The holiday period is a time where many of us may spend a little more than usual, and we may find ourselves needing to stretch our money a little further. As we enter another New Year, now is as good a time as any to re-evaluate our spending habits and get our finances in order.

Whether you’re a first time buyer who is looking to take that first step onto the property ladder or an existing homeowner wanting to move up to the next rung, Brian Murphy, Head of Lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau, shares his top budgeting tips for 2022.

  1. Cut costs where you can

Cutting costs is undoubtedly essential, but they also need to be feasible. It’s good to understand what income you have compared to your outgoings, so you can prioritise what you do or don’t need. For example, what subscriptions or memberships do you have that you’re not using? Are there any household bills you can get better deals on? Any extra cash you have leftover can then go into a savings account to put towards that all-important deposit.

  1. Create a budget

Organising your finances is key to starting your savings journey. Using a budgeting calculator can help keep you on track with what income and outgoings you have, be that for your rent, mortgage or other expenses, while also keeping you on target for any savings you want to make.

  1. Save little and often

Saving doesn’t need to be daunting, nor does it need to leave you struggling financially. Rather than setting aside large, unrealistic sums of money that will leave you struggling for the rest of the month, saving small amounts here and there can make a difference to long-term savings goals. It can be as simple as buying cheaper alternatives to your favourite snacks in the supermarket. Some banks also provide the option of ‘saving round-ups’ meaning if, for example, you spend £1.80 on an item, the account will ‘round-up’ the transaction and put aside 20p in a separate pot. This way you can save little and often without even realising. And you’ll be surprised at how quickly you saving pot grows.

  1. Consider your priorities

When it comes to your finances, planning is crucial. Depending on how quickly you want to reach your end goal, you may choose to cut out all luxuries like holidays and meals, putting every spare penny towards your savings target. Someone else may want to keep their luxuries but decide against getting a new car.

The key is to get the balance right for you. The best thing to do is sit down, make a budget, and plan what you want to achieve and spend your money on.

  1. Shop around for the best deal

A mortgage is one of the biggest financial commitments anyone can make. Whether you’re a new buyer or looking to remortgage, make sure you shop around for the best deals that suit you and don’t get sucked into headline rates. Speaking with a mortgage adviser will help you to understand what the best fit for you will be.

Four in ten households are choosing to scale back festive spending in 2021 compared to 2020, Paragon Bank research has revealed.


This is despite the average Christmas budget having increased by 12% year-on-year. The average household is scheduled to spend £580.30 in 2021 – this is up from £517.10 in 2020.

Nearly one in four (23%) said they expected to spend more, and 36% planned to spend about the same as they did last year.

Men had a higher average planned Christmas spend than women – with men spending £621 while women planned to spend an average of £539.40.

The area in which most Christmas spenders plan to spend more is in food, with a fifth of respondents (20%) saying their spend will increase. This was followed by presents (16%) and days out and experiences (15%).

Nearly a third of Brits (32%) plan to spend less on decorations this year, with a quarter (24%) saying they will also spend less on alcohol.


Derek Sprawling, savings director at Paragon Bank, commented on the findings of the research:

“The results of our festive spend analysis paint a nuanced picture – although average spend is up on last year, four in ten people report that they are reducing their festive budget. This indicates that the 23% that are growing their budget are planning a considerable enough increase to boost the average spend above last year’s figure.

“The categories attracting additional cash this year are food, presents and experiences and activities. This is likely reflective of the fact many will be hoping to cater for more guests this year and to enjoy more festive activities after those were limited by restrictions last year, although the current climate of uncertainty will have some households reconsidering plans.

“Anxieties around the economy and spiralling inflation, in addition to the threat of a new lockdown, will likely be significant factors in influencing people’s spending around the festive period.”

Burglaries and home invasions are serious incidents causing  fear and anxiety for tenants and homeowners. There were roughly 267,000 burglaries reported in England and Wales in the year up until March 2021, which although represents a significant decline over recent decades – still shows that burglaries are common in society. Undoubtedly, some areas are more susceptible to higher burglary rates than others, particularly where social inequalities remain. 

