Category Archives: Money Saving Tips

The Money Saving Guide offers 25 practical top tips to save money. Read about saving money with Voucher pages

Starting College – Guide to Saving Money & Integrating into Third Level Education

The cost of attending college in Ireland is rising by the year. Parents contribute an average of €428 per month towards cover college expenses, and this is supplemented by 51% of students also working throughout the academic year to cover costs.  According to D.I.T.’s Student Cost of Living Guide, the annual cost of living for a student living away from home is €10,976. On average, 40% of students receive higher education grants to help with materials and living expenses.

Most colleges charge an annual student contribution, previously called the student services charge. The student contribution rose by €250 in this year to €2,750 for 2014-2015. This is only the beginning of the expenditure.

In Ireland, 44% of third level students are now living away from home. Rental prices across Ireland are rising significantly, especially in the last twelve months due to a significant shortage of affordable housing. Consequently students can potentially be charged rent at extortionate prices as landlords look to capitalise on desperation. With third level education at such a premium, it is important to make the very most of opportunities presented.

While living at home is the cheapest option, campus accommodation is the ideal scenario for students starting college where this is not suitable. Although campus accommodation can potentially be pricey there are big savings to be made on transport as the likelihood is that the student accommodation will be within walking distance of college. This is also a great way for new students to settle in and make new friends quickly. Students moving into student accommodation together will not find it hard to bond, as they will be going through similar experiences. Settling quickly will help to avoid potential homesickness and stress, although this is not a problem for many as students are glad of the freedom third level education offers them.

If you are not lucky enough to get student accommodation do not fear. Staying in digs with a family can be a much cheaper alternative, and some digs include meals. Although this can present itself as quite a lonely option it is often not the case as it encourages students to stay with friends after nights out resulting in comradery and also can provide the safety net of living with a family. Students moving into houses or apartments with friends must be wary of high rental prices. Rents nationwide have increased by an average of 9% over the past year with Dublin experiencing the highest rise with a 14% increase in price. There are potential risks if a house descends into chaos or is not properly maintained such as losing the security deposit. Independent housing does not have the same supervision or boundaries as digs or student accommodation. Therefore, it is important to move in with the right people to keep a correct balance, so if possible, try meeting potential house mates prior to agreeing to move in.

Students are most likely going to be moving into a strange environment with lots of people, so it is important that they make themselves comfortable with their surroundings. This can be as simple as unpacking for some but more difficult for others. There are some general guidelines for getting along with new housemates. You must respect other people’s possessions, try not to borrow without asking and always be conscious that you are living with other people. Do not have groups of friends or study groups over too often if it interferes with another housemate’s routine or makes them feel uncomfortable. It is also important to establish boundaries by making sure small things are nipped in the bud before they become huge problems (which they inevitably will!). This can be achieved through open communication, which in the long run helps towards a happy living situation.

Now we come to the actual beginning and registration phase of college. The importance of orientation week cannot be overstated. This is where students can do the most bonding activities and meet other students in their class and in similar situations to themselves. Students can do the simple things like register for a college email, get a student card and take a tour of the library. These things may not seem particularly important initially but will save a lot of hassle later in the semester when the pressure is on and exams are looming. Orientation week is also the time when students should join groups, sports and societies. This is a great opportunity to step outside a comfort zone to make new friends and try new experiences. To make friends in your class and do well, it is important to attend lectures. This is absolutely vital as you will have the notes you need come exam time and friends to share the stress and exam tips with. Friends in your class is also the best way to create study groups and timetables, and makes the whole experience a lot more convenient.

Remember you go to college for education. Pick subjects that appeal to your interests and make sure to engage fully in those subjects even if you are not particularly fond of one subject (often these are the ones that require more time and effort). This is a good way to pinpoint your academic strengths and weaknesses which will lead you to easily picking your major. A good idea is to shake things up with a random elective. This keeps it interesting and allows you to study outside of your perspective field. Exam time is obviously stressful for students but there are certain things you can do minimise stress. First of all make a study timetable in manageable hour blocks to make the task seem less daunting. Then have pre prepared frozen dinners at the ready so you will not have to waste time on cooking. Prepare these a few weeks in advance, simple things like lasagne or curry. Then make sure to leave adequate time for each subject to avoid stressful cramming. Having the main topics in a module summarised throughout the year can save days of note making when it gets to those crucial few weeks before exams. But be wary of people asking to copy notes that have taken you weeks to write out!

