Three Reasons You Should Give Up Booze In 2023

How many mornings have you had where you’ve woken up and promised yourself you’re never going to drink again? Let’s face it, we’ve all had them. But how many of you have actually committed to it?

We all know how bad alcohol is for us and many of us towards the end of the year partake in dry January, but why not go the whole hog and give up booze completely in 2023?

There are many benefits of giving up alcohol, and it genuinely could be a lifechanging decision, particularly if you do have a problematic relationship with the substance. In which case, it won’t be easy, with alcohol detox often much more effective when done with professional support.

Come out of that though and you’ll certainly feel the benefit…

Physical Benefits

First and foremost, you’ll feel some real physical benefits. Beginning with the lack of a hangover. Imagine a Saturday or Sunday morning feeling as fresh as a daisy to hit the ground running and make the most of your day?

Stopping drinking will lead to a better night’s sleep, more energy and ultimately more time to do the things you love.

Alongside this, alcohol can have a significant impact on your skin and hair, leaving it dull and lifeless as well as leading to problems such as dry and irritable skin. 

The health of your liver will also improve and allow your body to concentrate on other parts of the body, leaving you feeling much healthier and fresh.

Mental Benefits

The benefits on mental health are also huge. Ever had the beer fear? Well that won’t happen anymore. You also can’t potentially embarrass yourself while under the influence of alcohol. 

Alcohol can significantly increase anxiety levels and be a real catalyst for depression too. 

Giving up alcohol can have the opposite reaction to your mental health. Successfully giving up can increase confidence as you know you have the will-power to do it, which will have a knock on effect on your everyday life too.

Financial Benefits

And all the while your overall health improves, the health of your bank balance will also improve. Alcohol doesn’t come cheap, and it can have a real impact on your finances, with many alcoholics suffering real difficulty, skipping bills to fund their addiction. 

Think about how much you spend on alcohol each week and what that equates to over a year. Now, think about what you could spend that money on – a holiday, a new car, pair of shoes, or even just a healthy increase in your savings. That alone could make giving up booze in 2023 all the more worthwhile.

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Tips for Off-Roading on Your Road Trip Travels

There’s a certain appeal to off-roading. For one thing, it’s one of the best ways to explore the wilderness and see parts of a region that you wouldn’t be able to see from the road. Plus you get to test your driving skills in a new and challenging environment.

However, off-roading can also be dangerous, and it’s important to be prepared before you head out. Here are some tips for off-roading on your road trip.

Make Sure Your Car Can Handle It

You may think your car is the best in the world, but even if it’s served you well, that doesn’t mean it can handle off-roading. In fact, most cars aren’t made for off-roading and can sustain serious damage if you take them out on the trails.

So, it’s wise to do some research on whether or not whatever car you choose to drive on the trip can handle the terrain. 

First, check the owner’s manual. Odds are, it will give you some insight into whether or not your car can go off-road. Look for features like all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, which are typically indicative of a car that can handle more challenging terrain. Newer models of the Ford Bronco, for instance, come with great off-roading capabilities.

If you’re still unsure, there are several websites and forums dedicated to off-roading where you can ask people for advice. 

Walk the Route First

A surprising number of people try to off-road without scouting the route first. 

This is a bad call for different reasons. First, you could end up getting lost. Second, you may not realize how challenging the terrain is until it’s too late. And third, if there are any obstacles in your way, you won’t know how to get around them.

The last thing you want is to get stuck in the middle of nowhere with no way out. 

So, before you even think about taking your car off-road, take a walk or hike the route first. That way, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into and can plan accordingly. For example, you may discover that there’s a huge rock in your way that you’ll need to find a way around.

Don’t Do it Alone

Solo travel can be very liberating but trying to off-road by yourself is a recipe for disaster. If something goes wrong, you won’t have anyone there to help you. 

At the very least, you should have someone else with you in the car. But ideally, you should have a group of people with you so that everyone can pitch in if things go sideways.

