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Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) is calling on the Finance Minister to maintain the excise duties on alcohol in its pre-budget submission.

Ireland's consumption of drink is a shocking 80 percent above the global average, which is huge cause for concern according to the AAI. 

Alcohol Action Ireland CEO Sheila Gilheany says binge-drinking is causing an array of issues, mainly among young people. Ireland's 18 to 24-year-old age group are Europe's number one binge drinkers.

The submission claims that the nation's pattern of alcohol consumption is measured at 11 litres of alcohol being consumed per capita every year.

"This persistent high level of harmful drinking equates to 41 litres of gin/vodka, 116 bottles of wine or 445 pints of beer per person aged 15+," the report states.

Sheila Gilheany spoke on the matter: "That very heavy level of drinking leads to a lot of harm both to the individuals themselves and also in a wider capacity."

"There is a lot of other harm to families and to children. One-in-six children are living in homes which we would call 'alcohol impacted' families. There is a big burden on the workplace as well."

The AAI estimate that approximately 60,000 young people under the age of 18 will start drinking every year.

"For people who start drinking early, even greater harm is done to them as individuals," said Sheila Gilheany.

AAI said that excise duties on alcohol products have only changed three times since 2002 and has failed to keep up with the rate of inflation.

It renewed its calls for the establishment of a Social Responsibility Fund to invest in primary care psychology services in order to meet the needs of those impacted by parental alcohol misuse.

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Do you brace yourself every time you use your card in Dublin? Do you mumble excuses at the cashier when it’s declined?

I’ve taken to pre-emptively warning the staff at Zara that my card may not work. Dublin is one of the world's most expensive cities to live in, and we’re feeling it this summer.

With this in mind, we’ve come up with a few tips on how to make the most of your Irish summer on a tight  budget.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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1. Get familiar with the best-for-your-euro food options around the city centre

Looking for a burger? WOW Burger does a mini burger for €4.95 that ain’t so mini. Carluccio’s on Dawson Street does a half box of delicious pasta at lunchtime for less than 4 quid.

Mongolian BBQ in Temple Bar does an enormous Lunch Bowl for €7.90 that will do as your main meal for the day.

If you need to eat out, look around and see where a fiver lunch or a tenner dinner is available- be strict with yourself.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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2. Choose culture for dates

The National Museums of Ireland are all free to visit and are simply gorgeous. The Archaeology Museum is on Kildare Street and the Museum of Decorative Arts and History is just beside the Museum stop on the red Luas line.

The Natural History Museum (think weirdly interesting stuffed animals) is on Merrion Street and is a fab place for a date or a stroll at lunch. Spend your free afternoons this summer, learning about Dublin for free.  

The National Gallery of Ireland also has breathtaking art with collections from icons like Caravaggio, Jack B Yeats, Mantegna,Titian, Monet and Picasso.

Paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photography, archival and bibliographical material all feature, as well as furniture. The inside of the building itself is worth a look for the beautiful design.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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3. Buy a good raincoat NOW

It may sound expensive, but if you make an initial investment, it will stand to you. Dublin is WET during the summer.

If you don’t have a waterproof jacket that a) has a hood and b) fits into your bag, you WILL accumulate several sh*t umbrellas over the coming months.

Not only is this a financial drain but its also the most unsustainable way to keep yourself dry this summer. Buy yourself a raincoat that will last and both your pocket AND the environment will thank you come September.

4. Drink off-peak

We don’t mean drink on your lunch break or have a liquid breakfast. We mean slightly earlier in the day or midweek.

Many places around town will have a two-for-one deal on cocktails (Fade Street Social, Pygmalion, Capitol Bar, Xico) or cheap pints (Dicey’s Garden) during the week or early in the day.

Have a scout and plan your drinks based on the deals- it will be worth the extra bit of research when you have more cash leftover at the end of the week.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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5.  Avoid the following high street stores like the plague:

  • Zara
  • Penney’s
  • H&M
  • Pull and Bear
  • River Island

Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t window shop or go in for a ‘quick look’. You WILL end up spending money. As usual, you will come across the most gorgeous clothes when you have the lowest funds available.

