Tag Archives: saving

Steam Showers pay for themselves!

Many of us do not need a reason to purchase a steam shower enclosure for our own home, as there are already many obvious explanations including health and relaxation benefits. One reason that may have already been overlooked by yourself and many others is how much financial gain you can get from installing a steam shower in your home. According to real estate experts, individuals who install steam showers or saunas can expect to gain back at least 5 times what you initially paid for it, increasing the overall value of your home.

The Cascade Duo – A popular 1200mm x 900mm corner model

In addition to this, having a steam shower or private home sauna immediately makes your home unique and compelling to buy. Luxury additions such as these are considered just that – Luxurious. If a potential buyer finds themselves torn between your home and another with very similar price tags, the inclusion of a sauna or steam room may be the exact thing that sways them towards you. Not only does it increase the overall value of your home, you improve the chances of selling your home quicker.

A typical freestanding steam shower enclosure combines standard showering features such as a shower head, with the added benefit of a steam generator. Users can then enjoy a 30 minute steam session followed by a cold invigorating shower to wash away all the toxins – All in the same space. There is no need to allocate the steam generator at another point in the house, as typically they are built onto the back of the unit itself. This results in a straightforward installation that’s completed at a fraction of the cost of a wet room.

Unlike a wet room, you dont’ need to worry about creating a water resistant enclosed area, inclusive of membrane and selective tiling. Furthermore, you need to ensure your door system is air tight to ensure that water and steam alike stays in the room. Creating a waterproof membrane can be quite costly, especially if not done correctly in the first place.

If you’re looking to add instant proven value to your home, consider the option of a steam shower enclosure when upgrading your bathroom. You’ll be benefitting both your body and your wallet.

5 ways of making your project affordable

If you’re planning an upcoming home renovation project such as a bathroom or kitchen, you’ll quickly realise that funds disappear when not managed properly. Budgeting your project down to the last “nut & bolt” can be a menial task, but this attention to detail can save you headaches in the long term.

In addition, sourcing financial support from a number of widely available options can help spread the cost of your project, allowing you concentrate on the finish rather than the finance. Here are 5 top ways of making your project more affordable:

A Home Improvement Loan

Many people turn to a home improvement loan when it comes to financing a renovation, with many banks offering competitive products that are quick and easy to apply for. They work in the same way a personal loan would, with different banks offering different deals depending on your circumstances. As with anything, shop around for the best possible interest rates as they can vary from 5% – 8% depending on your credit rating.  Providing you tick all the boxes, you’ll get the money straight away so your project can be finished quickly and efficiently.

Retailer finance

With an abundance of suppliers in the marketplace, competition has never been stronger. Many retailers now offer their own versions of finance deals to help make your dream kitchen or bathroom become a reality quicker than you’d expect. The interest rates are often very low making retailer finance an affordable option for anyone, with some of the larger retailers offering 0% finance on complete supply & fit options.

Credit cards

Many of us would instantly turn our noses up at credit cards, branded with the image of high interest rates and unrealistic minimum payment options. However, credit card companies have changed their methods in a fast track way to attract new customers, offering 0% interest on purchases for those with strong credit ratings. Be sure to pay off your amount within the grace period (or switch it to another card) as you may face interest rates of up to 25%.

Using your mortgage

The previously mentioned options are all quick and easy ways of getting your project started, but some people now are utilising low interest rates as a way of paying for large projects. By re-mortgaging your home to suit a better finance deal, you’ll often find yourself with a larger source of funds to work with. This isn’t a quick option however as the entire process can take time, not to mention potential fees which can be upwards of £500.00.

Plan & Save

At the risk of not confiding with the ways of modern society, you could always plan your project well in advance, using good old fashioned saving to gather the necessary funds. It’s the way it’s been done for many years before the dawn of credit! Put away a little each month for a set period of time to pay for your renovation, leaving no trail of credit repayments when you settle down to your first hot soak in your new bathroom. There is no better feeling!

How did you plan for your project? Let us know on Twitter @divapor or visit our newly renovated Facebook page!

 

 

Superior Supermarket Control

Taking control of your spending whilst carrying our your weekly or even monthly food shop can be daunting task for many. Endless offers for the latest product, multi purchase discount and clearance items for next to nothing prices are just some of the causes for filling your shopping trolley with items that rack up your final bill.

