And so it came to pass. We drew Spain, Italy and Croatia in the Euros next summer. That'll do nicely. But how to pay for that trip? The Government is going to make it bloody difficult by jacking up taxes on everything that isn't nailed down. But even little savings can go into the kitty for Poland/Ukraine. Car tax is going to go up in the Budget this week. You can soften the blow by paying it all upfront -- because the interest on quarterly instalments would make a banker blush. For an old 1.6-litre banger of a car:
Best: €471 upfront
Avoid: €532 (paid in quarterly instalments of €133)
Saving: €61 per year
Xbox 360 consoles
Most of the big high street chains sell the Xbox 360 4GB at exactly the same price! Hardly competition at work. Most offer deals with games to muddy the water. The cheaper the bundle, the more rubbish the game. Games involving gardening, croquet or puppies tend to be that bit less pricey than stuff with exploding heads or disembowelling. But if you look hard enough there are deals with the Xbox by itself. Best prices are on the web. If you couldn't be bothered going online, Currys sells the Xbox 4Gb for €179.
Best: Pixmania -- €171
Avoid: Microsoft/Argos/Smyths/DID -- €199.99
Rather difficult to fit into a Ford Ka if you're taller than Nicolas Sarkozy. But perfectly good runaround apart from that. Sarkozy on the other hand is a horrible little man. Cover for a 30-year-old woman from Athy, Co Laois, driving a 2010 Ka with no claims or anything nasty. Excess €300.
Best: www.123.ie Comp lite €334.58
Avoid: Allianz (direct) €475
contact: www.123.ie or 1890 221 123
Irish bank savings
You'd need to be cooler than a cucumber of Prozac not to be gently freaking out about your savings in a bank. Will the euro still be here at Christmas . . . can they cast us adrift? Chances are that nothing will happen for quite a long time for one big reason. All the eurocrats have to take their holidays soon. There's three weeks off at Christmas for the well upholstered bottoms running the show. Then it's almost time for Easter. There's an awful lot more dithering to do yet. If you believe that Europe's inability to do anything decisive will be the solution to the crisis then you'll be happy enough to lock money away to get the best rates of interest. Lobbing €10,000 in for a whole year.
Best: AIB/KBC -- €410 in interest
Avoid: Rabodirect -- €145
contact: www.aib.ie or www.kbc.ie or local branches
Cover for a €450,000 home in Portmarnock in North Dublin, with €200,000 rebuild and 20 per cent contents cover. Excess €300, usual locks and alarms and no claims for ages.
Best: Chrome Insurance -- €239
Avoid: Allianz (Direct) -- €443
contact: www.chromeinsurance.ie or 1890 247 663
Sunday Indo Business