The Switcher.ie survey indicates that, of those who had to borrow money to pay household bills last year, 35 per cent resorted to using credit cards. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Motor insurance costs are biggest concern for households, says Switcher.ie survey

What’s that? A one-euro coin? Dinner time!

Conor Pope on the fine art of living on virtually nothing this week

Pice study puts the average price of a litre of petrol at 136.3c per litre while a litre of diesel costs an average of 126.9c. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Average price of a litre of petrol rose by 4.9 cent and diesel by 5 cent within last month

Three  said a recording of the initial contact offering the upgrade shows Aidan was told he was agreeing to a 24-month contract extension. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Customer availed of iPhone 5 offer unaware of telecoms contract extension condition

Irish or not Irish? Viagra, Donegal Catch, Sudocrem, Punch Colour Catcher and a Dublin Bay prawn

A spokeswoman said the use of the Tricolour on Scottish salmon was ‘standard practice’ in the supermarket sector. She was not wron(...)

A view of the crowd, estimated at 5,000, at the Women’s March  in Dublin. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne

As many as 5,000 take to the streets to protest against new US president

The line up isn’t great is it? It is bad, begorrah

Conor Pope imagines how Michael Flatley ended up in Washington

U2 perform during the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, US. File photograph: Steve Marcus/Reuters

Fine Gael’s Noel Rock drafts Bill which would ban the resale of tickets above face value

The rights of Irish consumers who buy products from UK-based traders could be significantly weakened post Brexit. Photograph: Getty

Cross-Border shopping may become significantly more attractive if sterling weakens

Specialised search engines such as momondo.com and skyscanner.net  are dedicated to finding the cheapest flights available.  Photograph: iStock

From Airbnb to Skyscanner, online aids have made travel easier and more economical

Phoenix Project chairman John McGrath advises a client at the group’s offices in Portlaoise. Photograph: James Flynn/APX

Support group fears funds set to move on distressed borrowers in wave of repossession

You won’t be laughing when you find out your iPhone was a rip-off. Photograph: iStock

Consumer technology survey compares prices of handsets around the world

  Spending on household goods in December climbed by 4.3 per cent and hotels, restaurants and bars saw the rate of expansion quicken to a three-month high of 5.8 per cent, thanks to a predictable spike in entertainment over the festive period. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Sterling weakness boosts online shopping as customers look to web for better value

As many as 400,000 health insurance policies will come up for renewal this month. Check out hia.ie and totalhealthcover.ie to see if you can save money in 2017. Photograph: Lynne Cameron/PA

If you’ve had the same health cover for years, you’re losing money. Time to switch policy

Glenilen Farm: “It has a very lemony flavour, if not as bitter as we would have liked.”

Two all-natural Irish brands win the top prize for taste, if not necessarily price

Eir: “I said  I’ve been waiting a week for a callback from a supervisor, and was told it could take up to 30 days to get a callback. I’m tearing my hair out with them at this stage.” Photograph: Maxwells

Phone and internet down over Christmas, and ‘appalling’ customer service makes it worse

Brendan Ogle   of the Home Sweet Home campaign at  Apollo House. “We have been hearing a lot of talk about beds being ready in emergency accommodation but we are not talking about beds, we are talking about homes.” Photograph Nick Bradshaw

Occupiers had been told by High Court to vacate building by Wednesday at noon

According to a recent Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children report, children as young as five are being allowed unlimited unsupervised access to the internet – with many viewing violent or pornographic material

Access to technology has many benefits but can expose children to grooming and cyberbullying

Lidl has fallen foul of Bord Bia after it wrongly used the food authority’s stamp of approval on promotional leaflets advertising one of its fish products.  File photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

German retailer put food authority’s quality assurance stamp on salmon product

A fresh scam email purporting to be from the Revenue Commissioners has been doing the rounds since the start of January. File photograph: Joe St Leger

Message purports to be from Revenue and tells recipients they are due a tax refund

The latest ‘superfood’ trend to arrive in Ireland

Another superfood that will help your ‘mind/body balance’ - but it tastes like grass

Rabbits are the animals most likely to be hit by motorists, followed by dogs and then cats.

More than one in 10 motorists have hit an animal in the last five years

The morning after the night before: see in the new year by cutting back on alcohol, holding off on joining a gym, and making packed lunches. Photograph: iStock

Forget about January detox diets and that gym membership you’ll never use, and save money by eating a balanced diet, shopping ar(...)