If your route home passes by these shops, choose another. An extra five minutes walk may save you money in the long-term. It's also beneficial for the environment to avoid these stores full stop…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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6. Look for half-price stickers

Once you get into the ‘reduced’ or ‘half price’ mindset, you'll be flying it. Food shops such as Marks & Spencer and Avoca have a system where they cut the price of many of their products (such as ready-made meals) at the end of the week.

Keep your eyes peeled for such stickers so you can eat well on a budget.

7. Shop Charity

If you take a turn up George’s Street, you will be met by an abundance of charity shop options.

St Vincent’s, Enable Ireland and Oxfam are all a stone’s throw from each other, so you are bound to find something.

The same can be said for the Aungier Street/ Camden Street area which is home to shops like Age Action, Gorta and the Dublin Simon Community Shop.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Charity shopping is a great way to save money, not to mention a greener way to shop for clothes and shoes.

Keep an eye out for the vintage racks in these shops where you might find some real treasures.

An unforgettable Dublin summer isn't impossible to reach for. If you carry out the right research and plan your budget, you can make the most out of this fun city without going into massive debt.

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Tying the knot this year?

Don't want to spend a load of cash on the big day?

Then Penneys is here to save the day. 

They have everything a bride-to-be could want – from gorgeous lace underwear to cute sleep masks to stunning pyjamas.

And everything is under twenty quid. 

But don't wait around, as the range is only available in stores and is sure to sell out as wedding season approaches. 

Embellished Body, €18

 

'Bride-to-be' Perfume, €2.50

 

Ivory Rose Gold Pad Slip, €18

 

Comes with  top in Babydoll set, €13
Champagne Foil Lace Body, €16

 

White Lace Up Bra, €12
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If you're a lover of weird food combinations and need something special to get you through this week – which is 99.9 percent of the population, since it's only Tuesday, we have just the thing.

Hit the pause button on amateur chips and ice cream or jam and avocado toast – and welcome this food God combo into your life.

Combining two of our favourite Friday night loves to help us to forget the working week, Deliveroo has partnered with Sano, Temple Bar to bring you tonight's dinner.

The genius' have smashed pizza and beer together to give birth to beer-infused pizza.

For one day ONLY, on October 9, you'll get to dine on the masterpiece that is beer and soakage fused together in one holy bite – we aren't worthy.

And you have the perfect excuse for this mid-week heaven as it's International Beer and Pizza Day, today. – so it would be rude not to grab a slice.

It's bad news if you haven't reached your 18 years on the planet though, as this is only available to the old folk over the age limit.

Why I hear you cry? Well, Sano Pizza created succulent, Neapolitan soft-style pizzas, hand-stretched and topped with authentic Italian ingredients before being stone oven-baked.

The specially kneaded dough is made with 12 O’Clock Mass IPA Beer, produced by Dowd’s Lane Brewery of Clonmel Co. Tipperary.

The ale contains a fruit fusion with a concentration of citrus lime and contains an alcohol content amount of 4.5 percent ABV. 

Dig out the age card or any official ID when ordering the beautiful Beer Pizza and show it to your Deliveroo rider. – It'll make everyone's life easier, so don't be 'that' person.

And forget the budget, the pizza is an absolute steal as a 12 inch will only set you back €12. 

If you can't wait until dinner time, a boozy lunch is perfectly acceptable to get you through Tuesday afternoon. 

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Gender equality in Ireland is likely to be examined at the next Citizens' Assembly, according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. 

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Varadkar spoke highly of the assembly, saying how it had helped politicians gain a greater insight into public opinion. 

He went on to say that while good work had been done in relation the domestic violence issues such as gender pay, gender equality in pensions, and the number of women in top corporate positions needed further examination. 

Meanwhile, there are also calls for gender equality to be considered in the next budget. 