Students will also have to cope with the simple things that might not seem so simple to them. If you have any issues or problems settling in, support services are available in most colleges. Things like laundry and cooking can seem daunting initially, and will undoubtedly result in some clothes being shrunk along with an abundance of spaghetti bolognese. This is all a learning curve as students learn about their abilities and how to manage a budget. Remember help guides, videos and recipes for cheap dishes can be found quickly online.

The cost associated with starting college apart from the obvious student contribution and rent can be scary. Students should look to pick up second-hand books wherever they can as some of the new books are very expensive. Often the professor or lecturer will offer advice on where to pick up older copies of the textbook for cheaper prices. If buying new text books, remember to cover with laminate and keep in good condition for resale at the end of the year. A trick learned throughout my college career is that a copy borrowed from the library can often be photocopied and then professionally bound for a cheaper price.

Any student budget will have to incorporate costs such electricity, phone bills, internet bills and food. Eat healthy as there is the urge to live off pasta and chicken fillet rolls five times a week. Convenience is not always the best option, especially if it affects your health in the long-term. When grocery shopping, watch out for weekly deals in all supermarkets. Savings can be made on shopping with discounts for top brands and local services such as hairdressers by using coupons or voucher codes for online shopping. The largest selection of discounts can be found on www.voucherpages.ie.

For mobile phones, make sure that you are on the right mobile plan by getting the different mobile operators to recommend a plan for you based on your calls, data and SMS text messaging patterns. Remember Wi-Fi is freely available in most student venues and on campus, so maybe you do not need any data on your plan. If you are a heavy user of your phone, maybe a pre-pay mobile plan would be the best option to limit your activity so that you do not get into trouble.

It is of course vital that students relax, enjoy and socialise throughout university life but also be aware of the potential risks. It is important to go out and socialise with others, so that you gain life experiences. Organisation and common sense is needed to know when a night out can be had and when to say no, whether it be for academic or financial reasons.

Many will encounter drink and even illegal drugs over the course of third level education years. Beware of the dangers and risks associated with binge drinking or drug taking. If you are drinking, it is important to drink in moderation.

College is a time when many young adults come into contact with the opposite or same sex and engage in sexual activity. There has been a rise in sexually transmitted diseases and many do not have any symptoms but can cause serious long-term complications. It is important to always practice safe sex. If you are sexually activity, STI testing, advice and health checks are available at a reduced rate in many universities.

Many students will use one of their summers to travel abroad with many opting to go stateside with a J1 visa. Any student in third level education is eligible for a J1 working visa to the USA. These can be very pricey so a student loan may have to be considered. Ensure that you have the means to pay this back or that you have been working steadily throughout the college year to finance yourself. These trips abroad or J1s usually have to be booked around February to avail of the cheapest rates and book embassy meetings. These experiences come highly recommended as you may not get the chance to travel again for a long time and it is a shame not to avail of the opportunity.

It is important not to pick a career on fads. Do not choose a career path because you think it will earn you a lot of money in future. What is in demand today may not be by the time you finish third level education. Look at anyone who was looking to pursue a career in architecture ten years ago. This would have been a job with huge financial reward but over the past few years, many with an architecture degree had to leave the country to find work. Pick your future career on your interests and your strengths. An internship can be a great way to get practical work experience and give you a leg up on competition. Although this may involve giving up one of your summers it can be an invaluable experience and looks great on the CV. This in turn will lead to better career opportunities. After college, the Jobbridge national internship scheme provide work placement with a €50 per week on top of existing social welfare entitlement.

Social media practices and posting is never forgotten. Make sure to post nothing incriminating to social media or anything that may jeopardise a future career. Social media is readily available to anybody. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn it is not hard to find out a great deal about somebody, so do not put anything up that you would not wish to explain or be embarrassed about in the future. Be careful about security and privacy settings, as it may come back to haunt you in years to come or you may share personal items such as photographs. However, Facebook can be a very useful tool during college. Facebook allows people to keep in regular contact whether it is in groups for college where documents can be easily uploaded or to organise social outings.