It’s also a good idea to let someone back home know where you’re going and when you expect to be back. That way, if something does happen and you don’t return when you said you would, someone will know to come looking for you.

Off-roading can be a great way to see the country better. However, it’s important to be prepared before you head out. Make sure your car can handle it, walk the route first, don’t do it alone, and be prepared for the worst. By following these tips, you can ensure that your off-roading adventure is a safe and enjoyable one.

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A guide to becoming a better novice trader in the United Kingdom

As a novice trader in the United Kingdom, it is crucial to become familiar with different types of options trading to make informed decisions when participating in the market. This guide will provide an overview of the UK’s main types of trading: share dealing, contract for difference (CFD), spread betting, and foreign exchange (forex).

Share dealing is the most common type of trading in the UK and involves buying and selling shares of companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. CFDs are similar to share dealing but allow traders to speculate on the price movement of a security without actually owning the underlying asset. Spread betting allows traders to bet in the direction of a security’s price movement, and forex trading is the act of buying and selling foreign currencies.

When choosing a broker, it is important to compare fees, account minimums, and the types of securities that each firm offers. It is also essential to read reviews and assess customer service offerings before selecting a provider.

Once you have chosen a broker, opened an account, and funded it, you will be ready to start trading. Before placing your first trade, however, it is crucial to develop a trading strategy. This strategy will help you make informed decisions about which trades to place and how to manage your risk.

A fundamental trading strategy

A fundamental trading strategy should consider the following:

  • Your financial goals. What are you looking to achieve by trading? 
  • Your risk tolerance. How much financial risk can you take on? 
  • Your time horizon. How long do you plan on holding your position? 
  • Your exit strategy. How will you know when to sell?

A money management plan

In addition to a solid trading strategy, it is also essential to have a sound money management plan. This plan should consider how much capital you are willing to risk on each trade and how you will manage your overall portfolio risk.

Some key money management considerations include:

  • Position sizing. How many shares or contracts should you buy? 
  • Stop-loss orders. At what point will you exit a losing position? 
  • Take-profit orders. At what point will you exit a winning position? 
  • Risk-to-reward ratio. What is your target profit versus your stop-loss? 
  • Diversification. How can you reduce your overall portfolio risk?

What are the risks of day trading in the UK?

There are a few risks to be aware of when day trading in the UK:

  • Market risk. The market can move against you, and you can lose money. 
  • Liquidity risk. There may not always be someone to buy or sell your security at your desired price. 
  • Margin call risk. If the value of your account falls below the required margin, your broker may force you to deposit more money or close out your positions. 
  • High-frequency trading risk. Algorithmic traders can place orders faster than humans, impacting the prices you pay or receive.

How can I overcome these risks?

The best way to overcome these risks is to have a solid trading strategy and money management plan which takes into consideration your financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Diversifying your portfolio and only trading with money you can afford to lose is also essential.

When day trading in the UK, choosing a reputable broker with low fees, good customer service, and a robust platform is crucial.

What can you trade in the UK?

The UK’s main markets are the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). The LSE offers a wide range of securities, including shares, bonds, and derivatives. Futures contracts and listed options are also traded on the LSE. The trading hours for these products vary depending on the security.

The AIM is focused on smaller companies and is considered to be riskier. Other popular markets in the UK include the FTSE 100 index, the GBP/USD currency pair, and gold.

Conclusion

Day trading in the UK can be a profitable way to invest your money. However, choosing a reputable broker, developing a solid trading strategy, and having a sound money management plan is essential. Remember to diversify your portfolio and only trade with money you can afford to lose.

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Five Home Renovations That Could Give You a Return on Investment

Renovating an entire home can cost hundreds of thousands. Instead of doing so, many households are turning to only renovating certain parts of their home.

