THE SQUEEZED MIDDLE CAN HELP LIFT THEMSELVES BACK UP



We're still in the long recession. There's no two ways about it. And while, yes, things are on the up and seem to be getting better – just witness the packed bars and restaurants in Dublin city centre on a Thursday or Friday night – we shouldn't be getting overly optimistic either. In Ireland we seem to go from the depths of despair to the highs with little in between. But we need to stop swinging from one extreme to the other and start plotting a way for people to be helping themselves so that they're the ones in control of their lives. And why not start it by cutting out the extra costs from your monthly bills?


For the last few years people have been hit with a raft of extra taxes. From the property tax to the universal social charge and now water charges too. Who knows what else might be coming along? But not only are people's incomes being squeezed they're also getting doubly hit through salary cuts. It's a combination of reduced income and further charges all the time, stealth or otherwise, that is making people sit up and take more notice of what they're paying in terms of monthly expenses. People are looking at what they do and where they spend. Customers have choice and people are becoming smarter especially with price comparison sites such as bonkers.ie.

 " we need to stop swinging from one extreme to the other and start plotting a way for people to be helping themselves so that they're the ones in control of their lives"
If you were to sum up what consumers want most nowadays it's value. Gone, thankfully, are the Celtic Tiger days when money had no value and was being thrown around like confetti at a wedding. We all know the true worth of a €euro these days and won't put up with being ripped off or paying over the odds anymore.

 And why should we? The internet and rise of the digital economy has meant that the information is at our fingertips at the click of a button. It started with the supermarkets on the high street where people are shopping around. As the slogan goes, it's not about changing lifestyles but about good products at a reasonable price. It's not about the race to the bottom – look around at the cars parked in Aldi or Lidl these days – but about value.

 Make the effort
Even with the utility sector in electricity and waste its given consumers a choice in shopping and switching so why don't more people do it? Too much hassle. Couldn't be bothered. Paperwork. All easy to serve excuses when, with a few minutes on the internet in the evening, you could be finding out how and why you can be saving money each month.

 Insurance is no different either. Car and health insurance is changing and so too now with Low.ie is life insurance. What we're seeing in the digital space is an important disruption that is occurring. It is easier for people to find out what they can save and as easy to make it happen. You don't have to leave your computer and it can be done!

" if you're paying €40 a month, for example, on your insurance, and we could get you a deal of just €14 a month, wouldn't you want that saving of €26 each month?"
 Low.ie specialises in mortgage protection insurance, life insurance, serious illness insurance and income protection insurance and guarantees you the lowest price by focusing our resources online. Up until recently the insurance industry was quite happy with the way things were. No one was driving it or disrupting it. But things are changing with Low.ie helping to lead the way.

 I like to ask people a simple question: if you're paying €40 a month, for example, on your insurance, and we could get you a deal of just €14 a month, wouldn't you want that saving of €26 each month? If you can find those kinds of savings in four or five different areas all of a sudden you're €100 a month better off. At least then some of the cuts and charges don't begin to hit as hard.

 Don't get me wrong. I know and understand things are still tough. There is some light at the end of tunnel everyone hopes but the reality is that these new charges and taxes are not going away anytime soon. At Low.ie we want to drive a public campaign to make people think: what are you paying on your life insurance? We in the squeezed middle are feeling the pinch but we can take back some control and make some choices about where our money goes. The inertia of the Irish consumer is gradually changing and they're standing up for themselves once more.