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Top money saving tips

20 hours ago by vfiebelmann

Top money saving tips

 

Whether it’s bargain hunting or making smart financial decisions, here are some top tips to help ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible and saving some money in the process. 

 

1. Bargain hunting

Everybody loves a bargain, but this is where it usually ends. Getting the best price is about taking the time to look, and most of us just don’t have that time. However, it’s not as tricky as you’d think, you just need to know how to do it. Sites like Hot Bargains are great for finding the latest deals and freebies.

There are lots of other tips to help you find the best deals online, including the trick of abandoning your shopping basket to get yourself a discount code and signing up to newsletters.

Also, don’t forget the power of loyalty cards. A whole host of major retailers and supermarkets reward their customers by allowing them to collect points. These points can usually be converted into money-off vouchers in store which can prove to be a great way to save on your shop

 

2. Travel & commuting

There are big savings to be made on travel – you just need to know where to look.

If you are a regular train user, Trainline is a brilliant site which allows you to book cheap tickets in a very quick and easy way. The more in advance you book, the more savings you make. But on average, you can save 43% when you book UK rail in advance.

Not only can you make massive savings through Trainline, but you’ll also benefit from 2for1 deals to major London attractions when you book your train tickets.

There are lots of other bargains to be had including travel via Eurostar and getting cheaper car insurance.

 

3. Entertainment

We know that it can get very expensive when it comes to going out – particularly when you have a family. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to have fun without having to pay full whack.

Many restaurants offer online promotions – for example, Pizza Express regularly run 2for1 offers on main courses. You’ll also be able to find voucher codes and deals in the newspaper, so be sure to check there too.

 

4. Food & shopping

This is a big one. And I’m sure a lot of you would agree that food is one of, maybe even the biggest, monthly outgoing. The Office for National Statistics revealed that the average amount spent by each family in 2016/17 was £536.80 per week.

Whether you’re eating in, eating out or grabbing yourself a coffee in the morning – there are lots of ways to save money.

Buying supermarket-own brands can positively impact your spend – and in a lot of cases you’ll find that you won’t even need to compromise on taste, just on brand.

As I mentioned previously, make sure that you sign up to reward schemes so that you can collect points that you’ll be able to use in store at a later date. Major retailers like Tesco and Sainsbury’s are great at rewarding customers with money off vouchers.

And finally, keep your food fresh for longer and don’t be wasteful. Freezing leftovers will save you money AND time. Ensure you store food properly and check dates so that you don’t get caught out.

 

Are you a master of saving money? We’d love to hear your top tips today. Let us know in the comments below.

 

Nearly two out of five take more than £500 in cash on trips abroad

Research carried out by Viewsbank for Consumer Intelligence revealed that holidaymakers that were heading abroad over the Easter holiday were risking their spending money by relying on cash, which would not be covered by their travel insurance.

The study revealed that nearly two out of five (38%) take more than £500 of cash on holiday, however, analysis of leading travel insurance policies found that most only provide cover for lost of stole cash to a maximum of £250 and have excesses of up to £100.

More than 2 million people were expected to head overseas for the Easter bank holiday. Banking and insurance research expert, Consumer Intelligence, believes that people should look at alternatives such as pre-paid travels cards, which will cost holidaymakers less if they are lost or stolen.

Andy Buller, Consumer Intelligence travel money expert said: “I’m constantly surprised by the amount of cash holidaymakers still choose to take out of the country given the decline in the use of cash at home.

Head over to Consumer Intelligence for the full article.

 

Did you go away over the Easter weekend? We'd love to hear if you prefer to carry cash on holiday. Let us know in the comments below.

A pet is for life: make sure it is right for you

Becoming a pet owner comes with lots of responsibilities AND lots of benefits. There are many things you need to consider before taking this step – how much time do you have? What is your financial situation? Is your accommodation suitable?

These are just some of the points to bear in mind, when choosing which pet is right for you.

