The following is a guest post written specifically for our UK readers.
According to recent research carried out by food service consultancy, Horizons, the number of people eating out has seen yet another downturn. The results compiled from questioning over 1,400 people showed that figures from 2011 were at a 26 per cent year-on-year decrease – the catering industry has seen yet another slump in the number of customers choosing to eat out.
Although still a popular choice of activity for those celebrating special occasions, dining out as a spontaneous recreation is becoming less common nationwide. Sitting and enjoying a meal is also falling second to those who pick up quick lunches at cafes and fast food chains, with the average spend when dining out estimated at just over £11.
Recent news stories surrounding companies entering administration are reflective of the current business climate. As the public are unable to afford to splurge on regular shopping trips, big name high street brands such as La Senza, the Game Group and Clintons have suffered under economic strains.
The first five months of 2012 put the UK in good stead for another detrimental year in retailing. Already approximately 30 recognised brands have entered liquidation, with many small and independent stores also falling by the wayside.
With so much doom and gloom surrounding the little luxuries in life, choosing to make asserted energy efficient changes within your home can help the environment as well as cutting the cost of your bills. The effect of the recession doesn’t have to mean giving up well earned indulgencies – simply find aspects of your daily routine which you can alter to reduce basic expenditure.
First and foremost, ensure that you are being provided electricity and gas under the most suitable tariff for your current usage. Our lifestyles change so regularly, and depending on circumstances such as maternity leave or working away from home, your usage many have changed. A switch such as this could instantly save you money and lessen your monthly outgoings in just minutes.
Choosing fixed term, fixed rate electricity and gas from British Gas is the best way to avoid any extreme and unexpected fluctuations in the market. Signing up to a contract which lasts from one to three years will guarantee the price you pay is locked in for the length of your agreement, meaning no nasty surprises.
In addition, electricity and gas from British Gas come complete with expert account executives who are able to advise you on how to save money in your home. Looking directly at your energy consumption, tailored guidance will be offered to eliminate any unnecessary expenditure.
Whether you are ecologically aware or not really up to speed with environmental affairs, eco-friendly and cost efficient improvements generally stand hand in hand, benefiting both your bank balance and the climate.
Reduce carbon emissions and your energy bill by using electric and gas wisely around your home. Although small tasks such as boiling kettles and making meals does use energy, strict measures – such as restricting your hot drink consumptions – are not needed. Yet being vigilant with regards to how you use appliances and equipment can make a big difference.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, turning your thermostat just one degree lower will save your household up to £55 per year.
Ask your terrible teens to turn off their computers completely overnight. From laptops to PCs and consoles to TVs, shutting down equipment and turning the electricity supply off at the power socket can amount to significant yearly savings.
Two teenagers who regularly leave Facebook running overnight, or let TweetDeck live into the early hours while they sleep, can cost you up to £70 every year. Be sure to set all electronic devices to enter sleep mode or automatic standby following a specified period of time, this will minimise any costly carelessness.
Changing all lighting in your home to energy saving bulbs can cost more initially but will save you impressive amounts over time. In addition to the savings from reducing your light bulb’s wattage, energy efficient bulbs last much longer than the typical one-year life span of a standard bulb. Expect your investment to last up to ten years, sometimes more.
Make discreet, realistic changes to your routine and expect to find the funds for meals out, weekends away and shopping sprees flooding your way. You will see a small but steady return on your efforts.