A Etihad Airways Airbus A380 comes in through the fog over housing to land at Heathrow airport in west London. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Services operated by Aer Lingus, British Airways, CityJet and Flybe cancelled

 Conor Faughnan says a database “of sorts” listing   insured drivers  exists but  it is riddled with errors.   Photograph: Eric Luke

Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland says there are 150,000 uninsured drivers on Irish roads

Conor Pope in his newly painted home. Photograph: Alan Betson

A house drowning in brownness is now a shimmering, light-filled space – all thanks to Sylvia Beach and interior designer Arlene Mc(...)

 A snow-covered Mount Errigal as seen from Gola Island, off the west coast of Co Donegal. National Geographic Traveller declared Donegal one of the coolest places “on the planet”. Photograph: Alan Betson

News Review of 2016: This year 10.5 million people visited Ireland, up almost 1.5 million on 2015

Damian O’Reilly, looks through some of the unused/unwanted gifts left at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, which will be  redistributed through Crosscare, the diocesan social care agency. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘People’s generosity is absolutely unbelievable. We are getting all kinds of everything.’

Elaine and Gill Conway, Rathfarnham, and Eamon Jethi, Knocklyon, at the  Leopardstown races. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Minister Leo Varadkar mingles in crowd of 14,500 racegoers, up almost 3,000 on 2015

Looking for bargains at Arnotts on Henry Street. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Bleary-eyed partygoers mix with veteran bargain hunters in post-Christmas bonanza

 Shoppers  in Dublin City centre on St Stephen’s Day. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Prices in some sectors falling to levels not seen since Christmas 2000

Many of the traditional post-Christmas sales this year are actually starting pre-Christmas. File photograph: Hannah McKay/EPA

Gap and Dorothy Perkins among the brands already offering significant discounts

What if  Santa Claus found out? Photo:  Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Dads are toughest person to buy for, while ‘self-gifting’ is indulged in by majority

IIreland’s Billy Holland, Donnacha Ryan, Simon Zebo, Conor Murray and CJ Stander celebrate after beating the All Blacks in Chicago, the US. File photograph: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Heatwave and Higgins also brought joy to Irish people this year, survey reveals

Aldi has blamed a ‘descriptive error’ for the incorrect labelling of farmed Scottish smoked salmon as wild Irish smoked salmon in its Christmas catalogue.   File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Retailer blames a ‘descriptive error’ for incorrect labelling in its Christmas catalogue

Dunnes Stores and SuperValu  have  a market share of 22.5 per cent each while Tesco is in third place on 21.8 per cent. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Aldi continues to outperform rivals with strongest sales growth in the quarter, of 6.1%

At 907g the Aldi pudding is a fine size and will quite handily feed a full house on Christmas Day.

Aldi, Dunnes and M&S lose out – but there is still plenty of good pud on offer

Galaxy selection box: wins the prize for having the largest amount of chocolate in the box

Cadbury’s delicious chocolate treats come out on top, followed by Galaxy’s goody box

Conor Pope sitting for a portrait taken by Italian photographer and documentary cameraman Alex Sapienza using a Victorian camera and lens from the 1860s. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Timeless, and slightly terrifying, wet plate photography offers an anti-dote to the selfie

Whisky Gold Scottish Smoked Salmon: the smokiness is subtle but lingers on the palate.

Aldi and Dunnes come out on top for smoked salmon taste and value

Kathleen Harris and a chirpy cheesy Xmas Conor Pope. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Or is it the most wonderful time of the year? Pricewatch debates the festive season

Walkers Festive Shapes

Buttering up: from biscuits in a musical tin to Christmas-tree and star shaped cookies

A lounge chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames. An original produced by the Italian company Vitra will cost thousands; a version is for sale through Voga at €895

As the UK extends copyright on classic designs, replica companies move here

Jay McGuinness and Diana Vickers in ‘Big: The Musical’

The producer of ‘Big: The Musical’ believes the nature of Dublin people will make them amenable to his show

Online shoppers boosted Cyber Monday (November 28) substantially with Parcel Motel recording 80 per cent more deliveries than the corresponding period last year. Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty

Weak sterling prompts Irish consumers to buy from UK sites and travel across the border

Spending this December is likely to be €4.21 billion, up from €4.05 billion in 2015, says Retail Ireland. Retail prices are remaining low due to aggressive competition. Photograph: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

Irish consumers to spend average of €2,600 in December as jobs grow and prices drop

You may live to regret bringing  your credit card with you when you go Christmas shopping

How your bill for food, parties, decorations, presents and clothes could surpass €2,000

Robbie Keane has won the International Person of the Year award. Photograph: Eric Luke

Davitt Walsh, who saved baby during Buncrana tragedy, also honoured at event

Parcel Motel says it is  taking steps to resolve issues in as timely a fashion as possible. Photographer: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Irish customers buying post-Brexit bargains from UK complain about delivery service

The daddy of the faddiness is the Rubik’s Cube, invented by 29-year-old Erno Rubik in 1974.

