Big savings accounts
The events in Cyprus have cast uncertainty over big savings accounts here – that is, accounts containing over €100,000. There aren't too many of them around. But are they now in the sights of eurocrats seeking to make depositors share the pain of bank bailouts rather than just the taxpayer? The Government says that the Cyprus bank raid was just a once-off, which means that Irish depositors with savings above €100,000 won't be touched. It's probably a good idea to have your savings spread among different banks or even in a cash fund. We're comparing the "reef it out quick" rates for non-bailed-out banks on savings of over €100,000.
Best: KBC 3 per cent
Avoid: Investec 0.25 per cent
Saving: €2,750 in interest
contact: www.kbc.ie or 1800 51 52 53
Sure why would you ever want to leave this place? If it's not under 50 foot of water then it's blasted by icy winds coming straight from the Siberian tundra. Ireland would be terrific if it was about 500 miles further south. If you plan to get away from it all more than twice this year, then it's cheaper to get annual travel cover. Worldwide annual family cover.
Best: Multitrip.com Essential Cover €26.95
Avoid: VHI €49
contact: www.multitrip.com or 0818 444 444
The bank will take it away from you if there's even the slightest hiccup with your mortgage – but that's no good reason not to have Sky Sports and movies. We've even thrown in a bit of HD. The most easily comparable packages – Sky World HD and UPC Digital Plus Select extra have 107 and 108 stations. We're comparing the first year's cost, which includes installation. After the first year UPC's deal works out around €27 cheaper... but the bank might have repossessed the house at that stage.
Best: Sky €1,128
Avoid: UPC €1,160.52
contact: www.sky.com or 0818 719 819
It's really far cheaper to pay the horrid motor tax in one big lump rather than spreading it out over months and paying quarterly. You'll end up paying an interest rate of almost 13 per cent if you decide to pay in dribs and drabs. That's almost as bad as getting a loan from Ireland's most expensive bank – Bank of Ireland. For a big momma of a 3-litre car.
Best: €1,809 up front
Avoid: €2,044 paid quarterly
Brrrr! And there are probably lots more price hikes on the way. The ESB has been spending money on the Olympics, "business entertainment" for its board members and anti-smoking patches for its staff as the consumer gets hammered by price hike after price hike. Hang on a moment – aren't we supposed to own this company? It's not supposed to be run for the benefit of its staff, is it? The good news is that it's dead easy to switch somewhere cheaper. All you need is your bank account details and your last bill. For a home using €200 per month in electricity on the standard ESB tariff, already paid by direct debit.
Best: Airtricity e-bill/direct debit €2,073.45 per year
Avoid: ESB standard €2,400
contact: www.airtricity.com or 1850 81 81 10