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BALLOON POPPING: You could get down on one knee high in the sky. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

BALLOON POPPING: You could get down on one knee high in the sky. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

BALLOON POPPING: You could get down on one knee high in the sky. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Savings on Valentine's Day, life assurance, cremation, an exercise bike and insurance

Baloon rides

Valentine's Day is fast-approaching and there's still time to get your act together and pop the question. Tug the heart strings with a trip in a hot-air balloon. She, or he, might say yes. If they don't, the enclosed space might be a bit uncomfortable for a while though. With our weather, you might have to wait until April for the trip. What's the weekday price for a hot air balloon trip for two?

Best: allgifts.ie €350

Avoid: goldenmoments.ie €420

Saving: €70

LIFE ASSURANCE

You're halfway through your 30s and with the kids leaving toys all over the stairs maybe it's time to start thinking about how they'd all cope financially if you tumble to your death because of a discarded Transformer. How much for €200,000 life assurance and serious illness cover over 20 years for a 35-year-old married couple?

Best: Discountinsurance.ie €130.01 a month

Avoid: Aviva €154.38 a month

Saving: €5,849 over the term

CREMATION

And while we're at it, if the worst does happen remember that there are no pockets in a shroud. Indeed, after being blasted at nearly 1,000 Celsius there won't be much of anything left. Why not save your loved ones a fortune by getting vapourised instead of buried? The money saved could make a big difference to them, or alternatively blow it before you go by having the trip of a lifetime. In Dublin:

Best: Mount Jerome €400

Avoid: Glasnevin €630

Saving €230

EXERCISE BIKE

As you downed another cracker smothered in pate on St Stephen's Day, you promised yourself that you'd lose the extra pounds once 2014 arrived. Well, news flash: January is nearly over and the needle on the scales is still pointing in the wrong direction. Time to get your wriggle on before you can't wriggle into anything. How much for a NordicTrack GX 3.4 exercise bike?

Best: Elverys €540

Avoid: Fitness World €599.99

Saving: €59.99

INSURANCE

It turned out to be one of the best investments you ever made, especially since it was somewhat frowned upon to be travelling abroad in the past few years when everyone was meant to be doing their bit for the economy and enjoying staycations. But you can't help yourself from wondering who might be peeking through the windows of the detached holiday home in Kenmare, Co Kerry, when you're not there. How much for a 70-year-old couple to insure it for buildings cover of €160,000 and 20pc contents, when it doesn't have an alarm? With a €300 excess and five years' claims free:

Best: Allianz €286.94

Avoid: Liberty Insurance €459.32

Saving: €172.38 a year

Irish Independent