Nearly £3000 stolen on average in home burglaries

Data analysed by NimbleFins shows that the average value of goods stolen from homes in burglaries is almost £3000, representing the devastating impact of theft on families and individuals. These stolen goods are most commonly wallets/purses, credit cards, cash, jewellery, watches, technology and household furniture.

To reduce the risk of burglaries, it is recommended that residents and homeowners ensure all doors and windows are locked overnight and at any point while the property is empty. Furthermore, easily installed home security systems and video doorbells are now available online and can help to deter unwanted visitors.

Interestingly, an average of nearly £650 worth of items is stolen from outbuildings when these are the target of a burglary. The security of external sheds, garages and storage containers can be easily reinforced with simple security measures such as padlocks from companies likes RS.

Do more burglaries occur over Christmas?

Theft or break-ins can occur at any time of year, but they are more likely in December for a few key reasons. Burglaries are predicted to rise over the festive period, with everyone gathering expensive Christmas presents in time for the holidays. Fewer hours of daylight and people spending more time away from home can increase the number of attempted break-ins. As such, you should exercise further caution when visiting friends or fmily and leaving your home unattended.

What are some simple steps to deter burglars?

There are a number of simple things you can do to reduce the risk of a burglar targeting your property, in addition to the steps mentioned above. One of the key ones is to keep valuable items, goods and presents out of sight from windows and doors. Another useful precaution you can take is motion-sensor external lighting to create doubt and worry for anyone trespassing. If it seems like someone is in the property, burglars are much less likely to attempt a break-in.  


  • 39% of people admit to having thrown away a Christmas present in the last five years, which equates to some 21 million people binning gifts according to research from Tesco Bank
  • Average value of thrown away gifts is £59
  • The presents most likely to disappear into the rubbish bin:
    1. Beauty & bathroom products (e.g. aftershave, toiletries, bath bombs, etc.)
    2. Chocolates
    3. Clothing (not socks)
    4. Mugs
    5. Candles
  • 47% of gift givers worry the presents they purchase will go unused or unwanted
  • The findings reveal people’s desire to have a ‘greener’ Christmas in 2021, 47% of people want to ensure the presents they buy are sustainable
  • Almost three in ten (29%) people would prefer a gift card to a wrapped present under the tree, and this rises to 38% of people in their 20s and 30s.


Ban Mahsoub, Head of Money Services at Tesco Bank, comments: “Christmas shopping is in full swing. Lists are written and shoppers will hit the high street for some of the busiest retail days of the year over the next couple of weeks. But despite all our best gifting intentions, many presents go unused, unloved and can end up in the bin.

“As we all become increasingly aware of our environmental impact, Christmas is the perfect time to think about sustainable gifting options. If you’re struggling to come up with the perfect present, consider letting your loved ones choose what they really want, by either asking what they would like or giving a gift card, allowing the recipient to buy their favourite item, try something new or catch up with friends and family.  Rethinking your usual approach to present buying could help you get it right first time to avoid unwanted gifts going to waste this year.’

This present buying season, nearly half (47%) of UK shoppers are on the hunt for sustainable Christmas gifts, worried that wrapped gifts will go unused and unwanted, according to new research from Tesco Bank.

The desire to turn gifting green this Christmas rises among people aged 18 to 34, with over half (56%) wanting to ensure their gifts are sustainable.

As shoppers track down the greenest gifts, the research shows that people are turning to alternative options in their bid to keep it sustainable. Two in five (44%) people have purchased a gift card for a loved one in the last 12 months, with 12% doing so because it was a more sustainable option. This proportion increases among those aged 18 to 34, with 15% opting for a gift card because of its green credentials, with one of the most sustainable options being digital gift cards.

Far from the perception that gift cards are a panicked last-minute purchase, three in ten (29%) people would prefer to receive a gift card over a wrapped present under the tree and this rises to 38% of people in the 18 to 34 bracket. Research by the Gift Card and Voucher Association suggests 98.6% of recipients spend gift cards within a year of receiving them, with over half spent within days*.

There are also other factors fuelling gift card popularity. 47% of people who have bought a gift card for a loved one in the last year did so in order for them to purchase something they really want, 20% had been asked for a gift card and 14% for the convenience they offer. 13% chose a gift card so they could buy an experience, 13% to encourage people to buy something they wouldn’t usually spend money on and 11% to support people shopping locally or from an independent brand.

