Business

Thursday 31 July 2014

Nick Webb: Save up to €6,000 after Budget

Published 09/12/2012|05:00

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WTF! There's nothing left to cut. Last week's mean and jaw-droppingly savage budget pretty much wiped out the remains of most people's disposable income and pushed others further into the darkness. Many people have already cut back and made some savings by shopping around for better deals on insurance, broadband or phones. But you have to keep at it, there are different deals or new players arriving each month. From electricity bills to bin charges, this Make Me Richer budget special has identified over €6,000 in savings on the most common bills faced by households. Switch now. You can't afford not to.

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Gas bills

The cost of cooking or heating your home has hit truly monstrous levels. We've got a special regulator that sets prices for the gas industry. In September the regulator rubber-stamped an 8.5 per cent price rise for Bord Gais. The hugely profitable semi-state company had only sought a 7.5 per cent price rise! This is utterly ridiculous. But Bord Gais rivals are miles cheaper, so switch pronto. We've calculated savings for a family using €100 in gas on the standard Bord Gais tariff, already paid by direct debit.

Best: Flogas Direct Debit €1,042.33 per year

Avoid: Bord Gais standard €1,200

Saving: €157.57

contact: www.flogasnaturalgas.ie or 1850 306 800

Home phone and broadband combo

Broadband speeds of 20mb-plus mean that you'll be able to watch Netflix without interruption or catch up with the latest episode of Love/Hate on RTE Player without too much in the way of juddery images. Throw in an average of 90 minutes of local calls and another 90 minutes of mobile calls for normal use. Quotes from Comreg.

Best: UPC Fibre 25mb €50.75 per month

Avoid: Eircom NGB Velocity and anytime €67.50

Saving: €201 per year

contact: www.upc.ie or 1890 940 624

Mortgage protection

Mortgage protection pays out to cover the cost of your mortgage if you get eaten by a swan or sucked into a mincer. Not much good for you personally but at least the bank gets paid back. Cover for a €200,000 loan over 20 years for a couple of 42-year-old non-smokers.

Best: Irish Life €34.08

Avoid: Canada Life €45.55

Saving: €137.64 a year

contact: 1890 987 817 or visit www.discountinsurance.ie

Electricity costs

Truly we live in a banana republic when the state electricity company is cheaper for gas than it is for supplying electricity. And vice versa. Electricity costs have risen sharply, with the regulator's approval. The massively profitable ESB is using this money to pay for nicotine patches for its workers or else glossy sponsorships. How about cutting a few costs instead and passing the savings on to us. After all we own the ESB! We've calculated the cost for a family using an average €100 per month on the standard ESB tariff, already paid by direct debit. Quotes from Bonkers.ie

Best: Airtricity direct debit and ebilling €1,066.64 per year

Avoid: ESB standard tariff €1,200

Saving: €133.36 per year

contact: www.airtricity.com or 1850 81 81 10

Pet insurance

Things are getting so bad out there that Poochie is beginning to look like an option for Sunday lunch. Nothing worse than a scraggly mutt, so you'll need to keep him healthy... just in case. Pet Insurance for a 2-year-old medium sized mongrel from Dublin.

Best: 123.ie €152.83

Avoid: Allianz €158.39

Saving: €5.56

contact: www.123.ie or 1890 221 123

Basic digital television

Now that the rabbit ears plugged into the back of the telly won't work anymore and Saorview will only get RTE, TG4 and TV3, even the most bog-standard entry level digital telly package is going to cost a few hundred euro each year. There's not a huge amount of difference between Sky and UPC's offering. The packages are stuffed with useless stations that you wouldn't watch unless proven clinically bonkers. The basic packages have been 39 and 50 stations. Watch out for gimmicks and promotions. Sky is running a big deal with mega savings if you join online. Year one costs below.

Best: Sky basic €329

Avoid: UPC Digital Value €363

Saving: €34

contact: www.sky.com

Mobile calls

The budget was savage enough to consign the iPhone to the bin – 3 Ireland has the best deal there if it hasn't. For someone using 200 minutes of calls – half to other mobiles and another 400 texts per month. Quotes from callcosts.ie

Best: Tesco Sim only €25 per month

Avoid: Vodafone simply 400 €40.66

Saving: €187.92 per year

contact: www.tesco.ie or local stores

Mortgages

Your bank manager will probably wet himself or herself laughing if you even broach the subject of a mortgage. But they may have been at the sherry, so take a shot for a €150,000 first-time buyer mortgage over the next 25 years. LTV of 75 per cent. Quotes from www.mortgageapproval.ie or 1890 987 817

Variable Rate

Best: AIB €899.00 per month

Avoid: ICS €955.00

Saving: €672.00 a year

5-Year Fixed

Best: Ulster Bank €1,018.00 per month

Avoid: ICS €1,052.00

Saving: €408.00 a year

Kick-ass telly

The ultimate in TV package, featuring all the bells and whistles from HD, to Sky Sports and Sky movies, is going to eat your disposable income. No, it really is. But then again with up to 130 channels of utterly depressing drivel on top of all the extra sports and movies, you'll never go out. Sky's top package has 108 channels with UPC's best having 130.

Best: Sky World HD with sports and movies €981 per year

Avoid: UPC Digital Plus HD with Sports and movies €1193.52

Saving: €212.52

contact: www.sky.com

Bank loans

The chances of a bank actually lending you any money are somewhat remote. Bankers will only get bonuses when the banks return to profit. Hard to do that when you're lending money. Ulster Bank has a slightly cheaper loan than Danske but it's only for special U-first customers. Figures for a €10,000 loan over four years with total repayment costs below.

