All the Small Things

Saving money and watching it grow is such a great feeling. Whether it’s saving towards paying off debts or saving for your next holiday – there is something so satisfying about seeing the amounts add up. There is no better feeling than being able to pay for large items or expenditure with money you have saved. Compare that with the feeling of adding more debt to the credit card, or taking out another loan.  

Of course saving money is not without its hardship. Believe me, I know – that’s why I’m on this journey! I’ve been managing to ensure all my bills are paid, managing to over spend in the supermarket, managing to treat myself (a lot!); but not quite managing to save and invest worthwhile amounts on a regular basis. However, that’s all in the past and it’s time to move on, make changes and start saving and investing in my future. 

The one major thing I realised when I analysed my spending is that there are quick and easy ways to save a lot of money. I’ve talked about cancelling subscription services, switching providers and meal planning. Now I’m here to tackle the small things – the small things that become big money. What seem like small purchases at the time, do add up – and simply by taking a few of those and being more conscious about what I buy, I am able to save a lot more towards my future. 


Buying your lunch at work or school can add up to at least €1680 a year. This is spend that can be easily saved with a little planning. Make your lunches the night before, make something that will last the week, bring leftovers – endless possibilities here to save money. I’m not at all suggesting that you have to deprive yourself, sometimes going out for lunch on a Friday can be a treat you look forward to. If that’s the case, then keep it as a weekly treat. You’ll still save at least €1344 by cutting back from lunch out 5 times a week to once a week. 


I have switched to so many store brand grocery items to make significant savings on my grocery bills. I know which ones are good, the ones that are worth the savings, the ones where there is no difference and indeed the items to avoid and stick with the branded version. These changes are quick and simple, make little or no difference to your breakfast/lunch/dinner, yet make a big difference to your weekly shopping bill. Here I’m suggesting to switch to only 5 store brand items to make a saving of at least €624 a year, this is only 5 items. It’s easy to make 20 or 30 switches, saving at least €3500 a year! Examples of items where I have switched to store-brand are Rice, Pasta, Tinned Tomatoes, Cereals, Milk, Butter, Herbs & Spices, Crisps and Frozen Veg. If you don’t already, introduce some store-brand products into your trolley and notice the savings. 


There’s no need to go into too much detail on this one – the inevitable ‘stop getting takeaway coffees’ advice on a money saving post! But I really was guilty of spending way too much on coffee – on the way to, during and home from the office, going on a long drive, grabbing one after a lunch out. It is simply this and nothing more: a waste of money and an environmental disaster.  Find a coffee you like that you can make at home, get a good travel mug and stop paying extortionate amounts of money for hot water and beans. Even if your most favourite thing in the world is a takeaway coffee, limit it to once a week; and for extra eco brownie points, please bring your travel mug and don’t take a cup that will end up in the bin. Even if you change to one coffee a week (from five) you’ll save €576 a year.  

Eating Out 

We all have busy lives and we have to enjoy ourselves from time to time. We work hard enough and there is no better feeling than having your meal handed to you – you don’t have to plan the menu, spend the time cooking, and perhaps more importantly, somebody else does the washing up! But personally I am very often less than enthused with the actual food. I love cooking and trying different dishes, and I suppose now that I’m switched on to my saving journey, I just find it harder to hand over money for mediocre food. When you’re not making conscious efforts to save money and spend less, it’s extremely easy to spend €400 a month eating out. But with careful planning, it’s easy to decrease this to €100 a month. You don’t have to completely cut it out, you can still have at least 1 or 2 meals out a month, but you can save yourself at least €3600 every year. 

Car Wash 

Provided you are logistically able to do this, paying for car washes needs to become a thing of the past if you’re on a journey to cut back on unnecessary spending. I can’t remember the amount of times I have brought my car to get washed, and been completely unimpressed with the service provided. As long as you have the space and access to wash your own car, you can save over €100 a year. For those living in areas with hard water, it’s a good idea to collect rain water for washing the car. It’s also a bit of exercise, a chance for some fresh air, even something the kids can do or help with; and gives you a good feeling when you can look out at your shiny car! 

So these are just a few areas where we can make small changes, that can actually grow into huge savings. Even trying one of the above, if only for a limited amount of time, will help you to have more money to save or invest. Try it! 

Leave a Reply