The Joint Committee on Budgetary Oversight are set to look at how legislation impacts the role of women in society when it launches its Gender Budgeting report. 

Committee member and Labour TD Joan Burton explained:

"Basically it's changing the basis on which budgets are prepared to actively include a consideration of budget issues as they affect women -whether that's women at work, women with childcare responsibilities, women looking after older people."

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If you're anything like us, a huge chunk of your hard earned cash goes towards filling you wardrobe with clothes you probably (definitely) don't need. 

You might be living off beans on toast for the last week of the month, but hey, at least you've got a killer collection of designer heels, right?

Well, staying on top of the latest trends is nice, but have you ever stopped to think about what percentage of your wages is actually spent on clothing and accessories? 

According to Cosmopolitan, financial expert Peter Dunn reckons he's found the magic formula that allows you to strike the balance between stylish trendsetter and fully fledged adult. 

And it's all in the number five, apparently. 

He recommends that you should only spend about 5 per cent of your take home salary every month – which, when you break it down, isn't an awful lot. 

For example, if your €25k a year, your shopping budget is capped at €1250 annually which equates to roughly €100 per month.

Now, on first thought that doesn't seem so bad, but it only takes one flash ASOS sale to spoil your finances for the month. 

Our advice? Save the splurging for special events and experiment with new ways to style the clothes you already have.  

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Would it shock you to learn that the average wedding costs in Ireland are currently estimated at €31,000? 

Between the perfect dress, the fairytale venue and all the bits in between, one of the most special days of your life often proves to be one of the most expensive too. 

However, there are ways to save the pennies! 

There are fantastic savings to be made across your wedding checklist at Dealz on those all-important finishing touches.

With stationary and décor costs potentially amounting to €1,400, and with so many overheads remaining, why not remove the unnecessary splurges and bag yourself some real savings at Dealz.

Celebrations buyer at Dealz, Bryony Russell says, “We love a good celebration here at Dealz and understand that weddings can be really expensive! With more people looking to save money, we created this gorgeous range to help with the wedding budget, which offers amazing value at just €1.50 per item.”

From beautiful invitations, elegant favour boxes, table décor, bubble wands for those opting for an outdoor garden wedding, metallic balloons, bunting, confetti and much more – the budget retailer is on hand to help you curate the wedding of your dreams at a fraction of the cost.

And with the enitre collection of Insta-worth pieces priced at just €1.50, you can't really go wrong. 

The wedding collection will be available in stores nationwide from Monday, 21st May – here's a little taster of what you can expect: 

 

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OK real talk. Does anyone is their twenties ACTUALLY know how to manage money? 

I'll be the first to amit that finances aren't exactly my strong suit. Sure, I've got a roof over my head, food in the fridge and a Netflix subscription to keep me going, but when it comes to savings and long-term planning, I may as well be back at square one. 

However, I'm slowly but surely learning how to make better choices when it comes to spending, and there are a few golden tips and tricks I've picked up along the way:  

1. Thou shalt keep a budget book

Budgeting is hard, OK? And in an age of paperless money, it can be easy to lose track of your finances. 

One way to combat this is to keep a budget book, mapping out all your incoming and outgoing expenses for the month ahead, including every single purchase you make. 

Break down your earnings using the handy 50/30/20 ratio – 50 per cent goes towards living expenses, 30 per cent is disposable income, and 20 per cent goes into savings.

2. Thou shalt take advantage of loyalty schemes 

Whether you're earning points on your club card every time you do a food shop, or simply getting a free coffee every two weeks, loyalty schemes are a great way to save the pennies without feeling like you're missing out. 

A number of banks also offer reward schemes, allowing customers to earn cash back when use their cards at selected retailers. 

3. Thou shalt limit my online spending 

Sure, the half price ASOS jacket might seem like an absolute steal, but it's a slippery slope.

First the jacket, then the shoes, and before you know it, you're basket is full to brim with items you probably (definitely) don't need. 

4. Thou shalt refrain from taking out loans 

Unless absolutely necessary, try your best to work with what you have.