Best: Danske Bank (fixed) €12,232.69

Avoid: Bank of ireland (Fixed) €12,834.20

Saving: €601.51 over term of the loan

contact: www.danskebank.ie

Credit card balance transfers

You'll run out of road pretty fast trying to shift outstanding debts from one card to another to take advantage of any introductory rates. Most cards have a zero interest rate for the first six months which is nice but then after six months it reverts to a savage rate. AIB has a low rate for the first year. If you can pay off the balance in that year then it's a happy ending. Otherwise it's not. For a €10,000 loan.

Best: AIB Be credit card 3.83 per cent for a year

Avoid: Tesco 0 per cent for 6 months and then 19.1 per cent.

Saving: Up to €572 in year one

contact: www.aib.ie or local branches

Reef-it-out quick deposits

There's hardly any difference between the best rate for a demand – or reef-it-out quick – savings account and the best rates for locking your savings away for a whole year. On €10,000 you'd get a fiver more in interest – before tax. Dumb or what? For a €10,000 lump sum with quotes from irishdeposits.ie

Best: KBC demand account 3.25 per cent

Avoid: Permo TSB demand 0.75 per cent

Saving: Up to €255 in interest

contact: www.kbc.ie or 01 664 6000

Landlord insurance

Between negative equity, taxes and a tight rental market, it's more fun going to double Mass than it is to be a landlord. But at least there are big savings on specialist insurance cover. Landlord Contents Insurance for an apartment in Galway city worth €200,000. Fully alarmed, contents cover of €50,000. Landlord is 60 years old. Excess €300. Five years claims free.

Best: Chrome Insurance €139.00

Avoid: Zurich €571.00

Saving: €432.00 a year

contact: www.chromeinsurance.ie or 1890 247 663

Home phone

Eircom isn't at the races when it comes to providing the cheapest phone deals... unless you don't use the blower at all. Telecoms regulator Comreg has a brilliant website which compares the costs of all the phone tariff packages and deals. Run your latest bill through www.callcosts.ie to see how badly your existing telecoms firm is treating you. Our quote is for a family using 90 minutes of local, 90 minutes of national and 90 minutes of mobile calls in a month.

Best: UPC Anywhere 200 €33.59 per month

Avoid: Vodafone at Home Hometalk off-peak €50.25

Saving: €199.92 per year

contact: www.upc.ie or 1890 940 624

Mobile broadband

Yes, we know that it's rubbish and drives you up the wall with constant interruptions and screens freezing... but unless you get broadband through a wire, there's always going to be issues. All the entry level tariffs have 7mb speed but there's a big difference in download limits. Meteor's cheapest deal has 1gb with emobile's limit 10 times bigger. But for simple broadband just for buying a few books, sending some emails and checking in on Facebook, this is all you'll need. Average monthly cost below.

Best: Meteor to go bill pay €10.41 per month

Avoid: eMobile bill pay €20.37

Saving: €119.52

contact: www.meteor.ie or local stores

Young driver insurance

There's nothing an insurance company likes less than a big stupid young fella from the country. Especially if they need car insurance. Insurers run a mile whenever they see one of these. Some of the bigger names are so expensive that you'd want to be possessed to even consider darkening their door. Most of the time you or rather the parents will pay more than the value of the car to get cover. Third party, fire and theft for a 20-year-old male student from Donegal driving a €2,000 valued Renault Clio, with no points or claims. Ouch.

Best: Chill.ie (Asgard) €1,283

Avoid: Liberty €3,034.30

Saving: €1,751.30

contact: www.chill.ie or 1890 302 020

Mansion insurance

Your million euro mansion has become something of an albatross thanks to the knacker-crushingly nasty household tax on homes worth over €1m. There can't be too many of those left. Cover for a €1m home in Foxrock, Co Dublin , with €300,000 rebuild costs and another 20 per cent to cover contents. No accidental damage and all the usual alarms and stuff for a pair of 60 year olds.

Best: Chrome Insurance €207

Avoid: Axa €598

Saving: €391

contact: www.chromeinsurance.ie or 1890 247 663.

Bin charges

The bin business is being shaken up in different parts of the country. For example City Bin is making a big play for the Dublin City Council market, already served by Greyhound and Oxygen. For someone putting out their wheelie bins every two weeks – none of which contains an anvil or toxic waste. City Bin has a promotion for €99 for the first year but it's limited, so we've stripped out the gimmick cost. Greyhound has a €100 annual service charge plus €6 pick up charge for every pick-up of a big bin. Households using bin tags will pay a ridiculous amount – two bags a week would cost you €364 per year.

Best: City Bin €180

Avoid: Greyhound €244

Saving: €64

contact: www.citybin.ie or 1800 33 66 99.

Worldwide travel insurance

Annual travel insurance policies pay off in spades if you travel more than twice a year. It's terrificly useful if you are carting suitcases of cash off to Vanuatu or the British Virgin Islands to avoid the taxman. Worldwide cover for a family of four. The VHI is three times as expensive as the cheapest deal out there. That takes quite some doing.

Best: Multitrip.com Essential Cover – €53.95

Avoid: VHI €163

Saving: €109.05

contact: www.multitrip.com or 0818 444 444 or go online.

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