It's something of a WTF moment. The country is struggling for breath, people can't pay their bills and consumer spending is shattered. Absolutely nobody in their right minds could possibly think that now was a good time to hike gas and electricity prices.
It'll go down as one of the single dumbest decisions of the entire economic meltdown. In the meantime, the ESB doles out Nicorette patches to its staff and invests in dinky little electric cars. Bord Gais ploughs money into sponsoring theatres and research into renewable energy. Is it any wonder people are angry? Based on someone using €150 per month on a standard ESB tariff and another €150 per month on the normal Bord Gais deal. Both paid by direct debit. Quotes from bonkers.ie.
Best: Airtricity ebilling and direct debit €1,568.94
Avoid: ESB standard €1,800
Contact: www.airtricity.com or 1850 81 81 10
Best: Flogas direct debit €1,559.93 per year
Avoid: Bord Gais standard €1,800
Saving: €240.07 per year
Combined savings: €471.13
Contact: www.flogasnaturalgas.ie or 1850 30 68 00
Even more price rises on the way. God, this is truly a grim time to be in Ireland. All we need now is a famine and a few toffee-nosed geezers ordering us around. Maybe the Germans could be the next absentee landlords? The Health Insurance Authority compares health insurance plans, and it shows that the arrival of the likes of Glo and Laya have shaken up the market a bit -- but it's rapidly becoming like the second mortgage (or the third, after childcare). Stop squeezing us! We've nothing left to give! Cheapest cover for an adult with semi-private room in a public hospital.
Best: Laya Essential first €485 per year
Avoid: Aviva Health Starter €584
Contact: www.layahealthcare.ie or 1890 700 890
Ferry to France
There are decent enough savings to be made by booking holidays well in advance. And we mean well in advance. For two weeks at the start of August 2013 for a family of four with an inside cabin and a motor car. Celtic link goes from Rosslare to Cherbourg, Brittany Ferries sails the Cork to Roscoff route.
Best: Celtic link €748
Avoid: Brittany Ferries €893
Contact: www.celticlinkferries.com or 053 9162688
Over a 20-year mortgage, you could pay more than €1,500 more for loan insurance if you merely troop down to the biggest names on the market. Scout around -- because there are elephant-sized savings to be had. Mortgage protection for a €100,000 loan over 20 years for a couple of non-smoking 40 year olds.
Best: Hello.ie: €13.76
Avoid: Irish Life €20.07
Saving: €75.72 per year
Contact: www.hello.ie or 1890 940 920
If you go abroad more than twice a year, an annual travel or holiday insurance policy makes some sense. However you may get free cover if you pay for the travel with certain credit cards -- and some home insurance policies also chuck in a bit of cover. So read the small print and avoid doubling up. For an adult's annual European policy.
Best: Multitrip.com Essential €37.99
Avoid: AIB Healthcare plus €74
Contact: www.multitrip.com or 0818 444 444