Telly with Sky Sports
No offence to ESPN, but it's not very good. I mean, how bored do you have to be to watch the Rugby World Cup semi-final of 2003? Figuring out the difference between Sky and UPC isn't easy or fun, but there are big savings for sports fans if you don't take ESPN as part of your package. It's in the bundle with Sky but you don't have to take it with UPC, saving €120 per year. UPC's Digital Value package has 49 channels -- most of which are pants. Sky's basic Entertainment package has 39 channels including the ever-popular Hindi channel Star Plus. Sky has a €79 equipment charge. Both have free one-month promos. There's only two euro in it if you simply must have ESPN though.
Best: UPC Digital Value + Sky Sports (no ESPN) €606 per year
Avoid: Sky Entertainment + Sports (incl ESPN) €728
Saving: €122 per year
Contact www.upc.ie or 1890 940 070
Ferry to France
You'll have to take her away for a quick holiday or you'll never be allowed make the trip to Poland or the Ukraine for the Euro 2012. But how to do it on the cheap? Two weeks in France on the ferry in May. You'll save a bundle with Celtic Link. Leaving on May 5 for two weeks for two people and a car with an outside cabin on the Rosslare-to- Cherboug route.
Best: Celtic Link Ferries €314
Avoid: Brittany Ferries €428
Contact www.celticlinkferries.com or 053 9162688
Nintendo had to cut the price of the 3DS console because it was a bit of a dog and sales were way below forecasts. It doesn't mean that the kids won't want one for Christmas. Not even Stephen Hawking could crack the differences in the price deals which include games. But the bottom line is that rubbish games mean cheaper packages. We're comparing the price of the console by itself. Smyths Toys and Gamestop are less than a euro dearer than buying online.
Best: Pixmania.ie €159
Avoid: Argos €179.99
Contact www.pixmania.ie or 01 6590282
Regular savings accounts
Er, did you forget to save for Christmas, too? This could be the year that everyone gets presents that you've made. Like a bottle with shells on it or stuff made out of lollipop sticks. Plan ahead by lumping €100 per month into a regular savings account for a year. Try www.itsyourmoney.ie (now shunted from the Financial Regulator to the National Consumer whatsit), for its pretty neat online interest calculator.
Best: EBS family savings account €32.50 in interest
Avoid: Rabodirect Online savings account €15.60
Contact www.ebs.ie or local branches
Well, at least they are occupying Dame Street and causing a bit of trouble. Hurray for smelly students and their silly hair. Most of the banks don't like them one bit (another good reason to give them a thumbs up). Student overdraft rates are truly wonky in some places. There's an interest-free one in AIB for up to €1,500. But they'll get you in the end. They always do. On a €1,500 overdraft.
Best: AIB Student plus 0 per cent
Avoid: Bank of Ireland 15.90 per cent
Saving: up to €238.50 per year
Contact www.aib.ie or local branches
Sunday Indo Business