Knowing the reasons for wanting to own a pet can be a good place to start. Perhaps you’re looking for a companion or you’ve always wanted a pet and now you are finally able to? Whatever the reason, make sure that it is for the right one.

Studies show that people who own a pet tend to be happier and healthier. This research also supports that the bond between humans and animals can have many psychological and physical health benefits.

In a recent poll, a massive 59% of you told us that you already own a pet, whilst 15% would like to own one and 26% do not own a pet.

There are many different types of pets. From cats and dogs to birds and reptiles. Finding the right pet is important, because you’ll see that not every animal is right for you.

So, for those who are currently in the middle of making this decision, here are pointers to help you make the right decision.

1. Do you have the time?

This is a big question, and you need to be 100% honest with yourself. Do you have the time that is needed to look after a pet? Particularly if you decide to go for a new-born.

If you’re at work 9 until 5, five days a week, you need to consider whether owning a pet is the right thing for you. There are certainly ways to get around this though – for example, you can get somebody reliable to check in on your pet whilst you are out, or you could potentially drop your pet off with a family member or friend.

Popular pets like dogs need a lot of care and attention, which can cause challenges to those that work full-time.

Less demanding pets like cats may suit you better if you work long hours every day, as they move around freely and can generally take care of themselves.

2. Can you afford it?

Not only do you need the time to care for a pet, but it can also be very expensive. You’ll need to buy them a bed or somewhere to sleep, food, veterinary treatments, pet insurance, toys and more. Depending on the animal, you may need to buy a cage or aquarium – so the costs do add up.

According to The People’s Dispensary Sick Animals (PDSA), the lifetime cost of owning a cat is around £17,000, while owning a dog has been estimated between £16,000 and £31,000 depending on the size of it.

3. Is your accommodation suitable?

Are you a homeowner with a garden or do you rent a flat? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself. Particularly if you’re looking to get a pet that requires outdoor space to move around.

4. A pet is for life

Finally, you need to consider the life expectancy of your potential new family member. Being a pet owner comes with responsibilities and requires commitment from you. On average, cats can live up to 15 years, whereas the average lifespan of a dog is between 8 and 15 years depending on the breed and size of the dog.

However, if you’re interested in a reptile as a pet, you could expect their lifespan to be between 40 and 60 years

Be sure you are 100% confident you can provide the right environment and care before taking this big step.

 

Are you a pet owner? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear.

 

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Top 7 ways to start working out

2 weeks ago by vfiebelmann

Top 7 ways to start working out

We’ve all been there: either fallen off – or have yet to jump on – the health and fitness bandwagon.

It can be tough to motivate yourself to hit the gym or get up early for a run, but it can be done.

Work, stress, lack of time and life in general can stand in the way of you living the lifestyle you want to live.

But with the right plan in place, and the right attitude, there are simple ways to incorporate exercise into your routine.
 

Here are our top ways to help you start working out, so that you can reap the benefits of exercise.
 

1. Understand your goals

Understanding ‘why’ you want to exercise is the best place to start. Not everyone does it for the same reason. So, knowing what your primary goal is will really help you motivate yourself to stay on track.

 

2. Sometimes we need even more motivation

It’s okay, we’ve definitely all been here too. Sometimes we need MORE motivation, so here are just some of the important and motivational reasons to make you want to exercise:


3. Set specific goals

We all know that we should exercise, but when it comes down to it, something always gets in the way.

Starting an exercise program can be daunting. The problem is, we simply don’t put the right strategies in place for it to be a success.

Here are some simple strategies to put into place:

  • Be specific: don’t set yourself a goal to ‘become fit’, instead set a specific goal you can track. For example, aim to exercise three times a week
  • Be realistic: if you’re new to this, don’t set a goal that you can’t achieve. Focus on the small achievements
  • Set short-term goals: be sure to set yourself short term goals to keep you motivated, instead of ‘run a marathon next year’


4. Set reminders

One of the biggest challenges facing us today is lack of time. A way around this is to schedule in time to exercise. Set reminders on your phone or add it into your calendar. And if you’re still struggling, take a look at: 10 Fitness Hacks For When You Don’t Have Time To Work Out.

