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This Weeks Special Offers from Northern Ireland Grocery Chains

Every week you can access this weeks grocery special offers from the grocery chains across Northern Ireland from this single handy web page. It’s not an extensive listing (yet) but on a weekly basis, sometimes monthly, the chains listed below publish their special offers on their websites in various different formats.

You can use this webpage to click on any of the icons below to bring you directly to the this weeks grocery special offers from regional grocery chains across Ireland.

This Weeks Special Offers from Northern Ireland Grocery Chains

Every effort has been made to keep these links up to date. If you find any broken links, or want to suggest any other local grocery chains that keep up to date special offers pages online, please contact me here.

 

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This Weeks Special Offers from Regional Grocery Chains

Every week you can access this weeks grocery special offers from regional grocery chains across Ireland from this single handy web page. It’s not an extensive listing (yet) but on a weekly basis, sometimes monthly, the chains listed below publish their special offers on their websites in various different formats.

You can use this webpage to click on any of the icons below to bring you directly to the this weeks grocery special offers from regional grocery chains across Ireland.

This Weeks Special Offers from Regional Grocery Chains

Every effort has been made to keep these links up to date. If you find any broken links, or want to suggest any other local grocery chains that keep up to date special offers pages online, please contact me here.

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The ValueIreland 52 Week Money Saving Challenge

There’s a money saving plan that’s circulated quite widely around the start of every new year. You might variously have seen it called the “52 Week Money Challenge” or the “52 Week Savings Plan”, or some variation of those. The idea of this savings plan is that you will save increasing amounts every week. You’ll start in week one by saving €1, and increase your weekly savings amount by €1 each subsequent week. So, you get to week 29, you’ll be saving away €29, and so on. The theory is that you make up a savings chart where you’d tick off each weeks savings, and put the money in a jar kept somewhere you’ll always be reminded to make your weekly deposit.

By the end of the year, you’ll end up saving €1378 – which would be quite nice to have in your pocket over the Christmas.

A plan with difficulties

This plan, while seeming nice, and starting off nice and easy, has two key difficulties that I can see. Firstly, coming towards the end of the year, you’re going to be expected to save away around €200 per month to keep to the plan. That’s a whole lot harder at that time of year compared to having to put away €10 to €25 per month at the start of the year.

Additionally, having the money visible and easily accessible somewhere means there’ll always be the temptation to dip in to the pot when money is tight – after an expensive weekend, or if you’re running out for messages with no cash in your pocket.

Savings Plans are still a good idea

Yet, it’d still be nice to be able to do something during the year (possibly even over and above your existing savings efforts) to give you a nice pot of cash for the Christmas, or to get you through January.

So, how about trying something slightly different – a variation on the original 52 week money saving challenges, but designed to make things a little bit easier through the year – particularly in November and December – and hopefully done in such a way as to ensure you don’t make withdrawals as easily as you’re supposed to make the deposits.

Take 6 minutes to check it out

Instead of saving €1, then €2, and so on, and ending the year on €51 followed by €52, how about saving in rising increments of €2 per week, getting to June 25th where you’d deposit €52, and then start decreasing the increments by €2 per week until your last deposit at Christmas is a simple €2 again? Actually, you’d need to have 2 weeks in the middle of the year – June 25th and July 2nd – where you’d be saving the maximum €52. Your saving plan would look something like the image below.

So, the start and end of the year are easier, and the tougher times are in the middle of the year where you’ve time to plan for them if necessary.

I’d also suggest finding a way – via your online banking if at all possible – to move the money to a savings account that’s not as easily accessible as jar on the counter in the kitchen. You could transfer the money to a credit union account, for example, or you could bulk up the savings over certain weeks and buy prize bonds. You could even simply spend a couple of quid in one of those thrift stores and buy yourself a savings tin that takes a tin-opener to access. Anything, really, so that you can’t easily spend the cash as you’re saving it.

Building a Savings Habit

If nothing else, trying to start a plan like this – particularly if you’re not the best saver anyway – would help greatly to build up your savings habit. The version of plan that I’m suggesting above should make it a little bit easier to stick to throughout the year – particularly towards the end of the year when you might be getting a little bored, and the temptation to spend the money grows, or even the availability of spare cash diminishes.

Putting the money out of reach should help with that as well.

Oh, and because of the slight change in schedule, if you were able to stick to this plan over the 52 weeks, you’d end up saving a little bit more as well – €1404 by the end of the year.

VI 52 Week Money Saving Challenge Schedule

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How much is walking that little bit extra worth to you?

A common New Year resolution money saving / healthy living tip you’ll regularly read in the newspapers is to change your daily bus / train commute a little so that you walk a little bit extra every day, and spend a little bit less on your ticket. So, in the morning you’d walk a bit closer to work and get on the bus or train a stop closer to your destination, while in the evening you’d get off a little bit further away from your house and walk the rest of the journey home.

Rather than just dismissing such advise with a “come on, Charlie / Conor / Sinead, what about us living in the real world where it’s hard to get up in the morning to get the time to walk more and where our jobs mean we need to get home to relax as quickly as possible”, have you ever seriously looked in to it?

