The lowdown on those vital items you need this winter from car tyres to solid fuel stoves.
The latest spate of winter storms kept many of us indoors over the Christmas. Nothing beats a solid fuel stove to cosy up your living room during inclement weather. Shop around, however -- some retailers will charge you hundreds of euro more for a freestanding solid fuel stove than others. If you've a small fireplace, a Morso Squirrel 1430 stove could do the trick.
Best: Ryan Stoves, Nenagh, Co Tipperary: €875
Avoid: Fenton Fires, Greystones, Co Wicklow: €1,340
contact: www.ryanstoves.ie or 067 42709
NEW SET OF TYRES
Your car has done its fair share of off-road driving over the last few years -- so your tyres are on their last legs. Ordering your tyres online instead of from your local dealer could save you a small fortune. Many of the online tyre vendors will deliver for free too. However, while the price quoted by your local dealer will usually include tyre fitting, if you order online, you'll need to go to a tyre specialist to get your tyres fitted. As long as you shop around, tyre fitting shouldn't cost any more than €60 for four tyres. We surveyed the cost of four all-season Kumho tyres for a Nissan Qashqai.
Best: www.oponeo.ie €352 for the tyres -- plus €60 for the fitting by a tyre specialist
Avoid: Mooney's €452.64
contact: www.oponeo.ie or 076 6042703
You've just moved into a new house -- to find the stingy vendors removed the bulbs from every light before they moved out. Before you head to the nearest electrical retailer or supermarket to stock up on bulbs, bear in mind that while electrical suppliers mostly supply to trade, many also sell to the ordinary Joe Soap. We checked the price of 10 11W Philips Genie energy-savings bulbs.
Best: Kelliher's Electrical: €12
Avoid: Powercity €49.50
contact: www.kellihers.com or 066 7145300
You've had enough of staring at the Ribena and yoghurt stains which the kids have left on your once immaculate sofa. Not to mention their creative art work. Some retailers will deliver for free if you're buying a sofa with a price tag of more than €1,000. We checked the price of standard delivery of a three-seater sofa which costs around €1,300 -- and is ordered instore.
Best: Arnotts, free
Avoid: Harvey Norman €49
A FAMILY DAY OUT
You'd love to take the kids to a good matinee. However, as there's a chance that your stubborn toddler and hyperactive three-year-old won't last the pace, you're not willing to shell out too much. The panto would be great -- but you'll settle for the cinema if panto is too expensive. For tickets for two adults and two children to a good matinee -- where the tickets are booked online.
Best: Cineword Dublin €29.20
Avoid: The Gaiety Theatre €123.80
BEST PHONE BUYS
This cordless phone with built-in answer machine is a great value for money model at around €100. You can add extra handsets and repeaters to the system.
The phone has a back-lit LCD display and soft button keypad so you can use the phone when light conditions aren't very good. It also has call barring, redial memory, call sharing and the phone book can be copied between handsets.
It has a 100 name and number memory with a 50 space caller ID which means you can see who is phoning you if their details have been previously saved.
This Philips has a recording of 60 minutes and allows you to store a generous 250 names and numbers. It also has an excellent standby facility of 250 hours.
It can be linked to three other handsets and has special features -- such as encrypted calling to try to keep the spymasters of the NSA at bay. Other useful features include a function to monitor the baby, a paging facility and a calendar.
An elegant design, top-quality and an easy-to-use hands-free facility all conspire to make this device, manufactured by a German company, a great phone. Other features include a backlit white keypad and a 100 name and number phonebook.