Here’s a quick but effective list of ways you can make sure you leave the shop with things you actually went in for and nothing more – courtesy of the Healthy Hideout:

  • Choose a basket – Although you may not enjoy using them as they require a lot more effort, go for a basket instead of a shallow trolley. With less space, you’ll be heading to the checkouts when your baskets full rather than trying to fill your trolley with extras you simply don’t need.
  • Make a shopping list – It’s almost a given to make a list before you go shopping, but many of us still choose not to make one. Make yourself a list of the items you need and stick to it. There’s a reason why the milk and bread are often far apart or on the other side of the store at your local supermarket – You’ll have to pass many different aisles to get there buying items you don’t need.
  • BOGOF’s (buy one get one free) are not your friend – Realistically, ask yourself how many biscuits you can eat in a week or how many apples you’ll consume in the same time. Supermarkets often provide offers on stock they need to clear quickly. This normally means means the consumer ends up with a years supply of Pringles they didn’t actually want simply because it was a “good deal” at the time. Buy loose fruit and veg as it often works out cheaper!
  • Carry cash – By taking a set cash amount to the supermarket with you, you’ll be bound to stick within the allowance you have to spend on shopping. Taking cards tempts you to spend more than you actually need to on items you don’t really need.
  • Get rid of the vouchers – Many of us find ourselves surrounded by vouchers offering savings for our weekly shopping bills. Stop and ask yourself if you would have bought that product or item if you didn’t have the voucher? Vouchers tempt us to buy items we wouldn’t normally buy!
  • From top to bottom – When browsing the shelves at your local supermarket be sure to look from top to bottom at the products available. You’ll often find that supermarkets will place the most profitable products at eye level, causing the consumer the buy what the supermarket wants them to buy.

8 factors that affect your car insurance

Car insurance can be an annual headache for many of us, shopping around for the best quote or battling over the phone to stay with your current cover for a cheaper price. Insurance companies will create an insurance premium that judges how much of a risk you pose to them as a customer. If you are lower risk, you’re likely to have a lower premium.

car insurance factors

Make sure you're covered with a good premium!

Take a look at the Healthy Hideout’s top 8 factors that will affect your car insurance bill:

  • Profession – Some insurance companies will treat certain professions with more caution, so if your travelling long distances, working anti-social hours or carrying passengers your premium is bound to be higher than normal.
  • Job title – Without  pre-judgement about your work environment heirachy, it’s important to note that certain job titles will equate to a higher premium. People who are more inclined to stay indoors with less travelling are bound to have lower price tags.
  • Driving History – One of the most important factors – If you’ve been involved in many accidents or convicted for a serious motor offence you’ll almost certainly have to pay a much higher price for your cover. No-claims bonuses can really play importance with situations such as this.
  • Drive time – The more time you spend driving your vehicle, the more chance you’ll be involved in an accident. If you can commit lower mileage on your policy, your premium will of course be lower.
  • Car type – Many people don’t seem to realise that the type of car they drive actually effects the price of your policy. Brand new, popular or even classic cars can usually cost more to insure as they are considered more vulnerable to theft or repair.  Engine size and power also affects your policy negatively.
  • Where you keep your car – If your car is secure over night, your insurance cost will be greatly improved. If you keep your car locked in a garage, you’ll pay less than someone who parks their car on the street.
  • How you pay – If you choose to pay your annual insurance policy in one lump sum rather than monthly installments, it will cost significantly less. Insurance providers will charge you interest for the privilege of spreading payments.
  • Credit rating – Your credit rating will almost certainly come into play when purchasing an insurance premium. If you are in any way a liability for the provider to take on board your business, it’s more than likely that you’ll charged for the luxury.

Top 10 ways to save time!

2011 is now in full swing, but for many of us it’s quite a busy time of year. Schools are starting back up, new targets have been set in the office, and many of us have started stringent exercise regimes to lose any “Christmas weight.” For many of us, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything finished.  Here are the Healthy Hideout top ten tips for saving time and getting things done;

We can't control time - The key is good time management!

We can't control time - The key is good time management!

