From trying to save up for that special purchase to buying a brand new car, Open+Direct has a series of handy tips that may help. So if you want to save yourself some time, money and hassle - look below and make the most of these great ideas.
Our driving habits can have a big impact on fuel consumption. Our friends at Goodyear have created these top tips to help curb excessive fuel consumption.
Be kind to your car
Maintaining your car's engine properly helps it run efficiently. Make sure that you have regular check- ups on your car.
Idling the car to warm it up wastes energy. Drive off immediately and smoothly - don't rev up the engine during the first few kilometers to warm up the engine and all the other moving parts of a vehicle.
Check your tyre pressure
The wrong tyre pressure not only affects the car's overall driving performance, the tyres' grip and their mileage, it can also increase rolling resistance and thus fuel consumption. Check the pressure of your tyres regularly, at least every 2 weeks, to make sure they are properly inflated.
Accelerate slowly for optimum fuel economy. If you accelerate aggressively, you will waste fuel.
Remove roof racks when not needed
Roof racks cause extra wind resistance, which thus increases fuel consumption. It is recommended to remove roof racks if they are not being used.
Watch your speed
Slow down and maintain a constant speed. Unnecessary acceleration and braking increases fuel consumption significantly.
With fuel prices on the increase and temperatures plummeting in the past couple of years, keeping your home nice and cosy is more expensive than ever.
However, there are some simple ways you can reduce your bills and save money. Read our handy tips to help ensure your home and budget is prepared for the chilly months ahead.
Block your draughts
An easy way to stop heat escaping from your house is by filling in any gaps around window and doorframes, or places where pipework passes through an external wall. It can be done easily with expanding foam fillers or draught excluder strips that you can get at your local DIY store. After dusk make sure you keep your curtains closed too to stop heat escaping.
How high is too high on the thermostat?
Did you know that your heating costs go up by 8% each time you increase the temperature by one degree? If possible, try to keep your thermostat at 19ºC. Pop a jumper on and block draughts to reduce the need to increase the temperature.
Get tips from energy experts
The Energy Saving Trust offer a free home energy check on their website plus there's loads of great suggestions on how you can be more efficient and save money on your fuel bills. Visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/northernireland
Don't overuse extractor fans
Are you guilty of leaving your bathroom or kitchen extractor fan on longer than necessary? Well don't! They are burning precious energy and costing you money.
It sounds obvious but energy providers estimate that you can lose up to one third of the heat in your home through poor insulation, which could add up to 25% on to your fuel bill! Many local authorities and energy providers have subsidised home insulation schemes. Check with yours for details of schemes in your area.
Do you have electric heaters?
Electric heaters, particularly portable ones, are much more expensive than gas heaters to run. If you live in a property that doesn't have the option of gas heating, you should consider installing storage heaters and switching to an Economy 7 tariff.
It's economical to use Economy 7
It's called Economy 7 because you get cheaper electricity for 7 hours during the night. By using storage heaters you can store up heat during the night when it's cheaper, and release it during the day – a bit like peak and off-peak phone calls. If you can make Economy 7 fit your lifestyle it can be a great way to save money on your heating bills.
To ensure your home is prepared for winter, don't forget to insure it against burst pipes or boiler breakdowns. Our Home Emergency Insurance starts from just £4.99 per month.
At Open + Direct we understand that what's right for one person isn't always right for another. That's why you can tailor your car insurance cover to suit your needs. As well as this - we'll always make sure you get our cheapest price for the cover you want.
There are a number of ways you may be able to reduce your car insurance premium:
- No claims discount - The longer you've had car insurance without making a claim the less you're likely to pay for your new cover. And of course you may be able to transfer your No Claims Discount onto your new car insurance.
- Reduce your cover - If your car is worth less than £4,000 you may wish to reduce your car insurance cover from Comprehensive to Third Party Fire & Theft.
- Voluntary Excess - All car insurance policies will carry with them a minimum level of excess, but if you decide that you would rather pay a higher level of voluntary excess then you could find yourself paying lower premiums.
- Additional Drivers - You could save even more by adding a spouse or family member or restricting the number of inexperienced drivers you want to cover on your policy. This could be a practical and easy way to reduce the amount you have to pay for your cover.
- Security Features - Always remember to give full details of any security features your car has, like alarms, immobilisers or trackers, as you may benefit from car insurance premium discounts.
It seems like everyone wants to save money right now. If you're one of those trying to put the pennies aside, why not make yourself some money while you're at it?
You could start by selling some of your things on the internet...
Just think you could earn yourself some extra cash by selling your "forgotten-abouts" online. It's easy to do… here are our top tips to get you started.
Start by selling low-value items, like clothes and shoes. That way you can collect lots of good feedback quickly and build buyer confidence. This is important when selling more expensive items.
Take as many pictures as you can and be sure to give an accurate, honest description of what you're offering.
Pricing is important too. Research how much similar items are going so you have a good idea about price.
It's a great place to sell unwanted books and music. Most CDs and books will already be listed, so you probably won't need to add a photo – a short description and price will suffice.
Lots of us have old mobile phones sitting in drawers at home. You could trade them in for cash – try websites such as mazumamobile.com to see how much you'd get for yours.
Sell your old CDs, DVDs and games and earn a few bob via sites such as musicmagpie.co.uk.
