With the greatest respect to the Olympics, they are only a bit of crack if you win stuff. What on earth is state-owned ESB doing shovelling sponsorship money at the team? The ESB is owned by the taxpayer, which is already funding athletes through grants from other state agencies. Could this be one of the reasons why your electricity bills are so high? We've looked at someone spending €150 per month on the normal urban tariff and who already pays by direct debit and gets electronic bills. Quotes from bonkers.ie:
Best: Bord Gais direct debit/paperless billing -- €1,545.77 per year
Avoid: ESB standard -- €1,800
contact: www.bordgaisenergy.ie or 1850 632 632
Credit cards abroad
There are things that just aren't good for you abroad. Having ice in your drink anywhere on the Indian subcontinent or eating unidentified furry animals being sold by street vendors in a thronging market in Asia. Using your credit card to take out cash won't give you Biblical torrents of the squits but you'll still feel pretty bad after it. Some of the sneaky charges are truly horrible. For non-euro cash advances of €200 equivalent miles away from civilisation.
Best: NIB/Tesco -- 1.75 per cent
Avoid: Ulster Bank Classic -- 3.5 per cent
contact: www.nationalirishbank.ie or tesco.ie or local branches and stores
Long-term savings accounts
Locking away your money for a long period will give you a better rate of interest on your savings -- but you'd need to be pretty confident about the future. If you're the kind of person who isn't in the slightest bothered about all the kerfuffle about the future of the euro and are absolutely convinced it'll still be there in coming years, then there's a chance to steal a march on other more panicky savers and get some inflation-busting rates. On €10,000:
Best: KBC 14-month fixed -- 4.14 per cent
Avoid: Rabo one-year fixed rate -- 0.75 per cent.
Saving: €339 over a year
contact: www.kbc.ie or 1800 51 52 53
Marginally more useful than a chocolate teapot, mobile broadband is one of those things guaranteed to drive you mad. Slow speeds, hiccups and all manner of things will get that vein in your forehead throbbing gently. It'll throb even more when you see the bill. Best offer from operators below. Both have speeds of 7mb. Average monthly cost totted up by Comreg.
Best: Meteor to Go bill pay -- €10.41 per month
Avoid: eMobile prepay -- €24.07
Saving: €163.92 per year
contact: www.meteor.ie or local stores
Any new staff employed at the banks will look at you like you have two heads if you ask for a bank loan. Ulster Bank's u-first is the cheapest loan but you have to be a u-first current account holder to get one. For €8,000 over three years. Total repayment amounts over three years listed below.
Best: NIB fixed rate -- €9,358.19
Avoid: Bank of Ireland variable -- €9,703.46
Saving: €345.27 over term of loan
contact: www.nationalirishbank.ie or local branches
Sunday Indo Business