Thursday, 22 October 2020

Preparing Your Finances For A Second Lockdown

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As expected, the economy is due to take another hit this winter as a second Coronavirus spike rolls around. With half of the country in Tier 2 or 3 restrictions, it won’t be long before businesses go back to the March, April, and May way of working. Everything might be fine as you could escape furlough and work remotely until next year. Still, it’s a sound financial decision to get your finances in order just in case the worst happens.


If you’re not sure how to do it, don’t worry because it’s pretty simple. Here is a selection of top tips to help.


Build A Cash Buffer


Building a buffer doesn’t only mean adding to your emergency fund. If you can, great, but if you can’t, try and reduce your outgoings by paying off debts. That way, you’ll have fewer contributions and more disposable income to use in hard times. Of course, if your resources aren’t extensive enough, there are payday loans and credit card offers to help you out in a pinch. All you have to remember is that you should only borrow what you can afford. You’ll never regret having a rainy day fund as you can use the money for other things!


Apply For Benefit Schemes


There is more information about benefit schemes being released daily, so it’s essential to keep an eye on the news. Many of the benefits are grants that you don’t have to pay back. The only thing is, they are taxable and need adding to your return at the start of the new tax year. Still, it’s better to have the money now and pay a little more to HMRC down the line than struggle to make ends meet. The retention packages range between 70% and 80% of your wages up to £2,500, so they’re useful.


Tweak Your Pension


Considering you need around £30,000 for a comfortable retirement, you might have multiple pensions on-the-go. While this is smart saving for the future and commendable, it’s probably not your number one concern right now. After all, it’s easy to overpay during stable periods, which means you’re overpaying in a crisis until you tweak your contributions. Thankfully, you can opt-out for a specific amount of time or lower your pension outgoings until you’re in a position to restart. Alternatively, you can consolidate them into one place so that they’re easier to manage.


Try A Mortgage Holiday


Mortgage and rent holidays are designed to give you space, like this year’s tax break. It’s better to continue paying your bills in an ideal world as you’ll only have to tackle them head-on later. Still, if you’re worried about your finances, it could be healthier to set them aside from a couple of months and focus on more pressing bills. As long as you understand your arrears won’t be wiped off, a holiday can work well as it relieves the pressure and offers alternative options.


Are you ready for a second lockdown, socially and financially?

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

8 Habits That Gradually Harm Your Health

Almost everyone knows about daily habits that harm health - excessive alcohol consumption, chronic smoking, eating junk food too often, not exercising enough, poor skincare, and so on. However, other habits can cause harm as well. Are you interested in finding out which daily habits of yours affect your health without you knowing? We have compiled this list just for you.


  1. Keeping your wallet in your back pocket


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Keeping your wallet in your back pocket may seem too convenient and comfortable for it to be a harmful habit. The reason for this is simple; when you sit on your wallet, even for 15 minutes, it can cause a shift in your spine, leading to a change in your spinal ligaments. With time, this habit will create an asymmetry capable of disrupting your spine’s natural alignment. Sitting on your wallet for long periods may cause conditions such as functional scoliosis, sciatica, and chronic back pain.


  1. Taking your electronics to bed with you

Some studies have shown that using your electronics while you are in bed usually reduces your sleep time and causes you to have lesser sleep hours. In turn, this habit affects your health and mood during the day, as your body lacks the amount of rest it needs. Lack of sleep at night also causes daytime fatigue and unhealthy weight gain in some cases. This situation also leads to deficient productivity levels during the day, poor learning capabilities, increased stress levels, and a disruption of the night’s natural sleep pattern. 

It is therefore essential to isolate yourself from all your electronic gadgets for at least an hour before bedtime. Doing this will improve the quality of your sleep and health significantly. If you ever feel the need to finish some work in bed, you can purchase a pair of eyeglasses capable of blocking off the harsh rays from your laptop. You can visit https://www.eyeglasses.com/ for a wide range of affordable eyeglasses. 


  1. Drinking from plastic bottles

Contrary to what you may think, it is quite unhealthy to drink water from plastic bottles. Advertisements have given the impression that drinking out of plastic bottles is safe through the various promotions of different brands of bottled water. When exposed to very high temperatures, like the inside of a hot car, the layers of plastic releases certain chemicals such as Bisphenol-A into the substance contained in it. Drinking the substance containing this chemical may increase your risk of breast cancer and endometriosis. Apart from its implications to your health, plastics are also a growing environmental hazard. The less you use plastic, the more you will be preventing health problems and saving the earth.



  1. Regularly washing your hands with hot water


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We all want our hands to be clean! Whether you just finished using the washroom or got your hands dirty with work, nobody wants to carry germs along. Truthfully, washing your hands with hot water sounds more sterile and bound to give your hands a squeaky-clean feel. However, the idea that warm water gets rid of germs from the hands faster than cold water is not proven. In fact, studies have shown that both cold and hot water are equally effective in cleaning the hands thoroughly. It points out that cold water is a healthier option for your skin than hot water, as washing your hands regularly with hot water can cause your skin to scald and burn. It also removes the skin’s protective natural oils.


