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Latest info from the Consumer Council

Christmas post and parcels


Christmas is the busiest time of the year for the postal service with many consumers sending cards and presents to family and friends. Follow our top Christmas postal tips to help your mail arrive on time and safely.


  • Check the last posting dates before sending items – The last posting dates for second class post is 18th December and for first class post is 20th December. For the most up to date information check Royal Mail’s website.

  • Do not use ‘everyday’ non-barcoded stamps – These stamps are no longer valid.


  • Shop around and pay the right price - Shop around for the best deal before purchasing your postage so you can avail of economy postal services

  • Avoid unnecessary higher prices - Measure up and check the weight of the item to make sure you get an accurate price for sending parcels.


Food shopping for Christmas

With everyday bills already so high, many will be worrying about the added cost of Christmas food and presents this year.


We’ve pulled some cracker tips together to help keep your costs down.


  • Check use-by dates. A lot of us like to spread the cost by stocking up in advance, but you don’t want food to go off before you get to use it


  • Only buy what you need - Create a meal plan for the week and base your shopping list on this. Consumer Council research found that many consumers bought too much last year which went in the food bin. The shops only stay closed a short time these days, so resist the urge to shop for more than you need.


  • Fridges are less energy efficient if they are over-filled – Another reason to only plan for 2-3 days at a time.


  • Make the most of leftovers – Love Food Hate Waste website has great guides on how to store food safely and use-up leftovers in dishes like curries and pies, which can be bulked-up with store cupboard staples.


  • Budget- With all the Christmas special offers available, consumers have told us that even if they do set a budget, they find it hard to stick to it.




NI Water - wrap up warm, winter is coming


The winter wardrobe is back out for another year.  It’s a timely reminder that our house needs to have a winter coat on too!


Frozen pipes can burst and cause flooding, so it is vital that we take the time to make sure our pipes are well wrapped and protected from the cold weather.

There are lots of simple things that homes and businesses can do to prepare for a cold winter:


  • Wrap up pipes and water tanks with lagging – high street DIY stores have everything you need.


  • Fix dripping taps – even a small trickle can result in a frozen pipe.


  • Find your property’s stop tap and make sure you can turn it off – most are under the kitchen sink.


  • Leave the heating on low if you go away for a winter break.


  • Check your central heating boiler has been serviced – it should be serviced annually.

  • Keep the name of a plumber handy – type in your postcode at  to find your nearest accredited plumbing business.


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