Mobile phone companies do their damnedest to bamboozle customers with their tariffs. This makes it harder to compare your tariff with those of their rivals. So how can you tell if you're doing badly? Three has the stand-out deal for smartphone users, as it is the only operator to give "all you can eat" data. Three's Classic Flex Max also gives 350 units split between calls and texts. By comparison, Vodafone's My Way Plus only gives 500mb of data and 200 calls or texts.
Best: Three Classic Flex Max, €20.33 per month
Avoid: Vodafone My Way Plus, €25
Saving: €56 per year
contact: www.three.ie or local stores.
Electricity and gas
Bord Gais bad for gas. ESB bad for electricity. It's as simple as that. Switch to one of the cheaper players like Flogas or Airtricity. Run your bills through one of the price comparison sites like Bonkers.ie or uSwitch.ie to see how you're getting a bum deal from these State-owned companies. For a house using €100 per month of gas on the normal Bord Gais tariff and another €100 per month on the standard ESB tariff. Both already paid by direct debit.
Best: Flogas direct debit €1,042.33 per year
Avoid: Bord Gais standard €1,200
Saving: €157.67 per year
contact: www.flogasnaturalgas.ie or 1850 30 68 00
Best: airtricity direct debit/ebilling €1,066.64 per year
Avoid: ESB standard €1,200
Saving: €133.36 per year
contact: www.airtricity.com or 1850 81 81 10
Buying a flash car
If you're buying a flash car, don't go near the banks for finance. Their loan rates are crippling. There's far better value from the car companies. Splashing out €60,000 on a BMW is miles cheaper if you get finance from BMW than if you get a loan from the banks. BMW has a rate of 7.95 per cent versus the savage 11.7 per cent charged by Bank of Ireland. It's not rocket science. Total interest charge on €60,000 over five years below.
Best: BMW Finance €12,290
Avoid: Bank of Ireland €18,482
Saving: €6,192 over five years
contact: BMW.ie or BMW dealers
Home phone and broadband combo
The logic for actually having a landline is diminishing fast. Why on earth pay for a phone if you have a mobile? Some people still like them – but the attraction is waning as bills keep rolling in. For a landline with 20 minutes of local calls and another 20 minutes of mobile calls plus basic 3mb plus broadband. Average monthly cost figures from the Telecom Regulator. Most people use Eircom, so we've compared its cheapest deal below.
Best: Wimax talk anytime and 3mb broadband €33.33 per month
Avoid: Eircom NGB and Talk off peak €48.13
Saving: €177.60 per year
contact: www.imagine.ie or 1890 929 007
Bog standard health cover
Jaysus, the cost of health insurance his risen so much over the last year, you'd almost be inclined to do that surgery yourself. It can't be that hard to do a few stitches, or hack off a bunion or two? For the most basic cover in a semi-private room in a public hospital. Cheapest deals from the providers below. Quotes from HIA.
Best: Laya Essential First €504.40
Avoid: Aviva Health Starter €613
contact: www.layahealthcare.ie or 1890 700 890