Personal Finance

Your monthly round-up: December 2018

Conor Dever

Conor Dever

Staff Writer

Winter is no longer coming, it’s here. The nights are dark and full of festive terrors, and the most consumer-capitalistic of holidays looms like an angry kraken ready to suck the life out of your wallet. But happy Christmas. 

No seriously, Christmas while ostensibly being the season of goodwill, can have some heavy ramifications on your pocket. So just in time for Christmas, it's your bonkers.ie bulletin with our tips to help save you money on your most important expenses as well as news on everything that's been happening in the world of personal finance and consumer affairs.

We found out this month that hundreds of thousands of people are failing to claim tax relief on things like medical expenses each year. Given how many of us bemoan the high rate of tax in this country, it’s surprising to see so many people leave extra money behind for the tax man.

There was good news this month for online shoppers, as legislation to prevent the process known as geo-blocking was brought into effect in the EU. Geo-blocking is the process of blocking someone from purchasing products if they’re outside of that country. This will no longer be allowed between EU member states (with a few exceptions of course). 

After the almost complete abolition of roaming charges in 2017, this is just the latest in a slew of laws brought in by the EU of late to enhance consumer rights.

This month PrePayPower announced a winter price freeze until 1st March 2019, which is good news for consumers given the recent increase in prices, and follows the price freeze announced by Electric Ireland in November. 

This was shortly before the society for the Saint Vincent De Paul warned that increasing numbers of households will struggle to heat their homes this winter and that they had to spend over €4 million in 2017 helping households with energy and utility costs. 

We also carried out some independent research last month and the results told us that almost a third of energy customers in Ireland feel they don’t have the best deal for their gas and electricity. 

If you are worried about rising energy prices, or are one of the people who feel they don’t have the best gas and electricity deal, remember that the quickest and easiest way to save on your energy bills is to switch energy supplier. You could save €267 a year on average and your pocket will thank you!

AIB customers got a boost this month as the bank added Fitbit pay to its portfolio. AIB customers can now connect their Visa card to their smartwatch and pay for items up to the €30 contactless limit at the flick of their wrist.

Some good news for Ulster Bank customers as they announced that they’ll be extending their €1,500 cashback offer until 30th June 2019. But is this the best cashback deal that’s out there and are cashback deals even good value for the customer in the first place?

The bonkers.ie Consumer National Awards are fast approaching, and we want to remind you to get in touch if you are a service provider and want to compete for an award. 

The categories again are:

  1. Best First-Time Buyer Mortgage
  2. Best Mortgage For Switchers
  3. Best Mobile App Experience
  4. Best Broadband (with or without landline)
  5. Best Bundle (Triple or Quad)
  6. Best Bill Pay Mobile Phone Plan
  7. Best Prepay Mobile Phone Plan
  8. Best Energy Price Plan (New Customer)
  9. Best Energy Price Plan (Existing Customer)
  10. Best Customer Service
  11. Best Community or Charity Engagement
  12. Best Marketing Campaign
  13. Best Customer Rewards or Loyalty Programme
  14. Best Value Mortgage Protection
  15. Best Value Term Insurance

We have an exclusive deal from Flogas where you can get 25% off their standard unit gas price as well as save more than €40 on the annual standing charge. 

But the offer is only available to bonkers.ie users until 31st December so get switching fast if you think the deal might be right for you.

Tip of the month

Our tip of the month is LED light bulbs. Replacing your halogen light bulbs with LED bulbs can save you a bundle each year as well as lasting you more than five times as long. 

Replacing just one bulb will save you around €7 in electricity a year so replacing all your bulbs could save you around €70 or €80 depending on how many lights you have in your home. 

If you want more simple tips on how to save money on your energy bills then check out our live video.

Did you know?

Grocery spend by Irish households is expected to top €1 billion for the first time this December. That’s a lot of mince pies and chocolate!

Something fun

In the run up to Christmas, our minds drifted from energy prices and broadband packages to the festive break. Of course it wasn’t long before we found ourselves thinking of our favourite things about Christmas, and we all came to a similar conclusion; we love binge watching something! 

While we’re all probably going to watch ‘Love, Actually’ and ‘Die Hard’ for the thousandth time, we wanted to pick some of our favourite things on Netflix that you might have missed. 

We picked 11 documentaries, 8 stand-up specials, and 13 TV shows and movies on Netflix that you may have missed.

Why bonkers.ie?

We're back in a period of rising energy prices so it's more important than ever to switch and save. But bonkers.ie is the only energy price comparison site that factors upcoming price increases into the results you see, which is why you should only switch energy supplier with us this winter. 

Gaining our accreditation from the CRU for the sixth year in a row this year, you can read exactly why bonkers.ie is the best price comparison site in Ireland here.

Get in touch

It’s going to be a long, cold, bleak January in the bonkers.ie office so please get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook with your switching questions, or about anything really, as we love hearing from you!

We'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Peaceful New Year, and to THANK YOU for making bonkers.ie Ireland's most trusted price comparison website. 

As we continue to improve our services we'll be launching a number of great new initiatives in 2019. Watch this space! 

Thanks, 

the bonkers.ie team

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