  1. Eating your food too quickly

So many experts have warned that chewing your food too quickly or eating too fast can lead to many health problems. Besides causing you to put on weight at an accelerated rate, eating too fast can also increase your risk of stroke, diabetes, or even heart disease. You are more likely to overeat when you eat too quickly. This is because it takes about 20 minutes from the moment you begin eating for your brain to communicate to you that your stomach is full. Therefore, if you chew or eat too fast, you may consume much more than you should before beginning to feel satisfied. Chewing too fast can also cause specific gastrointestinal issues, as you may not be able to chew as thoroughly enough for your stomach to digest. This can lead to a bloated stomach, acid reflux, and even indigestion.


  1. Brushing your teeth immediately after eating

The quest for perfect oral hygiene has led the best of us to fall for this practice - brushing our teeth right after eating. Although it is good to have good dental hygiene, it is of no benefit if done wrong. According to experts, you should wait for at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth. The teeth have natural protection in the form of enamel, and the acids produced by our foods can wear off this protection with time. This means that right after eating, your teeth are in their weakest state. The good thing is that the human body has its way of using saliva to balance the high acid levels from food, but this takes time. Therefore, if you brush your teeth right after eating, you are doing more harm than good as you will be attacking your teeth - it does not matter if you use a soft toothbrush. A better alternative right after eating is to chew on a piece of sugar-free gum or rinse your mouth with water.


  1. Cleaning your ears with a cotton swab

It is normal to reach for a cotton swab when you feel a tingling sensation in your ears or habitually clean them to make them less dirty. Whatever the reason is, using a cotton swab to clean your ears will do you more harm than good. Although a cotton swab may remove some of the ear wax, it also pushes a lot of it further down into the ear canal. Using a cotton swab can also lead to tinnitus, impacted earwax, perforated eardrums, and other kinds of ear infections. Most ENT doctors advise that you leave your earwax alone and allow it to fall out naturally or consult a specialist to have it cleaned. Your earwax serves as a form of filter for the ear canal by preventing dirt and dust from entering into it; therefore, you make it vulnerable to different kinds of infections when you clean your ears regularly.


  1. Using a hand dryer


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For most people, hand dryers are a better option compared to paper towels and also more environmentally friendly. But are they a healthier option for us? The answer is a simple no. According to a study, hand dryers in public washrooms can spread germs onto the hands of other users. The reason for this lies in the fact that a hand dryer uses a mechanism that blows air, which makes it prone to transferring germs and bacteria already in the washroom. 

According to the same study, many types of bacteria, including pathogens and spores, can be transferred onto the human hand through the hand dryer mechanism. Therefore, although it looks safe to use the hand dryer as you do not touch the device itself, it ends up causing more potential harm. To be on the safer side, the next time you use a public washroom, opt for the old-fashioned paper towel instead. Ensure you carry tissue papers, handkerchief, or disinfectant wipes with you at all times in case there are no paper towels available to dry your hands with.


Thursday, 30 July 2020

3 Simple Ways To Save Money On Your Car

If you are tempted to buy yourself a new set of wheels, you might be venturing to the car showrooms and test driving some brand new motors. While a swanky brand new car sounds appealing, the moment you drive it off the forecourt it will have depreciated in value. It doesn’t matter how good a new car deal sounds, it rarely makes up for the money you lose the moment it is back home sitting on your drive. Instead, you need to consider the used car market to ensure that you secure the best deal. Car buying can be stressful for many, but it needn’t be. Remember, buying the vehicle is only the first step in ensuring that you save money on your car.


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Strike A Deal


Car sales can be a challenging industry to make sense of. Heading to a car dealership and looking at a range of second-hand motors might sound like fun, but how do you get the best deal? Many dealerships refuse to budge on the purchase price, but this doesn’t mean they won’t be willing to throw in a few extras. If you’re keen, they won’t be willing to let you go elsewhere to buy. Don’t be afraid to ask for a full MOT, a free set of car mats, or a full tank of fuel on pick up. This may sound cheeky, but every little helps and money off means more money in your pocket.


Extras


Any car that you buy will need to be insured. It’s wise to contact a car insurance broker rather than scouring through deals yourself. These specialists will have the best deals at their fingertips and can customise the insurance as you need it. You might want breakdown cover, but you aren’t bothered by a courtesy car or satnav cover. A broker can sort this for you and save you cash. Ensure that you check out the insurance group of the cars you like the look of before buying. A higher number for the insurance group, the more you are likely to pay for your premium. Sports cars and vehicles with larger engines will be more costly to insure.


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Go Electric


If you are a bit of a sustainability advocate or you simply want to have a go at doing your bit for the environment, check out the latest hybrid and electric cars. These vehicles are great because the insurance groups are so low and most don’t require any tax. If you live in a city with a congestion charge, you won’t have to pay for it as your car won’t produce emissions. Greener cars tend to be more costly to purchase initially, but they make up for this with their nest to nothing running costs. All you will need to do is charge a battery, rather than fork out for expensive fuel every month. 


Electric cars are also more reliable and don’t tend to be as costly to fix should anything go awry. Parts are cheaper and garages are able to fix issues faster meaning less money spent on labour costs.


Buying a car can seem like a bit of a minefield. However, follow this guide, and you can be sure of saving money the next time you need a set of wheels.