  1. Spread the load – If you live with family or friends, it important to not hold yourself responsible for maintaining a clean and tidy living environment. Discuss with your fellow home dwellers ways to spread the workload. Nobody likes doing chores, but we do them because they need doing.
  2. There’s a place for that – Organisation around the home can save vast amounts for time when you really need it. Take the kitchen for example – Utensils you use often should be placed to hand whilst rarely used items should be stored away. Items you use all the time such as your keys, phone or laptop should be stored in the same place each day.
  3. Be e-efficient! – If like many of us you use a computer on a daily basis, try to incorporate some of the priceless time-saving keyboard short cuts into your regular usage.  “Hotkeys” can be set up to make certain programmes, documents or websites open with a simple press of a button.
  4. Walk & Talk – A good way to socialise whilst exercising is to organise a short walk with a friend or family member. In contrast to sitting down with tea or coffee, the walk will release endorphins which when combined with the fresh air can help you de-stress and sleep better.
  5. Utilise lists – Research has shown that people who start to incorporate “to-do” lists increase their productivity and start to feel immediately in more control. Write down tasks that need doing and tick them off as you complete them. This keeps you aware of your priorities whilst helping you feel in control of your life.
  6. Shop on line – On line shopping is quickly becoming the norm as it can save you both time and energy. Set aside an hour to do your grocery shopping on line and you’ll not only save time not having to travel to the supermarket, there’s no queuing and no hassle of crowds. Let the shops do the hard work for you!
  7. Learn to say no – Saying yes to everyone and everything means you’ll be committing time, and we often tend to take on more than we can handle. You often feel like your letting people down, but saying no when it matters important. Some say that “saying no without offending is an art” – The Healthy Hideout agrees!
  8. Hire some help – For some, having a cleaner all year round is simply not practical financially. If this is the case for you, why not consider hiring a cleaner over seasonal periods to help lighten the load. Get the professionals in for the jobs that require a little more time, such as garden work or cleaning the oven.
  9. Clear the clutter – A clutter-free home or working environment keeps you calm, helping you focus on certain things your supposed to be doing. It can also save you time by finding things quicker – efficiency is key.
  10. Be aware of time eaters – The internet provides us with a great informative resource, convenient at our fingertips for when we need it. However, social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter can eat your valuable time. Try stopping yourself from using these sites regularly, and do something useful instead.

All of us at the Healthy Hideout know how important good time management is – And it can be difficult to keep on top of it. How do you manage your time?

Smoking: The True Cost to your Health

Need another reason to quit smoking? Why not spend 2 minutes of your time reading this short article that truly highlights the costs involved with smoking.

Many articles already address the importance of quitting smoking, with some focusing on the health risks involved and others highlighting the vanity & image related reasons. The Centre for Disease control estimates that around 23% of adults aged between 25 – 44 still smoke, whilst smoking remains the number one cause of preventable death in the US. It’s almost as if our health and how we look simply aren’t good enough reason to stop poisoning our bodies with such toxic smoke.

Bad for the body and your wallet

From research taken from Tobacco Free Kids as of October 2010, the average pack of cigarettes stood at whopping £5.59. Although cost does vary for region and applicable taxes involved, this is still quite a dent on your daily expenditure. Just imagine if you found £5 at the side of your bed each day your woke up? What would you do with it? Let the Healthy Hideout break it down for you:

  • One Week – It’s a saving of almost £40. That’s enough to eat away from the office at lunch everyday, fuel your car for a week, or take your other half to the cinema for a date.
  • One Month – £167 stays in your pocket, ready for you to splurge on that special pair of party shoes you’ve been waiting for. You could go for a special evening dinner with a friend, or book a weekend away at a your local spa for the ultimate relaxation experience.
  • One Year – Now things start to get a little serious – almost £2000 serious. This is enough to place a deposit on a brand new car, take an extravagant holiday away to somewhere tropical or even buy a top of the range home cinema system. With the average UK wage standing at around £16,000 this saving is an incredible 12.5% of your years earnings.
  • Five Years – If the above wasn’t already enough of an eye opener, then why not try a saving of nearly £10,000. This is enough to place a deposit on a house, clear any educational related debts or renovate your entire house.

In short, there is absolutely no limit to how much you can affect your wallet positively just by kicking the habit. If a parent were to stop smoking once their child was born, they’ll have saved around £35,000 by the time the child hits 18 years of age. If someone aged 30 decided to quit and put the money that they saved into a 6% savings account until they retired, they’d have an extra £150,000 waiting for them.

Kick the habit today

Many health studies already support infinite reasons of why quitting smoking benefits your body. If it takes realisation of the financial factors involved such as the ones mentioned above for you to quit, then why start today?

For more information on quitting, please visit the following NHS resource: http://smokefree.nhs.uk/