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    What you Need to Know Before Starting an Online Gaming Business

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    In 2020, the video gaming industry in the United Kingdom was valued at GBP 5.3 billion, a significant increase from GBP 4.8 billion in 2019.

    The boom in the online sector was largely triggered by COVID-19 restrictions where people were forced to stay home and rely on the internet for entertainment.

    Online gaming, particularly online gambling, is one of the most lucrative businesses on the internet. However, putting up one can be a complicated process. There are also policies and legal requirements that you shouldn’t ignore.

    If you’re thinking of investing in online gaming, here are the things you should know:

    Business Model Canvas

    As with any business, the first step to launching an online gaming business is creating a clear plan. A few important things to cover when you make your business model canvas are:

    • Startup and ongoing costs
    • Your target audience
    • Payment methods
    • Your business name
    • Games to be offered

    Legal Requirements

    The Gambling Act 2005 is the primary legislation that applies to both physical and online gambling industries in the UK.

    To comply with all the legal requirements, coordinate with the UK Gambling Commission (formerly Gaming Board for Great Britain).

    The Commission has issued codes that online casino operators need to conform to. The most important is the license conditions and codes of practice (LCCP).

    A license to operate is usually granted within 16 weeks from the day of application. Note, however, that this license only covers the local market. If you plan to offer gaming services to other countries apart from the UK, you may need to secure a different license, such as the one provided by the Malta Gaming Authority.

    Games

    The success of your online gaming business will depend largely on the quality of games you offer.

    Again, make sure that you’re purchasing software from an accredited game development company by the UK Gambling Commission.

    Most online gamblers in the UK prefer slots over other types of casino games. An example is Slots.Ag which offers a variety of slot games for different experience levels.

    Gaming Software Provider

    There are hundreds of gaming software providers registered in the UK. However, not all were created equal.

    Choose the software provider that is equipped with certifications from prestigious licensing institutions.

    They should also provide you with a variety of games to keep your customers engaged. Most gaming software developers have focused on slot games because they are the most in-demand. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t find a reliable company that provides other games.

    Payment Methods

    The more payment methods your gaming site offers, the better. Users are more likely to choose a gaming platform where they can make payments fast and easy, and of course – where their information is kept safe and secure.

    About 6 in 10 online transactions in the UK are processed through credit or debit cards. So make sure you have this method as an option.

    More and more online gamers are also using cryptocurrency as a highly secure way for purchasing game credits.

    Market Research

    The online gaming industry has a very vast market. Everyone – from kids to middle-aged adults – plays a certain type of online game. However, it’s more strategic if you will focus on a niche market.

    A niche market is a segment of a larger market defined by its unique needs, preference, or identity. For example, your target audience could be middle-aged men and women who are high-income earners and consider themselves professional casino players.

    Gaming Website

    Your platform should reflect the games you offer and who they are for.

    After spending a great deal of time creating your business plan, choosing games, finding a reputable gaming software provider, and identifying your target audience, it’s time to build your gaming website.

    The following are the essential steps in building a gaming website:

    • Pick a domain name and host,
    • Choose a platform (e.g. website builder or a full-scale content management system),
    • Build and customize your web design,
    • Add relevant content.

    Marketing Strategy

    When you have everything set, particularly your niche market, it’s time to create a solid marketing plan.

    This part is going to require a lot of research. You may need the help of marketing experts in the field of online gaming.

    You will also most likely utilize different channels to promote your online gaming business, such as email marketing, mobile marketing, social media, affiliate marketing, and many more.

    Starting an online gaming business requires time, work, planning, research, and resources. The steps mentioned above are necessary to build a profitable online gaming business that is likely to flourish and succeed for the years to come.

    The Do’s and Don’ts Of Corporate Hospitality

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    Corporate hospitality can be an important part of winning new clients and improving your relationship with current clients. However, the line between getting it right and overstepping what’s appropriate can be a fine one. So here’s what to do, and just as importantly what not to do, when entertaining clients.

     

    Do… think of corporate hospitality as an investment

     

    Corporate hospitality is big business. In fact, corporate events are worth a whopping £1.2 billion to the UK economy annually, with 1.3 million business events held each year.

     

    Unfortunately corporate hospitality doesn’t always come cheap, and treating clients may seem like an expense that’s difficult to justify. However research from STH Group has found that more than 80% of businesses believe it is ‘extremely effective’ at improving relations with clients, while 71% of clients who are treated to corporate hospitality events say they are likely to increase the amount they spend with that company as a result.

     

    So think of corporate hospitality less as a bit of frivolous fun to be had with your clients, and more as an investment. If you consider your budget carefully, measure it against what you hope to achieve with the event, and follow the rest of the tips in this article, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t see a solid return on that investment.

     

    Do… tailor the event to your clients tastes

     

    Corporate hospitality may be valuable but you still need to tailor the experience to the clients. Corporate experiences are specifically designed to be aimed at specific tastes, however an amazing experience for you may be a chore for your client.

     

    For example, Smart Group run official hospitality packages at a number of world famous sports events which are all tailored to sports connoisseurs. To you, Smart Sport experiences such as a VIP package at Royal Ascot or Centre court tickets at Wimbledon might be an unforgettable treat. But if your target clients can’t stand sport, then this will not be the case for them.

     

    David Spicer, director of UK events at agency Rodber Thorneycroft, believes many businesses invite clients to events without any consideration about whether the said client will actually enjoy the event. To remedy this Spicer suggests sending a questionnaire to clients asking them to list their favourite activities, remembering to include other personal preferences such as whether they prefer to attend during office hours or at the weekend.

    Don’t… drink excessively

     

    Drinking alcohol is often part of the fun of a corporate event, however, it can also go too far. The days of Mad Men-style corporate schmoozing with the Old Fashioneds flowing are becoming a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean treating clients can’t be genuinely fun and enjoyable. It’s just about finding the right balance.

     

    Drinking can play a part, but perhaps the event shouldn’t be centered around alcohol. You might consider taking clients to sporting events, or a restaurant, rather than a bar. For example, the Taste of London 2017 corporate event combines complimentary champagne with small plate taster dishes from some of London’s most prestigious restaurants. Alternatively, you could shun alcohol altogether. The Tough Mudder corporate packages involve putting you and your clients through a gruelling 12 mile mud and obstacle course. The Outdoor Adventure Company run a number have a number of fitness based corporate events if your client will feel more at home quad biking or whitewater rafting than in a luxury restaurant or bar.

     

    Remember, excessive drinking and corporate hospitality can be a dangerous cocktail. Not only do you run the risk of giving off the wrong image about yourself and your business, you may end up being hit by a larger than expected bill afterward.

     

    Don’t… act in a way that could be considered unethical

     

    Businesses always need to pay attention to the 2010 Bribery Act. The Act has made it more complicated for businesses to organise or accept event invitations and gifts. Again, balance is key. Complimentary tickets to an England rugby hospitality event or corporate events at Wimbledon are perfectly acceptable, but a free lavish holiday or expensive jewelry is not really appropriate.

     

    For there to be an offence, the prosecution must show that the client was offered something with the intention of inducing the person to perform a relevant function improperly or in the knowledge that acceptance of the gift would in itself be improper. The Bribery Act shouldn’t deter you from dipping your toes into the mutually beneficial world of corporate hospitality. The Act recognises that hospitality is an important part of doing business and building relationships with clients.

     

    If you’re concerned about crossing the line, ask yourself if what you’re offering clients is appropriate according to the business relationship. Similarly, it is wise to tend to stick to smaller events than anything too flash or extravagant. If you’re still unsure, choose an established corporate hospitality event supplier. If you bear these things is mind, there’s no reason your business can’t benefit from corporate hospitality in an ethical and successful way.

    Boost your personal finances online

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    While the festive season is a lot of fun, it can also have a pretty devastating impact on our bank balances – thanks to the parties and present buying that are essential to it. The good new is that there are a number of options available online for repairing this damage by earning some extra money, with these being a few of the best ones.

    1) Selling on eBay

    Selling old stuff online is a good way of both making that much-needed extra cash and clearing away the clutter from your home, and eBay is perhaps the most famous site for doing this. Of course, there are ways of improving your chances of getting the stuff sold, including taking a decent quality photograph of the item in question, providing a good description of it and setting a price that is realistic. Furthermore, you can also buy stuff cheap in the shops specifically to sell at a profit on eBay, if you want to make it a more regular source of income.

    2) Entering competitions

    You might think that this is an unreliable method of making money – after all, you have to win them before you can do so – but in fact many people actually do this as a full-time gig. The UK has an average of 300,000 competitions active all the time, which means that if you have the free time available to enter lots of them, you have a very strong chance of earning a decent amount by doing so. Furthermore, if you make sure that plenty of these are high value competitions – the sort that offers £50,000 or more in winnings – you will only need occasional wins to support yourself.

    3) Filling out surveys

    This is another way that you can regularly earn additional funds, as there are always paid surveys available – with sites such as Global Test Market, Vivatic, MySurvey and iPoll offering a steady stream. Of course they do not pay huge amounts of money per survey – although some will offer £3 or more – but it is undemanding work that can easily be fitted in around other parts of your life, meaning that you should be able to complete quite a few at a time if you set your mind to it.

    4) Online gaming

    This is a very popular way of earning extra money, as it is also entertaining and exciting. One way is by entering online poker tournaments, if you are good enough at the game, and another is by playing at bingo or online live dealers casino sites. These often provide welcome bonuses so you can win without risking any of your own cash at first, while mobile casino sites mean you can play from any location.

    5) Selling advertising on your blog

    If you have a blog such as Daily Prosper that attracts a decent amount of traffic then you can monetise it through advertising – either selling them directly or via a company such as Media.net or AdSense. That way when someone clicks on the ads you will be paid a percentage.

    Why not choose one of these ways of making some money and see if you can get yourself back in the black following the holiday period.

    How Is Your UX Design Affecting Your Conversion Rates?

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    There are many aspects that come into play when it comes to a perfectly designed website, that has consistently high conversions. Every feature and function on your site needs to work together, to guide your site users to their end goal, and this is where UX design comes into play.

     

    The perfect user experience needs to have the user at its central focal point. Everything a web designer creates needs to serve the user and their goals and motivations. If there are flaws in the user’s journey, you could see your site visitors dropping off before they reach your conversion point.

     

    To help you identify whether it is your UX design that is the cause of your poor conversion rates, London based UX design agency, USIO, have provided a few points to check over. These are just a few of the most commonly found issues when it comes to poor UX, but they are also easily fixed.

    Can people find your point of conversion?

    More often than not, businesses do not have a clear and powerful CTA on their homepage. Any booking or enquiry forms need to take pride of place on your landing page, in order for your users to easily convert.

     

    Adding in a large button to the top of your homepage, with a clear call to action, can do wonders for conversion rates. If it is right in the user’s eye line as soon as they land on the page, they are far more likely to click and convert.

     

    For e-commerce sites, making sure customers can easily find their baskets and checkout options is the most important aspect.

     

    Are your contact forms and checkout procedures simple and easy to follow?

    Overcomplicating the conversion process is easily done. Adding in extra data capture steps or making your checkout process long winded, can all contribute to high drop off rates. Any type of form should only include the absolute basic fields e.g. name, email address and message box.

     

    It’s also important to make it clear as to what the users details will be used for and that it will be protected under the data protection act. If users are made aware of how their details will be used, you are more likely to create trust and improve the chances of them completing the form.

     

    The same applies to the checkout process. Make sure you make it clear what payment methods can be used and how that data will be kept secure. Offer the option of using PayPal and offer a ‘guest checkout’ option for faster conversion.

     

    Is your site navigation clear and direct?

    Your main landing page will always be your homepage, this page will usually appear highest in Google rankings and any natural links will, more than likely, be pointing to this page.

     

    When users land on your homepage, they want to be able to immediately find what they’re looking for, or they will head back to their search engine to find one of your competitors. Your navigation should not only be easy to find straight away, but have clear and precise labels, to help guide the user to the exact information or product they are looking for.

    Is your site design focused around your user journey?

    UX design literally means user experience design, this means your users are your focus and your site should be perfectly catered for their needs. Your user journey needs to be like a perfectly smooth road that leads directly to your end goal. Any bumps or sharp turns could throw your site visitors through a loop, confusing them or putting them off completing their task.

     

    The design of your website isn’t all about how the site looks, the most important part is how it functions. Pages and images need to be quick to load, CTAs need to be clear and the focus of any landing page and user journey needs to be seamless.

     

    Keeping your user at the forefront of your UX design will not only ensure a happy and loyal customer, but also increase your sites chances of regular conversions.

     

     

     

     

    Party Wall Surveyors’ Fees

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    Homeowners wanting to improve their property see the Party Wall Act as an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy and will often complain about the lack of value or the poor service they receive in return for the often considerable surveyors’ fees they are obliged to pay.

