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