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Sunday 18 February 2018

Prepaid v bill-pay phones

Eircom must be kicking itself. It decided not to renew its sponsorship of the Ireland football team, leaving the way open for mobile phone firm 3 to snaffle it up. It looked at bit risky then as Ireland were a bit rubbish.

How wrong we were, and how right 3 was. And it even has some pretty cheap rates for mobile customers. Which is better: paying a monthly bill or topping up your phone every month? Mobile phone companies spend zillions trying to make things as confusing as possible. But for medium users and above, bill-pay options looks cheaper. For someone sending 500 texts and making 200 minutes of calls -- mainly to other mobiles. Best deals for bill pay versus the best top-up offer.

Best: 3 Flex (bill pay) €25 per month

Avoid: Meteor Anytime Choice free any network calls (top up) €42.50

Saving: €210 per year

contact: or local stores

House insurance

It's sometimes more than double the price to get insured by the bigger players than from cheaper online firms. Cover for an €800,000-valued home in Foxrock, Co Dublin, with €300,000 rebuild and 20 per cent contents. No cover for the discomfort of living beside a bailed-out banker or developer. Accidental damage. Usual locks and alarms. For a pair of 50-year-olds. Excess €300.

Best: Chrome Insurance €341

Avoid: Axa €720

Saving: €379 a year

contact: or 1890 247 663

Bank loans

Ramming a JCB through a wall to smash into an ATM is about the only way you'll get money from a bank these days. While unbelievably satisfying, it's not something we could really recommend. The alternative is to offer the bank your first born in return for a loan. Borrowing €15,000 over two years. Ulster Bank's U-First is cheapest, but you have to be a current account holder and pay a special fee. Total interest repayment over two years listed below.

Best: AIB €1,624.11

Avoid: Bank of Ireland (variable) €1,994.27

Saving: €370.16

contact: or local branches

Gas and electricity bills

And we're miles more expensive than anywhere else in the world for gas and electricity... why? Time for the Government to crack some heads. Don't get your gas and electricity from the same company. It's way more expensive. For someone spending €50 per month on gas with a standard Bord Gais deal and another €50 on a basic ESB rate. Quotes from


Best: Flogas direct debit discount €268.04 per year

Avoid: Bord Gais Standard €300

Saving: €31.96 per year

contact: or 1850 306 800


Best: Bord Gais Energy paperless billing direct debit €273.13

Avoid: ESB Standard €300

Saving: €26.87

contact: or 1850 48 58 68

Combined savings €58.83

Learner car insurance

Sean Quinn may still be a bit of a hero up in Cavan. We'd like our money back though. His former company is horribly expensive for parents with learner drivers... even in his home town of Ballyconnell. Fully comp car insurance for a somewhat stressed 45-year-old Ballyconnell woman driver with an Ugg-wearing 18-year-old female learner driver. Provisional licence. No claims or points. Parked off road. Alarmed. Excess €300.

Best: Axa €825

Avoid: Quinn Direct €1,282

Saving: €457 a year

contact: 1890 28 27 24 or visit

Sunday Indo Business

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