Whether they might be renovating to sell, or looking to grow their property’s long-term value, there are certain areas of the home where attention should be drawn to. This is because renovating these areas could help to provide a much greater return on investment.

Firstly, it is important to address any underlying issues that the property may already have, such as mould. These issues should be prioritised before any cosmetic changes are to be made. This is because sorting these out can help to prevent the property from losing any value.

Kitchens and Bathrooms

Renovating both kitchens and bathrooms could help to make a noticeable impact upon potential buyers and valuers.

While entirely updating either can be costly, there are ways to update them without spending too much. For instance, updating the cabinets with a new paint or finish, and handles and knobs can freshen up the kitchen without the need to remove and replace existing tiles for instance.

If the budget can extend, it may be worth considering knocking down any walls surrounding the kitchen to allow for a more open plan layout.

When it comes to bathrooms, little changes can be made which can make a big difference. This could include replacing only chipped or damaged tiles and changing the taps and showerhead. These can help to create a new feel, without making any drastic changes such as plumbing.

Many people consider their bathroom as a kind of personal “retreat” from the world, so little changes you can make to encourage this could make a big difference. Replacing chipped tiles, replacing outdated vanities, and changing the taps and showerhead can all contribute to creating a new look and feel, without needing to make big changes to plumbing and the like.

The Garden

The front garden, or porch, is the first thing that prospective buyers will see when viewing your property. As such, it is important to utilise this area to make a good impression. Updates could include clearing up the path, replacing the driveway paving or the front door. Further and less costly updates could include hanging flower baskets outside the front door and planting colourful flowers, as well as freshening up the exterior paint.

Often, low maintenance gardens are appealing to prospective homeowners who may have limited gardening knowledge or experience so this is also something to consider.

Increasing Natural Light in the Home

Lighting is key in changing how someone might view a property.

Depending on factors such as structure and layout, adding or expanding windows or skylights to introduce more natural light could contribute towards increasing the value of a property.

A cheaper option could also be to strategically place mirrors to make the space feel bigger and brighter.

Increasing Storage Space

Providing prospective homeowners or new tenants with additional space to store their belongings can really help to increase the appeal, and thus value, of a property.

Ways of doing so could include adding in built-in wardrobes, or a walk-in storage room. Additionally, improving a garage’s capacity for storage space can also make a big difference too.

New Paint

A fresh coat of paint can freshen up any space and increase its appeal. This is also a relatively low-cost renovation option and can even be done without seeking a professional painter.

It is thus certainly worth researching which paint colours are the most popular at the moment, as this will help to make the property appear more modern.

How Can a New Renovation be Financed?

Often, many may dip into their savings to fund any renovations to their property. Alternatively, there are a number of finance routes that can be pursued. These include the following:

  • Refinancing a mortgage
  • Applying for a construction loan
  • Withdrawing money from a mortgage offset account
  • Taking out a personal loan
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How To Save Money on Your Utility Bills Amidst Rising Energy Costs

Utility bills can be expensive. The average gas and electric bill in the UK in 2021 was £111.6 per month (or £1,339 per year), according to the Office for National Statistics.

The energy price cap has risen, and it means a significant jump in household bills for millions around the UK.

The increase is expected to add an extra £700 to the average household’s annual gas and electricity bills.

First and foremost, you should be sure to check whether you’re eligible for grants to help pay such bills. There are certain criteria for these grants, which include;

  • If you have reached state pension age;
  • If you have a disability;
  • If you have no or low income;
  • Or, in some cases, if you have missed payments to your energy supplier.

Check if you could be using less electricity and gas around the house

There are some extremely easy ways to reduce how much electricity and gas you use which will, in turn, lower your utilities bill.

  1. Use your tumble dryer less, if you have one – try to dry your clothes outside or by an open window instead.
  2. Run your washing machine at 30 degrees instead of at 60 degrees, and make sure you wash a full load when you can rather than doing multiple smaller loads.
  3. Use LED or other energy-efficient light bulbs.
  4. Turn off any plug sockets at the wall if you’re not using them.
  5. Make sure your fridge is set between 3 and 5 degrees and regularly defrost your freezer.