    Much of this stems from a poor understanding of the process. While a party wall surveyor may perform a service by drafting the necessary notices on behalf of a building owner (the party undertaking the works), once a notice has been dissented to by an adjoining owner that surveyor becomes an appointed impartial arbitrator fulfilling a statutory role in resolving the dispute that has arisen. If an owner understands that, they can better appreciate why the method by which fees are calculated is very different to regular client/surveyor relationship.

    The only reference relating to fees in the Act is found in section 10(13) which states that the reasonable costs incurred in making an award (that’s the document produced by the surveyors to settle the dispute) are to be determined by the surveyors. In other words, the surveyors decide both the level of their fees and who pays them. The act also requires the two surveyors to select a third surveyor should they fail to reach agreement on any issue including the costs.

    You might think that such a system is open to abuse but there are checks and balances in place and on the whole they work very well. From that brief reference in the Act, the following standard procedure has evolved.

    The building owner will generally obtain 2 or 3 fee proposals in the form of either a fixed fee or an hourly rate plus an estimated number of hours. It is not known at this stage how the adjoining owners will respond to the notices so any fee proposal would have to cover different scenarios. That’s all fairly straightforward.

    It is the adjoining owners’ surveyors’ fee that tends to cause the issue. A key principle of the Act is that an adjoining owner is free to appoint any surveyor that they wish and to avoid compromising that principal fees should not be a consideration in that choice. It must be so to avoid the building owner repeatedly vetoing the adjoining owner’s choice of surveyor on the grounds of cost until they end up with the cheapest possible option. To balance this, the Act requires that fees must be ‘reasonable’ and must be agreed by the two surveyors or determined by the Third Surveyor.

    In practical terms this means that the adjoining owner’s surveyor keeps a record of the time spent and forwards that record to the building owner’s surveyor for review once all other issues have been agreed. In most cases the proposed fee is reasonable and is agreed without any further discussion being required. In some cases the building owner’s surveyor will need to query certain items and there may be a period of negotiation. If negotiations are looking like they’re going to drag on for some time the surveyors have the option of including an ‘on account’ figure in the award to avoid delaying the works.

    In very few cases, I would estimate less than 1%, the two appointed surveyors fail to reach agreement and the matter is referred to the third surveyor. The building owner’s surveyor should always give the building owner the opportunity to accept a fee before referring it to the Third Surveyor as a referral risks further fees being incurred if the Third Surveyor deems the fee to be reasonable.

    Once the adjoining owner’s surveyor’s fee has been agreed or determined it is entered into the award. The owners have a right to appeal the award within 14 days (appeals are heard in the County Court) but the chances of a court overturning a fee that has been deemed reasonable by the surveyors are small.

     This article was written by Dakota Murphey, an independent content writer who specialises in the financial and construction sector.

    7 Top Tips for First Time Landlords

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    Buying property to let out is still a very attractive investment opportunity. It means that there are a lot of people coming into the market as landlords for the first time. If you’re thinking of making the jump into letting property you need to be aware that there are pitfalls that can cause serious problems. With that in mind, here are seven top tips to help out first time landlords.

    1. Letting agent or not?

    All landlords must make a fundamental choice of using a letting agent or managing the let by themselves. The advantage of a letting agent is that they will take care of a lot of the tricky stuff including helping to find tenants and dealing with any problems that arise – but it comes at a price. Letting agents will take somewhere in the region of 10 per cent of your rental income. If you feel comfortable dealing with tenants yourself you can save the money, but for a first time landlord you might best of working with a letting agent to start with.

    1. Interior design with tenants in mind

    There can be a tendency for first time landlords to buy the property and they lay it out in a way that suits the way that they live. It’s important to remember that what your tenants want is likely to be different from what you would want, so you need to design the property with them in mind. This is where it becomes important to have a target market in mind for your property. If you know you are targeting professional couples you’ll take a different approach to the interior than if you were designing a property for young families.

    1. Insurance is a big deal

    As a landlord you need to have landlord insurance. Remember that this is different from the standard insurance that all homeowners need to have and it protects you from a range of problems you might encounter with your buy-to-let. Every landlord insurance option will be different so it is vital that you read through every policy carefully to understand what each one covers you for. Accidents can and will happen so you need to be protected for that as a minimum, but you might also be wish to be covered in the event of emergency repairs or a legal dispute with a tenant.

    1. You need a safety net

    Many first time landlords make the mistake of pushing themselves to their financial limit to get the property they want. The problem can then be that they don’t have any savings to deal with any voids or unforeseen emergency problems. Be sure that you are putting yourself in a great position to make a return on your investment but don’t do it at the cost of your financial security. Have a safety net in place to pay for any freak occurrences or unexpected vacancies.

    1. Take a deposit

    It might be tempting to offer your let without taking a deposit but it can leave you in a very difficult position if your tenant badly damages the property or pulls out of the agreement early. Taking around one month’s rent is standard practice in the industry. You are then required to register your tenant’s deposit with an approved Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme.

    1. Have a tenancy agreement created professionally

    You should have a tenancy agreement written up so that there is no ambiguity on both your rights and the tenant’s rights. The agreement will set out the terms and conditions of the tenancy, detailing what aspects of upkeep each party is responsible for and the notice period. With no tenancy agreement you leave yourself open to legal disputes and other problems.

    1. Comply with regulations

    You need to remember that owning a buy-to-let property is very different from owning a home. You need to comply with basic legal regulations for everything from fire, gas and electric to furniture. Things that you might think of as small issues in your property might be grounds to make a property legally unsafe for tenants. If possible you should have an independent safety inspector come in to check through the property and ensure that there is nothing that would invalidate your insurance or put tenants at risk.

    This article was written by Dakota Murphey, independent content writer working alongside Brian Gale Surveyors, members of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) who were consulted for some of the information in this post.

    The choice between eating or heating?

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    It seems incredible to imagine that British people are forced to choose between eating food or heating their home. But recent research carried out by icount suggests that this worrying situation has affected a third of the population. Furthermore, two thirds of people in the UK will restrict themselves from putting on the heating when they feel cold – and nearly 75 per cent will refuse to do so at all.

    The survey of 1,000 people found that women are most likely to put up with being cold, with 72 per cent of women more likely to leave the heating off, compared to 65 per cent of men. According to icount, the situation is also a source of tension, with half of the survey respondents saying that heating decisions were a cause of arguments at home.

    With concerns around rising prices, the challenges of budgeting and the threat of utility arrears when bill payments fall behind, what measures can you take to keep warm, whilst managing finances carefully?

    The budgeting experts over at icount have put together some budgeting tips and advice to help you keep bodies warm and bellies full over the winter period.

    1. Warm the home up before you start to feel cold, or when the temperature indoors drops under 18 degrees. As mentioned by BoilerBrain.co.uk, aim to have it on by November – leave it any later and you risk damp and problems with mould.
    2. Make sure there are no draughts letting cold air in. Get some draught excluders in place and save over £50 a year. An annual boiler service is also necessary to keep the system running efficiently – and as cheaply as possible. Choose an energy efficient model and see if your utility provider offers grants for these.
    3. Try adding thick rugs and curtains to your room – and install reflector panels behind your radiators to keep the heat flowing inwards. Remember to switch suppliers periodically too to benefit from the most competitive tariffs. You can do price comparisons online to see the best deals quickly and easily – and to initiate the switching process without hassle.
    4. Layer up when you do feel chilly. A few light layers will help to keep you toastier than one thick layer. And don’t forget the humble hot water bottle either – it’s a fantastic way of heating a cold bed, and is a great option for people with limited mobility when they are sitting in a chair. Just don’t make it too hot, and use a good insulated cover.
    5. Good budgeting will help you to manage your finances and ensure there is plenty aside to cover heating bills. Plan your weekly food shop and cook from scratch. It is also worth checking to see if you are entitled to any benefits or financial support. Trim back on any unnecessary extras; for example, if you buy a newspaper every day, could you read it at the library instead? This would save around £15 a month alone.

    1. Don’t forget to get out of the house, you can always go to places that are very generously heated if finances really are tight. For example, community and social centres offer great social activities which will keep you toasty whilst having fun!

    Plan ahead now and look forward to a warmer winter!

    Warning after new car sales reach an all time high for second year running

    Annual new car sales have hit an all-time high for a second consecutive year – but are expected to fall in 2017, according to an industry trade association.

    Around 2.7 million cars were registered in the UK last year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

    This is up by approximately 2.2% on 2015.

    The Final figures will be published by the SMMT at 9am on Thursday.

    The organisation’s chief executive, Mike Hawes, said growth was due to “very strong” consumer confidence, low interest finance packages and a raft of new models.

    “People are obviously driven by new technologies,” he told reporters at a briefing in central London.

    “Increasingly people do want to see connectivity. People are wedded to mobile phones. They expect equally to have that connectivity on the move.”

    Mr Hawes predicted that registrations would decline by “between five or six per cent” in 2017, but said this was still “historically an incredibly high level” and insisted it would not represent “a collapse in the market”.

    He said five consecutive years of increased sales has been fuelled by latent demand built up during the recession.

    “We have to recognise that growth can’t be inexorable,” he said. “There is undoubtedly a levelling off.”

    Over 85% of new cars bought in the UK are actually imported and their cost is “gradually going up” due to the reduction in the value of the pound, Mr Hawes explained.

    Although manufacturers hedge against currency risk and absorb some of the additional costs, there have been price rises of “two or three per cent”, he added.

    Mr Hawes expects 2017 car sales to be “lumpy”, adding that although the triggering of Article 50 for the UK to leave the EU would “probably not immediately” have an impact on purchasing patterns, he acknowledged that “we have not seen the full effects of Brexit”.

    He went on: “The strength of the market does obviously depend on maintaining a good economy, maintaining the right trading conditions, which will obviously flow through to ensuring that the cost of vehicles remains as competitive as it currently is.

    “We don’t want to see tariffs.

    “The introduction of tariffs to imported cars could result in as much as a £1,500 increase per car.”

    Jim Holder, editorial director of magazines Autocar and What Car?, described the 2016 figures as “very positive”, saying “the expected Brexit bump was mostly negated”.

    He told the Press Association that some people within the automotive industry are warning that sales could drop by 10-15% this year, so manufacturers would be “very pleased” if the SMMT’s prediction of a five or six per cent drop off proved accurate.

    He added: “When you’re at record levels and you bounce down, I think that’s reasonable.”

    :: These are the UK’s new car registration figures for recent years:

    2012: 2,044,609

    2013: 2,264,737

    2014: 2,476,435

    2015: 2,633,503

    2016: Approximately 2.7 million

    FUEL POVERTY IN THE UK – SCOTTISH CITIES ARE BADLY HIT BUT WALES HAS THE WORST GAP

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    Worst five cities for proportion in fuel poverty are all in Scotland

    Wales has the highest fuel poverty gap at £557

    Two new maps from MoneySuperMarket explore the fuel poverty gap and the wastage of energy across the UK

    Parts of the UK are wasting as much as £115 on inefficient boilers, bulbs, and insulation, as well as by leaving household electronics on standby, according to new research by MoneySuperMarket.

    Fuel poverty, where a household can’t afford adequate heating, is a major issue in the UK. With 10.8% of households classified as fuel poor, and an average fuel poverty gap – the amount needed per household to achieve the minimum standard – of £371, and temperatures dropping quickly, much of the UK may be at risk.

    Cities such as Dudley have few concerns, being number 47 for energy wastage and 40th for the poverty gap. But Glasgow and Edinburgh are clearly suffering for their inefficiencies, making it into the top ten for both maps. High wastage potential and a wide gap mean they have the most to benefit from improving their energy efficiency and potentially switching energy provider.

    Fuel Poverty
    The gap in fuel poverty varies drastically across the country, reaching as much as £557 in areas of Wales and as little as £256 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Even more pronounced is the difference in proportion of residents considered fuel poor. The five worst afflicted cities are as follows:

    Dundee – 28% of Dundee residents are considered fuel poor: they’re also 5th for energy waste, with a potential household wastage of £115.
    Glasgow – 26% are below the requirements for paying for their heating.
    Edinburgh – a quarter of residents of the Scottish capital are likely to be cold this winter.
    Aberdeen – the coastal city is likely to suffer even more from the sea winds and being the northernmost city on the list, as well as 24% of residents being fuel poor.
    Falkirk – the least proportion of fuel poor residents among the Scottish cities, but still 22% of the population are living in fuel poverty.

    The most striking feature of the top five is that all of the cities are Scottish; those with the least problem tend to be those closer to the south of England. But Scotland’s average fuel gap is £437 – still less than several cities in the South West of England, including Bristol and Plymouth.

    Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “It is upsetting to think of so many households in fuel poverty where some of the most significant ways of helping this are not being taken advantage of.

    “Many of these households will still be on the most expensive tariffs and could save hundreds of pounds a year by switching, even to a tariff from the same supplier. For those most struggling, many suppliers have schemes and initiatives to help.

