Here’s Some Great Advice On Switching Energy Suppliers

I consider myself fairly savy when it comes to managing money. Aside from the odd splurge I nearly always shop around, especially when it comes to running a house. Take my mortgage for instance, when my current deal is coming to an end, I look around for a better one, I’ve just recently swapped broadband suppliers and am giving up the Sky TV mantle (18 years people, 18 Sky TV infested years, I deserve a lifetime subscription) but I’m giving Now TV a go to see if it saves me some pennies.

One thing I do each year, without fail, is to check that I’m getting the best deal for my gas and electric. It’s quite a chuck of wonga to be parting with each month, so if I can get it down a little by Switching Suppliers, rather than being moved onto the standard deal with my current supplier, then it’s happy days and more money for shoe shopping.

Years ago this involved being vigilant with your bill and going through several energy suppliers’ websites trying to compare price plans. I never really knew how much energy we used, only the amount of the direct debit. But I have noticed that it’s getting easier. Websites like Ofgem’s ‘Be an Energy Shopper’ have three categories to help users understand how to get the best deal for their energy bills, by explaining the ins and outs of market which some people find confusing

 

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Before you dive into the next best offer it’s really worth going through and learn a little more such as understanding bills where you can find out of you’re on the best energy deal, how to work out exactly what you’re paying for and even how to take a meter reading. Once you’ve got your head around that then finding out a little more about different energy tariffs and deals  and how to compare them, not all are the same. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to gamble with surprise bill. (surprise me with no strings attached money any day, however!) So a fixed deal is always my go-to. There are other dealcs too, such as variable (which tend to be more expensive) if you don’t want to be tied into a price plan, and I always take a dual fuel deal to save the faff of having separate bills for gas and electric.

helping you switch energy suppliers and be a savy energy shopper

One thing you must always try to do though is compare whats on offer as there really is a difference between costs. Be an Energy Shopper website lists all the Ofgem approved comparison sites and is a  is a free & impartial organisation so you can be confident that you’ll get the best supplier deal for your circumstances.

I have just switched mine recently and it’s simple. Once you’ve gone through the price comparison website (it helps if you have your bill to hand so you know how much fuel you use a year or how much you pay, you then click on the deal you want which takes you to that supplier’s website, fill in your details and that’s pretty much it. They will inform your current supplier and switch you over.

You really have nothing to loose, other than about 20 minutes of your time.

 

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Dreaming of Winning And Traveling?

There’s a little game I like to play now and then, one of those – I need a distraction or some happy thoughts before I drift off to sleep, type games, where I work out what I’d buy if I won the lottery.

If I’m feeling in a generous mood I’d split it between my family and friends. I get just as much pleasure out of giving as receiving and it’d be great to be able to take some of their money worries away. But on the days when I think stuff it, it’s all mine, mine, mine, I lay there mentally calculating what I’d spend it on.

So lets just say, for argument’s sake, that I’m feeling mid-range generous. I’ve dished out some to said friends and family and now it’s on to some serious spending sprees. And while I’m in the midst of a mid-life new me thing, my wish list has been given a whole new clean sheet.

You see,travel was never a big priority for the old Ali, sure I fancied some luxury holidays, weeks laying by the pool, chasing a toddler and probably stressing about taking time off work. But right now I have an urge to see more of the big wide world which I was blind to in the past. I’m feeling adventurous and much more confident that the boys and I can do this. Plus, the thought of getting them away from their computers, iPhones and games consoles would be amazing.

They might even make conversation!

dreaming about winning the lottery and traveling with my kids

So that would be me, packed up for a few months ideally, realistically the school holidays, to far-flung places, making memories with my winnings at the driving seat, staying in the best hotels and apartments.

Oh a gal can dream….

So what could I do to be ‘in it to win it’ and head in the right direction to being in with a chance? Well, aside from my usual line on the National Lottery which I’ve done for yonks. I’ve also just found Lottoland. The prices and winnings are the same, and you get a line of numbers in the same way, you just place your bets differently.  Lotto Betting at  gives you access to jackpots that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to as they don’t sell physical tickets and so not limited in the same way a normal lottery. This means you can win huge jackpots amounts from across the world.

So that’s two possibilities, but lets just throw in another in the mix. For arguments sake, I could sell up my little home and just fly off in to the sunset with the slate wiped clean. Throwing caution to the wind and truly leaving the old me behind. Just a thought.