 

5. Come up with a workout plan

Okay, so this sounds more complicated then it needs to be. Getting in shape is far easier, when you have a plan in place. Your weekly exercise routine should include resistance training to build/maintain muscle, along with some aerobic exercise to improve your cardiovascular health.

If you’re a little stuck, just have a quick Google where you’ll find lots of great websites that cover various different types of workout routines to suit your body shape and the results you want to achieve.

I’m sure you’ve heard of this latest trend, but high intensity interval training, or HIIT, is one of the best ways to get your aerobic exercise, so I’d strongly recommend joining in gym classes to help you improve your cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Most importantly, make sure you start off slow and gradually build yourself up. Nothing happens overnight.

 

6. Keep it simple

Make sure you keep things simple by eliminating things that might get in the way of your exercise plan. A really useful tactic to help you succeed is by adjusting your environment in ways that push you to exercise. For example:

  • Have your gym bag packed up and ready to go
  • Plan on doing an early morning workout? Have your gym clothes ready in front of you when you get up
  • Set reminders and alarms
  • Commit to a class, which you cannot miss

 

7. Last but not least, make sure you enjoy it

I think we can all agree, that sometimes the thought of exercise is just too much. But finding the right type of activity will make it far more likely to be something you stick with. In a poll, only 36.8% told us they enjoyed exercise, with 34.3% saying they sometimes enjoy it and 19.9% telling us that they do not enjoy exercise at all.

Enjoying the type of exercise you do is a big contributing factor to staying on track and achieving your goals.

 

Before starting any exercise program, always be sure to check with a doctor or health professional to ensure there is no reason you shouldn’t be exercising.

 

Do you find time to exercise? What are your biggest challenges? Let us know in the comments.

 

Do whiplash reforms mean savings for consumers?

Whiplash

In March, the Government published its Civil Liability Bill, which set out plans to alter the compensation payments due to those with whiplash injuries. The Government are indicating that this should amount to an average saving of around £35 on a yearly insurance premium.

Compensation for whiplash injuries that arise from car accidents has long been a controversial topic, and as we know, consumers tend to be very sceptical when it comes to insurance companies passing on savings.

With that in mind, we conducted a survey for Consumer Intelligence on Viewsbank, to assess consumer attitudes to the proposed changes, and the results weren’t surprising at all. In fact, we have asked similar questions before, back in November 2016 when the Ministry of Justice offered up plans to save motorists in the region of £40 per year on their insurance by reducing the number of whiplash claims. Motorists were sceptical back then too, with around two thirds believing that insurers would simply pocket the difference, and only 15% trusting all insurers to pass on savings to consumers.

This time around, and perhaps as expected, consumer attitudes have changed very little. Perhaps slightly surprisingly however, it would appear that consumers are actually slightly more sceptical of insurance companies than before, as the results indicate that 70% now believe that the majority of (50%) or all (20%) insurers will pocket the difference.

Do you expect insurers to pass on any savings from personal injury reform?

I think all insurers would pocket the difference

20%

I think most insurers would pocket the difference

50%

I think most insurers would pass the savings on

22%

I trust my insurer to do this, but not the wider industry

8%

 

Those who do expect some sort of saving also expect it to be a fairly small one, with 70% of respondents predicting it to be £30 or less. This scepticism contradicts research by Consumer Intelligence showing that although average premiums have increased by 7.5% over the last year, they have fallen by 3.4% since September and are actually on the longest downward trajectory since records began. This just shows how much work is still needed to be put in by insurance companies in order to regain the trust of consumers. In fact, two thirds of consumers asked in the survey actually believe that their insurance premiums will rise in 2018.

Do you expect your premium to rise in 2018?

Yes

67%

No

14%

It depends on the government

7%

I don’t know

12%

 

What is clear from our survey though, is that most consumers don’t know that any of this is happening, however, the desire for whiplash payment reform is increasing.