Should you be shopping around for a different energy provider right now?

Due to extremely high energy costs of late, energy regulator Ofgem announced that the price cap on costs would be rising by a whopping 54%, as of April 1st.

Saving money is vital and many will be wondering if they should be switching energy suppliers to try and avoid the huge uplift in some way, even if the government has announced plans to help with the costs.

As a result, switching energy suppliers in the pursuit of cheaper rates is unfortunately not really an option for most people in the UK at the moment.

Why are energy prices going up in the UK?

The energy price cap is the maximum amount a utility company can charge an average customer in the UK per year for the amount of electricity and gas they use.

The price cap has risen from £1,277 to £1,971 per year, an increase of £693 or 54%. This represents a far sharper hike than the previous increase of 12%, announced by Ofcom in October 2021.

Why is the energy price cap rising?

A combination of global factors led to the rise of wholesale gas prices.

The decision to raise the price cap was largely attributed to the surge in natural gas prices, which climbed to around four times its previous cost ahead of the Ofcom announcement.

Increased demand for gas from China and Asia and a cold winter in Europe in 2020-2021 – which meant stored gas supplies were used – pushed prices up.

Supply-chain issues have also created problems, limiting the amount of gas available to Britons in the last year.

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How to maximise your chances of getting a mortgage

Getting a mortgage is no easy endeavour. House prices are consistently increasing with the average UK house price now sitting at more than £270,000. Rises in house prices markedly outpace wage increases. This makes it much harder for mortgage applicants to gain acceptance among lenders. Despite these roadblocks there are actions you can take to maximise your chances of getting a mortgage.

Save For a Larger Deposit

The easiest way to enhance your probability of being accepted for a mortgage is to save for a larger deposit. The larger you deposit, the more ownership you will have of the house relative to the loan amount. If the property price is £280,000 and you put down £70,000 as your deposit, you will require a mortgage of £210,000. In this example the loan to value of the property would be the mortgage amount divided by the purchase price. That would result in an LTV of 75%.

With a lower loan to value more mortgages at better rates will be available to you. The reason for this is because as a borrower you present less risk to the lender. The more money you have in the house, the more there is for the lender to recover should repayments not be made.

Pay Off Debts & Don’t Apply for Any New Credit 

Pay off any debts you have in full as quickly as possible. Set up a realistic plan to pay back any debts you have before making an application. Mortgage providers are ultimately most concerned with a borrower’s ability to service their mortgage payments. If you have existing debt you will need to make monthly payments, reducing the amount of disposable income available to pay your mortgage. Anything you do to decrease outgoing and increase disposable income helps your mortgage application.

Taking out any new additional loans before applying for a mortgage will hinder your chances of a successful application. The new debt you’ve acquired will be recorded on your credit line. This is a big red flag to prospective lenders who will check any outstanding credit you have via credit rating agencies. Thinking of getting new furniture on credit? Considering a new finance hire agreement for a new car? Think again. These likely unnecessary purchases will adversely impact your ability to get accepted for a mortgage.

Check Your Credit Rating & Make Sure You’re on the Electoral Register?

Every Lender will check your credit rating via a credit rating agency such as Experian or Equifax. Before applying for a mortgage it’s imperative you check your score. Being aware of your score and knowing how to improve it will help maximise your chance of mortgage acceptance.

Credit agencies are aware of your entire credit history as well as current loan amounts outstanding.  Late payments and defaults adversely affect the score. Your payment history impacts 35% of your entire credit score. Even one late payment can lower your score. We’d advise setting up direct debits to ensure all debts are serviced in a timely manner to avoid this.

