London firms are splashing out £100million on staff parties over just two nights as the capital celebrates the biggest party season of the year.
Hotels, restaurants, clubs and bars will be full to capacity tonight as around one million workers down tools to celebrate ahead of the Christmas break.
Analysts today revealed that London companies had sanctioned between £80million and £100million on two massive party nights, last night and tonight.
The figure is down slightly on last year, when £120million was spent over the Thursday and Friday nights before Christmas, with the fall blamed on the credit crunch.
Companies have swapped huge company bashes for smaller departmental events, as well as sharing venues with other firms to cut costs. Many firms are moving their annual bash to January to secure a better deal
Source: Mail Online
In the build up to Christmas we will be giving you advice and assistance to help you plan, be safe and get the best from Christmas.
Be Prepared, Shop early to take advantage of the widest choice and pre-Christmas Sales.
Put money aside into a Christmas fund each month throughout the year, to make Christmas more affordable.
Before buying any Christmas Presents decide how much you are going to spend on everyone and write lists of everything you need to buy. Keep to your lists and try to avoid impulse buys.
Buy from reputable traders. Don’t fall for counterfeit goods. Clothes, CDs computer games, DVDs perfume, aftershave and videos are all popular with counterfeiters. Look at the price of the goods. If it is too cheap, it is probably fake. Check the quality of the packaging and check for spelling mistakes.
Look for bargains online, online shopping is becoming very popular. Remember pay for items over £100 by credit card – this gives you extra protection but make sure you are buying from a secure site when you give your credit card details. Never send your credit card details by e-mail.
Beware of scams especially of sites that say “this is not a scam” - reputable traders don’t need to say this.
AT THE CHECKOUT
Different shops have different policies. Check the shop’s policy on unsuitable goods. You do not have an automatic right to a refund on unsuitable goods. Some shops will offer a refund on unsuitable goods while others will just offer credit notes or exchanges. Some may not offer anything. It is up to the shop what its customer policy is. Check on time periods for returning unsuitable goods. This can also vary from shop to shop.
KEEP ALL RECEIPTS
You will need the receipts if the presents are unsuitable and the shop is prepared to offer an exchange. It is always useful to have receipts if you have bought something that is faulty. If you pay by credit card check your receipts against your statements. If you purchase your presents online ensure you keep all email confirmations sent to you from the e-tailer.
Take care when buying toys. Always check for the CE safety mark and make sure the toy is suitable for the child’s age.
Use cash for small purchases and check your change. Use your credit card for items over £100 for extra protection.
CHECK YOUR PURCHASES
Test any toys you buy to make sure they work, and that all the accessories are there. Check if they need any batteries and buy these so that the toy can be played with on Christmas Day.
If something you have bought is faulty return it as quickly as possible. Delays in returning faulty goods can affect your rights.
TOP 10 TIPS ON RETURNING GOODS AFTER CHRISTMAS
Go back to the shop as soon as possible, but NOT on the day they start their sale!
Do not remove labels if you think goods might be unsuitable and may have to be returned
Keep unsuitable goods safe and secure and preferably not in a smoky atmosphere
Bring the receipt – most shops ask for this when unsuitable goods are being returned
Check the shops policy. If the shop says its policy is to offer exchanges or credit notes on unsuitable goods THIS IS REASONABLE
Know your rights. If you have bought faulty goods you can ask for a refund or a repair or a replacement. Exactly what you are entitled to depends on the particular circumstances of your complaint
Remember shops do NOT have to give refunds on unsuitable goods unless this was agreed before the goods were bought
Being told you can bring goods back does NOT necessarily mean the shop will give a refund. It may just be offering an exchange or credit
Different shops have policies on unsuitable goods. This is legal. In law shops do not have to make any offer at all when someone is returning unsuitable goods.
KEEP CALM – DO NOT LOSE YOUR TEMPER! Do not be rude about the item, especially if the person who bought it is with you. Be polite and friendly and expect the assistant to want to help you – they usually do! Smile! It can work wonders
Online bookies Paddy Power is now taking bets on which game will top the all-formats chart this Christmas.
The favourite is Call of Duty: World at War, with odds of 5/2 at the time of writing. FIFA ‘09 is close behind at 4/1, followed by Need for Speed Undercover (5/1). Gears of War 2, LittleBigPlanet, PES 2009 and Resistance 2 have all been given odds of 8/1.
Our money’s on Monopoly (150/1) or perhaps even Resident Evil Zero (250/1). You can see the full rundown over at the Paddy Power website.
Source : Eurogamer
This year the theme for the Regent Street lights is ‘stars’ and the famous “mile of style” will be transformed into a winter wonderland for Christmas shoppers. Since the 1950s international celebrities have turned on the lights to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
Past personalities include HRH The Prince of Wales, Kylie Minogue, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sylvester Stallone and Sir Ian McKellen.
Danny from McFly said: “We’re really excited to be switching on the Regent Street Christmas lights.
