19 January 2022
By Elaine Murphy
January is a month full of new intentions and goals for the year ahead and for a lot of us, it also starts out with budgeting and setting out a plan on how best to spend and save our money. As the overall cost of living continues to rise, budgeting has never been more important. From fuel hikes to the increased cost of energy and heating your home, it’s important to stay on top of these expenses and to make the relevant adjustments to your budget according to Ursula Collins, Regional Manager, South Munster MABS.
“With the costs of utilities and various essentials continuing to rise over the past year, this has, and will put a lot of individuals and households under increased financial pressure. The first step in taking back control or staying on top of your finances is budgeting.”
Ursula continued, “Budgeting is an important activity that helps individuals and households to better forecast their spending, identify where savings can be made and overall, assist in making more informed choices. At MABS, we recommend that everyone invests some time in budgeting because it’s important to have a clear picture and understanding of what money is coming in and going out, what months are expected to be more expensive than others and where you can make savings.”
Having established a good starting point with a comprehensive budget plan, MABS recommends some of the following tips: 1. Take time to look at rights and entitlements, for example, health expenses and income tax credits. 2. Shop around – with costs on the rise, compare prices for food, gas, electricity, phone and internet, making sure you’re aware of your renewal dates. 3. Start a rainy-day fund – if you’re able to save, even just a little bit, it all adds up. €20 a week is over €1,000 in a year. 4. Get advice if you’re worried – Help is available. MABS are available by phone on their National Helpline on 0818 07 2000 from 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday. To find a local MABS office in your area, visit www.mabs.ie.
Once a plan is in place, review of your budget and spending habits is also advised in order to identify any areas that require refocusing to keep on track throughout the year.
For more information on MABS and their budgeting resources, visit www.mabs.ie.