Ban Mahsoub, Head of Money Services at Tesco Bank commented: “As we enter into the busiest shopping period of the year, present buyers are dreaming of a green Christmas. Millions of people are shopping sustainably instead of purchasing traditional presents amid concerns they could end up languishing at the back of the cupboard, or land in the bin. And this is where gift cards truly prove their worth, not only as a sustainable option but also as a flexible gift that truly can keep on giving!

“Almost a third of gift cards sold by Tesco in 2020 were purchased in the month of December, which just goes to show that gift cards are a popular way of giving the perfect present.”

New research from Checkatrade has revealed that a staggering 6.7 million UK adults have been impacted by a rogue trade over the last year.

Increasing demand for tradespeople, Brexit and the ongoing raw materials shortage have placed a huge amount of pressure on the home improvement industry, creating the ideal environment for rogue trades to step in and take advantage.

This perfect storm has caused 1 in 3 UK adults to put off home improvement work for fear of hiring a rogue trade. Seeking to help homeowners fight back on this fear and stamp out rogue trades for good, Checkatrade has launched a new microsite – the ‘Eliminating Rogue Trades Hub.’

Mike Fairman, CEO, Checkatrade said, “Checkatrade is renowned for stamping out rogue trades. For 22 years we’ve made it our mission to eliminate the cowboys – we won’t stand for poor workmanship, overcharging or pressuring homeowners in undertaking unnecessary work. In fact, in the last three years alone we have removed almost 5,000 tradespeople from our platform who failed to keep up our high standards.

“We’re proud to help homeowners connect with reputable, checked trades – but if you’re one of the 1 in 5 people who would consider using an unverified trade, beware that it’s not as easy as you might think to spot the cowboys from the good guys. The arrival of the ‘Eliminating Rogue Trades Hub’ is part of our ongoing goal to protect homeowners – and stop cowboys in their tracks.’’

Rogue trade watch outs

Electrical (21%), roofing (21%), building (20%) and plumbing (20%) have been found to be the most common home improvement work affected by rogue trades. With 55% of people not confident they can spot a cowboy from a verified trade, Checkatrade share their key watch outs for homeowners:

  • Be wary of high availability: Some unverified trades will take advantage of busy periods or moments of crisis such as extreme weather. Read reviews, and ensure trades are vetted and qualified to undertake the requested work.
  • Be careful of cheap quotes: If the cost seems too good to be true, it most likely is. The cheapest quote is normally only cheaper because it’s been rushed or corners have been cut. Remember, cheap work can’t always be rectified.
  • Beware of being asked for full payment upfront: Don’t agree to making full payment in advance of work being undertaken. Get a detailed written quote that includes T&Cs and states what will be covered by the quote – and what won’t.
  • NEVER accept work from trades who ‘doorstep’: 44% of people have been doorstepped – but reputable trades will NEVER carry out this practice. Checkatrade has zero tolerance of any member found to be canvassing door-to-door. Never be pressured in to having work done by someone who knocks on your door.

Checkatrade’s guarantee

In addition to the ‘Eliminating Rogue Trades’ Hub’ Checkatrade has recently launched a new guarantee which offers homeowners who book a job via Checkatrade up to £1,000 if their job doesn’t go to plan.

To learn more about Checkatrade and the ‘Eliminating Rogue Trades Hub,’ please visit:

The latest research from over-50s experts SunLife shows that grandparents will spend over £2.6 billion on presents for their grandchildren this Christmas.

With around 5.8 million grandparent households across the UK celebrating Christmas this year, SunLife has revealed that total spend over the festive period will increase by nearly quarter of a billion pounds – and lucky grandchildren can expect to receive £113 worth of presents each.

How much is too much?

As Christmas spending continues to increase year on year, SunLife surveyed over 2,000 parents about their own parents and in-laws – and their views on the gifts that the grandkids receive.

Nearly half (43%) of parents believe that the grandparents spend too much, but a quarter did comment that they can use their money how they like. 11% wish the grandparents wouldn’t spoil the kids, and 7% have concerns they can’t afford it.