Stuart Peters, Consumer Intelligence Head of Research explains: “There is a good news story in here for consumers, but they’re just not aware of it – therefore there’s a job for the industry to do.

“We found that almost one in two consumers feel whiplash payments are too high. At the same time, expectations have increased, with 20% of consumers hoping for at least £2,000 – almost twice the figure in 2016.

“These findings demonstrate why insurers have worked so hard on whiplash reform, in an attempt to hold premiums in check, but it seems that the majority of consumers are not receiving the message.”

More Ogden Changes

Consumers may also remember that the Government made some changes last year to the Ogden Rate, which is used to calculate pay-outs for personal injury claims. These changes last year massively increased costs to insurers, and therefore premiums in quite a few cases.

However, the Government has also announced that the Ogden rate will be looked at and altered again, and while the exact figure has yet to be decided, experts are suggesting that consumers could see and average reduction of around £50 on an annual policy, which coupled with the changes from the Civil Liability Bill could see consumers save around £85 or approximately 11% off an average policy.

Despite the above, our study found that only 3% of consumers were aware of this upcoming change, giving the insurance industry a massive opportunity to being generating some positive PR and making consumers aware of this. It’s clearly much needed, given that only 9% of consumers were aware that most of the industry has already pledged to pass on whiplash reform savings, while 21% didn’t believe that such a change would even happen.

Either way, it would appear that the insurance industry now has a golden opportunity to highlight these upcoming changes, something that would certainly help them regain some of that lost trust with consumers.

What do you think? Are you expecting to see a saving on your next car insurance renewal? Let us know in the comments.

 

British holidaymakers at risk by carrying more cash

 

A survey conducted for Consumer Intelligence by Viewsbank revealed that British holidaymakers are putting themselves at risk by carrying more cash than their insurance policies allow them.

Consumer Intelligence’s latest biannual survey shows that nearly 70% of travellers are carrying more than £250 in cash when they go abroad, despite most insurers not covering them for this.

The study also revealed that many major travel insurance providers cover only £200 of cash on their standard policies. The most generous provider was Direct Line, covering £500 worth of personal cash.

Insurance cover for those who have lost or stolen money while abroad differs. Travel insurers offer different exclusions and excesses for those carrying cash abroad, meaning that some could be in for a shock when they come to claim.

Despite the risks involved in taking money abroad, the Consumer Intelligence biannual survey showed that cash is still king for most holidaymakers. The most common amount of cash taken on holiday is between £250 and £499, with 30% of people taking this amount.

The second most popular amount of cash to take is between £500 and £999, with around 26% of respondents saying that they take this amount on holiday.

70% of this cash is purchased a few weeks before it is needed, meaning that lots of people are storing large amounts of travel money at home before going on holiday.

Andy Buller, Travel Money expert at Consumer Intelligence says:

“Our customer studies show that most travellers carry far more cash than their insurers would ever pay out on, if they were to lose it or have it stolen,” he said. “It's a risk that many don't consider, but travel money providers - especially those who also offer travel insurance, could use this as an opportunity to create loyalty by advising customers on safer ways to take money abroad such as prepaid cards, or additions to travel policies that would cover the additional cash that customers carry.

“Our surveys show that many customers feel little brand loyalty to their travel money providers, but information like this that would genuinely keep customers safer could keep them coming back for more."

Do you carry cash or use alternative payment methods whilst travelling abroad? Let us know in the comments. 

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7 ways to help you love Mondays

1 month ago by admin

7 ways to help you love Mondays

7 ways to help you love Mondays

 

It’s 9.36pm on Sunday night, Monday is creeping up on you and you know that Saturday is officially not coming back. You’ve set your alarm clock, and you’re already tired for the week ahead. I think we can all agree that we’re in need of some top tips to help us love Mondays again.

 

1. Don’t just live for the weekends

Plan your week ahead so that you’ve got things to look forward to. Maybe take up a hobby or go meet some friends. Whatever it is you decide, make sure you carry on living your life throughout the week.

