Tuesday 20 February 2018

Nick Webb: Make Me Richer

Basic digital telly

So perhaps we don't need all the channels about the woman who was eaten by her couch or the one with savage attack by budgies. Slimmed-down digital TV packages are almost the exact same price... if you exclude the set-up fees. Sky has 23 channels on its entry package against UPC's 35. However, UPC's extra channels include repeats like Living +1 or Gold +1. But it does have the one with the semi-nude women jiggling around... and BBC3, soon to feature the brilliant Special 1 TV.

Best: UPC Value Plus €273 in year one

Avoid: Sky €306

Saving: €33 in first year and €3 thereafter

contact: www.upc.ie or 1890 940624

Credit card whoopsies

If you forget to pay the bill for your flexible friend on time, the credit card companies will start to drool before they feast on your carcass. They'll knaw at your very marrow to extract the last bit of money out of you. Setting up a direct debit to cover the minimum payment each month takes about a minute online and will solve your problems here. Figures from the Financial Regulator.

Best: Tesco €6.35

Avoid: MBNA €15.24

Saving: €8.89

contact: www.tesco.ie or local stores

Gas and electricity

Save enough on gas and electricity to leave the lights on and back door wide open all winter. For someone using about 21,000 thingimebobs of gas and 6,100 whatsits of electricity... a fairly average heavy user. Airtricity's deal looks pretty slick but it actually isn't all that much cheaper than mixing and matching with Flogas for gas and Bord Gais for electricity. The ESB is bound to re-enter the market with a bang and hugely discounted gas will probably be a core part of the deal. Figures from www.bonkers.ie

Best: Airtricity €1,932.46

Avoid: ESB/Bord Gais €2,160

Saving: €227.54

contact: www.airtricity.com or 1850 818110

Motor tax

Paying tax is marginally more fun than watching the X Factor with the sound down. But you'll be fleeced if you pay in instalments.... especially the quarterly one. You'll pay an extra 12 per cent in interest if you don't hand it over all in one go. That's worse than some of the personal loan rates at the banks. For a C-band car like a Ford Fiesta 1.6l Duratec.

Best: €447 up front

Avoid: €504 (total if paid quarterly)

Saving: €57 per year

contact: www.motortax.ie or 1890 411412

Broadband dongles

The technology equivalent of Dirk Kuyt. It'll do a job but you'd always like something a bit better. Plug it into your laptop and get surfing... until it freezes up. You can plough through 1 gig per month with 3 before nasty charges start clocking up, but eircom, Vodafone, O2, Meteor and Imagine all offer way more, so they might be better if you want to run an evil empire or launch a satellite. The promised speeds are broadly Similar.

Best: 3 Broadband Light €158.88 in year one

Avoid: Eircom Mobile broadband €239.88

Saving: €81

contact: www.three.ie or local stores

Save enough for a Flickr 3 Scooter

email nwebb@independent.ie if you spot any good bargains or spectacular rip-offs.

Sunday Independent

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