    “So the advice has to be to do a comparison and switch to a cheaper tariff (get someone to help you if you are unsure what to do) and always keep in touch with your supplier on ways they can help you”

    These high energy costs severely affect the quality of life for many people. To see how energy waste has an impact on fuel poverty, and get an insight into how you might be able to save on your energy bills, have a look at the maps here.

    https://www.moneysupermarket.com/hubs/gas-and-electricity/fuel-poverty-impact/


    Image source: MoneySuperMarket

    The long haul destinations worth visiting in 2017

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    If you fancy an adventure this year, it might be worth thinking outside the box. If the idea of a long haul flight puts you off, consider the following. Far-flung destinations may be some distance by plane, but when you get there, it is often cheaper, there are fewer crowds and you’re guaranteed to experience something that you’ve never seen before.

    Looking for inspiration, we spoke to Travelbag’s resident holiday expert, Paul Hopkinson to find out where in the world we should be looking to explore in 2017.

    Singapore

    If you thought Singapore was just a stopover to get to Australasia, think again. This country has a wealth of sights just waiting to be experienced. Singapore is where East meets West, as suited office workers rush by ancient, smoky temples on their way to work in the city.

    The island of Singapore is a mixture of influences from neighbouring countries. Travel one way and you’re in little Hong Kong, head in another direction and you’re awash with Indian culture. Other areas of the island quickly surround you with Thai flavours and Chinese street scenes.

    So, Singapore is like several holidays in one. The food is exceptional, the technology astounding and the rich culture and heritage spellbinding.

    Cape Town

    The Mother City has been a place of major historical importance for centuries. Now it’s famous for its food, outdoor activities and world famous art and design – all the while the magnificent Table Top Mountain looms over.

    It is a town that beats the drum for life, and with its harmonious blend of beliefs, creeds, religions and culture, it is a city worth joining in with and celebrating.

    Taiwan

    Taiwan is a hundred worlds on one island. The Taiwanese have created a democratic and very liberal society – free press, gender equality and a focus on human rights has spread across the island which, with its dramatic landscape and tropical climes, is frankly jaw dropping.

    And don’t forget the food. As the main greeting in Taiwanese translates as “Have you eaten?” it’s good to arrive with an empty belly. Steamed dumplings, shrimp rolls and oyster vermicelli can all be washed down with aromatic teas and local artisan beer – at any time of day. Taiwan is a welcome assault on every sense.

    Sydney

    Sydney is a place that doesn’t do things by halves. Prepare yourself for a city that, on the surface, is glitzy, in your face and brash. Dig deeper and you find a town where the best brains have gathered to create a place where food innovations are revered, art is exalted and locals are more than happy to show you a good time, Aussie-style.

    And when you need a rest from the never-ending party, you’re never too far from a beach, so grab a book and relax.

     Buenos Aires

    When people visit South America, it is always Argentina that makes a lasting impression on them. Buenos Aires, in particular, is a place worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime.

    This city mixes old Europe with fierce Latin passion. Whether its football, food or politics, Buenos Aireans are firm lovers of lively discussion – whether you agree with them or not.

    Together with the colourful murals and faded architecture, the dancing, music and song of Buenos Aires never fail to draw people into what is a unique and seductive city.

    The Shopping Crazed Nation? 35% of Brits find it hard to resist spending their whole wage each month

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    Waste not, Want not? The British consumer society waste an average of £180 a year on binned food, and that’s not all…

    The data reveals:

    • The average weekly shop is £66 with Brits wasting 5% of that
    • The yearly cost of wasted food from a weekly shop is £180
    • Are women’s wardrobes full of old clothes begging to be sold? The average brit has three dresses which they never use sat in their very own wardrobe
    • 12% of Brits are paying for subscriptions monthly without even using or knowing about it!
    • From those that have been paying a monthly subscription without knowing or using the product, it took an average of 4 ½ months for them to stop the direct debit
    • 42% of Brits admit that they need to save more
    • 18% of Brits are not sure about their monthly outgoings!
    • 16% of Brits admit that money has left their accounts without them knowing about it
    • 20% of Brits have purchased an item in the last month which they now regret
    • The average Brit spends £20 a month on takeaways and £40 on going out!

    As a consumer society, we spend more than we need but do you really know how much money you pour down the drain? Do you regularly use that gym pass? Do you watch these 54 extra TV channels? How long has it been since you’ve worn these shirts?

    The nationwide research carried out by Provident on around 2000 UK adults reveals how much the average Brit spends on food, water, unused satellite TV, among others. It also raises the question about how much British could be saving by simply being more careful when grocery shopping or by checking their account for any unusual debits.

    Tackling the food industry, it is worth noting Brits spend on average £66 on their weekly shop, of which 5% will go to the bin, mainly because products have expired before they could actually be used. What’s more, despite the younger generations not earning executive wages and not being able to save considerably, they are the most likely to throw away food – almost 10%! Whereas the older generations have an average of 3.8%.

    Retail-therapy has been proven right but one can ask if this is the ultimate solution when the research shows that women have at least three dresses which they never use sat in their very own wardrobe, along with two trousers, three t-shirts, two jumpers and four pairs of shoes!

    Monthly subscriptions are a hard blow on one’s account and it needs a bit of an assessment to determine how indispensable delivery services, group memberships, cable and music streaming direct debits are. For those that have been paying a monthly subscription without knowing or using the product, it took an average of 4 ½ months for them to stop the direct debit

    It is not even the end of the month and it already feels like the money on your account has dried down? You might be among the 16% of Brits for whom money has legitimately left their account without them knowing about it. Again, this may be because almost one in five does not know or is not sure about their monthly outgoings.

    As the saying goes “if you find the cause, you find the cure”, Provident has created the following tool to find out how much you waste per year: https://www.providentpersonalcredit.com/waste-not-want-not/

    Put in the details of your weekly routine to find out how much money you throw away each year without knowing it, and learn how you can turn things around!

    Everyone knows Christmas is expensive, but how much extra cost is caused by preventable energy use?

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    Energy bills are rising to £250.92 per household in 2017 when fixed deals come to an end. Despite this revellers are still celebrating Christmas with high energy usage:
    • Leaving your Christmas lights up until New Year’s Day may have added as much as £20 to your January electricity bill
    • Cooking a turkey on Christmas Day uses 1.5x more energy than normal, bringing the electricity bill up to c.£50 when combined with leaving your Christmas lights on.
    For winter energy saving tips to help reduce these costs and your January bill, take a look at GoCompare’s tips: http://www.gocompare.com/gas-and-electricity/winter-saving-stats/
    Brits spend a further £280 million powering Christmas lights AFTER Christmas
    • UK households spend up to £20 POST Christmas powering Christmas lights
    • Christmas tree lights cost £3.75 million a day to leave on
    Families who left their festive lights up until New Year’s Day may have added as much as £20 to their January electricity bill, Gocompare.com Energy has found. This comes after news of energy hikes of up to £250.92* per household in 2017, as 33 fixed energy deals come to an end.
    The company researched how much energy the nation uses to power Christmas, revealing that festive lights alone cost the nation £3.75million a day. However, this is clearly far from many people’s thoughts; Instagram analytics web app websta.me shows that over 100,000 Instagrammers have still been showing off with their festive lights on post-Christmas.
    The Gocompare.com research also found that those who enjoyed a turkey Christmas dinner on the 25th will have used 1.5x more energy, ensuring it is cooked, than they would normally use in an entire day, bringing the average household’s bill up by £50 for fuelling Christmas festivities.
    Households are more likely to use more energy through winter than usual due to leaving the heating and the lights on for longer. Preventing damp can also add an extra cost, as people either open windows letting heat escape, or turn on a dehumidifier to remove water from the air.
    There are simple and cost effective ways to reduce your energy bill during the colder months by increasing the energy efficiency of your homes, including:
    • Re-sealing window panes
    • Replacing worn out door weatherstrips
    • Purchasing a water tank blanket
    • Purchasing low flow shower heads
    For more winter energy saving tips, check out the GoCompare.com blog http://www.gocompare.com/gas-and-electricity/winter-saving-stats/

    The Best Winter Sun Destinations for a Cheap Break

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    With Christmas finally over, and the worst of the winter weather still to come, many of us are thinking about warmer climates.

    According to tour operator Tui, which owns Thomsons and First Choice, winter sun bookings are running at 7% up on last year.

    With the Brexit referendum having devastated the value of the pound, it’s much harder than ever to find a destination that won’t break the bank. Here we take look at a few of this year’s cheaper winter sun options.

    Holidays in Europe cost £408 more this year thanks to Brexit

    Cyprus
    Late last month, a survey by Post Office Travel Money rated Cyprus the cheapest winter sun destination. A one-week package holiday with evening meals and drinks works out at just only £339 per person, it says – almost 19% cheaper than holidays in the Canary Islands including Lanzarote and Tenerife.

    How can you stop Brexit hurting your holiday plans?

    Cancun, Mexico
    If it’s a tropical beach you’re fancy, then Cancun is your cheapest option; Mexico is actually one of the only countries in the world to have seen its currency fall against the pound over the last year. Prices are around two-thirds of those in nearby Caribbean countries, with many holidays available for under £900.

    Orlando, US

    Even though local prices for food and drink are much the same as a year, travel firms have slashed the cost of holidays to Orlando, Florida. Some packages are available for as little as £550, making it one of the cheapest US winter sun destinations.

    Phuket, Thailand
    Post Office Travel Money calculates the beach resort of Phuket to be the lowest-priced destination in the Far East currently. All in, it says, a week’s holiday costs under £1,000, which is around 10% less than in Malaysia or Mauritius.

    The only four destinations where your cash will go further this year

    Egypt
    The cheapest winter sun bargains by far are in Egypt, however, you may well feel it’s not worth the risk. The Foreign Office has warned against travel to certain parts of Egypt where there’s a high risk of kidnapping. Meanwhile, it’s advised against air travel to or from Sharm el-Sheikh also, the once-popular Red Sea resort. Because of these risks this is why prices are so ludicrously cheap, with holidays starting at under £100; but if you research carefully and stay away from the biggest danger spots, the more adventurous could still have a great time in the tourist areas along the Nile.

    How do you choose a saving account?

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    With so many complicated savings products on the market these days, it is easy to think back to  the days when saving simply meant slipping money under the mattress.

    But with interest rates very low, it is more important than ever to make sure your money is working for you as hard as it can be. We look at some of the different types of product available on the market.

    Help to buy ISA
    The help to buy ISA is available to people saving to buy their first property. You can deposit up to £1,200 in the first month, and up to £200 per month thereafter – and the government will then give you a 25% tax-free bonus on everything you save when you use the money to buy your first home. Although the bonus is so generous, clearly not everyone will qualify for one, and you can’t open a Help to Buy ISA in the same year as a cash ISA.

    Cash ISAs
    With a cash ISA, you can save up to £15,240 a year tax-free – and you don’t, as many people believe, have to actually tie up your money. While they’ve become much less attractive to some with the introduction of the new personal savings allowance, a rise in interest rates could tip the balance back.

    They are good for people paying higher-rate tax – or those who think they might do so in future – and they do have better interest rates than ordinary easy-access savings accounts.
    Instant access savings accounts
    These accounts offer great flexibility to save and spend your cash when you need to, but they tend to come at the cost of lower interest rates than less flexible alternatives. With interest rates at rock bottom, they are looking extremely disappointing at the moment. However, on a positive note, the new personal savings allowance means basic rate taxpayers don’t pay tax on the first £1,000 of interest on their actual savings (and higher-rate taxpayers do not pay tax on the first £500).

    Fixed-rate bonds
    If you are prepared to tie your money up for a quite a while, a fixed-rate bond can give better rates of interest. Interest can usually be paid monthly, annually or at the end of the term. However, you need to be able to tie your money up for at least a year and as long as five years, plus there’s always the risk that interest rates will rise while your money is locked away, so you need to think about this and weigh it up against the extra interest.

    Current account
    It’s probably the last place you’d think of putting your savings, but many current accounts do offer a great rate of interest in turn for a monthly fee. Whether or not these deals make sense for you will depend largely on how much money you are likely to have in the account at any one time, and how much the interest on it is offset by the fee.

    Of course, once you’ve decided on the type of savings account you would like, there is a huge number of individual products on the market – and they are changing all the time.

    Your best bet is to go to a comparison website such as MoneySupermarket or MoneySavingExpert and compare the rates and terms and conditions.

    You’ll need to consider how much you’re likely to be able to save, and whether it will be the same amount every month. You will also need to ask yourself whether or not you can afford to lock the money away, and if so, for how long, this decision needs lots of consideration.

    Remember once you don’t have to put all your savings in one place, there  is no reason why you can’t save for say your property deposit in one account, and your next holiday in another.

    Can you pass on important tips on having healthy finances to your children?

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    Children have already formed their financial habits by the age of seven, did you know? A Cambridge University study has found that by this point, they have already framed ‘core behaviours’ such as the ability to plan ahead, which will for sure affect their financial decisions forever. The majority of these habits they will have learned from their parents, both mother and father.

    So how can you ensure you are passing on good money habits and tips to your children – at any age?

    This generation of children will need financial know-how more than ever. If they go through university they may start their adult life with very hefty loans, be easily in a position to acquire credit, for luxuries and housing.