“So many great people have done it in the past. “It’s also fantastic that BBC Children in Need are involved. “Hopefully we can help encourage people to think of ideas to raise even more money this year”.
McFly are releasing an official single for BBC Children in Need, which helps disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. The switch-on event is supporting the charity with many of the Regent Street retailers collecting donations throughout the week.
This year Hollyoaks star John Pickard, who plays the character Dominic Reilly, will MC the event and the London Gospel Community Choir will be performing a selection of songs from the stage keeping the audience entertained in the lead up to McFly switching on the lights.
The Regent Street Christmas lights are one of London’s major tourist attractions and draw a huge number of visitors each year.
source: This is Lancashire
After months in development Happy Christmas (or HC for short) are pleased to announce “WE HAVE A NEW WEBSITE, YEAH”.
After spending months listening to feedback and comments from our beautiful users (that’s you :-)) we have tried to create something a little bit different yet functional to help with all your Christmas needs. So what’s the big deal?
Well, apart from our trendy new look you may notice some major improvements? We now have a new and improved price comparison shopping portal which includes over 100k products from some of the UKs largest and most established retailers (see all our suppliers).
We also aim to bring to you the latest discount codes and offers, you will find these listed on the blog and it is possible to RSS them straight to your desktop so you never miss that next money saving idea.
On top of this you will also find new and improved E-Cards, Games, Facebook Apps and Christmas Info. We also have loads more planned for the coming months delivering great Christmas Fun, News, Info and Shopping all year.
Thanks for reading, any comments? Speak up, we can’t hear you at the back!
It’s a seductive deal: a pre-loaded “easy shop” card which lets you spend up to £500 at Argos, and repay the money in monthly instalments. But there’s a rather big sting: the interest rate can be as high as 222.7%.
Price comparison website uSwitch.com this week warned cash-strapped consumers, struggling to afford Christmas presents, to avoid expensive loans marketed by doorstep credit firms. Some of these come in the form of pre-paid plastic cards and gift vouchers accepted by popular, well-known stores. It comes amid mailings being sent out nationwide by Provident Personal Credit, the largest doorstep-collection home lender, to promote its products.
These include the “easy shop” card which comes with a pre-loaded loan of £100-£500 to spend in any Argos store (or pass on as a gift to someone else to spend) which borrowers then have to pay back in fixed weekly instalments at a typical APR of 222.7% over 27 weeks or 183.2% over 56 weeks.
Weekly repayments are collected immediately, even if the cardholder has not spent anything. The lender also sells gift vouchers - which work in the same way, with an APR of up to 222.7% - that can be spent in 97 high street stores including Woolworths, Topshop, HMV, Debenhams and House of Fraser.
Louise Bond, personal finance manager at uSwitch.com, says: “Despite being attached to well-known and trusted brands, people shouldn’t be fooled into thinking these are anything other than a sub-prime loan with an inflated APR.
“It seems they are just cashing in on desperate consumers who need relatively small amounts of money quickly. These customers may not care how much they have to pay back as they are just focused on the Christmas period.”
Provident Personal Credit’s main business is offering small cash loans - normally between £50 and £500 - to people on low incomes who often have a poor credit history. An agent calls to collect a fixed repayment each week.
Interest rates on cash loans are even higher than those on the store-linked gift vouchers and card. A £300 cash loan repaid at £15 a week over 31 weeks, for example, will end up costing £465 - a typical APR of 365.1%. Yet, despite the higher cost, 90% of the lender’s 1.7 million existing customers opt for cash loans.
“We can give a slightly better rate on vouchers and cards than for cash because we negotiate a discount on products with the retailers who accept them,” says Provident spokesman David Stevenson. “But most want cash because they can spend it anywhere they find a bargain.”
Bond adds: “We’d strongly advise people to exhaust every other avenue first before (taking out these sorts of loans) and to consider scaling down your spending.”
Source: The Guardian
Most people are now checking their bank balances and working out the exact cost of Christmas. A quick tally up around the HC office proves that like most people we seem to have spent way more than anticipated (as per usual!)
UK retailers recorded their worst December figures since 2004 according to The British Retail Consortium. However, e-consultancy.com recorded the opposite for online traders who experienced a bouyant Christmas, fuelled by customers seeking a good deal.
Now for the stats…
4.4 million people in the UK spent a total of £84 million on Christmas Day, 269% more than last year with an average of £19.09 per person. While in the US £14.9 billion was spent in December up 19% on last year.
You may have noticed that this year Happy Christmas have teamed up with I Want One Of Those (IWOOT) to bring you great offers to help you save money across their unique and wonderful product range!! In the build up to this Christmas use the following Happy Christmas discount codes to save money…
£10 off when £60 spent
End Date: 1st Jan 08
£15 off when £100 spent
End Date: 1st Jan 08
£5 Off when £20 spent
End Date: Oct 08
Click here for I WANT ONE OF THOSE!