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Money Matters


Of course money matters more now than ever before, and knowing where to look for those savings in trying to hang on to it is always a good place to start. Cutting through the long winded fine print, we try here we provide a few of those answers, though not set in stone, are the best there is at the moment. As fuel and food are the most important in our lives, we concentrate on these first, and a cheap phone package to order the. As new information comes our way about money savers, it will be put up here to help you get through the maze of offers.

Latest Alert: Hunting For A Car; Posted 31/Dec/2013 
DRIVERS in Ireland can save over €4,000 by buying a second-hand car in Britain and bringing it home.
A recent survey had savings of up to €4,500 on cars even after they paid Vehicle Registration Tax to the Revenue. This was based on a three-year-old Nissan Qashqai, where the UK purchase price was just over €13,000 compared with almost €20,000 from an Irish dealer. Despite €2,434 in tax demanded by the Revenue the saving is still €4,500. It generally only applies to bigger and better brand cars.
Bottom line: Do your homework and buyer always beware for figures from car checking site Cartel indicate that 18pc of imported cars have been "clocked" to give a false mileage reading. Drivers should also purchase from dealers registered with SMMT -- the UK equivalent of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI) -- which means you are buying from a reputable source, and have comeback if there are any faults.
Also get a proper inspection done to check for faults or clocking. Check around and if minor repairs do show up, this will give you a better bargaining power.
Caution: VRT is levied based on the Revenue's assessment of its market value in Ireland rather than its UK value which may be lower.

ELECTRICITYAirtricity is the cheapest supplier on the market at present and will also do a pre- paid meter if you are still struggling, and at a rate unmatched by any other company on either services. The savings from the cheapest to the most expensive can be as much as €260 per year after you bundle in all the various standing charges and tariffs. But don’t take our word for it, go on an unbiased comparison like bonkers.ie and others. Get a electricity monitor too for It will help you to indentify what is using your electricity and by how much. These monitors are relatively inexpensive today and the savings can be well worth it.
Gas: Flogas leads the way here. Again, with the various discounts or tariffs, the savings are as much as €124 per year against the most expensive.
COAL WOOD AND OIL IN GALWAY; what is the cheapest? Winter is coming, and spring and summer is the cheapest time to prepare. But if you have to manage from week to week without bulk discount, then this is some of what is out there and not:
Oil: When it comes to this product you probably have heard the rumours and the facts of cartels and monopolies. The best you can do to pin a good price down, which can be limited to your area in any case because of distance and time, is to phone, phone, phone and compare. Only you can be the best judge here.
WOOD: Prices here vary wildly and getting the right contact is not easily available of websites. The key element to wood is that it is reasonably dry otherwise you are only burning the deeply compressed water from it and getting little heat. A good stove says it all. It is not advisable to burn treated wood or left over construction type wood, for this can give out toxic fumes in your home and are dangerous. Forest wood amounts delivered differ just as wildly as price, so getting someone honest and reliable can be a tricky area. Like anything, familiarity can breed rising prices with just the one supplier, so always keep shopping around every year.
COAL: Prices do not vary that much, so without bulk buying you are locked in again to local suppliers. So all of the above always apply.
PHONES: For all that phoning that needs to be done, the only battle left between a mobile phone and a landline, is really getting connected. Mobiles are taking over, and the only temporary halt to their gallop is still the need for the landline for connection to the Internet. In the places where mobile reception is good, then landline is a poor second. The best deal you can get out there is with Sim card only where you are not paying off a fancy phone. The best deal is with a company called 48 months that offer unlimited calls and texts to any mobile network, plus 60 minutes to landlines. They also throw 5gb of internet into the mix and give you a free Sim card if you do not have one. All of this is on offer for €20 per month, and that is definitely hard to beat. They are aligned to the O2 network, and they say it is ‘designed’ for 18 to 22 year old, but in reality anyone can join.
INTERNET: Signal and service is more important than price. Attention is needed here again for there is a minefield of confusion in what are best offers balanced with good service.
FOOD: This an easy one. ALDI and LIDL lead the way for a reason: best value for the money spent. Bulk -buy here and buy what you need elsewhere as you go along. Always keep abreast of any offers for they too save money along with coupons.
BEST MONEY SAVING WEBSITES
In terms of impartiality backed by accreditation for most things, these comparison websites lead the way:
Bonkers.ie
Powerphone.ie
Callsosts.ie
Stopfoodwaste.ie
Hia.ie
uswitch.ie
and  the non-accredited pumps.ie