 

2. Get a good rest, but get up early

As tempting as it is to hit snooze, having a consistent sleep schedule all week will help you feel more rested come Monday morning. In a recent poll 30.5% told us that they do not feel well rested, whilst 47.2% said that they sometimes felt well rested. Only 22.3% told us that they typically do feel well rested. Try sticking to a regular sleep schedule, get up early and start as you mean to go on – it’ll work wonders I promise.

 

3. Don’t skip breakfast

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Make sure you give yourself that extra time in the morning to have a nutritional breakfast.

 

4. Get pumped with some of your favourite tunes

Create a brand new Monday playlist. Listening to your favourite song on the way to work or on the way to the gym can make all the difference to your mood.

 

5.Try to get in some exercise

If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel like you need to burn off all that junk you consumed over the weekend. Starting the week with a small work out routine is a great way to boost your endorphins and make you feel good about yourself. There’s a reason why you should never miss a Monday workout.

 

6. Dress to impress

Sometimes one of the best ‘pick-me-ups’ is to get up and get dressed up in something that makes you feel good about yourself. Feeling comfortable and confident can help you face the world, whatever day of the week it is.

 

7. Make someone’s day

Random acts of kindness go a long way. And it’s surprisingly easy to do, we just need to remember that we’re all human and we could all do more to make others happy. Take a look at these 9 simple ways to make someone’s day. You’d be surprised at how good it feels.

 

Whatever you do to get yourself through Monday, make it awesome and most of all, enjoy it.

 

How do you get through Monday? We’d love to hear your tips and tricks. Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.

 

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

 

Sources

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/daffnee-cohen/monday_b_5669462.html

https://www.reed.co.uk/career-advice/10-ways-to-make-your-monday-morning-better/

http://www.chatelaine.com/health/monday-morning-blues-13-ways-to-help-you-get-through-it/

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7 ways to make money online

1 month ago by vfiebelmann

7 ways to make money online

Whether you're looking to make some money fast, or you're after something a little more long-term, there are certainly lots of ways you can make some extra cash. Have a read of our 7 fun and easy ways to make money online to give you some inspiration.

 

  1. Selling on Amazon and Etsy
    A simple way to enter the world of online selling is to leverage the power of using third party websites. Sites like Amazon and Etsy are brilliant platforms to start with. Millions of people around the world visit these sites ready to spend money – so it’s a no brainer really. Etsy have produced a ‘Beginner’s Guide to Selling on Etsy’ for those you who are eager to get up and running as soon as possible. Amazon have done something similar on their site to show you how easy it really is.

 

  1. Sell or recycle old technology
    See how much money you can get for your old mobile phones, CD players and tablets. Even broken devices can earn you a little extra, so don’t forget about that beloved smashed iPhone you’re still holding on to. Sites like Music Magpie and Mazumamobile.com are popular companies to use if you’re wanting to declutter and earn yourself some extra cash.

 

  1. Take online surveys
    This is probably one of the easiest, and most fun ways of earning a little extra income. Viewsbank is an online community where you can share and exchange your opinions on the topics that matter to you. It is a social forum where you get paid to complete surveys, projects and mystery shopping assignments on a range of subjects and industries. For more information on how it works and to get involved, take a look at the FAQs here.

 

  1. Test websites & apps
    Do you love website development and user testing? Maybe it’s time to turn pro and test websites and new app launches for fun (and money). There are lots of sites and companies needing your testing skills. Sites like Tester Work will pay you to take part in testing projects.

 

  1. Online freelancing
    Perhaps you’re a wordsmith or you enjoy managing social media accounts? Maybe you'd like to put those graphic design skills to practice? Either way, there are so many freelance opportunities out there that’ll be well worth your time. A quick Google search will give you some of the most popular sites that allow you to showcase your expertise and meet like-minded people.

 

  1. Competitions
    So, there are no guarantees that you’ll win every time, but there is a growing community of so-called ‘compers’ in the UK, who consistently make up to £50,000 a year through entering all sorts of competitions. Why not take a look at Compers News which is a successful UK competitions magazine and has been running since 1913! But if you prefer something on a smaller scale, then Viewsbank might be the place to win. We hold competitions on Facebook five days a week – so there are plenty of opportunities for you to win big.

