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.
What Kitchen Suits Your Style? Modern, Classic or Shaker?
A kitchen is the centre of the home. Your kitchen ranges between where friends and family gather, talk about their day, cook meals, have drinks, to somewhere you can just enjoy each other’s company. The kitchen is the heart of the home. But, everyone’s lifestyle is different. Everyone’s taste is different. So, you need a kitchen that not only mirrors your lifestyle but matches your taste too. Whilst some prefer a more traditional design, others want a modern feel or flair – and it’s all down to personal taste.
When it comes to redesigning your kitchen, what style would you go for? It’s a difficult one isn’t it. With so many different styles to go for, how can you know exactly what you want until you’ve seen it in action? Leading kitchen designer, Roman Kitchens, based in Essex, have provided three examples of bespoke kitchens and styles they specialise in, accompanied with beautiful images. This design guide will get you one step closer to picking your dream kitchen for your home.
New home in the city centre? Or even a sleek new modern build? You want a trendy and modern kitchen to reflect your city lifestyle. In modern kitchen design, colours are bolder and fresher, with sleek design and utilities that are distinctive and vibrant.
This modern kitchen is sleek and smooth with flawless design and beauty. Minimalism doesn’t stop this kitchen standing out. Featured walls of wood and vibrant mint green draw the eye, whilst the white surfaces reflect the light, illuminating every nook and cranny of this kitchen. This kitchen features products from Rotpunkt, innovators of modern kitchen design. Made with German engineering, a Rotpunkt Kitchen is the ultimate modern addition to your home. Rotpunkt Kitchens have timeless design and amazing functionality, they work for every purpose and are eco-friendly. Sourced from natural materials, a Rotpunkt kitchen uses 37% less timber, conserving natural forests and being more environmentally conscious.
Prefer a homely and traditional feel? Classic kitchens are warm, welcoming and filled with wood. Wood flooring, wood fixtures, wood furniture – you name it! You can bring a rustic feel to your urban home with a classic kitchen. Subtle colours and beautiful finishes, Classic kitchens are for taking it back to the basics with a definitive look and feel.
With stated handles for cupboards, Classic kitchens are effortlessly timeless. They convey an elegant but relaxing nature. Giving off countryside vibes, natural elements convey a British countryside feel. The wood featured in a classic kitchen can range between oaks and walnut, creating a warmth and original feel to your home. Soft English heritage colours add a certain mood to your home, softening the light making it cosier.
Any kitchen planner will tell you that the meeting point between traditional and modern design, is a Shaker kitchen. They have a distinctive style and innovative feel. Shakers are fresh, mixing different colour tones with stylish wood and vinyl. The most important feature of a Shaker kitchen is functionality – every feature needs to serve a purpose in the kitchen. Paired with stylish and unique furniture, a Shaker kitchen is an ideal addition to any home.
The ultimate marriage between Classic and Modern kitchens, this Shaker kitchen has deep colour tones with copper emphasis features. All the fittings and fixtures blur the line of modern and tradition, with a Classic look but modern colour vibe. Unique furniture and design make Shaker Kitchens perfect for the middle ground in kitchen design. Minimal but beautifully dressed. Traditional but bold and modern at the same time. Storage solutions are part of the functionality of Shaker kitchens, but don’t detour from conveying yours as a luxury kitchen.
Whatever you choose for your new kitchen, be it Modern, Classic or Shaker – pick whatever suits you. Taste is, and always will be, subjective – it’s down to you.
Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy
Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.
Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.
Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.
How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:
- They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
- They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
- They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
- They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.
Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.
Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use
The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.
Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.
Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers
Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.
Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.
Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy
Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:
- Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
- Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
- Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.
You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.