Money Saving Gadgets
Ireland may be creeping out of recession, but times are still tough. Can technology help? Is it possible to save a few euro on, or through, our gadgets, mobiles and computers? Here are five wallet-friendly measures to consider.
Saving money with smartphones: Tethering: Hundreds of thousands of people pay for mobile broadband services. This comes mainly in the form of mobile dongles, the small (usually white) sticks that plug into the side of a laptop and have a sim card embedded. Generally, they cost between €10 and €25 per month. But many people are not aware that you can achieve much the same effect for free by simply 'tethering' a smartphone to a laptop. This doesn't involve any tricky settings or cables. It's simply the flick of a switch on your iPhone or Android device. When activated, your phone generates a wifi signal that your laptop can use to access the internet. If you have a 4G phone, the speeds can be impressive: tethered laptops using the 4G networks of Eircom or Vodafone currently get download speeds of over 25Mbs in the Dublin area. There are just two things to bear in mind, here. First, you will need a decent monthly data allowance: make sure your plan gives you at least 5GB of data if you're going to be doing this regularly. Second, operators don't like people doing this, for obvious reasons. If people know that they can use their phone for broadband, they're a lot less likely to pay for mobile dongles (or even landline broadband).
SMS substitutes:While many phone plans now offer lots of bundled texts, some still restrict the number to 200 (or less) per month. Thereafter, per-text charges can rise to as much as 45c. Yet if you ask anyone under 30 how they communicate with their friends using their phones, SMS texting will likely be a third or fourth choice.
This group – which marries price sensitivity with technological curiosity – has been responsible for the rise of online messaging systems that have taken off as mainstream alternatives to texting. The main services are Whatsapp, iMessage, Facebook Messaging, Snapchat and Twitter direct messaging.
Any phone can use Whatsapp, which is a free download from Apple's App Store or Google's Play store. This app uses your phone number as your identifying characteristic and allows you to send text, picture or video messages, free of charge. Snapchat, which is also free, does something similar but deletes messages within seconds of them being seen.
Saving money at home: gadgets to save money on power: Most normal homes leave things on 'standby' mode. This can be a computer, a TV or any number of other household electrical items. The problem with this is that most of these items use electricity even in standby mode. This can measure anything from two to five per cent of the machine's electricity consumption when fully activated. At €7 a month and with no contract, Netflix is an increasingly viable alternative to scheduled TV shows' One way of tackling this is to get a smart meter or a power strip, such as Belkin's €30 Energy Saving Smart AV Strip. Used with a television, video and game console lineup, this works by monitoring the on/off status of the television. When off (or on standby), the gadget knocks off power to all attendant devices plugged in on the same extension cord.
If you want something a little more passive that simply tells you what your current electricity consumption is, try an electricity monitor such as the one available from energymeter.ie for €50. This tells you how much electricity you're currently using. TV, Netflix and Saorview For those addicted to sport, it is difficult to do without a satellite package. For the rest of us who are casual television viewers with a penchant for a few movies and some preferred box sets, cable or satellite subscription packages are getting harder to justify. Whatever about BBC or ITV, what exactly are we watching on The Shopping Channel? At €7 per month and no contract, Netflix is an increasingly viable alternative to scheduled TV shows. It's not just four-year-old movies (though there are lots of those): many of the most compulsive television shows are now available on the service. It's worth subscribing to in the short term simply to binge on Dexter, Breaking Bad and House Of Cards.
For the rest of your television, a Saorview set (which is virtually all new televisions) will give you access to Irish broadcasters free of charge.
Saving money on computers, tablets and laptops
Apple gear: Getting a deal on a new computer isn't easy. Getting a deal on an Apple gadget is almost impossible. They simply don't discount anywhere, any time. But there are two exceptions. On Apple's website (store.apple.com/ie) there is a section titled 'Refurbished and Clearance' where most of the company's range of laptops, desktops, iPads and iPods are available at between 15 and 20 per cent off the original price. The reason is that the machines being sold were returns to Apple and have been fixed, to be sold 'as new'. Each has a one-year warranty. The other route to discounts on Apple computers is around this time of year, when the company offers student discounts of 10 per cent and up. Some student websites, such as Campus.ie, offer links to these discounts.
Software: While many in business still default to Microsoft products such as Excel, Powerpoint or Word, there are lots of lower-cost alternatives that give much of the same functionality. Google Docs offers similar, if stripped down, versions of Office features. Google Docs can also be used offline as well as online. Other examples include Apache Office (free), NeoOffice (free, designed for Macs) and Olive Office (free for smartphones and tablets). Using an alternative to Microsoft isn't as scary as it might sound: core functions are present in almost all rivals, and systems like Google Docs also have the advantage of backing themselves up automatically and being available on virtually any internet-connected device.
Knowing which features are mostly froth: If you're buying a laptop or a tablet PC, you are offered lots of optional features that you will likely never use. For example, many laptops offer 500GB hard drives, multiple HDMI connectors and the latest Intel processors. But while they are often sold as 'future-proof' features, few of us actually use these every day. Similarly, a '3G' version of a tablet PC typically costs over €100 more than a wifi-only version. Yet you can easily tether a tablet PC to your smartphone's internet connection.
Saving money on cameras: When it comes to buying digital cameras, much of most recent developments centre around gadgetry or non-photographic extras such as flip-out display screens, additional video recording specifications or wi-fi-functionality. While these are handy, they are not basic items that affect the quality of a still photo in any significant way. A basic DSLR camera with a good lens will take a better photo than an expensive, gadget-rich camera with a modest lens. This is why it is often a better bet to buy an entry-level DSLR (Canon and Nikon both have good models for under €400) and spend any remaining money on a decent lens. Thankfully, one of the best-quality lenses available – a 50mm model – is also one of the cheapest, at around €125. If you're looking for a cheap, good quality zoom lens, Canon's 75mm-300mm model produces great shots for a budget-friendly €200.