    If they are taught sound money management they will know how to balance all of their responsibilities, meet their obligations and stay out of trouble with money. They will even have the foresight and responsible attitude to start putting money away for the future too.

    Without having this knowledge, there is every chance they will run up massive debts which could hang over them for the majority of their adult life, and stop them from ever saving for the future and preparing for retirement.

    Financial education at school

    The government has acted to protect children from these kinds of disasters by now introducing personal finance lessons in secondary school.

    As we mentioned, children have developed core values by the age of seven – long before secondary school. A survey of teachers by the Personal Finance Education Group found that most teachers thought secondary school was far too late to start, and 83% agreed that lessons should start in primary school at a young age.

    Experian and Pfeg have been working to help teachers introduce these lessons at an earlier age, with a series of excellent lessons plans and resources for primary schools called Values, Money and Me. They are designed to introduce all children to the complex moral and emotional decisions they will face about money matters. So those with primary-age children may want to speak to their school about the resources that have available, and whether money ought to be on their agenda.

    Five steps to take yourself

    The theory is only part of it: a major part of their learning also takes place in the home. In order to ensure they are learning the right lessons from you, you need to take these five important steps.

    1. Get your budget in order
    Much of what they learn will be from your attitude towards money,  you need to get on top of this sooner rather than later.

    The theory that we ought to have at least as much money coming in each month as we do going out, is a good one, but in practice it doesn’t always work this way. If children see the monthly struggle to make the money stretch to the very end of the month, they will come to see overspending at the beginning of the month as the normal.

    Look through your bank statements over the last few months and write down exactly what you are spending your money on. Then go through an ideal budget – setting aside money for bills and food, then unavoidable spending – before working out what you will have left as discretionary spending.
    If there is no way to make the money stretch, you need to go back to your budget and work out what costs you can cut – whether you can switch energy providers, move debts so you are paying a lower interest rate, or make other sacrifices such as long term subscriptions or expensive mobile contracts.

    Even watching you go through the process of budgeting will be a valuable lesson for your children.

    2. Get borrowing under control
    Children who see their parents taking out loans and credit cards for unnecessary spending, will learn to assume that this is the right thing to do. There are, of course, times when borrowing is absolutely the right approach. Mortgages, car loans, and borrowing for emergencies are all part of every-day life, as long as you have a responsible attitude towards repaying your debts swiftly.

    We need to teach children about good and bad reasons to borrow money, and we also need to tell them about responsible debt management. The best way to do that is to take control of your own debts in the first instance.

    A good way to do this is to get hold of your credit report from an organisation like Experian. This will list out all the credit cards, loans and overdrafts you have currently, how much you have borrowed, and how effectively you are repaying it back. It will also show details of how often you have been late with loan repayments, and where you are only making minimum repayments only. You can use this to see where any problems occur, and where you need to increase repayments in order to keep your debts down.

    3. Save for the future
    A good example to children is, if you set money aside for emergencies, big expenses like a holiday, or for your retirement, then not only will you ensure your safety net when you need the money.

    Talk to the kids and include them in setting the savings goals, so later when you all have to make small sacrifices in order to achieve the goal they can understand the bigger picture and why it is so important.

    They can similarly be encouraged to save their pocket money towards a bigger goal. One idea is to tell children that they can spend their pocket money that week, or put it in the piggy bank and you will match their savings.

    4. Actively teach your children
    Teaching children isn’t just for schools. Parental education can start from the second they are old enough to hand over cash in a shop and wait for change. They can play lots of money games like Monopoly, count money out for purchases, and join family discussions such as whether to go camping this year in order to save up for a break overseas next year. Car boot sales are such a great way to teach children about the value of their belongings – especially if they get to spend anything they make from selling old toys.

    5. Give them early responsibility
    Everybody makes mistakes with money, so it’s worth making them early and only on a small scale. One option give your kids a monthly allowance, which can cover things like fashion, entertainment, apps and mobile phone top-ups. They may very well overspend in the first week, and then come to you before the end of the month to ask for more cash so they can go out with their friends. It’s tempting at this point to come to their rescue financially, but they need to learn the harsh painful lesson that is overspending. Let them make the mistakes and face the consequences – before they are let loose with a credit card or an overdraft facility.

    You may not like the sound of all of these steps – and your kids will certainly not enjoy some parts of the fifth However, there’s plenty of this that can be fun, and in the process not only will you be teaching your children a better attitude to money – you’ll be improving your own attitude at the same time.

    Is your festive food shopping actually a rip off?

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    It’s no surprise that the likes of Aldi and Lidl can sell you a chunk of cheese or a Christmas turkey at a much lower price than Waitrose or Sainsbury’s.

    But did you know that the budget supermarket’s version very often comes from the same supplier – even, sometimes, the same farm?

    An investigation by the Sunday Mirror has discovered that, for example, Waitrose’s Christmas Freshly Crumbed Smooth Stilton Jar costs £6, while Lidl’s Long Clawson Blue Stilton ceramic pot costs just £3.79.

    Both of these products are made at the Long Clawson dairy in Leicestershire – and the Lidl pot is actually larger, making it not much more than half the price.

    A two-pack of H Forman & Son smoked salmon with gin and tonic costs £11.99 from Selfridge’s food hall, but just £7.98 from Aldi; and 100g of mixed charcuterie from Woodall’s costs £6.95 at Harrods but only £2.97 from Aldi.

    In some cases, there are differences between the products. Turkey hatchlings produced at Kellys Turkeys in East Anglia are worth £12.99 per kilo when reared by Kellys themselves.

    However, those that are sent to the Binder family farm based in Suffolk for rearing end up costing £8.99 a kilo from Aldi.
    “Many shoppers are unaware they are spending more than they should,” comments Tony Baines, Aldi’s joint managing director of corporate buying.

    Cheapest Christmas dinner ever – thanks to Aldi

    “At Aldi many of our products are sourced from exactly the same suppliers as more expensive food retailers.”

    This year, according to retail experts, the cost of Christmas dinner is likely to be lower than ever, with both Morrisons and Asda cutting back thousands of prices.

    If you are prepared to shop around, says Good Housekeeping, it’s possible to feed eight people for just £2.48 a head. If you’re not, then Aldi is your best bet, coming in at only £2.75 per person.

    Lidl and Iceland are the next cheapest, with their Christmas dinner ingredients coming in at £3.07 and £3.10 respectively.

    Watch out though, with Brexit looming and already hitting exchange rates hard, shoppers are being urged to make the most of low prices – so eat, drink and be merry while you can.

    As retailers move into a new ordering cycle, the costs of imported finished products and raw ingredients plus transport costs will all rise, putting pressure on retailers to hike up the prices.

     

     

    Why young people think their parents and grandparents had less pressure with their finances

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    A new, recent study has revealed that 59% of young people think that the older generation had a far easier financial life than they do. Millennials worry a lot about student debts, expensive rent, runaway house prices, and how they will ever be able to afford the kind of lifestyle their parents have. But are they right? Did previous generations have a far easier life?

    Will someone have to die before you can buy a home?

    Those who hit their 20s and 30 in the 1990s had student debts to think about, but without tuition fees they were a drop in the ocean compared to those Millennials are having to deal with. The study, by Provident Financial, found that they faced far lower house prices, with an average price of only £70,000. With the average income at £19,982 this meant homes cost an average of 3.5 times salary. They also benefited from a boom in cheaper travel, with many budget airlines becoming more established. They did, however, have to live without the internet or music streaming. Eating out was also far less common – and discount vouchers were almost unheard of.

    Those hitting their 20s and 30s in the 1980s were even better off when it came to housing. The average salary was £16,708 and the average property £33,898, so houses were a fraction over two times salary. Of course, it wasn’t all a bed of roses. Unemployment rose dramatically, so finding work wasn’t always easy, and young people might easily find themselves on a low-paid YTS scheme. The death of traditional industries during this period meant if you happened to live in certain parts of the country, your future looked particularly bleak. The study asked people who were young at this time what the majority of their disposable income went on, and they said it was their family.

    Those who were young adults in the 1970s could easily afford a home of their own, as the average house cost only £11,000 and the average income was £14,262. Of course, it was far harder to get a mortgage, and the punishingly high interest rates of the 1970s made them outlandishly expensive, but if you were prepared to save up your money homes didn’t seem so far out of reach. There was the chance of a student grant back then also, so you were effectively paid to study if you were only one of the one in seven who went to university. You were, however, far more likely to be living in a single income household, as most people were married in their early 20s, the average age of a first time mum was 25, and women were more likely to stay at home with the children. There was far less money and opportunity for going out and spending money on entertaining yourself.

    If you were young in the 1960s housing seems much more affordable, with the average wage at £11,103 and the average house costing was only £4,000 – reflecting the effect of the enormous post-war house-building programme. Although, this may not be as clear cut as it seems though as workplaces were far more hierarchical back then, and higher wages took years to work towards, so young people still had to really strive to get on the housing ladder. Getting a mortgage was a real palaver too. And while the cost of things like groceries wasn’t outlandish, you would pay a small fortune for luxuries like cars, white goods and TVs, so having many of the things young people now take for granted was a pipe dream.

    Could ‘Pink’ presents be destroying girls ambitions?

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    At Christmas, it’s easy to end up with a pile of pink gifts for girls, and a pile of blue presents for boys. A new study has also revealed that it’s also far too easy to discover you’ve bought the girls in your family makeup, fashion and craft toys – while the boys get technology and engineering stuff. This, the researchers warn, could actually have more of an stereo typical influence than you think.

    The study, by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, used search engines to track down ‘boys’ toys’ and ‘girls’ toys’, and found that 89% of the toys listed for girls are pink – compared to only a mere 1% for boys. Google, Yahoo, Bing and Amazon stood out as returning overwhelming numbers of pink items for girls.

    Even more shockingly, the study found that boys were far more likely to receive a STEM toy (science, technology, engineering and maths) – because 31% of all STEM toys are actually  listed by stores as being for boys. Only 11% of them were listed as being for girls.

    Why it matters

    It matters because it means that girls are losing the opportunity to have their curiosity sparked and their enthusiasm engaged by technology and science at an early age. The researchers added that by making STEM toys so gender-specific, toy makers and search engines are sending subconscious messages to girls that this area is not for them to discover. It sets them on an early path far away from science and technology, discouraging girls from a career in engineering later in life.

    Jess Day from campaigning group Let Toys Be Toys said the trend towards gender specific toys was getting worse. She said: “We previously asked women engineers and scientists about the toys they played with as children and the most interesting finding was, not that they all played with construction or science toys, but they didn’t recall being aware of a distinction between girls and boys toys at all. It’s not just the toys which are the issue, but the whole idea that some things are just for boys or girls. If children learn that early, it’s hardly surprising that they go on to apply this logic to their career choices, too.”
    Young girls are into STEM subjects

    The latest figures from the Institution note that women account for just 9% of engineers – despite the fact that 39% of girls at primary school say they enjoy computing, 38% enjoy maths and 36% enjoy science.

    Mamta Singhal, toy engineer and IET spokesperson, added: “The research shows girls clearly do have an interest in science, technology and engineering subjects at school so we need to find ways to help this to translate into a higher number of women entering the industry. The marketing of toys for girls is a great place to start to change perceptions of the opportunities within engineering. The toy options for girls should go beyond dolls and dress up so we can cultivate their enthusiasm and inspire them to grow up to become engineers.”

    Friends and families have a huge role to play too, in tracking down toys that will inspire both boys and girls in any sphere. Simon Ragoonanan, founder of Manvspink.com, commented: “As a father to a 4 year old daughter who loves sci-fi and superheroes, I feel strongly that little girls should aspire to be more than just princesses and that all toys are gender neutral. I recently published an alternative Christmas gift guide for girls which includes products like build-your-own computer kits and LEGO to inspire people to be more imaginative when buying gifts for children. People often opt for what they think is a safe option which is how gender stereotypes come into play.”

    Chocolate Lovers – Freebie Friday: chocolates, chocolate coins, chocolate spread, and hot chocolate

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    It’s chocolate week in the world of freebies. This week there are free boxes of chocolates up for grabs, plus bags of chocolate coins, jars of Nutella and some hot chocolate. Don’t worry if you are not a chocolate fan, we also have free cocktails to cheer things up a bit – and some free stock pots too.

    Free Chocolate Coins
    The O2 Priority Moments app, for anyone on the O2 network, continues to be a great source of freebies – and makes it well worth getting a pay-as-you-go Sim just for the freebies. This weeks give away is free chocolate coins. Get down to WH Smiths as soon as possible, find the offer on the app, and show it to staff to claim yours. As ever, bear in mind that these deals do run out, so it’s better to go sooner rather than later to take advantage of this chocolate giveaway.