But if you do find yourself in a position where borrowing money is the only option, make sure to shop around for the best interest rates, and make paying it back an absolute priority.

5. Thou shalt bring my lunch from home

OK, so this one's a bit of a no-brainer, but eating out is pricey AF. 

Give the artisan breads and lavish salads a break and start getting creative in the kitchen. 

Pro tip: Make more than you need to eat for dinner so you can use the leftovers the next day.

6. Thou shalt eat more veggies

Meat is by far one of the most expensive parts of any meal, so it's no surprise that cutting it from your diet will do wonders for your pocket. 

Can't commit to the full veggie life? Start with meat-free Mondays and go from there. 

Your bank account will thank for for it. 

7. Thou shalt entertain at home 

Save the big nights out for special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, going-away dos etc. – and do the rest of your socialising at home. 

You'll save a bomb on taxi fares, cover charges and over-priced cocktails, and hey, you'll probably have more fun. 

8. Thou shalt save as much as possible

Got a few quid left over at the end of the month? 

Rather than indulging in an unnecessary spending spree, put your precious pennies towards a bigger spend. 

After all, that two month trek around South East Asia isn't going to pay for itself. 

9. Thou shalt learn about taxes 

OK, so this one is easier said than done, but it's important to know where your money is going every month. 

For example, Irish workers are entitled to a number of benefits including dental and optical, as well compensation for absence due to illness. 

It's also worth checking whether you've been emergency taxed in the past four years. You could be owed a small fortune and not even know it! 

10. Thou shalt splurge responsibly

While it's essential to stay on top of your finances in your 20s, it's never fun to deprive yourself of the things you want. 

Whether it's the designer handbag you've been lusting after, or the holiday of your dreams, it's important to treat yo'self every once in a while. 

After all, you worked hard for the cash – just spend it wisely! 

 

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Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe has delivered his Budget speech in the Dáil, setting out the government's budgetary measures for the year ahead.

Some €1.2 billion in new spending and tax cuts were announced this afternoon, in a plan that Minister Donohoe hopes will build on the progress made over the past few years.

Total expenditure in 2018 will amount to just over €60.9 billion – or €12,700 for every person in the country.

Here's Budget 2018 at a glance. 

  • €1.83 billion has been made available for housing, with 3,800 new social houses expected to be built by local authorities and approved housing bodies.

  • The esthablisment of a 'rainy day' fund with €1.5 bn to be transferred from the Ireland Strategic Investment fund.

  •  €5 per week increase in all weekly social welfare payments, including disability allowance, carer’s allowance, Jobseekers’ Allowance and State pension – effective from March 2018. 

  • Mortgage relief lowered to 75% for 2018, 50% 2019 and 25% in 2020.

  • Excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes to rise by 50 cents.

  • Health expenditure to increase by €685m, bringing next year's total to just under €15.3bn.

  • An additional 1,800 staff in frontline services across acute, mental health, disability, primary and community care sectors.

  • €13 million increase in the Overseas Development Aid budget.

  • 1,300 additional teaching post in schools for 2018 – reducing the student teacher ratio to 26:1.

  • VAT on sunbeds to increase to 23 per cent "in recognition of a clear link between sun beds and skin cancer"

  • A 30c per litre sugar tax on drinks with over 8g of sugar per 100ml, and a 20c per litre tax on drinks containing 5g to 8g of sugar per 100ml.

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I’d be the first to tell you that I’m not amazing with money.

When everyone else was getting the 411 on financial competency, I was asking for an advance on my pocket money because I had likely spent every last penny on a subscription to the Boyzone fanclub.

While I make rent, pay my bills, and top-up my Leap Card every month without fail, I still find myself staggering towards pay day, hands outstretched and tongue hanging listlessly out the side of my mouth.

I’m genuinely shocked when friends and colleagues casually mention restaurant bookings or after-work drinks in the final week of the month.

