Whittling away your pay

Where your money is really going.


If you are on minimum wage in Ireland, then you earn €9.25 an hour. That’s not an awful lot and yet people seem so eager to give away their money as soon as they earn it. €9.25 an hour broken down to the minute is a little over 0.15 cent. So the coffee you like so much is effectively taking away 26 minutes of your working life. That sandwich, from that place you love? Maybe a whole hour.

This post is about realizing exactly where all your money goes at the end of the week, and why most people live pay cheque to pay cheque, and can never get ahead. If that keeps you happy then who am I to say otherwise. But at the same point, why are you here at all? We all want to get ahead. The question is how badly do you want it

Put down that €4 coffee, step away from the €12 cocktail and for god sake you don’t need that €100 jacket that looks just like the other one but is a different hue of blue. Cut the unnecessary to build for the next opportunity.

Daily Expenses Accrue

Avoid the small money saps like that coffee habit you have been steadily nurturing. Those extra few €, £, $ or whatever you are working with, will add up. Just a coffee a day can be €21 a week easily. If you saved that from the age of 20 you would be en route to your million. Let’s look at some of the basic expenses people accrue and how this pans out over time, and is hurting your future bottom line.

Coffee / Tea / Soda

Although some would swear it is vital to them surviving, this is a constant pocket drain. This catches almost everyone in some way whether it’s a coffee, tea or a soda, we all give our money away to one of them. Most offices have a stocked hot drinks section so you can get your coffee or tea there for free. You have a kettle at home and a travel mug isn’t that big of a one-time investment cost. There is always a cheaper way to ensure that your coffee habit is getting seen to. I have estimated that the average cost of buying takeaway hot beverages totals €1,460 a year. Many people fly past this and need to see the expense for what it is: an unnecessary one.


Sweets, chocolate bars, crisps and any other indulgence on occasion can be OK. When its daily, it becomes just another expense hacking away at your future. You need to get your cravings under control and don’t look left or right at the cash register. Like a lot of things in life, everything that looks so sweet, is just after your money.

I have estimated the average cost of eating daily treats to total €730 a year. Not the biggest expense but could so easily be cut out.


Yet another battle ground for your money. Socializing with your friends, going out for the ‘one pint’ and the like, seems like such a good idea and in Ireland, sure, what else would you be doing? I know that I have gone out, lost complete control of myself and thrown away money like I hated it. A way to battle this is to only take out what you have decided SOBER you should spend. Also limit your outings to the pub as much as you can, and more notably, reign in those nights where you spend €100’s.

I have estimated alcohol to cost on average €1,825 a year. Some of you may be below this, others are much higher.

Eating out

Whilst we all like a good pizza every now and then, make sure it’s not the primary way to feed yourself. Many are eating out a couple of times a week. When we actually look at this and tie in scones, sandwiches, rolls, wraps, dinner take away options, cinema popcorn etc. the actual cost can jump quite quickly.

I have estimated that the average cost of eating out totals €1,095 a year. I honestly think this is way below what a lot spend.


From cinema tickets, bowling, playing pool, buying video games / consoles, to shopping trips, make-up, dates, weekends away, nightclub entry, the list could go on. If we add in a holiday, it would sky rocket but I think we will stay local for this post. These expenses are the ones that are hard to pin down as they almost constitute actually living to many people. That cinema trip? Watch a movie at home, pop your own corn and save yourself about €30 a go. That dinner date that’s definitely going to cost you a whole days pay? Learn to cook and you can come off looking better than if you did take them out. You can be creative in this area to help your screaming wallet and it won’t come across negatively if you do decide to think outside of the box.

I have estimated that entertainment costs on average €2,555 a year. This is moderate and could be so much worse if we included holidays.

“Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality.”  John Tyler – 10th U.S. President

Item Day Week Month Year 10 years
Coffee €4 €21 €120 €1460 €14600
Candy €2 €14 €60 €730 €7300
Alcohol €5 €35 €150 €1825 €18250
Eating out €3 €21 €90 €1095 €10,950
Entertainment €7 €49 €210 €2555 €25550
Total €21 €126.66 €593.66 €7213.92 €72,139

Whilst these figures are for the masses, don’t assume that because you are below the figure that you are in an OK position. YOU ARE NOT! Some will not have candy or sweets at all, others may have a crazy caffeine addiction and spend more than €4. But these figures, based loosely on what I see and a few quick Google searches, show me that people are giving away their money all too easily. The above doesn’t even factor in the rent you have to pay, bills, tax, your car (tax, insurance, fuel, breakdowns, etc), buying clothes, shoes, toothpaste, washing powder, food etc. The list of things that sap your money is enormous. Take the time to carefully whittle down your spending.

Having a lower overhead cost is the first step that we can all take immediately. Having that extra money in your account at the end of the year allows you to develop a saving, begin an investment journey utilizing time, compound interest and continue additional payments as you save them.

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