However, over half (53%) believe the amount is fine, while 3% even say it’s not enough.

What kids want

SunLife’s research also reveals what the most-wanted presents for Christmas 2021 are – and this year, the older kids are thinking big. Among the top choices for children between 8 and 16 are AirPods, tablets, and smart watches – and brand new for this year are the iPhone 13, e-scooters, and the PlayStation 5.

For those under 8 years old, ambitions weren’t as tech-focused – younger children’s most-requested gifts include story books, animal and Disney figures, crayon sets, and LEGO.

In addition, cash is at the top of older kids’ lists, with 44% preferring it over presents, vouchers, or experiences – and this rises to 57% among teenagers, who would rather choose their own gifts than have someone buy something for them.

The survey also found that a quarter of all kids said they’d received a bad gift from their grandparents at least once, while 14% said it happened fairly often. 1 in 20 say they’ve never received a good gift from the grandparents.

“When you’re a grandparent, you don’t always see grandchildren as much as you’d like, and it can be very hard to know what’s an appropriate gift,” said Ian Atkinson, Chief Marketing Officer at SunLife.

“Perhaps lockdown has made that even more difficult, with less physical time spent with grandchildren than ever before. That’s why every year, SunLife’s Christmas Gift Generator for grandparents is updated with the latest ‘must-haves’, as well as perennial favourites, to help grandparents find the perfect present to go under the tree.”

Find the perfect present

SunLife’s Christmas Gift Generator is a free online tool that makes finding good gifts easier. Just put in the grandchild’s age and interests, as well as your budget, and the handy tool will find the perfect present. And all the results have been voted for by children, the toughest critics of all.

Find the ideal gift for your grandchild now with SunLife’s Christmas Gift Generator.

HSBC UK has teamed up with professional magician Troy von Scheibner in advance of Black Friday (26 November) to highlight some of the tricks scammers will play on shoppers.

Troy von Scheibner said: “As a professional magician, my aim is to entertain using a specialist set of skills. However, these techniques can also be used by fraudsters to fool people.”

As part of HSBC UK’s campaign Troy took to the streets to show consumers how fraudsters are playing mind games on us, designed to gain our trust and pressure. Check out the video here

Black Friday is the perfect time for consumers to grab a bargain, but the dangers of falling victim to a purchase scam grows year-on-year.

Purchase scams –  where fraudsters trick shoppers into paying in advance for goods or services that are never received – are the most common form of APP scam affecting HSBC customers, with 6,218 cases reported so far this year. Purchase scams increased by 17% in August 2021 compared with August last year, although less scams are being reported in the last few months compared to the start of 2021. A total of £6.98 million was reported lost to purchase scams in 2020.

David Callington, Head of Fraud at HSBC UK, said: “Fraudsters can put consumers under their spell and make them think they are giving out personal or financial information for a legitimate reason. If a deal looks too good to be true – it probably is. Use secure payment methods and only buy from sites you trust.

“At HSBC UK, we’re working hard to protect customers against fraud – but there are lots of ways you can help to protect yourself too. By being aware of the tricks fraudsters use you can help keep your money safe.”

How to spot fraudsters’ tricks

  • Someone contacts you out of the blue, by call, text or email
  • They claim to be from a trusted organisation, like your bank, utility provider or police
  • They can sound genuine, as they may already have gathered information about you online
  • They often put you under pressure to do something without you having time to think it through properly.
  • Calls, texts and emails may appear genuine but their actions and requests are not

Last month HSBC UK warned customers never to disclose their One Time Passcode (the code their prompted to input to authorise a transaction when shopping online) as they reported scams involving suspected disclosed passcodes had risen by 25% in the last six months.

To learn more about purchase scams and how customers can protect themselves, visit:

Digital bank Chase today announced it is offering 3% cashback on spend until the end of 2021, to help customers make more of their Amazon purchases this festive season.

The Chase current account already offers customers 1% cashback on all eligible debit card spend for 12 months*, but beginning today, Chase customers can benefit from an increased cashback offer of 3% on online purchases** from The promotion will run from 18th November through to 31st December, and will be applicable to up to £5,000 spent on the site.