Yes, I still have a roof over my head, but the only thing I’ll be eating and drinking is tinned tuna and coffee supplied by my employer in the seven days before that sweet, sweet salary drops.

This is not how exactly how I envisioned adult life, but if social media is anything to go by, it’s not exactly how anyone envisioned adult life.

While, admittedly, I’m not in a position to lecture anyone on their money management, I do feel certain tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way have kept the wolf from my door.

So, without further ado, here are three tips which help me to stay on track when my heart seems intent on ruining my own life.

1. Divide and conquer

I've found that using pay day to immediately divide my money between what's actually mine and what is soon set to leave my account is a handy way of getting to grips with my budget for the month ahead.

The vast majority of my direct debits leave my account mid month, and manual transferrals often aren't required until the end of the month, so once my salary drops, I immediately transfer my anticipated outgoings to another account, so I get a proper handle on exactly how much disposable income I have.

And while your current account takes an immediate hit, at least the money in there is yours and ultimately allows you to budget more accurately.

2. Use cash, not card

This required a lot of practice, but I've ultimately realised that the months I opted to use cash over card made me a lot more responsible when it came to my spending.

Withdrawing a lump sump every Sunday evening which you feel will realistically see you through until the following Sunday is one of the simplest ways to keep control of your money.

Breaking a €20 note on a €3 coffee is a lot less appealing than simply tapping your card, and ultimately helps you to identify the times and events when you spend money needlessly.

3. Save a little

It can be so difficult to save money when you seem to have countless outgoings every month, but once you make a habit of it, it becomes second-nature.

Open an account that requires seven days notice to withdraw, and deposit a small amount in every pay day, and then – here's the important part – forget about it.

If it takes you a week to access it, it gives you time to consider whether you're actually comfortable dipping into your savings over a fleeting desire.

And the best part? Seeing your small nest egg increase with every passing week.

 

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Saving money can be pretty hard, and budgeting is all part of the process.

Unfortunately if you're anything like us, strict financial planning goes straight out the window once we see those must-have shoes on ASOS or we have a big event coming up that requires fiscal preparation.

Luckily, a psychologist has finally given us the answer as to why it's just so freakin' hard to keep things on track financially. 

‘I think the entire concept of budgeting is flawed,’ psychologist and financial planner Brad Klontz told The Science of Us.

‘Your emotional brain responds to the word budget the same way it responds to the word diet.'

'The connotation is deprivation, suffering, agony, depression.’

Sounds legit, there's nothing we want more than a slice of pizza on day one of a new healthy eating regime. 
 
The strict principles of being on a budget can make you focus more on the things you want to spend money on, but know that you can't, which is what makes budgeting all the more difficult.

According to the psychologist, the trick to making a budget work is to treat it more like a spending plan than a spending fast, by planning out the things that you can and will spend on rather than cutting out the things you don't want to splurge on.

It's essentially the same as budgeting, but a bit of reverse psychology never hurt anyone, especially your bank balance.

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Summer is just around the corner, and while we'd love to be splurging on the summer seasons' hottest style trends, we're a bit busy saving up for holidays and festival tickets.

Luckily, there are quite a few pieces on the high street and online right now that are answering all of our money saving prayers while looking stylish AF. 

Check them out for yourself:

Left to right: Zara headband €7.95

Zara T-shirt €12.95

Zara shorts €19.95

Zara earrings €9.95

Left to right: Penneys dress €18.00

Penneys chain handle backpack €10.00

Penneys choker €3.00

Penneys embroidered top €13.00

Left to right: PrettyLittleThing gingham trousers €20.25

PrettyLittleThing bardot crop top €14.00

PrettyLittleThing black sliders €20.25

PrettyLittleThing gingham skirt €16.20

Left to right: H&M ruffled crop top €9.98

H&M iron-on patches €6.99

H&M tote bag €4.99

H&M off-the-shoulder top €12.99

Left to right: ASOS red crop top €10.81

ASOS mermaid drop earrings €13.51

ASOS sunglasses €18.92

ASOS printed boho skirt €17.55

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