Browsing "Home and Living"

Not so Fast and Furious; Safety First for Savings

Mar 11, 2013   //   by Daniel Morris   //   Home and Living, Insurance  //  Comments Off on Not so Fast and Furious; Safety First for Savings

Okay so Vin Diesel doesn’t count as a young driver so he probably won’t be looking at this article and thinking “Wow, I’m going to save me some cash” (or however he would say it), but if he was 17 or 18 and had just got out onto the road we’re sure he’d find this a good read.

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Child Sells Igloo for Cool £216,000

Jan 22, 2013   //   by Daniel Morris   //   Home and Living  //  20 Comments

With last week’s snow many people that would have been looking for a new home in 2013 had to abandon their searches until travel conditions improved.
However, if they were to look on ebay, they would have seen that a new property had just come on the market in a prime location with plenty of opportunity to expand, all for a cool £216,000. Read More »

New Year & The National Lottery

Jan 4, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Home and Living  //  2 Comments

EuroMillions Cheque

The New Year has become a time of financial contradiction. The celebratory chimes at midnight add opulence to round off the festive period. We drink, party, and spend the Bank Holiday nursing hangovers.

The morning after, the mood has changed. We scrutinise how the firework displays get flashier every year despite increased cutbacks that are damaging to so many families.

The mindset revolves towards resolutions: renewed discipline; forward planning; austerity; cutting debt; increasing savings; and tightening the purse strings.

Only, the National Lottery has extended the season of indulgence just a little bit longer. Following a bumper 2012 for lottery players, the Millionaire Raffle by EuroMillions has theoretically guaranteed 25 new millionaires on New Year’s Day.

Even if it wasn’t a particularly memorable New Year, then, 2013 could still become the most memorable year of your lifetime if you’re a regular lottery player.

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Cost and Efficiency: The Business Energy Barometer

Nov 2, 2012   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Guest Post, Home and Living  //  Comments Off on Cost and Efficiency: The Business Energy Barometer

The decision of five major energy providers to increase prices before the close of the year is drawing attention to the energy and cost efficiency of UK businesses. The Business Energy Barometer commissioned by Business Juice collates statistics from 500 people responsible for energy in the workplace to find out their approach to energy.

Major Findings

The latest barometer discovered the following:

  • That the majority of businesses switched their energy supplier in the last 12 months (61%).
  • Over half are planning to switch again within 12 months.
  • Businesses citing lack of time or motivation to switch could be costing a collective £867 million.

Knowledge (and the Lack)

Those who have switched within the last 12 months have certainly recognised the difference (the average saving for switching electricity suppliers is £868 in 2012). Almost two thirds of them (62%) plan to switch again in the next year.

But the barometer also revealed a surprising lack of knowledge. Stunningly, 4% aren’t sure about who their business energy supplier is – despite being responsible for this in the business. And a quarter (26%) aren’t entirely sure how much energy their business uses.

Energy Efficiency

So, what have firms been doing to improve their energy efficiency?

  • Using energy efficient lighting (65%)
  • Energy-saving policies (57%)
  • Considering energy-saving resources (52%)
  • Improved insulation (49%)
  • Attempting to make heating/air-con more efficient (46%)

What are they not currently prepared or able to do?

  • Operate an energy management system (89%)
  • Move IT to the cloud (61%)
  • Generate their own renewable energy (48%)
  • Designate a staff member to energy efficiency (42%)

Select the infographics to view the full-size images. The full barometer is available at Business Juice.

Businesses Energy Efficiency Infographic

A guest post of behalf of Business Juice, in association with iCrossing Ltd.

Chocolate, Creativity, and Santander

Oct 26, 2012   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Commentary / Editorial, Home and Living  //  Comments Off on Chocolate, Creativity, and Santander

University of Leicester Ken Edwards Building

What trader cares about other people?
What banker cares about guilt or sadness?
Emmm… Maybe she does!?

A peal of laughter and rapturous applause echoed around the University of Leicester’s Ken Edwards Lecture Theatre on Wednesday night, as world acclaimed Latin-Amercian author Laura Esquivel made a remark about bankers, remembered that a representative from event sponsor Santander was present, and hastily excused herself.

The author of the 1990 prize-winning novel, Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate), was giving the university’s second Annual Creative Writing Lecture during her first ever visit to the UK. Her speech, delivered in Spanish, pointed to the power of the individual and suggested how creative dynamism could inspire change.

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Picking the Right House: What to Consider?

Oct 22, 2012   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Guest Post, Home and Living  //  Comments Off on Picking the Right House: What to Consider?

Choosing the Right HouseA home is the most expensive purchase most people will ever make, making it vital that they obtain the best possible advice on house hunting. This means considering a range of factors, some of which will vary according to whether the buyer is a single person, a couple or a family. However, there are a few things which every purchaser needs to bear in mind if the ideal outcome – a home to cherish – is to be achieved.

Money, money, money

It’s vital that purchasers have a clear understanding of how much they can realistically afford; a mortgage broker will be able to help with this calculation and investing in the services of one is an extremely worthwhile action. As a general rule, most banks and building societies will lend around four times a buyer’s annual income, but that is unlikely to cover the entire cost of the house. That means considering, well in advance, how to raise a deposit. It’s also important to bear in mind that a mortgage is a long-term commitment, with repayments continuing for many years to come.

All houses great and small

Although it’s pleasant to dream of a country mansion with extensive grounds, the reality for most buyers is different, so inevitably there will be some compromises to be made here. Many urban terraces and suburban semis can feel somewhat cramped, especially for families, but even a small garden can make quite a difference. Since it’s likely that all the occupants together will spend considerable time in the living room, it’s important that this is not too small. Bedrooms can be shared by young children, but this may cause trouble as they get older, so two small rooms may be better than a single large one.

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