Credit cards are about as much fun as a shark bite. A really sore one. The major problem is that the bank will want you to pay back the cash eventually, and will charge you a pretty penny for any interest accruing in the meantime. If you want a credit card for booking flights, cinema tickets, etc, but don't want to lose track of your spending, try a prepaid credit card. The fees below are for your first year's spending, presuming that you top up the card from your bank account once every two weeks.
Best: Moneybookers Prepaid MasterCard €10
Avoid: Ryanair Cash passport €88
compare at www.bonkers.ie
Whether you've booked a bargain basement holiday to Santa Ponza, only to find out that your hotel hasn't been built yet, or you're on a luxury safari in Tanzania and a herd of elephants trample the safari lodge, some trips don't go according to plan. Even with the most reputable travel agents and airlines in the world, you're better off having your own travel insurance -- it can turn a potential nightmare into a funny anecdote.
Best: Multitrip.com Essential Cover €26.95
Avoid: AIB Travel Insurance €48
contact: 0818 444 444 or go online to www.multitrip.com
Broadband in Connemara
It wasn't too long ago that you couldn't get mobile coverage in most parts of rural Ireland, let alone broadband. While broadband coverage, costs and speed are still abysmal outside the main urban areas, things are improving slowly. You can now get broadband in the westernmost village in Co Galway and by all accounts, speeds aren't too bad either. Prices shown are total for year one, including set-up costs.
Best: Imagine Broadband €742.98
Avoid: On Wave Broadband €1,148.40
compare at www.bonkers.ie
If you're in the market for a car, be it new or second-hand, it's well worth shopping around for your finance package. If you're buying a family car and you want to borrow €20,000 over four years, the difference in the total amount you'll repay is significant. As one might expect, one of Ireland's pillar banks, Bank of Ireland, offers the worst rate while Ulster Bank offers a much better deal. The figures below are the total cost of credit over four years. Ulster says Yes!
Best: Ulster Bank personal loan €3,604.05
Avoid: Bank of Ireland personal loan €5,414.65
contact: www.ulsterbank.ie or your nearest Ulster Bank branch
Mortgage protection with serious illness cover
Mortgage protection will clear your mortgage should one of you get hit by a bus, but if you're unfortunate enough to be hit with a serious illness, it can be a different story. Payment protection policies will usually only cover your payment for 12 months, but adding serious illness cover to your mortgage protection will clear the balance should you become seriously ill. The quote below is for a couple aged 30 next birthday, non-smokers, with a mortgage of €200,000 to be paid over 30 years.
Best: Friends First €63.90 per month
Saving: €234.96 per annum
contact: www.lifecover4less.ie or 1890 443 443