As the hatchimal crisis takes hold we remember the toy fads of years gone by

According to data recorded by Google Trends last week, Hatchimals are the most searched-for toy in Ireland. Photograph: Getty Images

Furry creatures which hatch from egg are selling online for hundreds of euro

The Residential Tenancies Board’s latest index shows rents growing by 2.3 per cent from July to September, a growth rate marginally lower than the preceding three month’s rate of 3.5 per cent.  Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Latest Residential Tenancies Board index show rents still rising but at slower rate

Rents nationally are now 8.6 per cent higher than this time last year, according to the Residential Tenancies Board’s Quarterly Rent Index of the Economic and Social Research Institute. Photograph: Rui Vieira

Residential Tenancies Board finds Dublin house rents slipped 0.6 per cent in Q3

The problem of obsessive phone checking is much worse among younger folk, the study shows, with seven out of 10 18-24-year-olds saying they check their phones at least once a night. File photograph: iStockphoto

Seven out of ten 18 to 24-year-olds check their phones at least once a night, study finds

Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey found that seven out of 10 18-24 year olds either check the time, send text messages or look at social networks  in the middle of the night. Photograph: iStockphoto

Half of Irish adults with a smartphone check it at least once during the night, survey finds

Safefood report reveals that average spend per person in a four-person household is €35. Photograph: Getty Images

Over one-third of weekly budget required if balanced diet is to be achieved by families

 Protesters demonstrating against water charges in Dublin city centre last year. Photograph: Eric Luke

It also says a constitutional provision on public ownership should be addressed

  Focus Ireland  president Sr Stan with  Barry O’Sullivan, who has donated his Aran Islands house to charity,  and head of Cope Galway Jacquie Horan. Photograph: Eric Luke

Aran Islands auction aimed at encouraging philanthropy from wealthy individuals

Dublin Bus said it had been  upfront about  process of claiming refunds. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Commuters yet to collect €500,000 as company says was upfront over refunds process

According to Forbes, today looks set to be the largest online shopping day in history in the US – with sales expected to hit $3.36bn, up almost 10 per cent on 2015. Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty

It took a few years for the concept to cross the Atlantic, but this year Irish shoppers are set to spend close to €50m online in j(...)

Philip Lane, governor of the Central Bank, who  announced the outcome of a review of mortgage measures. Photograph: Alan Betson

The new Central Bank rule changes bring (more) good news for first-time buyers

 Cars at an authorised ELV treatment facility on the Naas Road, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times The Joint Committee on Finance says the Irish motor insurance industry has deliberately been hiding key information from public view and engaging in cartel-like behaviour. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Oireachtas finds lack of data-sharing and transparency in car insurance sector

The Central Bank said “national financial regulators have no role in setting or capping premiums or renewal rates”

Insurance Ireland says it hopes reforms will address high cost of claims and level of awards

While many Irish retailers have embraced the concept of Black Friday, some have done so with a heavy heart, according to Retail Ireland. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Rise of pre-Christmas discounting a ‘double-edged sword’, says Irish retailer body

The Amazon electronic commerce company’s logistics center in San Fernando de Henares, near Madrid, on the eve of “Black Friday”. Photograph: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

Retailers are offering significant discounts on products for annual spending spree

The Joint Committee on Finance published its report at lunchtime Thursday, recommending “full transparency” in relation to claims information. Photograph: Getty images

Oireachtas committee recommends ‘full transparency’ on how claims are processed

On Wednesday the two supermarket chains raised the price of staples in the UK. Photographs: The Irish Times

Discounters signal no rises in State despite UK price increases after currency slippage

From January 1st,  the ceiling on the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio for all first-time buyers will be set at 90 per cent.

Q&A: What is the impact in terms of cold, hard cash?

Patients Phillip Rzymske and Eva Troy with  clown doctors Dr Razzmatazz, Dr Coolio and Dr Ditzy Glitzy at the 60th-birthday celebrations of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Birthday party also a chance to marvel at pace of change in Our Lady’s, Crumlin

To profit  from Black Friday, consumers should eschew cheap-as-chips deals and focus on big-ticket items. Photograph:  Rob Stothard/Getty Images

Buyers beware: some will get good deals. Many will buy stuff they don’t want and can’t afford

Dunnes Stores increased its market share to 22.6 per cent in the 12 weeks to November 6th, 0.2 per cent ahead of SuperValu. The rise is attributed to the success of Dunnes’ Shop & Save campaign.

Market share rises to 22.6 per cent, just ahead of SuperValu with Tesco in third

The food bill adds up to  almost  €8,000 a year for  the average Irish household spending €150 a week –  not including Christmas dinner.

