9am to 8pm, or find the contact details for your local office.   

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