Cheap digital packages are a bit like sausages – full of all kinds of stuff that you really don't want to know about.
Will your life really be worse if you don't have channels like the Best of Bollywood, the God Station, TV5, Travel and Living and Smash Hits TV that are part of the bumper channel packages?
UPC's cheapo Digital Value has 50 stations including EWTN and Alibi, while Sky's Entertainment Plus has 38 stations including such turkeys as Sky Poker.
For a basic package without some of the more unwatchable channels.
Best: UPC Digital Value €26.50 per month
Avoid: Sky entertainment Plus €27
Saving: €6 per year
contact: www.upc.ie or 1890 940 070
They may be smart and do all kinds of cool stuff but your iPhone, Lumia or Galaxy doesn't float, bounce or fend off muggers. Buying a new iPhone 4 will cost you €389, which will hurt. If you frequent places where people wear pyjamas or tracksuits as a fashion item, then phone insurance may not be a bad thing. But boy, will you pay for it. There's also an excess of up to €65 on each claim with Phonecover.
Best: Mobilecover.ie €64.69 per year
Avoid: O2 phonecover €158.88 per year
Electricity and gas bills
Switching your gas or electricity is easier than falling off a slippy log after 10 pints. But way less sore and you won't look like an eejit. All you need is your bill and bank details. If you've had your Weetabix it'll take about four minutes. Without Weetabix... maybe five minutes. And you'll save buckets of money. The simple rule to remember is most people shouldn't go to the ESB for electricity and don't go to Bord Gais for gas. Go online to bonkers.ie or uSwitch.ie to see what savings can be made. We've gone for a family using €200 per month in gas on the standard Bord Gais tariff and another €200 per month on the normal ESB tariff. Both paid by direct debit.
Best: Flogas direct debit €2,074.27 per year
Avoid: Bord Gais standard €2,400
contact: www.flogasnaturalgas.ie or 1850 30 68 00
Best: Airtricity direct debit/ebilling €2,073.45
Avoid: ESB standard €2,400
contact: www.airtricity.com or 1850 81 81 10
Combined savings: €652.28
Dublin Airport parking
Whisper it. But the Easter holidays aren't that far away any more. There may even be a chance to skive off skiing or get a bit of sun for a week. Unless, like most of the population, you're broke. But the lucky few heading abroad may get to save a bit on cheaper parking rates at Dublin airport. For a week at the end of March. All booking must be done online.
Best: Dublin Airport Holiday Blue car park €29.95
Avoid: Quickpark €35