What you need to know about Aldi’s and Lidl’s UK supermarkets

Up until the 1990s, the UK had a pretty well established pecking order of supermarkets. From Waitrose and M&S at the top, to Asda at the more budget end, everyone pretty much shopped within their expected buying demographic. And then Aldi and Lidl arrived and changed everything. Where did they come from? Aldi and Lidl are German brands that landed in the UK retail market in the early 90s. Initially, they were designed to cater purely for those looking for cheap deals and low cost food and household items. However, today between them these two German giants now have a 12% share of the UK grocery market, which is spread across many different demographics. Lidl has plans to open another 60 shops in the UK across the next year and both are likely to remain a force to be reckoned with. Which means that even if you might not have thought about shopping there before you could now be one of hundreds of shoppers considering it. How to shop at Aldi and Lidl if you’ve never been there before L


How is the move to smart energy meters going to help you?

Energy efficiency presents a big challenge, for the UK and countries all over the world. After the EU asked member governments to look at ways to improve energy efficiency, the UK government decided on an ambitious plan to install smart energy meters in every UK home by 2020. That’s more than 26 million households across England, Wales and Scotland with only two and a half years to go. Although, predictably, the government scheme has run into a few issues and deadlines have had to be extended, on the whole most agree the scheme is a positive move. But what are the benefits of smart meters, why are we getting them and what are the issues that have held the roll out back so far? Smart vs. dumb energy meters Smart meters are primarily being used to give consumers more control over energy usage. A smart meter in your home will show you exactly how much energy is costing you – and how much of it you get through. This should make it cheaper as you’ll be able to get a better idea of ho

The big business of charitable giving and how your donations are spent

Charity begins at home and in the UK we’re keen givers to great causes. According to statistics from the UK branch of the National Philanthropic Trust 61% of people donated to charity last year. Online giving increased in 2016 by more than 7% compared to the year before, with a fairly equal split in charitable causes between medical research, animal welfare and children or young people’s charities. How big is the UK charity sector? At the end of 2016, data from the Charity Register indicated that there were around 167,100 charities in England and Wales. In 2015 – 2016 the UK voluntary sector as a whole received £7.6 billion in legacies, gifts and donations. So, in many ways, charities have become big business in the UK. Inevitably that has led to a few situations where money kindly donated has not made it to the right places. The founder of a breast cancer charity the National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline – for example, employed her daughter using charitable cash, and in

Update on the leaseshold property scandal

The world of leasehold property has been a hot topic this year. For the first time many people have begun to question the logic behind paying for a property over which someone else still retains a measure of control. This has come into sharp focus with the leasehold scandal, which illustrated just how costly it can be for homeowners to buy a property that is ‘leased.’ Now, though, there is some light at the end of the tunnel with potential government intervention in this rather shady part of the property world. The problem with leasehold Most properties in the UK are available either ‘freehold’ or ‘leasehold.’ A freehold property purchase transfers entire ownership to the buyer, now and forever, as long as any mortgage payments are kept up. A leasehold property is sold on the basis of a long lease – for example 150 years – and when that lease expires ownership of the property reverts back to the freeholder. Most flats in the UK are sold on the basis of leasehold and ma

The Funny side of Munny – yes there is one!

“Do you want to make money from Facebook? It’s simple. Just go to your computer, turn it off – and go to work!” This is just one of the many jokes that you’ll find online about making cash. Although money is a pretty serious topic for all of us there are times when you need to dial up the humour on subjects like taxes, budgets, not quite living within your means and life envy of the seriously wealthy. And now might just be the perfect moment. After all, it’s that time of year when the sun is even less likely to make an appearance, we’re back to the routine of school and work, and your summer tan has pretty much faded. Right now, we all need a reason to … Paying taxes is no laughing matter… Although maybe it is because over the years HMRC has received what it considers to be some pretty hilarious excuses for not submitting tax returns. Not a joke exactly (although they obviously made the tax office laugh), the tried and test excuses from UK businesses that missed thos

How to turn getting fit and staying so into cash!

Obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of death. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation one in four British adults is obese. That puts the British high up the world ‘obesity league’ above countries such as Ireland and Spain. Not only that but one in 16 people has diabetes in the UK, mostly Type 2, which is linked to poor lifestyle choices. Plus, nearly 10% of children in the first year of school in the UK are overweight. So, the UK is not exactly a shining example of good health. The problem Many causes have been put forward as to why we have become such an unhealthy nation. From desk jobs and longer working hours, to the increase in TV time and addictions to unhealthy foods, there are lots of opportunities to become fatter and less fit. However, what stands out as a bigger problem than any other is a lack of motivation. We’re all happy to like Instagram photos that provide #fitspo but when it comes to getting up and achieving that for ourselves – not

How to avoid fake news and burst your “filter bubble”

Filter bubbles and fake news are not the same thing, but they both have an enormous impact on the news and information you consume, and therefore the opinions you are likely to form. If you want to remain open-minded and take a balanced view you need to be able spot fake news and burst your information filter bubble. ‘Fake news’ has been much in the headlines recently – mostly thanks to its hijack as a term by Donald Trump. While its purported influence in major historic events, such as the 2016 presidential election in America and Brexit referendum in the UK, is unnerving the attention it has generated has been useful. Because for the first time, many of us are beginning to appreciate how we digest the news and how it’s completely possible to exist in an information bubble of your own making. How did we get here? The personalisation of news has changed the way that we digest world events. 50 years or so ago we might have all watched the same news channels and read the same ne