Hopefully these guidelines and tips will help you in beginning life in third level education and remember to enjoy every minute of it as college years are often the best years of an individual’s life.

Download our free money saving guide, Spend Time Spending Less, at http://www.voucherpages.ie/save-money-online.

Top 5 Shopping Trends in Q1 2014

Are we coming out of recession ? While not out of the woods yet, it appears that we are on the road to recovery, according to consumer indicators released by Voucher Pages today with the top 5 Shopping Trends in the first quarter of 2014.

1. The Savvy Celtic Tiger Shoppers

Has the extravagant frivolous spending of years gone by been replaced by a nation of bargain hunters! I can hear the Celtic Tigers may shriek “OMG Noooo”! While the final quarter and Christmas period has traditionally been a very strong period for online shopping and discount seekers, Voucher Pages has seen consumer spend remain strong throughout the first quarter of this year with an increase in both overall user numbers and consumer spend in Q1 2014 from Q4 2013 with sales of technology, electronics and home improvement performing very well. This is a key indicator that shoppers appear to be spending more, and that consumers are getting more savvy with their cash by looking for the best value.

2. Staycation and Vacation likes its 2006!

With our love of all weather-related talk and natural bronze complexions, is it any surprise that consumers are taking advantage of special offers available in the first quarter of the year with a spike in hotel and holiday bookings in January.

Following a 23% increase in hotel bookings in December 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, this growth has continued into 2014 with a further 26% increase in hotel and accommodation searches in January. Is this a sign that some households are coming out of recession?

3. New Year’s Resolutions

We are a nation of fitness freaks and gym bunnies, yeah! Maybe not but we have good intentions. There has been a 45% growth in searches for health and fitness vouchers in the first quarter of 2014 with people looking for  gyms, fitness classes and health treatments to get those beach bodies back into shape. While people exercising more in the early part of the year may not be a shock, such strong growth indicates that gym goers really do want a deal to sign up for membership.

4. Come Dine with Masterchefs

Suppressed by austerity measures for far too long, consumers are spending on food and drink but doing so on a budget. While January would normally be a quiet month to recover from the Christmas excesses, Voucher Pages have surprisingly seen a 30% increase in restaurant and takeaway coupon redemptions in the first quarter of 2014.

5. Bargain Basement Fashionistas

Turns out fashion lovers did not want to wait for the January sales this year, or is it a smart move on the part of retailers! Last year, we saw a trend of clothes shoppers waiting until January to make purchases but this has reversed during the 2013/2014 festive period with shoppers making their purchases earlier. There were 20% more fashion and clothing shoppers using Voucher Pages in the final stages of 2013, as opposed to January. Many retailers are now starting their Winter sales in December and it appears to be paying off with very strong December clothing sales results.

 

Money Saving Tip – Leftovers and the Recipe for Successful Saving

Money Saving Tip – The Recipe for Successful Saving

Instead of discarding perfectly good leftover food, make the most of it with the tasty recipe suggestions that you can find on websites like Supercook or BigOven, which suggest dishes based on the ingredients you have available.

Make tasty savings by planning your week’s meals ahead of time – including the meals eaten at home and packed lunches for school or work. Having all the ingredients to hand means you’re less likely to be tempted to order a takeaway or buy lunch in a convenience store.

Take a note of all the food that passes its use-by date which you wind up throwing away. It might be time to rethink how you do your grocery shopping. Instead of one weekly trip to the supermarket, consider keeping a smaller stockpile of essentials and buying the groceries you need when you need them. Try it for a few weeks, and see what it saves you.

And while we are on the subject of date… Knowing the difference between a product’s sell-by date and its use-by date could help save you money. Both dates are usually clearly marked on a food product’s packaging or label. The sell-by date is the deadline for the store to keep it on their shelves, while the use by date is the time limit for consuming it.

Find other money saving tips covering couponing, grocery shopping, beauty, loyalty and rewards shopping programmes.

