Iarnród Eireann has extended its excellent €10 return fare offer to Dublin. The fares, which are available on a variety of routes from throughout Leinster to the capital, will now continue until 31 January. Significant savings can be made, with fares cut by up to 57% on some popular routes; adults travel for €10 return while those under-16 will be charged just €5. Check ahead, however, as the fares are available only after peak morning services have been completed – between 8.30am and 9.30am depending on the route.
Debit cards have changed the way that we spend our money and will continue to do so, as the government plans to place an emphasis on plastic rather than cash over the next few years. Debit cards are very useful but they do make it more difficult to keep track of your spending. One way to keep things under control is to stop asking for cash back when making purchases. It is an easy transaction but, if we are being honest, most of us would admit that this cash is the easiest to spend on pointless and useless things. Stick to the ATM and you'll have a better appreciation of what you are spending.
A reader found herself on the receiving end of some very stingy behaviour while shopping at Heatons in the run-up to Christmas. Having made her purchases, she was handed two vouchers entitling her to two nights at a range of four-star hotels for a knock-down price. On inspecting her receipt later on, however, she discovered that these vouchers had been scanned and she had been charged one cent for each. It may be a tiny sum, but it's a bit cheeky when you consider that the customer was totally unaware of the charge and did not ask for the vouchers in the first place.
The best of 2010: a selection of the best buys across several financial products
Variable mortgage: Halifax at 2.4%
Three-year fixed-rate mortgage: AIB at 3.19%
One-year fixed-rate deposit: Investec at 3.5%
Credit card (lowest interest rate): AIB's 'Click' at 8.5%
Personal loan (fixed rate, €25,000 over five years): Bank of Ireland at 9.6%
Life assurance*: €16.47
Serious illness cover*: €51.22
Current account**: Halifax High Interest Current Account
*30-year-old male non smoker;
20-year level term
**No ATM/direct debit/standing order/quarterly fees; 5.12% interest on balances up to €1,500 (account must be credited with at least €1,500 a month)