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Saving money in your 20s and 30s? It CAN be done - and here's how

We talked to successful savers for their tips on squirrelling it away.

Image: Provision

This article is part of our Change Generation project, supported by KBC. To read more click here.

EIGHT OUT OF TEN Irish people aged 25-34 say they intend to splurge on a big-ticket item before the end of 2017.

The figures from the most recent Vision-Net Recovery Index (carried out by Amárach Research) show that while a third of people in this cohort are more relaxed about spending now than they were this time last year, the recession is still in the back of their minds and they are saving more because of it.

Almost half of this age group are planning to use those savings to fund a big-ticket purchase – such as a holiday, a car, a wedding or a deposit for a house.

But just how do people manage to save for anything in their 20s and 30s, when all your money seems to be long gone before the next payday is even a twinkle in your eye?

We talked to some people who successfully squirrelled away some cash for something they had set their sights on, and asked them just how they did it.

Share YOUR saving tips in the comments below…

Thirty-one-year-old Sarah McIntyre from Letterkenny, Co Donegal bought a house in Dublin with her boyfriend last year.

She told theJournal.ie that they managed to save up for the deposit by putting a large chunk of their wages into savings and forcing themselves to survive on what was left.

I set up a direct debit to take €250 out of each paycheck. I get paid fortnightly so I was saving €500 a month. It was quite a chunk to come out of my pay, but it was my only option! To get by I mainly just had to cut down on buying clothes/makeup/frivolous stuff. I just had to learn to be a bit more conscious about how I spent my cash.

Sarah McIntyre Source Sarah McIntyre Sarah McIntyre saved €500 a month by cutting back on luxury items Source: Sarah McIntyre

Even if you fall off the wagon it doesn’t mean all is lost, she says.

I would often blow the rest of my paycheck in the first week and then have to scrimp and save the next week, by bringing lunches to work, bringing in a jar of instant coffee – the Nescafe Azera range is the bomb – and then setting myself really strict daily spending limits. It’s really satisfying when you can get through a week barely spending any money. There’s definitely a smugness that you can get from it!

Aaron McKenna in Dublin told TheJournal.ie he also managed to make significant savings by cutting back on things you don’t really think about day-to-day.

“It sounds like one of those ‘for a coffee a day…’ chugger lines, but being more aware of lunch spending can make a big difference. I managed to cut down by making more lunches, bringing in stuff like beverages from supermarket multi-buys, and keeping an eye on where and how often I went to eat out. It added up to a fiver a day, or about a grand over the year.”

Aaron McKenna Twitter Aaron McKenna saved €1,000 in a year by cutting back on lunch spending Source: Aaron McKenna, Twitter

McKenna says from his experience, even the smallest changes can make a difference.

Any daily spending habits like this can really add up when you make the small efforts.

Thirty-three-year-old Liz Musiol had her first child two years ago and needed to make sure she had enough savings in the bank to take some additional unpaid leave from work after her maternity benefit expired.

Musiol says she was in the fortunate position that her husband could bear the brunt of the rent while she put some serious household budgeting into practice, cutting back on unnecessary spending and putting the bulk of her maternity pay into savings.

225223_10150234816921614_4008470_n Liz Musiol saved for her maternity leave from work Source: Liz Musiol

“I was at home all the time, so I had time to make dinner and walk into town which did away with some expenses. It also stopped me from mindlessly spending money just because I was bored and wandering around shops with the buggy. We completely stopped doing things like ordering takeaway and getting taxis.”

Musiol’s best tip for a couple who are trying to save money is that instead of splurging on big gifts, go for ‘experience’ presents at Christmas and birthdays.

You can always do without new clothes and the like, but a nice meal out takes the misery out of saving. Also, my very wise friend’s advice about never spending more than 12 cent a nappy has been invaluable!

Aaron Hanaphy from Dublin told TheJournal.ie that he saved for an apartment in his early 20s after living like a monk in his parents house.

Let’s just say I was somewhat more disciplined in my early 20s than I am now. Which seems a reverse of the expected behaviour.

As a newly qualified accountant and living with his folks, Hanaphy started a hardcore saving regime and put away 60% of his wages. He cut back on socialising drastically and stopped drinking. In less than two years he had saved a whopping €30,000.

I don’t remember anything too harrowing in terms of life, but it was commented afterwards by the lads that I disappeared!

Tom Church is 26 years old and lives in London. He told TheJournal.ie that he managed to turn around £10,000 (€11,000) worth of his college debt by trying to make saving a fun challenge.

Tom update Tom Church created the '3-30 Money Diet' to turn around a £10,000 debt Source: Tom Church

I created a challenge for myself which I called The 3-30 Money Diet. You live on £30 a week, [after rent] for three weeks. Then you have a break, then you do it again.

Church reckons he saved over £1,400 on his daily commute by cycling everywhere, with the added bonus of being in the shape of his life as a result. He stopped shopping in the big name supermarkets, switching to Aldi and Lidl, or buying reduced-to-clear items. He also smartened up on utility bills and got discounts where he could.

I switched energy providers three times reducing bills each time. I used freebie sites, deals and discount sites, and private Facebook groups where people share coupons and voucher codes.

(Church put his experience to good use and wrote a book)

What are your top tips for saving money? Let us know below!

More on spending: What are the biggest expenses for Irish households?>

More on this life stage: BFFs? Probably not – why we shed friends in our late 20s>

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