 

  1. Sell old clothes on eBay
    When it comes to getting rid of old clothes, eBay is everyone’s favourite. It’s a sure way to get rid of that old sleeveless jacket and turn it into cash. Just like Amazon and Etsy, you can find all the information you need to help you get started when it comes to selling on eBay.

 

Whatever method works for you, we'd love to find out.

 

Do you make money in your spare time? Do you have any tips to offer? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, we’d love to hear from you.

 

Shoppers hit with illegal credit card charges

From January 13, both online and offline shops have been banned from charging anyone an extra payment for debit or credit card payments, as opposed to cash.

The new rule follows an EU directive and will prevent any card surcharging for paying by debit or credit cards, PayPal and ApplePay in the UK.

Companies are no longer allowed to charge shoppers up to 20% more for purchases just for paying with plastic.

A survey conducted for Consumer Intelligence by Viewsbank, revealed that shoppers are still being charged extra fees for using credit and debit cards since the introduction of new EU laws.

The research found that 14% of shoppers had been charged an additional fee for using a credit card to pay online or in stores.

The survey also revealed that shoppers are being hit with a range of alternative fees under different names, with 21% reported being charged a booking fee for using a credit card since the new rules came into effect.

Meanwhile, 13% had been asked to pay a transaction fee in the past month, and 13% had been asked to pay an administration charge.

Around 60% of those questioned said they had not been charged.

For the full press release click here, or take a look at Consumer Intelligence’s latest article here.

Have you been charged a credit card fee since the change in law? Tell us about it in the comments section. 

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Getting Ready for a Cleaner Spring-Clean!

1 month ago by SamMix_Admin

Getting Ready for a Cleaner Spring-Clean!

As we look toward warmer weather, many of us also gear up for the annual spring clean of our living spaces and our lives! It can be incredibly important for us to declutter, air out, and clean-up, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

 

When we begin to think about airing out and cleaning up, we can also think of the impact our methods and tools this cleaning will have on our long-term health as well as the environment we find ourselves in.

 
 

Over the past few years, we have seen a push for more natural products, including cleaning supplies. Many of us understand the importance of being organic or chemical-free, but we forget to consider the potential impacts that our cleaning products can have.


So, do we really need to use naturally cleaning products?


Most typical cleaning supplies include many toxic substances that have also been found to be seriously harmful to our health. Our homes are the spaces we should be able to feel most safe, cared for, and healthy. When we use harsh chemicals to keep these spaces clean, there is potential damage to our health and the environment around us.



Some tips for natural cleaning


  1. Doing our own research. There are many ways for us to cut down the harsh chemicals in our lives, reduce the waste we produce, and increase our sustainability while supporting our health! Finding the aspects that matter most to us and how to support them, in ways that work for us will truly make a lasting difference.


  1. Taking a look at the ingredients. Much like our food, we should also be looking at the ingredients in the products we keep our homes clean with. It is a common misconception that “clean” equals harsh. Clean can also mean natural, which is often more effective in many ways.


  1. Making our own supplies! Not only is it cleaner to make our own products, but it’s also cheaper! We can save a lot by making many products out of the regular household items that many of us already own! Take a look here for some great tips to get started!


  1. Reusing and repurposing. By purchasing longer-lasting, more sustainable products like microfibre cloths, we can not only save money and reduce our landfill inputs, but we also keep our homes cleaner by avoiding the bacteria pick-up that many other products, like disposable sponges, carry with them.


  1. Investing in what matters to us. Whether it be through our time, education, money, or intention, when we invest in the spaces and values that matter to us, we will bring about true change in our habits and lifestyles. Asking ourselves what we want to change and grow towards can be a great way to get started!



Will you be spring cleaning this year? Have you ever made your own cleaning supplies? Share your favourite tips and tricks for spring cleaning today!


Happy sharing,


Sam




Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash