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Lump sum savings

Recent surveys show most Irish households have less than €100 left at the end of every month. With the possibility of unemployment or illness leading to a loss of income, every family should have a rainy day fund -- so if you're lucky enough to have a little spare, start saving. While most savers pop cash into whatever savings account their bank offers, it's well worth looking around for the best savings account for your hard-earned loot. Over 12 months, the difference in the best and worst instant access savings accounts can be significant on a lump sum of €10,000.

Best: KBC Smart Demand -- €330.32

Avoid: Ulster Bank Easy Access -- €1

Savings: €329.32

Contact www.kbc.ie

Natural gas

With the first snap of really cold weather, it's time to get a better deal on your central heating. Even though gas prices rose over the past year, there are still savings to be had if you shop around. If you're with Bord Gais and you spend around the national average on natural gas, you could save yourself over a hundred quid by giving Flogas a call.

Best: Flogas -- €837.02

Avoid: Bord Gais -- €969.65

Savings: €132.63

Contact www.flogas.ie

Electricity

Seeing as you've got the phone in your hand, why not make another phone call and save more cash? Given the amount of time spent indoors over the next three to four months, now is the right time. If you spend about the national average on your electricity bill you can save over €200 just by shopping around. Right now, Airtricity appears to be significantly better than the rest.

Best: Airtricity -- €1,049.33

Avoid: PrePay Power -- €1,316.11

Savings: €266.78

Contact www.airtricity.ie

Sunday Indo Business