BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
April Fools Day is usually the day for pranks and mischief but this year it is no laughing matter as Irish households already squeezed by high energy bills and soaring food costs are to be hit by another raft of price hikes on April 1 as four telecoms giants announce price increases.
Already struggling households are going to end up paying more for broadband, TV and phone.
Fuelled by inflation and global headwinds, Irish consumers are being hit left, right and centre by soaring costs. Eoin Clarke, Commercial Director at Switcher, reckons there’s no respite from rising prices in the near future. However, it’s not all bad news, especially if you’re prepared to put in a little work.
Eoin Clarke explains: “The good news is competition is fierce between providers, so introductory discounts are often there for the taking. Providers always keep the best deals for new customers, so it pays to switch when your contract ends. Welcome credits, special offers and freebies could be up for grabs too.”
He says the cheapest deal isn’t always the best value, so compare contract length and the price after your discount ends. You may want to check out the smaller providers too.
Switcher.ie has put together some inflation-busting, money-saving tips to beat the price hikes and to future proof against annual price rises.
1. Shop around to find the best deals. Use a comparison website to find all the best deals in your area and save, maybe. hundreds of euro. Switcher.ie’s broadband Eircode checker makes it easy to compare the best broadband prices and discounts where you live. Remember to check out features like broadband speeds, contract length, exclusive perks, and rewards.
2. Bundle your broadband, phone and TV. Access to the internet is essential for most homes in Ireland and, if you enjoy one of the many TV streaming services like Sky, Prime Video or Netflix, you’ve probably got a digital TV plan too. You’ll save money if you bundle your broadband, phone and TV together rather than pay for them separately.
3. Consider haggling. If you are thinking about switching, tell your provider you’re considering a change before you make the switch as they may just pull out all the stops to keep you. Use a comparison website to find cheaper deals and ask if they’ll price match. It could potentially lead to a new offer at a lower price though not guaranteed but worth a shot.
4. Keep it simple. If you’re out of contract but happy to stick with your phone, you could save by switching to a SIM-only deal. Bill pay phone contracts cost more because you’re paying for the new device on top of airtime. With a SIM-only deal, you’re only paying for calls, texts and data, so it’s cheaper than a bill pay contract, and the tie-in can be as short as 30 days.
5. Grab a multi-cover discount. If you’ve got a number of gadgets, like an iPhone, tablet, laptop and smartwatch that you insure separately, consider choosing multi-gadget cover and save up to 15% on insurance.
6. Finally, many of us now work from home. You may be eligible for tax relief on expenses like light, heat, phone and broadband. Check with your employer if they are paying an allowance towards your expenses while you work remotely. You can receive up to €3.20 a day without paying any tax, PRSI or USC on it. If your employer pays you more than €3.20 a day to cover expenses, you will pay tax, PRSI and USC as normal on the amount above €3.20.
And when you do switch remember you’re entitled to a 14-day cooling-off period. So if you are not happy with the terms and conditions of your contract, you can cancel it within that time. Remember though, if the service has already started, you might have to pay for the portion you have used.
So while it may seem like costs are spiralling out of your control there are things you can do to take back some control and save on your bills.