    Free Nutella Chocolate Spread
    The users of LatestDeals.co.uk have discovered you can claim a free jar of Nutella chocolate spread when you sign up to Shopmium. You just need to download the app and locate the offer, buy your Nutella, then upload a photo of your receipt to receive 100% cashback into your bank or PayPal account. If you love chocolate fountains and have a go at them, Sephra we think is offering up tp 60% of discount with coupons. They posted a couple of it on CouponsCollector, hurry before they expire!–…

    Free hot chocolate

    The users of HotUKDeals.com have spotted that you can get a free hot chocolate at Wyevale garden centres this weekend (10th and 11th). They  are giving away the freebies in the Christmas tree section of the stores, keep an eye out, but buying a tree is definitely not compulsory. The deal is running at all their centres except Weybridge.

    Free Hotel Chocolate H Box
    Quidco is offering all new users the opportunity to get a free box of chocolates worth £12.50 from Hotel Chocolate. Just sign up for free, click through to buy any H Box from Hotel Chocolate, and wait for the £12.50 to make its way back into your account.

    Free cocktails
    The 12 Days of Christmas continue at Pitcher and Piano. If you sign up for the newsletter, they’ll email you details of a new free cocktail every day until 12 December. The freebie does have to be taken on the day you receive the email, but given how often people are going out for Christmas at the moment, it shouldn’t be too tricky.

    Free stockpots
    To encourage people to try the brand new OXO Stock Pots, Sainsbury’s is giving them away free. You just add the pots of concentrated stock (featuring real meal juices, herbs and vegetables) to your online shopping trolley, then enter the code OXOSTOCKPOT at the checkout, and the price will be deducted from your total. You can choose from Succulent Chicken with Garlic and Thyme or Juicy Lamb with Rosemary, Garlic and Red Wine.

    Clearing credit cards takes longer than you think

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    Do you know how long it would take to pay off your credit card debt just using minimum monthly repayments?

    Money website SavvyWoman.co.uk asked 2,000 people how long it would take to clear a £1,000 credit card balance when only making the minimum repayment, typically 2.5% of the money owed. The interest rate was set at 18% APR.

    The correct answer is a lengthy 17 years, amassing a huge £1,200 in interest – more than double the original spend. However, more than half (55%) thought it would be less than 10 years. Astonishingly only six people knew the right answer.

    Why minimum repayments matter

    You might think that as long as you’re paying something back each month you’re doing exactly just what you need to clear your debt. But as the survey shows, the longer you are paying off your card, the more cash you’ll be charged in interest.

    Minimum repayments are a percentage of the total debt, so the amount you actually pay each month reduces as you clear the total debt. So you’d start paying say £25 and that would gradually reduce each month.

    A better option is to pay back as much as you can afford as a fixed amount. For example, if you were paying £25 a month you’d clear it in just under five years and pay £470 in interest.

     Double that to £50 and it would take two years to pay off and cost £179 in interest.

    Another way to clear the debt

    It is possible to transfer the balance of your credit card to another credit card and pay zero interest. This will give you a limited amount of time to clear the debt without racking up more and more borrowing in the form of interest.

    Balance transfer credit cards also come with a fee, normally a percentage of the total you move across. Generally, the longer you want the 0% period to be, the higher the fee, so work out if it doesn’t ultimately cost you more to transfer than the original interest charges.

    Reducing the rate of interest

    If you can’t get a 0% balance transfer card, or they don’t last long enough for you to have the opportunity to pay off the debt, you might want to consider a low-APR card. These usually charge a lot less in interest than standard credit cards so it’ll cost you less and you’ll clear the debt quicker than sticking with your existing credit card.

    Cheapest gas and electricity deals: is it time to switch?

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    As winter starts to bite, it’s time to see if you can save on your heating.

    GB Energy has gone bust because of rising wholesale energy prices, and there are many concerns that some small rival energy suppliers might not be far behind it.

    If you’re one of GB Energy’s 160,000 customers then Ofgem will put you onto a tariff with another provider. But as companies are at higher risk by taking people on in a hurry, the chances are you’ll be paying even more for your new tariff.

    Even if you’re not with GB Energy, the standard tariffs on offer from energy suppliers are usually the most expensive and sitting on your supplier’s standard tariff will end up costing you FAR more than the cheapest deals.

    Fortunately, you still have the option to switch now.

    The cheapest energy deals

    Here’s a round-up of the cheapest tariffs right now if you opt for both fuels from one supplier (known as dual fuel), pay by monthly direct debit and manage your account online. The price includes both the unit rate and any standing charge.

    Energy supplier Tariff name Type of tariff Average UK price*
    EDF Energy Blue+Price Freeeeze September 2018 Fixed (until September 2018) £779.70
    SSE SSE 1 Year Fixed v8 Fixed for 12 months £782.18
    Npower Intelligent Fix October 2018 Fixed (until October 2018) £802.00
    GnERGY GnERGY Fixed December 2017 v3 Fixed (until December 2017) £831.49
    Flow Energy Connect 12 Fixed (until December 2017) £840.74
    Southend Energy Southend Energy Fixed Fixed for 12 months £859.00
    Places for People Together October 2017 fixed 39 Fixed (until October 2017) £862.99
    iSupply Energy iFix 33 Month Sep19 Fixed (until September 2019) £864.95
    So Energy So Gecko Fixed (until September 2017) £869.34

     

    Source: loveMONEY comparison centre

    Prices based on average consumption as measured by Ofgem of 12,500kWh of gas and 3,100kWh of electricity and a customer paying by monthly direct debit including VAT.

    Bear in mind the price of your energy will be based on your postcode and so may be more expensive, or even cheaper, than the ones listed.

    Other things to consider

    Fixing your energy bills is a bit of a gamble, much in the same way as fixing your mortgage rate. That’s because prices could come down, which means you end up paying more than you would have done if you were on a variable or even a shorter-term fix.

    Having said that, the general trend for gas and electricity prices is to only go one way and that’s upwards, certainly over the long term, although they may fluctuate within a year.

    Compare gas and electricity prices and see if you could save big money

    Beat the Euromillions price hike to £2.50

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    Euromillions tickets are more expensive – and the jackpot is harder to win – but there is a way to play for less

    The Euromillions draw now costs more to enter – and your chances of winning have diminished too. It’s a serious kick in the teeth for those who like a regular flutter, and felt they were already spending enough on it. However, there is a way to beat the hike.

    The cost of entering Euromillions has gone up 50p, to £2,50 per line. To add insult to injury, there was also another number added to the lucky stars, so that the chances of winning the jackpot have shrunk even further from 1:117 million to astonishingly just a 1:140 million chance.

    Camelot has argued that the odds of winning any prize haven’t changed – and remain at one in 13. Anyone who likes the idea of winning small, therefore, may want to take the 50p hike on the chin.

    It has also added a few whistles and bells, so that there will be more promotional draws and millionaire maker events – so the number of guaranteed UK millionaires will hit 208 a year (double the previous number).

    Camelot has also pointed out that as with the National Lottery, making it harder to win the jackpot will mean more rollovers, and therefore more massive amounts of jackpots.

    There will be those, however, who resent having to pay more for less opportunity to win the mega-millions – regardless of the additional smaller prizes available.
    The alternative

    Luckily, there is an alternative: instead of playing the lottery, you can bet on the outcome.

    The big advantage is that online lottery betting provider, Lottoland.co.uk, has now frozen its price at £2 – as well as offering new customers a free line for Friday’s jackpot of over £100 million.

    However, there are two drawbacks. First, although you can win the jackpot by betting on all of the the right numbers – and the smaller prizes by getting some of them right, it will not include you in the Millionaire Maker events.

    And secondly, you won’t be contributing to National Lottery good causes. This may not usually keep you up at night, but if you were inspired by the enormous difference that National Lottery funding has made to the UK’s Olympics and Paralympics teams, it could take some of the sting out of playing the Lottery and losing.

    But what do you think? Do you play the Euromillions? And will the price hike make a difference to you?

    Are you struggling to get rid of an ex? You’re not alone

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    You might have thought that you had successfully ended your relationship with someone who was dreadful with money – and that the day you ended the relationship would be the last one where you had to deal with their overspending, irresponsibility or inability to understand that borrowing is not the answer to everything. However, for two out of three people who have split up in the past year, things are not as easy as that.

    A study by the Debt Advisory Centre (a commercial company selling debt arrangement schemes) found that of the three million people who split up with a partner in the past year, 36% still seem to have a joint mortgage with their ex, and 30% still have a joint tenancy agreement. One in five had a credit card or loan in both names, one in five had a joint bank account, and 12% had joint assets also.

    In some cases, their financial complications mean they quite literally it is impossible to move on. Some 4% are forced to continue living in the same houses as their ex while they try to extricate themselves from each other’s financial constraints.

    Complications

    Joint mortgages and tenancies are a the biggest nightmare, especially where one or other of you is unreliable about making payments, or the split has been particularly unpleasant. You are both liable for the whole of the rent or mortgage payments, regardless of which one of you stays in the property. If you have moved out, you may find that you may need to spend all your cash on a new place, but if your other half can’t afford to pay the mortgage or rent, you’re both in financial trouble.

    Loans and overdrafts can also see both parties being jointly liable for the whole debt – which can also cause real hardship if one partner tries to walk away from the commitment. By contrast, with credit cards it is the first named card holder who is liable for all the debt. This can also be a nightmare if you are the named cardholder, and your ex starts running up debts.

    This is more common than you might expect. A study last year by uSwitch found that over 2 million people had been saddled with debt run up by an ex. This included an average £457 on a credit card, £313 in joint accounts, £463 in mortgage debt and £327 in online shopping accounts.

    Get some help

    Debt expert, Melanie Taylor of the Debt Advisory Centre said: “Relationship breakdown is a major cause of problem debt. Unpicking a relationship is fraught with difficulties and communication is often strained or non-existent. But couples do need to agree on who is going to contribute towards clearing debts and bills that were taken in joint names – whether that’s an overdraft or the mortgage or rent.”

    “If you find yourself saddled with debts that your ex isn’t willing to contribute towards, it is important to speak to your lenders, or seek debt advice as soon as possible.”

    The best place to start is a debt charity like StepChange or Citizens Advice, who will help and guide you through the process of splitting your finances, as well as running through your best options when it comes to tackling your debts.

    Credit score

    Even if you manage to split amicably, and without any major financial trauma, your overspending ex can still cause trouble for you for quite sometime. If you have had any joint accounts or other financial products, your credit histories will be linked.

    It’s a good idea to close any accounts you can, to protect yourself from their spending, and from their bad financial habits harming your credit history.

    Once you have extricated yourself, you also need to get in touch with ratings agencies like Experian and Equifax, and check that they have noted on your file that you no longer have a financial connection to your ex, helping to eliminate and further ongoing financial stress.

    It’s not an easy process, and splitting up is never cheap, but the sooner you can start the process and can get on top of the money issues in a split, the quicker you can move on.

    More than half of men would prefer to receive cash this Christmas

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    More than half of men would much prefer to receive cash this Christmas over a present, while women are more likely to prefer receiving presents, a survey has found.

    Some 56% of men would rather receive money for Christmas than unwrap a traditional Christmas gift, Standard Life found.

    But less than half (45%) of women surveyed would prefer to receive money over presents.

    The research also found some differences among age groups, with nearly two-thirds (62%) of 18 to 34-year-olds saying they would prefer to receive cash at Christmas.

    Meanwhile, 61% of over-55s would rather receive a traditional Christmas present. Nearly a fifth (18%) of people aged 55 and over thought that giving money shows a lack of thought or effort – although some also said they would feel relieved at not having to shop online or visit stores for a gift.

    Jamie Jenkins, a personal finance expert at Standard Life, said: “While some people might see gifting money as lacking thought, it’s actually what lots of us really want.”

    People living in London and Wales would be particularly happy to receive cash instead of gifts at Christmas, the research found, while those living in Scotland were the most likely to prefer a gift.

    Nearly two-thirds (65%) of people surveyed in London said they would prefer to receive cash, as did 55% of people surveyed in Wales, compared with 41% of people in Scotland.

    Less than half (45%) of people surveyed in Northern Ireland said they would prefer to receive money over gifts this Christmas.

    Across the survey, people generally found it more acceptable to receive money from parents, however they would be less impressed if friends tried to give them cash instead for Christmas.

    Among those who would prefer to receive money this Christmas, 43% said they would put it towards something that they particularly want, and 16% would add it to their savings. Under-35s would be the most likely to put any cash they receive for Christmas into savings, with 27% of people surveyed in this age group planning to do so.

    Some 2,000 people were surveyed in November for this research.

    Here are the percentages of people surveyed across the UK who would prefer cash over a gift this Christmas, according to the research from Standard Life:

    :: London, 65%

    :: Wales, 55%

    :: North East, 54%

    :: East Midlands, 53%

    :: South East, 52%

    :: North West, 51%

    :: Yorkshire and the Humber, 48%

    :: East Anglia, 47%

    :: Northern Ireland, 45%

    :: West Midlands, 44%

    :: South West, 42%

    :: Scotland, 41%

    Aldi takes on upmarket competitors with a bigger festive range

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    Aldi is battling for Christmas shoppers to visit their stores by increasing its festive food and drinks range as it aims to compete with upmarket rivals Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Fortnum & Mason.