I’ll leave you with that little snippet of information to mull over while I go back to visualising stunning sunsets and warmth on my skin in an attempt to ignore the pile of laundry which needs folding and the ever-growing list of to do’s niggling away on the chalk board in my kitchen.

dreaming about winning the lottery and travel with my kids

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Using Colour To Create A Productive Home Office

Using colour around the home is great for injecting different emotions and feelings. I remember viewing our current home and the Tudor red kitchen walls instantly drawing me in, masking over any imperfections as it shouted to any prospective house buyer ” pick me!” It was bold, passionate and fired up my imagination.

It soon became too much though, and it wasn’t long before I longed for a bright and airy house to relax in so was replaced by a neutral light beige.The red had done its job in drawing me in and now it was time for a new palate.

I’m currently painting everything grey. This shade has completely consumed me, I have no idea why (nothing to do with that book which I’ve neither read or watched I should point out) I’ve just fallen head over heels for the calming and warm, yes grey can be warm, effect it has. It’s helped my features and furniture stand out and with many different shades to try out, it’s not looked to bland in my house, rather the opposite in fact. By having a universal theme in different shades running through most of my rooms it’s given a good flow to the house.

colour is a powerful thing. What would you choose to create a calm and creative home office? My choice is grey and orange and here's why.

photo courtesy of French Fancy

But what colour would I paint a home office? I personally like a room where the most important and creative work happens to not be too distracting. I need something to lift my mood and take the edge of the stress of tight deadlines and something warming as I work best when I’m not niggled by the cold. So continuing my grey theme on the walls, with shots of orange to raise energy levels and keep me focused.

colour is a powerful thing. What would you choose to create a calm and creative home office? My choice is grey and orange and here's why.

Photo courtesy of 79 Ideas

These shades would create a universal workspace all the family can enjoy. All brought together with a carefully considered psychology of colours, but this is just my choice and what inspires and de stress’ you could be different to your ideal decor. Have a look at the infographic below to see what colour you’d inject into your home office.

Calibre-Furniture-Colour-Psychology-Explored

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This is a collaborative post, all words are my own and photographs are credited to the original owner. 

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How to Create the Perfect Home Office

Whether you work from home or just want to create a work space in your home, creating a home office is a great idea. A home office needs to work for you, so thinking about things both aesthetically and strategically is important. Here are some top tips to help you create the perfect home office:

Be practical

There are so many things people want to include in their home office that a common mistake a lot of people make is cramming too much furniture into a small space. Although you might need a desk and some draws, is a printer, photo copier and shredder essential? If they’re taking up too much space, it’s time to cut back. Think about the equipment you really need and then see how much space you have left for extras. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in there, it needs to be a space where you can work in peace and not feel cramped.

Ensure it’s well lit

There is nothing worse than trying to write a 3000 word report at 11pm in a poorly lit room. Make sure that you have adequate bright lighting in the room so that you don’t over strain your eyes by staring at a screen for too long in the dark. These floor and table lamps from Scotlight Direct offer a great solution as they provide lots of lighting and come in a variety of different styles and colours.

styling a home office

Go for neutrals 

Whilst bright and out there interior design is really on trend, neutral colours are advised in a work space. If the home office is going to be your main office it needs to feel separate from the rest of your home so that your brain understands that’s where you go to work and not to chill. Using a peaceful and neutral colour scheme of creams will help to keep the room light and airy and help you to separate your work and home life easily. Over bearing designs can easily lead to distraction.

Enjoy it

That said you do need to enjoy your office if you’re planning on spending a lot of time there. Be economical with space so that you don’t feel enclosed and surrounded by equipment and decorate it like you would a workspace in an office environment. Little things like having a few plants on the windowsill or a cactus on your desk will help to make it feel like somewhere you enjoy spending your time.

how to style a home office

Photo courtesy of Ikea.com

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Some Sound Advice On How To Improve Your Credit Rating

While I don’t want to encourage you to build up debts, the new year often brings new plans. Maybe you’re wanting to get started on plans for home improvements or a new car might be on the cards. There are sometimes occasions when you’ll need to borrow money and saving isn’t an option.

And to get the best finance deals you’ll need to have a good credit limit, and there are a few things you can do so you aren’t limited to paying back anything you borrow with sky high interest takes. Kickstart your new year with being money savy and take time to get it right. I’ve always been a ‘shopper rounder’ making sure I’ve got the best possible deal and nowadays, people do tend to think more carefully about how they spend.

With this sound advice (courtesy of Stoneacre Financial Services) on improving your credit rating. You can be sure you’ve taken the right steps to looking after your finances. There’s a few on here I didn’t know and as I wasn’t one of the lucky winners in the big lotto draw, I dare say I’ll be coming back to this post again sometime.

The Road to Good Credit Infographic

 

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