There a quite a few sites like swapshop.co.uk where you can swap old goods for other things you like, from a garden gnome to a new car!
If your attic is still full of stuff you can't seem to sell online, try a good old fashioned car boot sale. There are hundreds of them taking place every weekend across the UK. Try carbootsales.org to find one near you.
Take a look below for our top tips on how to drive down the cost of your new motor.
1. Start by scouting opinions
Before you do anything, get some advice from the experts. A quick look at the customer reviews on honestjohn.co.uk or whatcar.co.uk will give you a good idea of what to look out for. In particular What Car? offers a useful insight into how much you should expect to pay once you get to the showroom.
2. Never pay full price
Get it clear in your mind: paying full price is not an option. Start with whatcar.co.uk's target price then make it your mission to reduce it. Discounts of between 5% and 15% are perfectly realistic, in fact you may even achieve more if you're shopping during a car dealer's quieter months.
3. Try this savvy saving trick
There are big savings to be had opting for an end of the line model, rather than a completely new one. Any model that is about to be replaced by an upgraded version is likely to cost you significantly less. Look out for car dealer's courtesy cars too. They are often in excellent condition, come packed with features and have as little as 2000 miles on the clock - good as new.
4. Need finance? Consider ALL your options
Unless you have a sizeable bundle of cash knocking about, you'll need a loan to finance your new car. Your dealer will sometimes try to tempt you with a 0% interest offer, but be wary. You can often find much better deals outside of the showroom. Remember that this deal is a big commitment, so give yourself plenty of time to shop around.
5. Buying online? Bear this in mind...
If you know the exact model you want, you might want to consider buying online. You'll often enjoy big savings if you do it this way. A word of warning however: buying a car blind is not without its risks. You should question your online dealer just as thoroughly as you would in the showroom. Make sure you find out how long it will take to arrive, if there are costs involved in delivering it, and especially, can you return it if you change your mind.
6. Consider a car servicing package
Servicing packages are often available from manufacturers and dealers, and are well worth considering. Essentially you pay upfront for the next few years of services, often at a more favourable rate. It's a good way to keep your car ticking over and save yourself some cash in the long run.
7. Make sure you're properly insured
Once you've got your wheels, you'll want to make sure you're properly covered. Save yourself some time and money by giving us a call for a quote or get a quote online. We'll search the UK's leading Car insurers to find you our cheapest car insurance quote in minutes.
So you've booked your holiday, and are ready for some time to rewind and relax. Follow these handy tips to make sure you're prepared so that you can spend your holiday enjoying yourself!
1. Make a list
With your holiday booked and travel insurance arranged, make a list of things you need to take with you for your travels to avoid that last minute rush. And make sure you take your baggage once you've packed it all!
2. Keep in touch
Make sure your loved ones know when and where you're going on holiday in case of an emergency. Send them a postcard and remember to buy them a gift for when you come back!
3. Do your research
What are you going to do on your holiday? Plan some visits to areas of interest as well as some time to relax by the pool. If you need advice on your next trip visit www.tripadvisor.co.uk
4. Be prepared
Like a boy scout! If it's going to be hot, make sure you take sun cream on holiday with you. If it's cold, take a winter coat. Most importantly be prepared!
5. Be adventurous!
Take a phrase book with you and engage with the locals. It would be a shame not to be adventurous after you've travelled all that way!
6. Money, Money, Money
Take a combination of foreign currency and travellers cheques with you for those essential holiday purchases. Calculate your travel money at www.x-rates.com
Another form of travel insurance - it's better to be safe than sorry. Check with your GP whether or not you need vaccinations for your travel adventures.
8. Don't be a target
To avoid being a target of crime; try not to wear conspicuous clothing or jewellery. And remember not to leave valuables on the back seat of your car.
9. Rent a car
Be mobile on your holiday, and take trips to surrounding areas and book a car for a week or so.
10. What have you forgotten?
Have a good think. The following websites may help jog your memory...
You can always count on us for great prices, but at Open + Direct we aim to provide a great deal more than simply a great quote - including a genuine desire to provide you with a really useful service.
This section provides information, answers, hints and tips about some of the different issues that concern our home insurance customers.
Here are a few top tips for making your home as safe as possible.
In your home
- Make sure your home looks lived in while you're away on holiday or out for the evening, which is an effective way to deter burglars. Leaving lights on and curtains closed are easy!
- Have a neighbour you trust to check your house if you're going on holiday.
- Ensure all doors and windows are locked properly each time you leave the house – simple but very effective! 36% of burglaries are crimes of opportunity.
- Fit sturdy locks to external doors and windows, with deadlocks where possible.
- Remove all keys from external locks and keep the keys hidden.
- Fit a door chain and spy-hole for added security when you do answer the door.
- Never leave a spare key in a convenient place - if it is convenient for you it is convenient to burglars.
- Ensure your smoke alarms are installed properly and check them regularly.
No-one who has seen reports of flooding on the News can fail to be grateful if they live in a risk-free area. But for those who are not so lucky, what should be done - from an insurance perspective - if the worst happens, and your home is flooded? Flood protection tips include:
- Contact your home insurance provider to let them know what has happened and ask for flood advice.
- Open the windows for ventilation but ensure that your valuables are safe.
- Take photos to provide evidence in case of a claim.
- Do not lift carpets as they may shrink.