Other handy tips: Some things are FAR cheaper online
In general, things like laptops and tablet PCs are not actually much cheaper online than offline. However, smaller items, such as memory cards and connection cables, can be considerably cheaper when sourced online. For example, a 16GB SD memory card for a camera typically costs from €20 to €40 (depending on its speed) in a shop. The same card costs under €10 from a reputable online store. It is a similar saving for items such as HDMI cables (which connect a TV to a DVD player). Items such as these are what many shops make their margins on, with headline gadgets such as televisions and laptops having thinner profit margins these days.

AVOID unnecessary insurance/warranties: If you're a driver, getting gadget insurance for your smartphone may be futile, as most mobile insurance packages say that they will not cover theft from a vehicle. Also, be aware that some extended warranties are partly made up of rights you already have under consumer law.



Selling Your Car:
Where to sell?
Donedeal.ie              (€5)                              
Dealer.ie                   (Free) + Paper ad free
Buyand sell.ie          (€3) + paper
gumtree.ie                             
Galway advertiser/ all areas.

Know Your Car !!!
Beepbeep.ie for current valuations. (More accurate at minus 25% estimate)
For finance report and more: hpfirst.ie  (There is a small cost)
Motortax.ie for motor tax and more
Carsireland.ie  Log on ‘free’ to ‘Advertise’ with car reg for history/owners                      
VRT and more: Vrt.ie 

Car Parts Source
Second hand: Partfinder.ie or findapart.ie or Keith: 087 168 4385
New: Economy car part at 01 81 38 54 or Calbro 091 751 333, or Car parts warehouse: 091 76 77 99.  Top Parts: 091 75 59 97

Best cars: No engine bigger than 1400cc; 4 door saloons or 5 door hatcbacks that looks and runs good; average 8000 to 12000 miles per year; pay less than €3000 for any car that includes profit margin; Miles no higher than 95000. Long NCT.
Motto: Sell cheap and buy cheaper.

1)Toyota Corolla (Everytime !!!)
2)Honda Civic
3)Toyota Yaris

Repairables: (Honest ones anyway)
Condron of Tullamore
Ph: 057 9324816
Mobile: 057 9324991
Dempseys Dismantlers of Ballina Co Mayo
096 454 12

Marketing to sell: Blitz attack marketing is the best
Photographs (At least 9) Give as much information as possible 
All car sites; Leaflets; Park for sale car in public view. (Stay Honest !!!)


PN: When ‘buying’ your car make sure you check owners and irish registration part on B1 on  vehicle log book. Cross referance all details on any paper work. Finance check only with VIN number on E space and number of owners on J.3 space on logbook. Then get logbook, copy it, and have it sent away immediately by you on receipt of purchase or sale of car. When selling: Dont let anyone into your home; meet in a very public place, and cash is the ‘only’ game in town. (Still stay honest) Keep emotion out of buying and put passion in your selling! Sell: ‘as is’. Buyer always beware!!!!