Figure for a family of four does not include going on holidays

Unlocking the confusion about car key insurance

In terms of flavour, Java Republic tea bags are perfectly fine – but, at €6.50, they’re far too dear

Peppermint tea

 Phoenix Park Tunnel reopens on Monday after more than 100 years. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Small number of early morning passengers affected by ticketing issues

 Gay Byrne during a broadcast on Lyric FM. File photograph: Alan Betson

‘We are going into hospital as they may have discovered a bit of cancer in the prostate’

Golden Discs...experiencing a resurgence and now set to roll out 80 concession outlets at Tesco stores in Ireland. File photograph: Google Street View

Three-year partnership will make brand the Republic’s largest home-entertainment retailer

Laya Healthcare has  blamed an “unsustainable increase in the cost and volume of claims in public and private hospitals” and  “a significant increase in consultant costs” for  increases in its premiums. File photograph: Getty Images

Company blaming ‘unsustainable’ increases in hospital claims and consultant costs

Dr Colm O’Donnell with a premature baby in the neonatal intensive care unit at the National Maternity Hospital. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Survival rates have greatly improved, but ‘we are long way from being home and hosed’

“A year’s supply of statins could have cost someone €440 a decade ago, whereas now the price is around €3 a month”

HSE policy shift brought €95m worth of savings up to the end of 2014, and a further decrease of €160m in 2015

Broadcaster George Hook says he would rather be burned at the stake than go Christmas shopping

Five personalities offer their views of what it is to give, and where they seek the perfect gift

 Kale ... love it or hate it?

Food Month Food Court: Green goddess Domini Kemp loves kale, but Conor Pope can’t stand the stuff

Dr Archibald Miles’ Compound Extract of Tomato is now better known as ketchup. It’s great with chips it will not cure your biliousness

Health foods and fashionable diets really should come with a pinch of salt

Contactless cards are growing in popularity, but they have a way to go before Irish consumers fully embrace them. Photograph: iStock

Other countries are much further down the road to a hard cash-free existence

The Nutri Ninja is very similar to the Nutribullet but, at €114.99, it’s too expensive.

From top end to budget, products that will make a difference in your kitchen

Giving us lip: an all-new, slightly smaller Terry’s Chocolate Orange segment

More say it isn’t so: ‘Incidentally, Yorkies are now much smaller as well’

The new Toblerone bars with shockingly wide gaps between their peaks.

Toblerone widening the gap between triangles in effort to reduce weight and cost

British retailer Next is to cut prices in all of its stores in the Republic by 10% from Tuesday morning.  File photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

British retailer will reduce charges in all of its stores in the Republic due to weak sterling

Smokey and the Bandit  was one of those 1970s films that dragged CB Radio into the mainstream

Charting the rise and fall of products and prices

The Irish Medical Organisation strongly criticised the Government “for policies that are endangering our health services and patient safety with a health system that has too few consultants”.

Government accused of policies which put patient safety at risk

The Toy Museum of Ireland’s only festival dedicated exclusively to the festive season is in the process of collecting retro games for visitors to play in the run up to Christmas.

Waterford Toy Museum collecting retro games for visitors to play

“I hate England, I hate living there I have no intention of returning,” said Khalid Kelly. “Ireland, I feel the same way about. There is a load of non-Muslims there.”  Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

Irishman who died carrying out Isis suicide attack appeared in Holy Wars documentary

The Government was forced to introduce a second change to the scheme by lowering the cap for the “help-to-buy” scheme for first-time buyers from €600,000 to €500,000.  Photograph: Alan Betson

A deposit of at least 10 per cent is needed if the property costs less than €220,000

Airbnb users contributed an estimated €74 million to communities across Ireland over the last 12 months, according to a new report by Airbnb. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

Rural property owners renting out homes earned an average €2,700, says report

How to optimise your time off by ‘bridging’ your bank holidays

Being clever with annual leave and bridging bank holidays can bag you more time off

The late Barney Brack: “He was a really good guy and always looking out for people.” Photograph: Maxpix

Anthony ‘Barney’ Brack’s remains were scattered over football pitch using firecracker

Sally O’Brien: this is the way she’d look at you

From Shake 'n' Vac to Sally O'Brien... take a trip down memory lane

Presenting Herself with a state-of-the-art electric fireplace.

‘Most of the ads are so terrible, it’s like Don Draper was never born’

An issue arose for reader Liz after a five-day stay in Holles Street hospital. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The doctor’s fee came to €1,528, which was covered in total by her insurer, but hospital costs came to €4,000 and this is where th(...)

The House of Horrors in Tayto Park Co. Meath where a lower portion of a staircase gave way resulting in nine people being taken to hospital. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Statement says park ‘fulfilled all requirements’ ahead of weekend Halloween events

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