Credit usage has the next largest impact on your credit score at 30%. This is how much you spend on revolving credit e.g. credit cards relative to your total credit limit. It shows how reliant you are on available credit for regular spending. Lenders will want to see you aren’t overly reliant on available credit and your score will be penalised for excessive usage. To be safe ensure you spend less than 25% of your available credit usage.

Credit history length makes up 15% of your credit score. Generally the longer your credit history the higher your credit score provided you’ve paid debts on time and not defaulted. We advise building up a credit history for multiple years ahead of applying for a mortgage. Credit mix makes up the final component of your credit score at 10%. Generally a more diverse credit mix is favoured by lenders.

When applying for a mortgage you will need proof of residency. One easy way to do this is to ensure you are registered on the electoral register. This validates you have a permanent residence and often increases your credit score.

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3 Lifestyle Tips For Hard Workers

Whether you work in a restaurant kitchen, are a long-haul truck driver, or regularly put in long hours at the office, being a hard worker is not easy! You are an asset to whomever you work for because not everyone works as hard as you do, but sometimes you can get taken advantage of because of your hard-working nature. If you’re always thinking of ways to work more and constantly putting in overtime, read on. Here are 3 helpful lifestyle tips for hard workers.

Take Time Off

Even those who love their jobs and have a strong work ethic need to take time off at least once a year or so if possible. To avoid burnout, you need a little time away from your job to do the things you love and spend time with your family. If you aren’t able to get paid time off, save up some money so that you are able to take the vacation (or staycation) that you need.

Additionally, if anything happens to you you need to be comfortable taking time off to heal. For example, if you are injured in a truck accident you may be inclined to go back to work right away and work through your pain, but that is not the smart thing to do. Sick pay is available at most jobs for a reason, so be sure to use it at the times you really need it and get your body back to 100% before returning to your regular work schedule.

Take Breaks

Many hard workers find it difficult to take breaks because they know there is a lot that needs to be done and they’d rather just work through their breaks in order to meet their deadlines. For others, they may find that taking a break slows them down or makes them tired. Either way, it is important for both your mind and your body to take breaks when you can. This simple practice will actually end up improving your work in the long run.

Stand Up For Yourself

Sometimes when people are very hard workers, their employers take notice of this and ask then to take on even more duties because they know that they will get the job done right. Unfortunately, because of this you can easily get taken advantage of.

To avoid this, make sure to always stand up for yourself and only take on the duties that you know you can handle. You should also ask for extra compensation if you are asked to take on a significant amount of more work!

Having a strong work ethic is a great quality to have. Just try to stand your ground and give yourself breaks when you need to and you will be just fine!

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3 Things To Do If You’re In A Multiple-Car Accident

While no one wants to be in any kind of car accident, what can make this situation worse is if you’re in an accident involving multiple cars on the freeway. Not only is there a chance that you could be in an accident involving a large truck, but having more cars in the accident can make it harder for you to get the help that you need. Knowing this, it’s wise to think ahead to what you should or shouldn’t do in the event that you do get in a pileup on the freeway.

To help you in figuring all of this out, here are three things to do if you’re in a multiple-car accident.

Clear The Road If You Can

In any car accident, getting out of the way of oncoming traffic is going to be key to your safety. But if you’re in an accident involving a number of vehicles, clearing off of the road is going to be even more important.

If you’re able to, meaning that your car still works enough to move off of the road and that you’re physically capable of safely moving it, then you should try to move as far out of the way of the road as possible. Not only will this help to get you out of the way of danger, but it will also help to keep your car from being the reason for other people to get involved in this accident as well.

Consider Staying In Your Car While You Wait

With everything that’s going on around you, you might be tempted to get out of the car to see what’s going on. But to keep yourself the safest, it is usually better for you to stay in your car while you wait for help to come.

If you take the chance of getting out of your car, you make yourself much more likely to get hit by another car that might get involved in the accident. But by staying in your car, you’ll have much more protection in the event that more cars wind up in the pileup with you.

