Ireland’s Guide To Money And Living

Consumer watch

Reasons to quit

Faced with a big bill for health insurance? The Irish Independent’s Charlie Weston highlights quitting smoking as one method of savings thousands of euro on health insurance premiums. That’s according to research by Royal London, which recently rebranded from Caledonian Life. According to the latest HSE smoking prevalence tracker from June 2016, 18.6% of the population are smokers.

“The Royal London calculations show that a 45-year-old who is taking out mortgage protection cover on a home loan of €300,000 will pay double if they smoke,” Weston writes. “The premium per month is €40 for someone who has kicked the habit, but €81 a month for a smoker.”

That’s not the only saving gained by quitting smoking – with the average cost of a packet rising to €11, a 20-pack a day smoker will spend around €4,015 per year on their habit.

Pressure at the pumps

In other news, the price of petrol and diesel has risen to the highest levels since 2015, according to The Irish Times‘ Conor Pope. Rising oil prices have led to increases at the pumps, which is affecting consumers around the country.

“Motorists are now paying more for fuel than at any point since autumn 2015, according to the AA. Its most recent fuel price index, published last week, shows that the average price of a litre of petrol rose by 4.9 cent and diesel by 5 cent in just one month. The average price of a litre of petrol now is 136.3 cent, whereas a litre of diesel averages 126.9 cent.” he writes.

Free travel

Finally, a poll conducted by RTE’s Claire Byrne Live show has highlighted opposition to introducing a charge for the free travel pass. The pass is available for those aged 66 years and older and who are permanently living in the State (some people under 66 may also qualify).

The card allows you to travel free on most Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus, Iarnród Éireann, Dart and Luas services, and certain private bus and ferry services. Those living permanently on the Aran Islands are entitled to up to 12 (one way) air trips to the mainland each year, while people who live on Tory Island in Co Donegal can avail of eight free journeys on the seasonal helicopter service which runs between the island and the mainland.

The issue first came into the public sphere last month when Fine Gael TD for Cork South West, Jim Daly, raised the possibility of introducing an annual charge of around €6 for certain segments of free travel pass users.

When not writing about all things personal finance, You & Your Money's editor Conor Forrest enjoys reading, football and getting lost in an ocean of Wikipedia articles.