Customers can earn the 3% cashback when they use their Chase debit card to make purchases at, including digital downloads, Amazon Prime subscriptions, and items sold by third-party merchants through’s marketplace.

In order to start earning this additional cashback, customers must activate the offer in the Chase app via the Rewards hub.

Deborah Keay, Chief Marketing Officer of the digital bank says: “The festive season is fast approaching and we know consumers are already busy shopping for the holidays.  We want to help everyone to have an even more rewarding festive season this year, so we’re delighted to be expanding our fuss-free rewards programme so Chase customers earn a little extra back while they spend with Amazon in the run-up to the holiday period.”

JPMorgan Chase launched its new digital bank in the U.K. under the Chase brand earlier this year, offering a range of simple, rewarding features to help people budget, manage money, spend and save.

Additional rewarding features include:

  • Small change round-ups on which customers can earn 5% interest: customers can save as they spend by rounding up their debit card purchases to the nearest £1, and depositing the small change into a separate account where it will earn interest at 5%***.
  • Fee-free debit card use abroad: customers won’t be charged any fees by Chase when using their card while travelling, including for cash withdrawals at ATMs abroad.
  • A U.K.-led customer support team: with just a few taps in the Chase app, customers will be connected to a specialist – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

New customers interested in taking advantage of the Amazon offer can open a Chase current account quickly and simply by downloading the Chase app.

For more detail on Chase’s Amazon offer see

Ahead of Road Safety Week, Julian Hartley, Insurance Director at Tesco Bank, share his top tips on how you can stay safe on the roads this winter. Analysis of internal data by Tesco Bank Car Insurance revealed that claims for road accidents jump 8% in the week after the clocks go back and the bank warns drivers to take extra care as the temperature drops

Julian Hartley, Insurance Director at Tesco Bank, said: “It can take a while to get used to  winter driving. Commuting or school runs done in the dark, extra time for de-icing the windows or keeping an eye out for icy spots when the temperatures really start to drop, means that everyone using the roads needs to take a bit of additional care. Giving people extra time and space, making sure you are visible, and undertaking some vehicle maintenance are just a few simple steps that will reduce your risk of a winter collision.”

  1. Pay extra attention to other road users

Streetlights can cast shadows on roads, pavements or at road crossings which can hide pedestrians or cyclists. Take extra care on the roads, drive slower around schools and poorly lit areas, and make a conscious effort to double check for cyclists and pedestrians.

  1. Leave some extra space

Weak light or glare from the sun can make some colours less distinct in the winter. And wet or icy roads can make braking distances longer. Recommendations suggest you should always allow four seconds between you and the vehicle in front in bad conditions. Leaving extra time between you and the vehicle in front so you have more time to react if you need it.

  1. Check those lights

Ensure your lights are in full working order. Not only is it illegal to drive at night without fully functioning front and rear lights, it can also be incredibly dangerous. If you find any bulbs to be faulty, get them changed as soon as possible.

  1. Keep windscreen and all windows clean

Dirt can build up quickly on winter roads so pay extra attention to keeping all your windows and windscreen clean. You should also regularly check your screen wash, making sure it is sufficiently topped up before any journeys. In the colder months windows are more susceptible to condensation so make sure you leave time to fully demist all your windows that need it.

  1. Make sure your tyres are fit for purpose

With snow fall and ice likely in the coming months, now is a good time to do a tyre check. Check that they are correctly inflated, have good tread and there aren’t any cuts or bulges – this will ensure you’re prepared for all weather types.

  1. Pack warm clothes, snacks and other essentials

Making sure you have supplies in the car if you end up stuck in a queue or have an unfortunate breakdown is important any time of year but add to this with some warm blankets and spare jackets in the winter.

  1. Avoid driving tired

This applies all year round, but even more so now. Driving tired can put both you and other road users in jeopardy, so if you become tired while driving, stop, take a break and set off again when you feel safe to do so.

  1. Take care of your battery

Cold weather can affect the health of electrics in your car, including your battery.  If you are finding that your car is slow to start or makes a whining noise as you turn the ignition, this may be a sign to invest in a new battery. If in doubt, visit a local garage to ensure that your battery is in perfect condition before setting off on your next journey.