    The German discounter said that its Christmas range is 11% bigger this year compared to last, making 2016 its biggest ever line up of a variety of festive products.

    Aldi added it was “taking on” Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Fortnum & Mason with almost 200 items including a range of luxury Christmas hampers, rope-hung boxed smoked Scottish salmon and a jewelled layered pork pie.

    Tony Baines, Aldi’s joint managing director of corporate buying, said: “At Christmas we know that people want to treat their family and friends to luxury food and drink. Yet many shoppers are unaware they are spending more than they should for certain products sold by many retailers and supermarkets.

    “At Aldi many of our Specially Selected products are sourced from exactly the same suppliers as more expensive food retailers.”

    The latest move is further evidence that Aldi is now targeting middle class shoppers, and the group hailed sales of its premium Specially Selected range, which have risen by 25% this year to £600 million.

    Aldi now expects a huge growth in sales in this category, which includes dry-aged steaks and champagne, to top £750 million in 2017.

    The supermarket sector is currently embroiled in a bitter price war with all of the so-called Big Four supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons – coming under increasing pressure from Aldi and Lidl.

    Earlier this year Aldi said that sales grew by 12% to £7.7 billion in 2015, with the grocer doubling its turnover in just three years. But while the company confirmed like-for-like sales were in positive territory, chief executive Matthew Barnes admitted they had slowed.

    5 Google Ads Management Tricks That Will Maximize Your Conversions

    There is no doubt that using Google Ads will provide a decent amount of revenue, but the sky is the limit if you know a few advanced tricks. The latest targeting abilities of Google Ads management can make a significant difference to your campaign. Top agencies such as zoma.ie/google-ads-management know what it takes to get the most out of your PPC campaign. Here are a few tips from Zoma that you can keep in mind to utilize Google Ads to its fullest:

    1. Focus on disqualifying leads

    Did the words “disqualifying leads” startle you? Not to worry! According to Pareto’s principle, 80% of your company’s business may come from 20% of the leads. Using Google Ads management is necessary to find the cream leads that belong to the 20% category and disqualify 80% of the rest of the unfruitful leads.

    But how do you make Google Ads work in your favor? Here’s a trick that you can follow: suppose you want to promote upscale men’s accessories. In that case, you can run an ad that says, “men’s accessories.” This will make the keyword too generic. Moreover, you will be specifically targeting men who can afford luxurious items. Instead, you can run the ad by saying, “men’s designer accessories.” That will disqualify the men who are indeed looking for generic accessories or affordable accessories. This will eliminate the people who would most likely not convert into customers.

    2. Run display network ads

    LinkedIn can become your best friend if you have a B2B company. Why? Because LinkedIn allows you to run your Google Display Network ads on the site. In fact, you can end up saving significantly if you run the same ads on Google, in addition to LinkedIn. Most marketers will recommend targeting your Google Display ads on LinkedIn. That’s an easy-to-achieve task. What they may not tell you is to run the same ads on Google.

    The trick is to create a well-planned Placement Targeted Ad Group. Once you create that group, you can mention your LinkedIn profile as your specific target. This means you are creating a link between the ads on Google and LinkedIn. As a result, it opens an additional door to maximize your conversions.

    3. Don’t make the home page your landing page

    A few marketers may think that it’s a good idea to make the home page your landing page. Honestly, it’s not a good idea because the home page doesn’t necessarily target a specific market segment. For example, if you provide home cleaning services and have different categories of services, such as floor cleaning, vent cleaning, bathroom cleaning, and chimney cleaning, you would want to target your audience according to the service they need. If you make your landing page the same as your home page, then your audience will click on the ad link thinking that they will visit the service page. Unfortunately, they will land up on the home page. This may create a bad first impression because the audience would have to find the respective service and then click on it to find out more information about it.

    Moreover, your Quality Score on Google will also dip if the landing page is not relevant to your ad. This would push your ad down in the SERP. Quality Score is a crucial metric of Google AdWords management. The main aim is to score higher and not let the rank go down in the search engine results pages.

    4. Implement geo-targeting

    Suppose your product or service is for a specific group of people. In that case, you can use geo-targeting to filter your ads for a specific geographic location where you think your products or services will work the best. For example, South Dakota doesn’t have popular fishing spots. Therefore, there wouldn’t be a high demand for saltwater fishing accessories. If your company sells saltwater fishing products, then you should focus on the states that are close to the Gulf of Mexico.

    But how will you filter your ad according to a specific location? It’s simple. Start bidding negative amounts for the regions that won’t have a good response to your ad. That would automatically push your ad down and it won’t appear to the people who live in South Dakota.

    5. Mention the primary keyword in the display URL

    It’s somehow quite common among people to not include the primary keyword in the display URL. Including the primary keyword in your display URL makes the ad more relevant to the respective keyword. The latest technology allows you to create any type of URL you want for different landing pages. Make the most of that facility if you want to maximize your conversions and improve your PPC ad campaign’s performance.

    Tweaking a few things can help you manage your Google Ads much better. All you have to do is observe the things that are not working for your ads and find out ways to bypass those hurdles and manage your Google Ads easily.

    6 Tips to Improve your Forex Trading Skills

    For anyone who wants to become a prominent forex trader, it must be understood that trading skills need to be sharpened. The best way to do this is to spend almost all of your time observing the movement of the various market pairs, even if you’re not trading in them.

    Another step towards achieving that goal is to visit websites that focus on different markets, like InvestingStrategy.co.uk. Each trade you make should be thoroughly analysed, both in the fundamental and technical aspects.

    This way, as a trader, you’d be able to perform introspection better. In other words, you’ll be familiar with what pushes you to make a trade. Understanding the trading part of yourself is key, since greed and fear are the biggest factors that make a lot of new traders fail.

    6 Tips to Enhance your Forex Trading skills

    Here are six tips to improve your forex trading skills:

    • Understanding that Losses Happen to Everyone

    People view forex trading as a stress-free method of making cash. Even though forex trading is easy in a sense, it is not at all simple. The biggest factor that makes forex trading complex is the occasional loss.

    Your entire forex trading career might be determined by how you handle these losses. Looking the other way and learning from these losses will allow you to offset the frustration accompanying them. You need to understand that even the best trading mentors experience losses once in a while.

    Looking past the losses will allow you to clear your head and make calculated decisions after the loss.

    • Learn Price Action Signals

    Forget the numerous indicators that litter the market and focus on price action signal knowledge. Many newbie traders want to go the easy way and rely on indicators. Hence, they take on loss after loss.

    If the entirety of trading relies on indicators, everyone will make money out of the markets. However, these indicators like Moving Average, Fibonacci, MACD, and RSI were created to support trading decisions.

    To realise price action signals, first, you need to study single candlestick patterns. After that, you can move to double candlestick patterns and then basic support and resistance techniques. To practice your new price action signals knowledge, it’d be best to open a demo account before trying anything with your money.

    • Establish a Stable Strategy

    As a forex trader, trading based on your ‘gut’ leads to two possible outcomes – stagnancy or failure. You need to establish a stable strategy both in trading and risk management.

    A stable trading strategy will allow you to make trades and calculate a win ratio to determine if your strategy is working. This way, you won’t make random trades and hope for the best.

    A stable risk management strategy will ensure you make gains even when you lose 50% of your trades. To explain this better, if you have a risk-reward ratio of 1:2 on your trades, you’d need to win only 33.33% of your trades to break even, ceteris paribus.

    • Utilize the Powerful Fibonacci Indicator

    The Fibonacci indicator is one of the most powerful indicators out there. It is based on the Fibonacci sequence, and its ratios occur in everyday life.

    This indicator is so powerful that it displays exactly where to make your trades, take profits, or stop losses. The Fibonacci indicator is best utilized in trending markets such as uptrends or downtrends. This wonderful indicator needs to be combined with other indicators or price action trading strategies.

    • Practice Risk Management

    Practicing risk management is one of the best ways to remain in aggregate profit in the market. Many traders try to chase losses by trading aggressively, leading to bigger losses. When you trade aggressively, it depicts that you’re abandoning your trading plan, or you don’t have one.

    To create a risk management strategy, you need to divide your portfolio among a certain number of currency pairs. You also have to determine how much you’ll risk on each trade you make. Some traders follow the 2% rule and others take the 3% rule.

    • Follow the News

    News can make or mar your trades. Depending on the severity of the news, you could get closed out of your position when volatility increases.

    You need to understand how fundamental and sentimental analysis works to decide what trades to make once high-impact news gets released. You could get an app on your device to alert you of forex trading and economic news.

    Conclusion

    Every trader dreams of becoming successful and making wins on all their trades. However, in reality, trading positions are fraught with losses. This requires the emotional strength of the trader.

    To improve your forex trading skills, you need to understand price action signals, follow the news, and use the Fibonacci indicator. You can also practice risk management, establish a working and stable strategy, and understand that losses are meant to be learned from.  

    How Do Free Spins Work?

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    Nowadays, there are many online casinos that offer a wide variety of welcome bonuses. These offers are designed to encourage potential customers to convert and enjoy a few casino games. Lots of people find such games quite entertaining and fun to play. 

    This is especially true when it comes to slot games as these casino games come in many shapes and forms. There are literally hundreds of different slot games with unique themes, different numbers of reels and bonus levels that just add to the overall excitement. 

    Therefore, when you come across a casino free spins offer, for instance, you can actually try some of these games for free. If you like what you see, you can continue playing should you wish to do so. If not, you can simply walk away. With that in mind, let’s have a look at how these free spins actually work. 

    What are free slot spins exactly?

    As mentioned before, free slot spins are a type of promotional offer designed to give players an opportunity to test out specific slot games. They usually come with a predetermined number of spins, such as 30 or 50 depending on the online casino and the offer itself. 

    Once you register an account at the casino website, you’ll have to either make a deposit or not, again depending on the offer and the casino. 

    Once you do that, you can play the slot games until you run out of free spins. Whatever you manage to win in the process is yours to keep. After that, you can continue to play or not, it all depends on personal preferences. 

    Is there a catch?

    Every welcome bonus has a catch to it. As a matter of fact, every online and land-based casino has wagering requirements attached to welcome bonuses and other promotions. In other words, when you’re done playing through your free spins bonus, you’ll have to meet certain requirements before you can actually withdraw your winnings. 

    Every gambling establishment must have these requirements in place. They are not designed to cheat players but to prevent money laundering scams. Imagine just creating an account, collecting your bonus and walking away. 

    You could do this an infinite amount of times by creating new accounts and repeating the process at other casinos as well. That’s why wagering requirements are in place to prevent such behavior, to begin with. 

    How do these wagering requirements work?

    When you see an offer that looks like 30 free spins with an x20 rollover or turnover, it means that the offer has specific requirements to it. In this particular case, you’d have to wager your winnings from 30 free slot spins an additional 20 times before you can actually withdraw them. 

    Now, the specifics of the wagering requirements are always disclosed in the description of the bonus offer and everything depends on what the casino requires from you to do. 

    For example, some establishments require from you to wager both your deposit and your free spins winning a certain amount of times while other offers may not require that you wager your deposit at all. 

    Furthermore, some establishments will have a wagering requirement of x5 while others will have an x50 requirement. 

    It all depends on the offer and the online casino you’re visiting. Last but not least, some establishments will provide a welcome bonus for a specific slot game while others will allow you to choose between multiple slot games. 

    Are these offers even worth it?

    Whether or not welcome bonuses with specific wagering requirements are worth it depends on the circumstances. As you may already know, slot games, like any other online casino game, are games of chance, so anything can happen. 

    In most cases, you’ll break even at the end of the day because you can’t lose more than the bonus offers you, especially in free spin offers that don’t require a deposit to be made, to begin with. 

    Other than that, the higher the turnover, the less chance you’ll have to make a considerable profit but even that depends on the circumstances. 

    For instance, if the slot game is a progressive jackpot type of game then the more you play, the more likely you are to win the jackpot.  

    That’s why it’s very important to familiarize yourself with the bonus offer and the wagering requirements that are attached to it. If you’re uncertain about any factor involved in the offer, you can always contact customer support for additional information 

    Closing Words

    Free slot spins bonuses offered by many casinos these days is actually a great opportunity to check some of the slot games out. It allows you to see what the slot games are all about and whether or not they’re worth your time.

    Benefits of Dry Cleaning Delivery Service

    The decision to choose a dry cleaning service in your neighbourhood may significantly change the amount of time you have available. They mainly provide pick-up and delivery services, useful for working people. Therefore, you must pack the items that will be washed and dial the phone number. The service will take care of the rest, and you’ll have free time to do something else or go on vacation.

    Advantages of Dry Cleaning Service:

    Time-Saving

    Back to how you can save time, using a dry cleaning delivery service could be the answer! There is never enough time in the day to fulfil all of the tasks on one’s to-do list. To best plan for success on a busy day, get up early, get a solid workout done, and then visualise your day; if you want to save time in your day and planning process, cut out that trip to the dry cleaners is key.