Now to start saving money, find coupons, offers and vouchers on Voucher Pages.

 

Loyalty Shopping Programmes – Money Saving Tip

It Pays to Be Loyal – Join Rewards Programmes

Looking to save money, well sometimes it pays to be loyal. Sign up for store loyalty programmes and email alerts at shops and major brands like TescoGAPDebenhams especially if you’re a regular customer already. For instance, Debenhams rewards card offers 3 points for every €1 spent with 500 points resulting in a €5 reward. 

Also, plenty of local services like beauty salons and spas offer rewards for repeat customers such as Bali Touch Massage offering every fifth treatment for free. Remember to ask in-store or on the phone when using local service providers for information on their loyalty programme.

Loyalty programmers are a store’s way of thanking you for your business and making sure you come back again and again. With most of these programmes, you are rewarded with points for every purchase. And when you reach a certain number of points, you get discounts or vouchers to use in their stores. But watch out for deals for new customers only…why not ask in-store for the same deal if your a loyal customer?

Remember to also follow all your favourite retailers on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for their newsletter. They sometimes reward followers with exclusive deals, special sales or extra-generous discounts. You don’t want to miss those!

Some recent articles with money saving tips include: couponing, saving money on grocery shopping, tips to save on beauty.

 

Now to start saving money, find coupons, offers and vouchers on Voucher Pages.

 

Save Money on Grocery Shopping – Budget Busting Savings Tips

Before you go grocery shopping, write a list of the items you
need. And stick to it! If possible, shop only when you haven’t
the children with you. Nothing pushes up the grocery bill like
a screaming child! It also leaves you free to concentrate on
seeking out the value.

Eat before you go shopping. That way your belly is less likely
to convince your brain to buy goodies you don’t need. Stores
know our weaknesses; how readily we’ll pick up a fresh loaf of
bread when we get that just-from-the oven aroma. Eating prior
to shopping makes resistance easier.

If you’re working to a fixed budget, leave your credit card at
home, and bring your spending money in cash. Quite simply, if
you can’t overspend, you won’t!

As a rule, groceries are usually cheaper per item when you buy
in bulk or choose the family packs. But this is not always the case!
So compare the cost per unit or cost per kg of larger packs with
that of the standard size. It pays to be diligent.

All the main supermarkets have weekly specials. Check in-store
or online before you go shopping. Compare the prices at
different stores, and keep track of where particular items are
good value. You may find it’s worth your while buying some of
your groceries in one supermarket, and the rest in another. Even
small savings can add up quickly on a family’s weekly
groceries bill.

When it comes to checking prices, a lot of the hard work is
already being done for you by the helpful people who run price 
comparison websites like compare.ie and others. Thanks guys!

Online grocery shopping is really catching on here in Ireland,
which should be no surprise to anyone who has tried it! Easy,
convenient and usually economical. It allows you to keep
careful track of exactly how much you’re spending as you shop.
Plus, it’s easier to stick to only what you need when you’re not
walking past the shelf! “What about the delivery charge?”, you
ask. Well, if you take into account the cost of petrol, or the taxi
fare, the delivery charge represents value for money.
Tesco is offering €10 off your first online grocery bill.
You’ll find the coupon on voucherpages.ie. That’s like a free
€10! What are you waiting for?

Buying fruit and vegetables in season usually means that you
get high quality, locally produced food at a lower cost. Visit
Bord Bia’s website to find out what’s in season.

Now to start saving money, find coupons, offers and vouchers on Voucher Pages.

Top Beauty Tips for Saving Money on Hair and Beauty Products and Services

Big make-up and beauty brands can mean big prices. Discount supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl offer less expensive alternatives of similar quality on a limited range of items. Read online consumer reviews or test them for yourself – it won’t cost you much to find out if they’re right for you.

Grab the freebies! Watch out for free product samples in-store and giveaways when promotional staff hit the streets on Ireland and at major events. Waste not want not! Make your beauty products go further by using every last drop or squeeze before you bin them. 

Got a favourite brand, sign up for reward programmes to find out about potential offers and follow your favourite brands on social media sites such as Facebook to keep up with offers and competitions.