Take 6 minutes to check it out
Can you make these changes to your daily commute? Can you quantify the benefit? Check out your transport timetable, check the stop locations, and check the ticket stages / costs. Is there a stop within walking distance in the morning that if you walked and boarded there, you could drop to a cheaper fare? And similarly in the evening, if you got off at that stop and walked, would you be on the cheaper fare as well.

I appreciate your commute might not entirely lend itself to such a discussion, but if you’re driving every morning, are there other things to investigate? Do you pay for parking – if so, is there a cheaper car park further away from your normal one that charges less, and you could walk the rest of the way to work? If parking costs not an issue, could you just park up somewhere else a distance from work anyway, and just walk the remainder.

Actual Benefits
I checked all this out for my daily commute. For me, it works out that I can walk to a stop closer to work for the morning bus journey, and can get off the bus two stops earlier in the evening. The walk in the morning is 800m, and 700m in the evening, and the cost saving is 55c each trip (based on current 2015 LEAP card charges).

Roll that up over a working year, that equates to walking an additional 375km per year and a cash saving of €275 for the full year.

Win. Win.

Okay, so it’s hard get up that bit earlier on cold freezing icy mornings to walk a bit more, and just as hard on dark wet evenings to get off the bus that bit earlier, but the bigger picture view should help. Maybe tracking my success in sticking to the plan, and potentially promising myself something nice with the money saved at the end of the year will help with that little bit of extra motivation as well.

In the 22 working days since the start of the new year, I’ve so far managed to stick to the plan for all 22 of those days. Not too shabby, so far.

Of course, if I was to be really practical, I wouldn’t be promising myself treats with the money saved, but I’d be planning to use the money saved during this year to top-up my LEAPcard next January when the Christmas induced financial squeeze kicks in.

With the savings to be made in 2015, I could pay for my travel daily all the way to Friday May 13th, 2015.

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This Weeks Grocery Special Offers across Ireland

Every week you can access this weeks grocery special offers across Ireland from all of the main grocery chains from this single handy web page. On a weekly basis, sometimes monthly, all the Irish supermarket chains publish their special offers on their websites in various different formats.

You can use this webpage to click on any of the icons below to bring you directly to the this weeks grocery special offers across Ireland from the main supermarket chains.

This Weeks Grocery Special Offers across Ireland

These links are as up to date as I can make them. The supermarket chains, however, don’t make it easy to keep this listing up to date – they regularly change the links to their special offers pages for no apparent reason other than to make it hard to keep this webpage up to date.

If you notice any broken links, or have any suggestions on any other pages that should be added here, please let me know here.

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Some help with saving money on your grocery shopping

There’s been a bit of focus on grocery shopping in general in the past few weeks, particularly with the renaming of the Superquinn stores to SuperValu, and the closure of 4 Marks & Spencer stores, but the opening of one other in Limerick.

The Irish Times in particular seems to have gone big on it in the past week, with what seems to me to be a pretty anti-Supervalu / Musgraves slant. I must go back through the PriceWatch articles (and particularly the “Value for Money” ones to see how Supervalu compares in mentions to the other chains.

On a more positive slant, here’s a few links that should help you save money on your weekly / monthly grocery shopping:

  1. I’ve updated the ValueIreland “This Weeks Grocery Special Offers” page with a couple of more outlets who provide weekly updates online to their grocery special offers available. It’s worth bookmarking that page to visit each week to see what’s out there.
  2. Don’t forget there’s the “Top Twitter Tips for Grocery Shopping” that I put together a couple of years ago now – it’s all still very relevant today.
  3. It’s worth remembering that there is no price comparison tool available in Ireland to help you compare prices of grocery items. This seems to be a very popular thing that people are looking for on Google, but it just doesn’t exist. The National Consumer Agency did try to do something some years ago, but went about it incorrectly and thus failed miserably.

Know Your Consumer Rights with Tina LeonadOne final link for you is from the (relatively) new website from Tina Leonard – consumer affairs journalist, radio and TV contributor, and director on the board of the aforementioned National Consumer Agency (though, strangely not declared on her website).

Tina’s website is a great resource with detailed tips and advice on all sorts of consumer stuff, with my suggested link now being her “Saving on your Groceries” article. There’s some great stuff in there, so check it out too.

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Top VI Tips on Saving Water (and ultimately saving you money soon)

If you're reading this, you're probably on a PC with internet filtering, or a poor connections, so you're missing a picture of a Bord Gais leaflet announcing Irish WaterJust this morning, Bord Gais posted this notice through our door in Dublin. We all know we’re getting water charges imposed on us soon, but I’m guessing that this is the first official notice on a house by house basis.

We’re more than likely going to be charge on a flat rate basis initially, but eventually (and we should be demanding it as soon as possible) we should be moving to a metered charge.

With all that in mind, it’s never too soon to be looking at your household usage of water (even if your motivation is purely financial rather than the environmental motivations we’re probably supposed to have had already).

