With Christmas fast approaching, the nation’s attention has turned to our finances and the spending we’re about to undertake. Many Brits admit to spending more than they can afford over the festive season, with credit cards, loans and picking up the strain. So what are we spending, and where is it going? And are we becoming more responsible with spending since the financial crisis first set in?
As per the research it is expected the average British households spend will cut down by 3-4% compared to last year, majority of this going on gifts. The study also found that almost two fifths of people were planning to pay for Christmas 2015 through their savings, but many had failed to save enough and were worried about the cost of Christmas as a result. For those people, credit cards, short-term loans and cutting other areas will make ends meet this Christmas.
Mintel’s recent data suggests that retail will grow by 2.5% in December 2015, so despite the growing cost, we’re still looking to make the festive season special for our loved ones. Making the pennies stretch a little further is more important than ever. VoucherBin.co.uk is supporting UK shoppers this Christmas with over 23,000 active vouchers and hundreds of new offers added every day. When you’re looking to cut the cost of Christmas, make sure you take advantage of the deals and discounts out there.
Christmas shopping from home preferred by consumers
The high street’s popularity is fading as people start to choose the warmer, easier option of ordering online. Busy crowds, arguments over the last toy in the store and last-minute rushes to find the right gift are common features of the Christmas shopping experience – and now, all that stress can be avoided with home shopping. Adobe reports that Black Friday, a day of major deals and discounts, would see a projected online spend of £474 million by UK consumers.
Over half the participants of the survey said they planned to do most of their Christmas shopping online, and 23% of those will use their mobile or tablet to do their shopping. That’s a big change from just two years ago, when retailers like John Lewis and Schuh were noticing the rise of online shopping and starting to embrace online shopping fully, with a year-on-year rise of 18% in online sales across all retailers.
High street still popular with UK shoppers
However, there are still plenty of consumers out there who prefer physical shopping, so the high street can expect its usual boost. The Ideal Home Show and GoCompare found that 41% of people start their Christmas shopping on 30th October, reports International Business Times. With the festive shopping season well underway, stores can expect their visitors to increase. In 2014, some retailers found that the first UK Black Friday sales had led to slower sales in December, but in 2015 they will be prepared for this. Other businesses found that people choose click-and-collect services over postal deliveries – Debenhams states that last Christmas, 38% of orders were collected from the store by the customer.
Spending trends at Christmas
One of the big expenses at Christmas is children’s gifts, many parents report. The Mirror highlights Argos’ top toys this year, and finds that many are in the £39.99-£99.99 region. In addition to the latest toys, clothing and electronics spending is predicted to rise. Video gaming has made big advances this year and new games are expected in November, so Microsoft and Sony should expect an increase in console sales this December. For adults, electronics are the must-have gift of the season. The iPad is still very popular, with Microsoft’s tablet not far behind. Many adults say they will spend less on other adults this Christmas in order to treat the children instead.
Food and drink is another area of big spending at Christmas, accounting for 27.9% of UK households’ outgoings last year – according to Retail Research. Travel, decorations, party outfits and other expenses are far less noticeable costs compared to food and gifts, and if consumers need to cut back they tend to do so in these areas. This year, retailers are expecting to see a similar pattern in festive spending and are preparing for the increased demand across all areas.
Looking forward to the coming season
Although Black Friday is expected to hit retailers hard, shops will put their goods back to full price in the run-up to Christmas. However, there are other ways to stretch each pound at Christmas. The discounts, offers and deals available through VoucherBin.co.uk will help make this a very happy Christmas indeed. With hundreds of deals available daily and new vouchers coming through all the time, you can cut costs at every corner and avoid those typical financial headaches the festive season brings. Online shopping is moving forward at every turn – relax and make gift shopping an enjoyable experience from the comfort of your own home.
How Going Green Can Save A Company Money
What is going green?
Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.
The first step in going green
There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.
Making needed changes within the company
After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.
Reducing the common paper waste
Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.
Make money by spreading the word
Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.
5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable
Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.
1. Weather stripping
If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.
Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.
Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.
2. Programmable thermostats
Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.
Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!
3. Low-flow water hardware
With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.
Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.
Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.
4. Energy efficient light bulbs
An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.
New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.
5. Installing solar panels
Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.
Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.
From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!
These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.
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