Don’t Take On Any Of The Blame

When you do finally get out of your vehicle and are attempting to document what happened for law enforcement and insurance purposes, you’ll need to be very careful about what you say and to whom.

If you’re wanting your insurance to cover the costs of the accident for you, you’ll want to be sure that you don’t take on any of the blame for what happened. After an investigation takes place, blame will then be assigned where they see fit. But if you say you’re sorry or that something was your fault, it will be hard to fight this in court later on.

If you ever get in a car accident where multiple cars are involved, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you know what to do.

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Earnity’s Dan Schatt and Domenic Carosa and Expound UX’s Role

In December 2021, Earnity raised more than $20 million, with $15 million from the stock offerings it closed with Bitcoin mining firm BitNile. The company’s goal is to develop and launch an online platform that will enable users to learn about crypto while earning and collecting tokens. Under the leadership of executives Dan Schatt and Domenic Carosa, Earnity looks to solve the hindrances holding back mass crypto adoption rates. One way to promote cryptocurrency, especially to new users, is through seamless user experience (UX).

There was a time when crypto was only for the most tech-savvy internet users. However, as the digital currency’s popularity booms, so does its target market. In fact, in late 2021, it was reported that more than 100 million people worldwide had already bought in some form of cryptocurrency. So, the days that blockchain trading services were focused on backend engineering and cryptography are gone. Instead, developers should give the UX part more attention and effort.

Because not all crypto traders and buyers have enough experience with the financial system, some, if not most, of them hope to be guided and helped when completing crypto transactions. Blockchain services providers and crypto-based applications should educate the mass users and deliver a smooth and frictionless experience.

UX can also reduce the learning curve that comes with understanding and using the many decentralized finances (DeFi) and crypto protocols and products. Concepts like crypto accounts, private and public keys, block height, and others can be challenging to comprehend, especially for new users. More users will likely get on board the crypto train by designing the platform to be customer-centric, easily navigable, and intuitive.

Earnity looks to help demystify users’ crypto journey. Dan Schatt and Domenic Carosa understand that users, especially newcomers, have to bear the heavy load of understanding all of the value propositions and reasons behind the existence of different kinds of crypto. The Earnity team intends to address the massive crypto access bottleneck by creating an easy-to-use, highly secure, social-first, and user-driven platform.

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Earnity’s Dan Schatt and Domenic Carosa on Crypto’s Rising Popularity

As a company led by fintech veterans Dan Schatt and Domenic Carosa, Earnity believes that crypto and decentralized finance will play an enormous role in making access possible for all. While crypto has gone from super niche to mainstream fringe in a little more than a decade, there is still a lot of work to be done to make crypto simple, safe, and enjoyable to use.

Cryptocurrencies have been around for quite some time now, but they have only recently become popular. Bitcoin is the most popular among the cryptocurrency ranks, but many others are gaining traction. Below are some of the most popular cryptocurrencies.

The Rise of Crypto

Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency and is still the most popular. This crypto was created in 2009 and is used for all sorts of online transactions.

Ethereum is a newer cryptocurrency created in 2015. It is like Bitcoin but still has marked differences. Ethereum is used to build decentralized applications, which run on a network of computers instead of one central server.

Litecoin is another popular cryptocurrency created in 2011. It has similarities with Bitcoin but differs in several ways. Litecoin, for example, is used for smaller transactions because it has  lower transaction costs than Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Cash is among the newer cryptocurrencies. Created in 2017, Bitcoin Cash is a fork of Bitcoin and is used for larger transactions.

Ripple is another cryptocurrency gaining popularity recently. Created in 2012, Ripple is used for small and large transactions. It is faster and cheaper than Bitcoin.

As Dan Schatt and Domenic Carosa point out, there are many other cryptocurrencies whose popularity has risen impressively over the past few years. And with the crypto market expected to grow even further in the future, it is vital to stay up-to-date on all the latest developments, which platforms such as Earnity are designed for.

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