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Top Tips for Irish Consumers from Terry Prone

With many thanks to, and courtesy of, Ms. Terry Prone, a Director of the Communications Clinic, here’s the first of our series of Top Tips for Irish Consumers:

  1. I buy generic whenever I can get away with it. Why pay brand-name price for aspirin when you can get generic for half the price? Can’t always get away with it, though. The man in my life is a connoisseur of baked beans. How sad is that? Try to sneak anything other than Heinz onto his toast, and he spots and rejects it at first tasting.
  2. I make my own briquettes. Newspapers, fliers, envelopes and magazines get tossed into a barrel in the garage filled with water during the week to soak, and at the weekend, on go the rubber gloves to drag them out and squish them in a metal yoke which squeezes most of the water out of them. Left near the stove, they dry out in a week or so and provide great heat. Not to mention the sense of environmental virtue.
  3. Cooking five times as much soup or casserole as is needed for any one meal and freezing the leftovers sounds a great saver. I’ve never done the calculation on the cost of the power going into the freezer, though.
  4. I get up at 4.30 or 5 in the morning in order to get into the Port Tunnel while it costs €3. Sleep in, and it costs €12.
  5. Closing doors to keep the heat in a room. Every time I do it, it’s in response to the echo of my late father’s voice in my head: “Were you born in a barn?”
  6. Using a GreenCone for all organic kitchen waste. Doesn’t save that much money, but is good for the soil and keeps the cycle of use and re-use, if not on our own premises, at least in our own garden. (Coffee grounds get spread directly on the flower beds.)
  7. Cheap cat food. As long as it stinks to high heaven and has jelly in it, they love it.
  8. Wait until the paperback comes out. (This is more of a good resolution than a practice. Some writers are so good, I can’t wait a year.)
  9. Buy classic and don’t throw out. I have an ankle-length pure wool kilt that’s older than my son and looks new. The only problem is that I can fit in it only once every three years.
  10. Thinking twice about couriers. Time was, anything I wanted to send to anybody, I called a bike. These days, An Post gets most of my business.

The complete series listing of Top Tips for Irish Consumers is now available here.

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