Still in college or school? Remember to ask for a student discount even if not readily displyed in the a store or salon.

Is bigger better? Not always! While it may seem reasonable to assume that you will get the best price by buying the largest package of a product, this is not always the case. Compare the different size containers to gauge a cost per weight ad you may be surprised.

Salons are busiest at weekends. Ask your hairdresser if there’s a discount for booking your appointment early in the week, when it’s quieter. It could mean blowing a lot less of your money!

Or ever considered letting the top salons newest recruit free on you. Major hairdressing brands usually have student hairdresser days where you can get styled for free or a heavily discounted rate.

Coupons are readily available for Beauty Salons and Hairdressers on voucherpages.ie, where you can save over 50% on the standard price of the service. Discount codes are also available for buying your favourite creams, make-up and tanning brands online.

Now to start saving money, find coupons, offers and vouchers on Voucher Pages.

 

Money Saving Tips – Where to Start? Couponing?

So where is the best place to start saving money? Join the 86% of savvy Irish consumers who are using coupons to save money at retailers and local businesses nationwide.

coupons and deals to save money

Register with discount voucher website VoucherPages.ie. Here you can find deals, discounts and coupons that can save you as much as 80% on your favourite brands, as well as incredible offers on beauty salons, entertainment, restaurants, hotels and more.

Also check out Daily Deals websites such as GrouponGrab One and Living Social for their deals of the day.

Before you buy, check the below:

  • Do you have to pay now or at time of redemption? In-store coupons generally allow you to pay when actually using a service, while daily deals and online voucher codes usually require that you pay up front before delivery.
  • What is the expiry date? Coupons generally are valid for a set time period or number of redemptions. Print the coupon as soon as you see it, so you do not miss out on the offer you want. Daily deal vouchers usually have a limited time frame to buy the item and then to actually use the item after you pay for it, so try not to lose out on items by redeeming your deal while it is still valid.
  • What are the terms and conditions or are there any restrictions? Generally key terms and conditions will be displayed on a voucher. However, to be 100% certain, you can usually call the supplier of the service with an enquiry.
  • Do you have to subscribe for email alerts? Generally Daily Deal platforms will not allow you to use them without subscribing for emails. VoucherPages.ie is completely open to use for anybody but you have the option to sign up for email discount alerts, so that you do not miss out on savings from your favourite brands and retailers.

Now to start saving money, find coupons, offers and vouchers on Voucher Pages.

 

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Voucher Pages Launches Money Saving Practical Guide

Free eBook contains 25 top tips to help Irish consumers save money

Voucher Pages, which provides an online and mobile coupon platform, has today announced the launch of a new free money-saving practical guide to help Irish consumers save money on shopping and essential household bills.

Irish consumers are over spending but the good news is that it is possible for consumers to save money as they shop and Voucher Pages’ new guide Spend Time Spending Less can help to point them in the right direction.

The free eBook contains 25 practical top tips to help consumers reduce their expenditures. Topics covered in the 50-page guide include groceries, hair & beauty, entertainment, fashion and travel amongst others.

Speaking at the launch of the eBook today at NovaUCD, Ronan Hickey, founder of Voucher Pages said, “Price perception is the number one reason why consumers choose one supplier over another. According to the National Consumer Agency, over 70% of Irish consumers say they are willing to switch supplier to get a better deal and so with shoppers looking to save money, Voucher Pages has produced this free practical guide for Irish consumers, such as a mother with a young family, a student, or a professional, to help them to reduce their household spend.”

He added, “For example, before you go grocery shopping, write down a list of the items you need and make sure you keep to your list. Eat before you go shopping as that way your belly is less likely to convince your brain to buy goodies that you don’t need.”

VoucherPages.ie is an online and mobile coupon platform, which offers free access to exclusive discounts for hundreds of businesses across Ireland. Voucher Pages, located at NovaUCD, was recently award Enterprise Ireland Competitive Start-Up funding.

The company was established in 2011 by Ronan Hickey, who has extensive commercial experience covering product management, business development and marketing. Ronan graduated from University College Dublin with a BComm and an MBS (Marketing Management) degree.

The free money-saving guide, Spend Time Spending Less can be downloaded here.