10 Small Money-Saving Lessons Learned in 2012


Hello everyone! I hope you’re off to a great start in the new year already? I normally do a new year’s resolution every year, sometimes silly and sometimes serious. 2012 was the year to get my financial house in order. Check! 2013 is going to be a year of being more intuitive for me and for improving on last year’s financial success.

I thought I would give a breakdown on ten small money-saving lessons I learned last year that have been very helpful to me in achieving my savings goal of €10,000. In no particular order:

1. Making Natural, Homemade Cleaners – Serious savings were to be made by making my own washing detergent liquid and natural cleaners.

2. Diluting with Vinegar – dilute fabric conditioners 50:50 with vinegar or just use vinegar. You can also “vinegar-down” your washing-up liquid with water 30:30:30.

3. Brown-Bagging it to Work – Although there is pressure to do it every day, I go with my colleagues once a week to eat lunch together socially. Sandwiches, Salads, meatballs or sliceable leftovers (e.g. lasagna) works well for me and keeping a supply of ziploc bags keeps me on the straight and narrow!

4. Paying Myself First– when my monthly wage comes in, I immediately move my savings into a savings account. That is paying myself first. If I really need to transfer some back later in the month, then that’s ok.

5. Trying to get daily necessities cheaper – This is a task for continual improvement… for example I have decided to only purchase fair-trade coffee. Today when shopping in Lidl I saw that they also sell 16 non-organic fairtrade coffee pads (that taste good!) for €1.79 compared to the delicious organic kind that I buy for €3.39 with two pads extra. That’s almost double the price though for a small taste difference (and that they’re not organic). For me it’s more important they’re fair trade.

6. Shopping Second Hand – When I started doing this, I had a slight aversion to second-hand shops because as a teen I was sometimes embarrassed and jealous of what my peers were wearing. But with a little practice and luck it is really like treasure-hunting! Before, I would walk into a shop and look at the mannequin for inspiration. Now I walk in more open-minded, see if there is anything worth having that looks nice on me and consider what I actually need. Recently I got a thermal mid-length sleeve top for €1.50!

7. Meal Planning and Freezing Leftovers – this cuts down on food waste and reduces the likelihood of a takeaway on Friday when the fridge is empty. Frozen leftovers of veg can go in a quick stirfry, quiche, stew, soup…

8. Signing Up for CityBike – Sure there are a few days where I need to take the bus because it is raining, but having a citybike station at the end of my street saves me almost €2 every time I use it, because it is free to use for the first half an hour. All it cost me was €5 to register, and this money is credited to your account in case you go over the half-hour. I also asked for a good, big umbrella for my birthday and when I’m not using citybike I just take my umbrella and walk it :)

9Saving Water – We figured out how to use the half-flush on the toilet which should save us quite a little bit on the water bill.

10.  Interacting Online –  There are so many great and inspirational blogs online as well as interesting websites to inspire you to achieve your savings and personal goals to getting on budget. And I don’t mean just from the professionals, e.g. Eddie Hobbs, Alvin Hall, Dave Ramsey or Suze Orwell (although all worth a listen to), but from real people who are doing it or have done it themselves. Being able to interact with them through blogging has been really helpful for me. So thank you everyone for helping me along on my way and being so inspiring :)

Did I miss anything screamingly obvious here? I would love to hear what has helped you save some money last year :)



  1. Thank you Sft, they’ve really helped me to my savings goal this year. I am happy to pass on the info!

  2. You have done great! There isn’t much I would add to your list, but I do have a tip that has helped me, I started to separate my laundry by fabric type. If I have anything synthetic I don’t dry it with my cottons. It’s the synthetic fibers that cause you to need softeners. Now I only have to use a vinegar rag in a load of non-cotton clothes.

  3. That it is. I started using the cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle, but that got way too expensive. Now I just use the rag with vinegar when I have synthetic fabrics to dry. Now if only I could have a clothes line outside, something I plan to try and hide in the field this summer.

  4. Our apartment block has a communal one in the shared garden, but nobody ever uses it. I guess people are happy to dry their clothes indoors (they dry overnight here). When I lived in Dublin it took a couple of days :(

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