Here, then, are the top VI tips on what you should be doing, even now, to save water in your household:

  1. Stop Running – You should never do anything with water that involves leaving the tap running (unless you’re in the shower, which should only take you 4 minutes). So, when brushing your teeth, shaving, washing your hands, cleaning vegetables or rinsing dishes don’t leave the tap running while you’re doing it. You could even keep a jug of water in the fridge to save you leaving the cold tap run just to get nice cold water to drink.
  2. Load Up – Whenever you are washing stuff in machines (dishes, clothes) only turn on the machine when it has a full load. (That could extend to sharing the shower as well, but that’s up to you). But remember, don’t load up with boiling the kettle – only boil what you need to save both water and energy.
  3. Shower Time – If you do take showers, try to keep them short remembering that power showers use maybe 4 times more water than gravity fed ones. You could also shave and brush your teeth in the shower as well – saving time, and water.
  4. Fix Stuff – We can all convince ourselves we don’t hear the dripping, but don’t ignore broken water pipes, taps or tanks – even if only minor problems. Fix problems immediately, and if you need to replace anything, make sure it’s the most water efficient version (e.g. dual flush, low profile toilet cisterns and aerated water taps). Take preventative measures as well by insulating cold water pipes to prevent bursts, You could even insulate hot water pipes for more immediate hot water at the tap.
  5. Garden Care – Given how much rain we normally get, you shouldn’t need much additional water in your garden. You could also Choose plants that don’t need much watering. You should also save on the rainy day but collecting rainwater for watering plants and the lawn at other times. Try not to use a hose, but if you must, get a trigger nozzle to reduce wastage.
  6. Mellow Yellow – I can’t find out where this originally came from, but a particularly extreme way of saving water involves limiting how often you flush the toilet. As the saying goes, ‘If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown flush it down.’
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Do you shop in Newry – To save money or is it just a day out?

Update: Check out the 2016 listing of Special Offers from the various Northern Ireland grocery chains.

Early 2009 saw the setting up of a number of businesses designed to take the pain out of shopping in Newry for Irish consumers. These businesses would both take you up north by bus and bring your shopping home for you, or they’d take delivery of your online shopping orders for you to their warehouses up north and then deliver them to your house.

Of the three in particular that I’d noticed, only one of those is actually still operating – and even that one seems to have had some issues and is now under “new management”.

Don’t get me wrong here; I’m not lamenting the departure of these businesses, merely making an observation. I was never fully convinced by that type of business model – essentially they’re a combination of importers and courier companies. That, and some of the pretty negative feedback I’d received through this site, meant there probably wasn’t anything in it for Irish consumers.

I wrote before how Irish consumers should avoid using RecessionBusTours.ie – now longer in operation. I referred to SmartSavers.ie previously as well but had no opinion on them one way or the other – they’re also no longer in operation. The only one of the three still working is DealHunter.ie – which has gone through a change in management.

It’s obvious that there isn’t a stable market in Ireland for these kind of services – despite all the talk about the vast savings that are said to be had when shopping up north.

Which got me to thinking? Is the shopping up north phenomenon at the moment as much about having a day out as it is about saving money? And lets face it, doing your shopping up north is a full days effort rather than a couple of hours if you shop local.

Do you shop up north? Do you travel up yourself rather than use these kinds of services? Maybe you have taken your hints from ValueIreland and don’t trust them.

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Revenue owe YOU money, get it now…

I received this e-mail this morning. It looked like one of your normal rubbishy chain e-mails, especially as the heading was “Revenue owe YOU money, get it now… THIS IS ACTUALLY TRUE”. Normally the “THIS IS ACTUALLY TRUE” is a dead give-away.

However, the contents of this particular chain e-mail is correct. Maybe slightly exaggerated, but definitely it’s something that everyone should do. The Fine Gael Party almost touched upon this advice in their Taxback Campaign.

In light of recent news reports and subsequent adverts on bus stops/trains/billboards, it appears the Revenue Commis owe us a lot of money. If you need a more precise figure, try EUR1.2 billion, over the past five years.
In order to see if you are owed money, you’ll need to contact the Revenue on 1890 333 425. There is a voice activated service when it answers and it asks for your PPS number. When you give this, it asks what service you want, simply say “None of these” and wait for an operator to continue. Ask him/her for a P21 Balancing Statement and get it back-dated to 2002 or as far back as possible. They will check if all your details are correct and send them out. If you are owed any money, you get a tasty cheque from them within days. On the other hand (and don’t shoot me for this!!), if you owe them money, it will be taken from you in the form of a reduction in your tax credits in the years to come.

In case you need any more encouragement to do this, nearly everyone in my immediate area did this and so far three people have received back tasty cheques for EUR386, EUR837 & over EUR1,400 each. I’m still waiting on my reply. Now tell me you can’t bother picking up the phone and calling them….

Also anyone renting can claim a tax credit for EUR330 which will lower the amount of tax you pay and this can also be back dated to as far back as you have been renting in current or previous tenancies. Go to www.revenue.ie, click on the ‘Tax & Duty’ link on the left hand column, move down to the ‘Personal Credits’ and click on ‘Rent Tax Credit’, print the form, fill it in and send to your local tax office (not the Dublin one). Anything refundable this year will be given back by your employer in your payslips. Refunds for last year, the year before, etc will be refunded by cheque.
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