Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Ashley Park Financial Solutions on Smart Energy Meters

Ashley Park Financial Solutions were pleased to see that new research from British Gas has shown that the UK public are getting on board with smart energy meters.
After conducting a survey of its smart meter customers, British Gas found that more than half of those asked are now saving money with these devices, with nearly two thirds of those surveyed saving up to £75 per year. The smart energy meters promote energy efficiency in the home. 
Nine out of ten customers said that they were taking simple daily steps to reduce their energy use. This could be down the the fact that customers can actually see their usage with a smart meter, which displays the cost of the energy currently being used.
The smart energy meter works with a simple traffic light system that serves to encourage people to turn down the amount of gas and electricity they're using where possible. The survey also found that 79% of people using a smart energy meter are now much more aware of their energy consumption..
British Gas are confident that these meters will inspire customers to make small changes, which will in turn make a huge difference to their bills.  
By 2020, smart meters will be install in all British homes, replacing  existing gas and electricity meters. Development of smart meters advanced rapidly in recent months and British Gas hope the will benefit customers greatly. Over a million meters have already been installed in homes and businesses free of charge. 
The new Hive smart thermostat is also being rolled out by British Gas, with more than ten thousand homes undergoing installation since it was launched in September. The thermostat can be linked to a mobile app so customers can control hot water and heating supplies from their phones. 
Ashley Park Financial Solutions think this is great, especially if it saves money! 

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Thursday, 23 January 2014

Money Saving Tips when Buying a Car

Here at Ashley Park Financial Solutions we know how difficult it can be to get around without your own car. But we also realise how expensive it can be to purchase and run a car, especially when money is tight. That’s why we’ve decided to bring you some money saving tips to help you save when you spend on a run-around.

Before you head out to make a purchase, be sure to do a bit of digging so you know what you’re dealing with. Look for cars that hold their value. For example, the Fiat 500 is one of the best new petrol cars for retaining value. A 69bhp 1.2l model in Sport trim is worth £6,275 after 3 years, which is an incredible 66.7% of its original £9,410 price tag. Lasting value is important in case you ever need to sell the car on yourself.

Most for your Money
You should also be aware of cars with good safety records and mileage per gallon. There’s not a lot of point in buying a car that will fall to bits or cost you twice as much in petrol. It’s a good idea to shop with a model in mind and a price that you’re willing to pay.

Stand Your Ground
When you’re actually at the garage, don’t feel badgered by the salesperson. If you know what you want you can stick to your guns without being dissuaded. And don’t be made to feel like a cheapskate! Some dealers will try to intimidate you into spending more, but don’t fall for it.

Deals and Trade-ins
Try to time your purchase to coincide with a showroom deal. Dealers often offer discounts on a quarterly basis to meet their targets. Aim towards late March or late December and you might just bag a bargain! If you’re hoping to trade in your current car, talk to several dealers then compare their offers. The best thing to do is consider the amount of money you’ll pay after the trade. This is the true cost of the deal.

Internet Brokers
For those of you that are clear about the make and model you want, internet purchasing can be an option. Internet car brokers bulk-buy popular models then pass part of the savings on to their customers. There are a number of online brokers including Honest John and Drive the Deal.

The main thing to bear in mind is that this is a big purchase and you should take a lot of time about making the right decision. If you have any other tips or advice, we’d love to hear from you! Comment below, or follow Ashley Park Financial Solutions on Twitter.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Keeping the Kids Busy For Free!

At Ashley Park Financial Solutions we know that with summer coming up, you’re going to have to find a way to keep the kids busy. However with rising prices this is easier said than done. So how can you keep the kids busy and happy this summer for free!

Being a parent is such a thankless job isn’t it? You’ve got so many commitments to meet that often it’s seems easier to leave the kids sat in front of the telly, just so you can get everything done. However when you do get time to spend with your kids, everything that really seems fun seems like a drain on the bank balance. A drain you don’t need when you’ve got a thousand other costs to think about.

But the great thing about kids is that they’re imaginative. The whole world can be amazing to them; all you have to do is tap into that innate awe and wonder. Why not try taking them on a nature walk? It’s free, and the natural beauty of the landscape is sure to have them awestruck in no time.

How about going one step further though. Get your kids to collect things from the nature walk; stray leaves, small twigs, pieces of bark etc. Then when you get home, find a few spare notepads and some glue (with kids you have to have glue in the house to keep it in one piece) and task them with making a scrapbook. Give them carte blanche to make any pattern they want and they’ll be occupied for hours.

Or if this isn’t for you, then why not try something tried and tested; the beach. The beach is 100% free, you can work their imaginations by helping them build various structures out of sand and the sea means you can even give them free swimming lessons. Talk about a bargain.

Of course we don’t all have that option; not everybody lives by the sea. So why not try to get your kids thinking instead. Take them to a museum. Most cities have museums these days which have something especially designed for kids and these museums tend to have days where you can get in for free; or at a heavy discount.

At Ashley Park Financial solutions we know your spare  time with your kids is precious; don’t let money get in the way of that, take advantage of these 100% free ways to keep your kids happy and occupied. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Drop in Cases of Retail Administration

New Year figures indicate a drop of 6% in the number of retail companies entering administration in 2013. There were 183 retail businesses that entered administration in 2013, which is the same figure as that of 2011. In 2012, 192 retailers went into administration. Ashley Park Financial Solutions are certainly glad to see things moving in the right direction.

There was, however an elevated number of retailers entering administration in the final quarter of the year, with 41 retailers in financial trouble compared with 37 for the same period in 2012.

The data was compiled by Deloitte, and their spokesperson has stated that this drop in cases of administration shows a rebalancing of the high street. He cited the losses of Blockbuster and Jessops and predicted that we are less likely to have major high street casualties like these again this year.

While it doesn’t necessarily mean that the demand for high street retail products is increasing, it does indicate that the retailers left standing can benefit from the gaps in the market. Christmas trade was reasonable, though Internet services still seemed preferable, with many shoppers opting to click and collect. January sales have so far been busy, with John Lewis reporting healthy sales.

According to the figures, there has been an overall drop in businesses entering administration this year from 1,833 to 1,629. The only sector that saw an increase in administrations was the health and social care sector. 

For money saving tips, recommendations or more stories like this, follow Ashley Park Financial Solutions on Twitter.