Nick Webb: Make Me Richer
Basic digital telly
So perhaps we don't need all the channels about the woman who was eaten by her couch or the one with savage attack by budgies. Slimmed-down digital TV packages are almost the exact same price... if you exclude the set-up fees. Sky has 23 channels on its entry package against UPC's 35. However, UPC's extra channels include repeats like Living +1 or Gold +1. But it does have the one with the semi-nude women jiggling around... and BBC3, soon to feature the brilliant Special 1 TV.
Best: UPC Value Plus €273 in year one
Avoid: Sky €306
Saving: €33 in first year and €3 thereafter
contact: www.upc.ie or 1890 940624
Credit card whoopsies
If you forget to pay the bill for your flexible friend on time, the credit card companies will start to drool before they feast on your carcass. They'll knaw at your very marrow to extract the last bit of money out of you. Setting up a direct debit to cover the minimum payment each month takes about a minute online and will solve your problems here. Figures from the Financial Regulator.
Best: Tesco €6.35
Avoid: MBNA €15.24
contact: www.tesco.ie or local stores
Gas and electricity
Save enough on gas and electricity to leave the lights on and back door wide open all winter. For someone using about 21,000 thingimebobs of gas and 6,100 whatsits of electricity... a fairly average heavy user. Airtricity's deal looks pretty slick but it actually isn't all that much cheaper than mixing and matching with Flogas for gas and Bord Gais for electricity. The ESB is bound to re-enter the market with a bang and hugely discounted gas will probably be a core part of the deal. Figures from www.bonkers.ie
Best: Airtricity €1,932.46
Avoid: ESB/Bord Gais €2,160
contact: www.airtricity.com or 1850 818110
Paying tax is marginally more fun than watching the X Factor with the sound down. But you'll be fleeced if you pay in instalments.... especially the quarterly one. You'll pay an extra 12 per cent in interest if you don't hand it over all in one go. That's worse than some of the personal loan rates at the banks. For a C-band car like a Ford Fiesta 1.6l Duratec.
Best: €447 up front
Avoid: €504 (total if paid quarterly)
Saving: €57 per year
contact: www.motortax.ie or 1890 411412
The technology equivalent of Dirk Kuyt. It'll do a job but you'd always like something a bit better. Plug it into your laptop and get surfing... until it freezes up. You can plough through 1 gig per month with 3 before nasty charges start clocking up, but eircom, Vodafone, O2, Meteor and Imagine all offer way more, so they might be better if you want to run an evil empire or launch a satellite. The promised speeds are broadly Similar.
Best: 3 Broadband Light €158.88 in year one
Avoid: Eircom Mobile broadband €239.88
contact: www.three.ie or local stores
Save enough for a Flickr 3 Scooter
email email@example.com if you spot any good bargains or spectacular rip-offs.