Value for money health insurance offers and other ways to beat the winter cost crisis
No matter how the budget tries to give people a few extra bucks to deal with soaring prices, it will always be an expensive winter. Here are some ways to beat the looming cost crisis.
The cost of health coverage has exploded this year, unlike last year when policyholders were reimbursed. Many are paying too much for coverage and a large number of people are still insured on outdated and overpriced plans. Business plans are the best value plans.
Here are three that are good value for money, according to Dermot Goode of TotalHealthCover.ie:
Laya Inspire at â¬ 1,220 per adult and â¬ 301 per child (includes daily cover);
VHI PMI 5210 at â¬ 1,218 per adult and â¬ 319 per child (also includes daily cover);
Irish Life Health 4D Health 1 to â¬ 1,205 per adult and â¬ 312 per child (includes free personalized plan).
Mr. Goode advises people not to be afraid to switch insurers, never automatically renew their coverage, and consider taking a small deductible to keep costs down.
Encourage young adults to sign up for a half-price travel deal
There has been a budget boost for people aged 19 to 23, who will be able to enjoy half-price trips on public transport from the middle of next year. Young adults will be able to apply for a travel card from next year and there will be no travel restrictions, with reduced rates applying during peak and off-peak times on buses and intercity trains, local buses, Luas and Dart.
Consider a credit union for your checking account
If you are one of the millions who will find themselves without a bank when KBC and Ulster leave these shores, you could do worse than consider your credit union. More than 60 credit unions, with around two million members, now offer debit cards and checking accounts. Electronic banking and debit card offerings from credit unions tend to be more advantageous than banks.
Buy early for Christmas
Shortages of goods and higher prices should be a feature of this Christmas. This means that it’s important to give yourself time to research the market and look for alternatives if prices have skyrocketed or the unavailability of the gift you want is an issue. This way, it will be easier for you to stick to your budget.
Pay your property tax monthly
Revenue is reaching out to 1.4 million homeowners of 1.9 million homes to tell them it’s time to pay local property tax again. You assess your home on November 1, submit details by November 7 and pay at this point in a lump sum or indicate which other payment option will be used. The lump sum can be paid until January 12 by cash, check, credit or debit card, or until March 21 by direct debit; monthly withdrawals begin on January 15. Withholding tax on wages also begins in January. Go beyond the deadlines for submitting an assessment and declaration, and arrange to pay monthly to ease the tax burden.
Go crazy changing
The best way to offset the rising cost of living is to change your bills. Although energy prices are generally increasing, you can get as much as 40% off as a new customer if you switch customers, which will be badly needed this winter. In the meantime, savings of around â¬ 50 per month are on offer for those switching from broadband to TV. The biggest savings are available to those who take the time to change their mortgage, according to Daragh Cassidy of Bonkers.ie.
Benefit from a SIM-only telephony offer
A SIM-only plan is the purchase of only one SIM card, which includes an allowance of data, SMS, and minutes per month. SIM-only plans are generally much cheaper than bill payment plans.
SIM-only offers are now available from all major mobile phone providers, and some carriers such as GoMo and 48 are focusing only on these offers. 48 currently has a deal that offers unlimited calling and texting and 100GB of data for just â¬ 11 per month, according to Bonkers.ie.
Review your life insurance
Examining your critical illness, mortgage protection, and life insurance can save you money.
If you are an ex-smoker who has not smoked cigarettes for more than 12 months, you can request new coverage either from your current provider or from a new provider at the non-smoking rate. These rates are often half the price charged to a smoker.
Telework tax refund
From next year, teleworkers will be able to claim a little more tax on the costs of lighting and heating their homes. Those who work from home will be able to benefit from a tax break of 30% on the cost of energy, instead of 10%. This is in addition to claiming 30% of the cost of broadband for work from home days. These expenses can be claimed if their employer does not make the discretionary payment of â¬ 3.20 per day tax free.
Reduce your energy bill
Energy prices have skyrocketed, so consider lowering your central heating by just one degree, which can cut your energy bill by 10pc. According to Change by Degrees director Dr Tara Shine, leaving things like the TV on standby always uses a lot of power. We are often guilty of turning on the kettle and then forgetting about it. Dr Shine suggests boiling alone the water you need, don’t fill it all the way to the top every time.
Request for medical expenses
You can claim tax relief for medical expenses you paid for yourself or for others. When you pay for someone else, you don’t need to be tied to them. Expenses eligible for relief include visits to the general practitioner, consultant fees, prescription drugs, physiotherapistsroutine maternity therapy and care.