    Save Your Gas

    It’s important to consider limiting the number of miles you drive each day to save money and time while reducing your carbon impact. Driving to the dry cleaner and then booking a completely separate time to pick up your dry cleaning is very demanding to your daily life when you consider the list of things you need to get done. Do you need to go on this trip? Because we are already out and about, if the service is free, you are saving petrol and helping to reduce your carbon footprint!

    Sanity Saver

    Saving gas, time, and money will undoubtedly keep one sane. The most significant part of a dry cleaner near me is that it relieves you of tension. You can maintain/improve your health, increase your mood, raise your immune function, and be more productive by reducing stressful areas of your life. Choose a service to ease stress in that area of your life to dedicate your new productive attitude to more important things like family, friends, and self-care.

    Save Time

    As said before, free time is the most valuable commodity that today’s man may possess. You have complete control over how you organise and implement it. In nature, wandering around the city, riding a bike with your family, or doing something else that will make you happy and connect, socialise with friends and relatives… all in all, refreshing your batteries for the next few days and easing your psyche and body. Consider having at least one fully free weekend day, letting you rest and have yourself while someone else takes care of your homework.

    Easy to Remove Stain

    Stains on suits, trousers, and shirts can sometimes be difficult. It is easy to wash and freshen your clothes or furniture items as if they had just arrived from the store using their particular solutions, which act on specific stains and unclean regions.

    You may have tried but failed to manually remove the dirt from some sections. You’ll be surprised at how effective dry cleaning services may be in this regard. Sewing fallen buttons, sewed seams, and careful and thorough ironing of significant parts of clothes, such as suits, coats, and jackets, are further services they provide.

    Conclusion:

    These factors undoubtedly influenced your decision to use dry cleaning services. You may not have been fully educated on everything they have to offer previously. However, Hello Laundry is confident that no one would refuse to be relieved of required and monotonous tasks for a reasonable fee.

    Consider the sound of too much free time and see yourself involved in the activities and interests you enjoy, surrounded by family and friends. Modern people’s excess commitments and burdens unavoidably impair our mental and physical health. Therefore, we must do all to make our lives easier and better, thus making ourselves and others happy.

    Get more cash for your car when selling your vehicle to sell my Car Essex

    Trying to sell your car in Essex? Wondering how to sell my car for the best price? But, then again, what is the best price that you can get for your car? Everything depends on the answer to that one. As anyone who has tried to sell a used car for a good price knows, it can be a time-consuming and stressful endeavor.

    Comparing the best ways to sell can also be very difficult. When it comes down to it, the best place to sell a car depends on your priorities.

    If you’re looking for a quick and easy sale, do you prefer a professional dealer or an instant buying website? Another option is to look for a private buyer. Because there are so many different kinds of buyers, you’ll have to consider these kinds of things.

    Selling a car on your own

    No matter how you do it, selling your vehicle yourself is a traditional method, but is it the best option?

    If you want to get the most money for your car, selling it privately may be the best option for you. Despite the fact that it can be extremely time-consuming, as we will explain below. And there are numerous other locations to take into account.

    When you’re ready to get rid of your car, you can either:

    • Choose to part with their old one in exchange for the new one.
    • Using an online car buyer is a another good option.

    It’s possible that you won’t get as much money as you would if you sold your car privately. The procedure, on the other hand, has been meticulously crafted to be as painless as possible.

    Selling Your Car Online

    Over the last decade, the number of people buying cars online has increased dramatically.

    Due in no small part to its ease of use, it has become increasingly popular. After valuing your car online, you can either have it picked up or dropped off at a time convenient for you. After the inspection and the final price negotiation, the sale is completed and you receive the funds in your bank account in your own currency.

    In essence, two transactions are combined into one. When you buy a new car, you’ll typically trade in your old one for a more expensive model. Your new car will cost you the difference, and you can choose to pay it in cash or by taking out a loan.

    This may appear to be the perfect solution to all of your issues. It’s a win-win situation: You get rid of your old car and get a new one at once. Isn’t it nice to have things be as simple as that?

    It’s not always this way… A part exchange has its own set of considerations to keep in mind. As a general rule, part-exchanges are more profitable for car dealers, but selling your vehicle outright is usually less expensive.

     Scrap your old vehicle for cash

    Who’s going to use my car if I don’t? There is a good chance a scrapyard or a scrap buyer will have it. Depending on the state of your vehicle, you may not be able to use any of the options above. There are times when scrapping your car may be your only option if it is extremely old or has failed its MOT.

    Concerns about air pollution, in particular from diesel engines, and climate change in general have led to an increase in the number of scrappage programs in recent years.

    If you have an older car that is still in good working order, this may be a viable option. Scrappage programs are designed to encourage people to trade in their old vehicles for newer, more environmentally friendly models.

    Automobile manufacturers or governments can initiate these campaigns. In most cases, the value of your old vehicle is deducted from the purchase price of a new one.

    Car scrappages schemes, on the other hand, are only open to a select group of automobiles. As a general rule, car manufacturers will not accept vehicles that are unusable on the road or are simply a piece of junk.

    Directly selling your car to a dealership

    The process of selling your car to a dealer can be simple if the right dealer is located close by, making the process even easier. However, you’ll have to make sure you get the right one. As a general rule, if you’re looking to buy a car from a dealership that isn’t affiliated with the same brand, you’re unlikely to get a good deal.

    Bring your A-game to the table when negotiating. To some extent, this is a good thing because it means the dealers are well-versed in the business and can use this knowledge to their advantage.

    Collabit: The UK’s Best Field Service Management Software

    With the pandemic that introduced remote working as a primary solution for the corporate sector, a lot of businesses have come to terms with the benefits of field service management software as a necessary tool for online business management.

    This kind of software can ease your business management and increase your profits from many angles, such as project scheduling, product inventory management, dispatching workers to their field tasks, and communicating with them during their fieldwork.

    If you are in search of the best FSM software for your UK-based business, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will talk about Collabit’s innovative solution, what it can do for you, but most importantly why it is UK’s Best Field Service Management Software.

    What is Field Service Management Software?

    The name says it all in a straightforward way – this kind of software helps manage field service, as in assisting businesses in handling all their resources more effectively. Field service management is specifically helpful for managers and technicians when it comes to:

    • Job scheduling
    • Employee training
    • Work order management
    • Inventory management
    • Mobile access
    • Field service contract and dispatch management

    In general, companies purchase field service management software with a monthly subscription. The prices can vary and they largely depend on the platform’s modules and the size of your business.

    The Best Service Management Software Providers in the UK

    We offer a plethora of industry-specific software solutions created to address all the niche issues that your business may face. Additionally, Collabit’s innovative toolkit allows you to customize your own solution, with minimal training, and no technical background required.

    Planning and Scheduling Jobs

    With Collabit’s software, you can easily plan all the scheduled jobs from closed sales opportunities and remedial works found in particular job positions.

    We give you a lot of choices in planning and filtering jobs, such as a calendar or map planner view, job types, tags, engineering skills, etc. Furthermore, you get access to planned, completed, overdue, and invoiced jobs.

    Dashboards and Reports

    Our Dashboards and Reports options lets you keep your complete business data in one system. This way, you can have insight into any aspect of your business’s health – anytime and anywhere.

    Customer Service Help Desk

    Collabit’s Customer Help Desk Software makes it easy to handle emails, logging calls, and meetings in a single timeline. You can easily find all the required information on one screen and collaborate with your colleagues in acknowledging the feedback from customers.

    Sales CRM

    Our Sales CRM feature provides great relief for salespeople with managing their tasks, leads, and pipeline with reduced sales admin time.

    Payment and Invoicing

    Finally, Collabit’s FSM software includes an invoice generator that helps your management team keep track of completed jobs that haven’t been invoiced yet and send a fixed amount of invoices according to the general line item description.

    Collabit Software – One Step Ahead

    First of all, Collabit Software is a step ahead of its competition in terms of the technology employed by our team. While other software platforms code their features and functionalities by improvisation, we are entirely different.

    Collabit’s team has created an outstanding toolkit that enables any tech-savvy employee to efficiently build the features they need. All you require in order to handle this FSM software is some basic training and you’re ready to customize your own solution!

    We give our clients a convenient and attractive choice – you can either use one of our prebuilt solutions specific to the sector your company belongs to, or you can create your own software in a short time without the required previous knowledge in coding!

    Replace Spreadsheets & Multiple Software Systems with a Simpler Solution

    If you are organizing your business activities with spreadsheets, you are probably familiar with all the unnecessary complications in that ordeal. Trying to bridge the gap between software systems can be a real headache, which hinders the effectiveness of the overall operation management in your company.

    With Collabit’s field service management software, these complexities can now become history! Our team works hard to solve a myriad of management issues including admin heavy processes, lack of visibility of the current business situation, duplication of data management, and increased human errors. 

    The simplicity and flexibility we offer to collaborating companies in a variety of industries is what makes Collabit a number one FSM software solution in the UK.

    A Comprehensive Approach to Field Service Management

    By choosing Collabit, we guarantee that all aspects of your business management will be accessible to your whole team in one place. When all of your employees use one software system tailored to your company’s needs, you have easy access to all the current in-house operations. This way, any setback can be fixed before any significant damage and profit loss occurs.  

    In addition to that, Collabit offers customizable dashboards and reports as a part of our field service management software. These remarkable features can help your company obtain visibility on a general level, including the smaller and finer details.

    Final Word

    Collabit’s Field Service Management Software is a worthy investment for various reasons, starting from the valuable assistance with budgeting and enhancement of customer service.

    This FSM software plan enables field workers in a company to complete their tasks more efficiently by providing them with a significant level of flexibility. They can easily access important data like customer information, inventory levels, and any mobile apps they need for work from whatever location. This way, employees are supported and encouraged to indulge in creative problem solving, develop better customer service solutions, and reduce expenses. 

    This FSM Software offers simple solutions for core business operations such as calculating the time needed to complete a task, scheduling or canceling meetings, streamlining the process, and sending invoices. By choosing Collabit, the best FSM software option in the UK, you give your employees the opportunity to take the most effective routes to customers. Just several clicks are enough to dispatch workers instead of using the phone.

    Common mistakes that freelancers make

    Once you have decided to become a freelancer, there is a big chance that you will experience more stress. From now on, you are responsible for your monthly income. In addition, you will have to search for potential customers and maintain customer contact. The marketing of the services you provide will also take some time. In short, you could be working 24 hours a day to run your business. Yet, as a freelancer, you can also enjoy many advantages. You can decide for yourself for whom and when you want to work. You can also go on holiday when it suits you. This can give you a feeling of freedom. To help you make sure everything runs smoothly, we have listed a few common mistakes that freelancers make. We hope to prevent you from making the same mistakes. Making mistakes is not a bad thing, it is a learning experience. 

    Free time is of great importance

    Being an entrepreneur can be very intensive. You will fully immerse yourself in your own company and will invest a lot of valuable time and effort in it. However, it is important that you do not lose yourself in this. We often see this happen with freelancers, because nobody tells you when you can go home and finish your work. We therefore recommend that you plan enough free time. This will make you feel more relaxed and you will therefore be better at handling the day to day stress that comes with running a company. This will not only benefit your own development, but also the development of your company.

    Outsourcing

    As a freelancer, you want to do as much as possible yourself in order to reduce costs. However, we often see that because of this, certain tasks are left too long. This may be because you find the task tedious or simply do not have the time for it. In these cases, we definitely recommend outsourcing these kinds of tasks, for example, the bookkeeping. This gives you more peace of mind and you can be sure that the tasks are carried out properly. Do you want to stay involved? Then we recommend you take a look at the online tools that are offered for entrepreneurs. For example, you can use invoice financing software that can offer you support in making the invoices. These tools not only make sure that these tasks are done better and faster, but they can also save you valuable time.

    How Noon Dalton Respects Its Clients’ Privacy

    In the Information Age, it seems like we can all click a few buttons and find out anything about anyone. While this makes it easier to connect with new people, it also makes it more daunting when trying to keep certain information private.

    Luckily, the Law has stepped up and put in place safeguards to make sure that our most vital and vulnerable information is kept secure. But it can be difficult to do business with companies who need said information but cannot guarantee its confidentiality.

    Noon Dalton, however, is one of those companies that can. They have recently become compliant with SOC2, PCI-DSS SAQ, HIPAA, and GDPR. If you’re not yet familiar with what these letters mean, let’s break it down for you.

    GDPR

    GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation in the UK and EU. It dictates how we use, store, and share information about people. If you’re a living person in the UK or EU, your information is protected under GDPR. Noon Dalton has just undergone training and certification around GDPR, meaning that they are compliant with the law and your personal data is thus protected.

    SOC 2

    SOC 2 is a voluntary standard of compliance for organizations in the service industry. It was developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), and it outlines how organizations should manage their customer data. The standard is based on the Trust Services Criteria of security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. Noon Dalton is fully certified with SOC 2. Basically, it means Noon Dalton manages all of its systems in a secure, tracked, and compliant way regardless of specific type or location, from training and sign-offs, network controls, risk assessments, and reporting and tracking systems.

