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Money Management

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Say goodbye to Black Friday and hello to Green Friday by buying Irish brands and products on November 29, urges a leading Irish retailer.

Green Friday is an initiative led by Marian O’Gorman of Kilkenny to champion a movement to support Irish brands and businesses nationwide.

 Kilkenny, and bodies like the Design and Crafts Council, Retail Excellence, SFA, Chambers Ireland and others will lead a powerful and passionate drive to reawaken people to the significance of buying Irish, shopping local, and the wealth of talent and enterprise behind our Irish craft and design businesses.

A national campaign is to be rolled out in the coming weeks, encouraging people in Ireland to drive our economy, support jobs and nurture our creative community in these uncertain times by purchasing Irish goods on one of the busiest shopping days of the year – the last Friday in November. 

Previously, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been enthusiastically embraced by Irish consumers, with more than €50 million spent over the course of the weekend in 2018.

Speaking of the campaign, Marian O’Gorman, CEO of Kilkenny issued a passionate call to action to shoppers;

“Our survey of consumers shows that 84% prefer to buy from Irish suppliers."

“This does not surprise me as Irish brands and products are second to none and, as a nation, we have many that are leaders on a world stage.

“We, as consumers, need to appreciate the fundamental fact that by keeping money in circulation in our own communities, we are protecting jobs and public services,” added Marian O’Gorman.

Around €4.65 billion will be spent by Irish shoppers during the Christmas period, based on research from Retail Ireland. Green Friday is designed to remind consumers of the power that they yield and the effect their support has on the designers, makers and businesspeople of the country.

“Irish consumers are seeing more and more how buying locally made products from Ireland’s designers and makers is an inspired choice that helps our economy and our environment,” said Brian McGee, Market Development Director, Design & Crafts Council of Ireland.

Brands and businesses are encouraged to market their products under the Green Friday banner, highlighting the value of shopping locally.  Check out microsite goforgreenfriday.com which provides businesses with free downloadable marketing material.

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It's that time of year again – Budget day is upon us.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe announced the 2019 Budget today in the Dail amidst rumours of new tax cuts and spending increases.

He opened with, ''we will protect the most vulnerable in our society.'' 

So here are the main points of information from the Budget about how it will affect you.  

Taxes

Expenditure on capital next year will be €7.3million with the Minister saying, “I am allocating an additional €1.4 billion for schools, universities, public transport, and other important infrastructure projects in 2019, bringing total expenditure on capital next year to €7.3 billion.”

Its good news for workers as the Universal Social Charge is set to be lowered by 0.25 percent (meaning roughly an extra fiver a week) and threshold which people hit the higher tax band, 40 percent rate of income tax, will rise by €750 from €34,550.

As well as that, the threshold at which people hit the lower 2 percent rate of USC, (incomes between 12,000 and 19,000) will be widened by €500, taking into account the 25 cent increase in the minimum wage. Home carers tax credit is increasing by €300 and the earned income tax credit for the self-employed is up €200.

Health

“I am announcing a further increase of €1.05 billion in Health funding for 2019. This brings the health budget to €17 billion. This is the highest level of Health investment in the history of the State.”

Patients under the Drugs Payments Scheme will be happy to hear that the monthly cut-off charge on medicine is reduced to €130 from the current level of €134.

Prescription drug charges reduction from €2 to €1.50 for medical card holders.

Housing

The housing crisis has also been looked at, with €2.3billion has been allocated to the housing programme in 2019, with an extra €150 million will be allocated for the housing assistance payment. There will be €1.25billion for 10,000 new social homes in 2019. 

He said, ''more new homes will be provided this year than any year in the past decade''

Thresholds for affordable housing applicants set at €50,000 for single applicants and €75,000 for dual applicants.

Social Life

Cigarettes have gone up an extra 50 cent while booze prices remain the same. 

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So, we have barely reached mid-month, and let's call a spade a spade, most of us are already broke AF. 

Every month, we swear that we will be better, but we fall into the same traps. 

But a few significant changes come a long when it comes to your budget.

We have identified some key areas where a bit of an effort can really make a difference long term, without completely making you feel miserable.

Coffee

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your daily latte can cost you up to 750€ a year. That's basically a week of holiday or a designer bag.

While we understand it is pretty essential in your working life, sticking to buying your coffee only twice a week instead of five times can save you up to 400€ a year. 

Lunch food

Say you spend on average 8€ a day on lunch food; at the end of the year, it comes up to almost TWO GRANDS.

We are not going to list everything you can do with that money, you get the picture. But we can only advise you to try and bring your own food for lunch as often as possible. 

Struggling for inspiration? Just double the portions of dinner to have enough for lunch or click here or here to find tasty recipes.

Phone bills

Love your fancy phone? Of course, we all do, and we couldn't really imagine not owning a smartphone.

But once your contract is up, don't immediately go for the upgrade if your phone is still working well. Switch to prepaid and you can save up to 500€ a year!

Cocktails

We are not telling you to stop going on nights out, but just to have a quick think before you order.

A simple G&T should be no more than 7€, while the fancy cocktails for a few floating berries and flavoured syrups can go up to 12-15€. We'll let you make your own calculation of how much the difference can be over a night.

Entertainment

Instead of cinema and book store, think Netflix and library!

The price of one cinema ticket is usually the same as your Netflix monthly membership and library memberships are usually free.

So try to stick to the cheap night to go to the movie (it's usually Tuesday) and look for the closest library to start borrowing classic gems and new releases.

 

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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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