    PCI-DSS SAQ

    PCI-DSS SAQ is an important one for any company handling credit card data. This compliance certification needs to be updated annually and it allows you to process credit cards and sensitive data around credit information. By complying with PCI standards and having this certification, Noon Dalton is properly able to process and handle credit card information.

    HIPAA

    HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, outlines the lawful use and disclosure of protected health information. Essentially, any business that deals with sensitive medical and personal information of a medical nature require to be HIPAA compliant. Noon Dalton is now HIPAA compliant, meaning that their remote teams can process this information without putting your company or clients at risk. 

    Why Is This So Important?

    While not very many of us put that much thought into our day-to-day data protection, we all want to know that the information that is out there about us isn’t at risk. By supporting businesses that comply with the various global regulations around data protection, you are ensuring that your clients and your business itself are safer and more secure in an ever-growing digital realm. Something as simple as knowing that your number won’t be sold to a scam puts many a mind at ease.

    By making sure that all certifications and compliances are met, Noon Dalton has done its due diligence to keep you and your company safe.

    Website: https://noondalton.com/

    Services: https://noondalton.com/services/data-processing-management/

    Outsourcing: https://noondalton.com/services/underwriting/

    Who Pays the Party Wall Surveyors Fees In London?

    To have a nice and comfortable relationship with your neighbor party wall surveyor hold a prominent place. A shared wall between you and your neighbor is recalled as a party wall. In the United Kingdom, party wall issues are common. 

    Before involving a party wall in your construction projects, you have to ask for the permission of your neighbor to avoid the legal pitfall. A party wall surveyor can help you resolve your issues with your neighbor under the Party Wall Act 1996. 

    Looking for complete detail regarding the cost of hiring a party wall surveyor specialist in London? This article comprises everything you need to know.

    Who Are Party Wall Surveyors?

    Sharing a property with your neighbor, including a wall or a floor, you have to be conscious before starting your construction projects. Different factors might irritate your neighbor when you begin your construction or renovation project, and they can cause you trouble by involving the law. Nobody wants to have bad terms with their neighbors because they can be helpful at times, watching your house or pets for you. 

    A party wall surveyor is a person that can resolve the matter between you and your neighbor by bringing a mutual bridge so you can have complete privacy to hire labor and start your project. You can find a well-reputed party wall surveyor in London tailored to your needs.

    A party wall surveyor specialist holds complete training and experience dealing with disputes regarding party walls. You can get a professional to perform party wall surveys in London, and the hiring can be done by one party or by mutual agreement. There can be more than one party wall surveyor can be involved.

    How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Party Wall Surveyor?

    The cost or fee of having a party wall surveyor by your side depends on various factors. After getting the response to Party Wall Notice from your neighbor, you can revolt your next step that impacts the party wall surveyor’s fee.

    Hiring a party wall surveyor specialist can range between £90 to £460 per hour. Mostly it depends on the type of project you are about to start. The total cost of surveyors depends on the time required to complete the survey. The detail of your work plan also impacts the fee. 

    Party Wall Award is the final result of hiring a party wall surveyor in London. Getting a party wall award also ranges between £800 to £1000 or more. This award is a type of agreement between both parties, and you can start your project as soon as the award gets signed.

    Factors Impact On Party Wall Surveyors’ Fee

    Different factors are involved in defining the cost of hiring a party wall surveyor in London. If your neighbor responds with a ‘Dissent and appoint an agreed party wall surveyor’ of your party wall notice, you can hire a party wall surveyor that can represent both of you. In that case, you can divide the cost of your mutual surveyor with your neighbor.

    In case of complete dissent by your neighbor, you’re supposed to hire a party wall specialist who can fight your case and bring a mutual agreement to start your project with complete privacy.

    A number of factors hold a prominent place in deciding party wall surveyors’ fees. Some of these factors involved the following;

    • Type of project.
    • Size of the property.
    • Design and complexity of the project.
    • Hours required to complete the survey.
    • Quality and completing duration of the project.
    • Level of risk towards the property of a neighbor.
    • The number of surveyors needed to perform the survey.
    • Any need for complex negotiation between both parties.
    • Your living area or location also holds an impact on the party wall surveyors’ charges.

    Bottom Line

    Party wall issues can be complex and drag your projects. To resolve the matter of being on good terms with your neighbor, you have to have a professional party wall surveyor. Based on the type of construction project, which might be a loft conversion, extension, basement, boundary wall, and the new or old building, also cast a visible impact on the cost of hiring a party wall surveyor in London. Identifying party walls and party structure, informing your neighbors, generating a high-quality design, and contacting a well-reputed party wall surveyor prior to starting your project make dealing with party wall issues more convenient and easy.

    Neon Light Signs Increasing the Security and Trust of Banks and Financial Institutions

    Neon light signs are used in the architecture of Banks and Financial Institutes because they create a sense of trust and security. They create a sense of trust in the institution because they are flashy, colorful, and noticeable. They create a sense of security by using symbols that are known to the public. These symbols make people think that the institution has been around for many years and is very reliable.

    Neon light signs are the lifeblood of any business. It is the way to attract any passer-by to come in and look around. In most cases, the sign of a bank or financial institute is a neon one. The reason behind it is that neon light signs are very effective and highly visible. Aside from that, they are also considered as classic and nostalgic.

    It is a universally acknowledged truth that neon signs are excellent for banks and financial institutions. There are many reasons why this is so; here are a few.-Neon light signs have a certain allure to them-They catch the eye of people passing by, who may then go inside to see what the place is all about.-Neon signs are just plain cool-They make it easy to spot your bank in a sea of competition.

    Their purpose is to provide a sign to the public that the Banks are open and available for business, and that they can trust the people working there. Indoors, neon signs are used as display boards on the counters – to display prices, account balances, and other relevant information to customers and tellers while they are conducting their transactions. Outdoors, neon light signs are usually mounted on the bank’s front walls – so it will be visible during night time. There may also be a few inside lights in addition to these neon signs – for security purposes.

    As an office that focuses on design, we’ve done a lot of work for banks and financial institutions. We’ve learned that one of the most important things to them is the sense of security and trust that comes from a professional appearance. To this end, many banks have adopted the idea of displaying neon light signs in their windows to let customers know they’re open for business. These remind us of the iconic symbols of a bygone era, while also providing an updated decor that looks sleek and modern.

    Neon signs are an excellent way to advertise to passersby, and can generate a lot of interest in your brand. The bright colors draw people’s eyes in such a way that they can’t help but read the text on the sign, which is usually very short (like “We’re Open!” or “Loans”) but really gets your point across. So if you need to update your branding, consider incorporating neon into your window display; it’s sure to attract attention and breathe some new life into your storefront.

    Neon light signs are a necessity for banks and other financial institutions—you can’t have a bank that’s not cool, after all. The signage of these shops is always kept clean, streamlined, and minimalist; the purpose of the signs is to both catch the eye of passersby and draw customers into the store.

    The only problem is that neon light signs take up so much space: they need lots of tubing and other equipment, they take up an extraordinary amount of electricity, they’re expensive to run, and they’re difficult to maintain. If you’re putting a neon sign in your bank, you might as well go all out and make it really capture the spirit of your institution in an eye-catching way.

    39% of mortgage holders have never used a mortgage broker

    Despite the fact a good mortgage broker is likely to be able to find homeowners a much better product than they could secure themselves, well over a third of mortgage holders (39 per cent) have never used one.

    A survey of almost 2,000 mortgage holders conducted by mortgage broker Boon Brokers discovered that the number who had never used a broker rose to half (49 per cent) of over 55s. This means many homeowners could have reached full ownership of their property without ever having had professional advice to help them secure the best mortgage – potentially paying thousands of pounds on unnecessary interest and fees. Younger homeowners are more likely to consult an expert, with three out of four (74 per cent) of 25 to 34s saying they have used a broker for a home loan.

    The survey found there was a general lack of understanding around what mortgage brokers can or should offer. One in seven of those who have used a mortgage broker don’t know if they had whole of market access – if they don’t have it, brokers may not be able to find clients the best deal on the market.

    Mortgage broker fees can be another area of confusion for homeowners. 44 mortgage brokers across the country were questioned to find out more about their practices, revealing 59 per cent do charge clients a fee – with the average amount found to be £559, but with some charging more than £1,000. This is despite 100 per cent of the mortgage brokers questioned admitting they also get a procuration fee from the lender.

    To help demystify the industry, Boon Brokers has created a detailed Guide to Mortgage Broker Costs to help customers understand more about the process and what to expect.

    Gerard Boon, partner at Boon Brokers, said: “There is still a lot of confusion around mortgage brokers and what they can do. A good broker with whole of market access can find the very best mortgage product out there for a client, saving them a small fortune. One common misconception, however, is that homeowners must pay broker fees when applying for a home loan or remortgage. Consumers shouldn’t assume that broker fees are the norm, as all mortgage brokers in the UK are paid a ‘procuration fee’ by the lender upon completion of a mortgage application. Paying a broker fee does not guarantee a better service – there is no correlation between quality of service and broker fee charged. The only purpose of the broker fee is to increase the firm’s profit margin.

    “I think it’s vital the industry is more transparent about what it is offering and what costs there might be for a homeowner – there should be nothing to hide, which is why we created what we believe to be the most comprehensive guide to mortgage broker fees available online. The fact some brokers charge a fee even when a mortgage doesn’t complete is totally unethical. People need to feel confident they know enough to question fees and charges they might encounter. Now more than ever, it is vital that homeowners understand all suitable mortgage options before agreeing to a mortgage product. The difference in interest rate and other costs, from lender to lender, can be substantial, even with mainstream lenders. I would certainly suggest that homeowners acquire expert mortgage advice before agreeing to any mortgage product in this market.”

    As British airlines bet for greener tech, Magnaghi Aeronautica (MA Group) joins the game

    As British airlines are gearing up for green flights, other European players in the aerospace industry are working to deliver more sustainable options for the sector. That is the mission of the “made in Italy” company Magnaghi Aeronautica, part of the MA Group.

    Magnaghi Aeronautica is an Italian company that stands out for its quality in the design, certification, production and subsequent marketing of landing gear systems, equipment, hydraulic, and electronic systems for aerospace use. According to Paolo Graziano, CEO and president of the company, it is the resourcefulness typical of Italians, the technical skills and technological research that allows MA Group to compete with enormously larger American or Chinese companies.

    For the past years, Magnaghi Aeronautica (MA Group) has been working hard on a very comprehensive agenda when it comes to their industry’s environmental impact. “Committing to safeguarding the planet means respecting future generations by giving them a healthy ecosystem,” claims the CEO, adding that the MA Group Landing Green project was created exactly for that reason.

    The MA Group Landing Green project includes a series of initiatives aimed at improving recycling processes, reuse and energy saving, as well as making the concept of sustainability fit the company’s operability at all ends. “It is also in the field of research and development that we try to find innovative solutions and technologies that are as ‘green’ as possible”, adds Graziano by mentioning how these solutions are being applied to trolleys. “We will probably also produce trolleys for fully electric aircraft, therefore totally sustainable and technologically advanced.”

    In 2022, the MA Group decided to add sustainability to their balance sheet so this could definitely be marked as an important indicator. After all, these actions and projects that are being implemented deserve special attention and the company is happy to share the news with their employees and customers. “It is the ability to adapt, to find quick solutions, to respond quickly to customer requests that allows us to be competitive,” concludes Graziano.

    More recently, Magnaghi Aeronautica has also received an award recognition as Top Employer 2022 in Italy, which shows that the company is also paying close attention to the wellbeing of its employees and not only of the environment. “Technology without the competence of the technicians to supervise it is useless. We not only have engineering technologies and processes that represent the state of the art in our sector, but also highly qualified technicians, whom I know perfectly well and who have my absolute trust,” tells the CEO.

    As a consequence of its remarkable work, the Neapolitan company has recently signed an agreement with Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing to provide fully integrated landing gear systems for the DEFIANT X® helicopter, consisting of the nose and main landing gear, tail bumper assembly, extension/retraction system along with wheels and brakes. As stated by Graziano, this agreement marks a significant evolution in MA’s Group global landing gear solutions, as it is granted access to advanced developments in the U.S. defence market.

    The DEFIANT X® is a revolutionary helicopter proposed by Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Boeing for the U.S. Army’s Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) Program. It is a medium helicopter and air assault weapon system, which is intended to replace the US Army H-60 Black Hawk fleet. “We are very honoured and proud to count Boeing among our customers and to serve the U.S. Army. This exclusive agreement represents a first milestone in what we hope will be a long-term partnership” declared Giorgio Iannotti, MA Group SVP Business and Product Development.

    Magnaghi is the core of MA Group, synonymous with excellence in the aeronautical sector. From its creation, in 1936, to today, the company has conquered the international market, becoming partners with some of the most important aircraft manufacturers in the world. With offices in Italy, United States and Brazil, MA Group’s revenue has increased from €19m to €91m in the past 20 years.