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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 26 November 2007

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People in North West spend £710 annually on Christmas goods

NEW research from Help the Aged and Barclays has revealed that people in the North West spend over the national average on Christmas goods, forking out £710 compared to £650. The 2 organisations are concerned about the effects Christmas spending has on older people in the region, as the survey also showed that nationwide 26% of over 55s are worried by the pressure to spend money over the festive season, and 83% of older people agree there is considerable pressure to spend money at this time of year.  A further 20% of older people in Britain, often living on limited fixed incomes, don’t set a budget or want to monitor their spending for the festive season.

As part of the work carried out by Help the Aged and Barclays to encourage older people to take more control of their festive finances, the organisations have launched the Your Money Matters Christmas Budget Guide. The Guide offers free advice that everyone can benefit from on how to plan a festive spending allowance, save money and reduce potential waste.

Rachel Corry, Your Money Matters Programme Manager, said:- “The festive season is meant to be about celebration and goodwill, yet many older people feel worried or anxious because of the pressure to spend money at Christmas. By taking more control of their finances and planning a spending budget in advance, some of this pressure can be alleviated. 

A simple way to budget is to start by working out realistically how much money you have spare to spend between now and Christmas. Then write two lists: one of who you need to buy gifts for, and one for all your Christmas essentials, such as food, cards, stamps, and wrapping paper.

Cost everything on the essentials list, add this up and subtract the amount from the money you have available – what’s left over can then be divided between the people on your gift list.  Remember to always take your lists out when shopping, and don’t be tempted to overspend the allocated amounts – stick to your planned budget.”


Tips in the Christmas Budget Guide include:-

Christmas Past:- Recycle and unwanted gift and give it to someone else as a present - in the North West 45% of people admit to having done this already and 82% say they'd be happy to receive a recycled gift.

Christmas Present:- If you are using a credit or debit card to buy goods, keep every receipt and check them regularly to keep a record of how much you’ve been spending

Christmas Yet to Come:- Plan your budget as early as you can in the New Year, work out a rough idea of weekly/monthly costs as well as the Christmas costs so you know how much you’ll have to spend next year

Your Money Matters is a free and impartial debt and money management programme run nationwide by Help the Aged and supported by Barclays. Trained money advice workers are now offering special sessions in Christmas budgeting at Your Money Matters projects in Blackpool, Macclesfield and Liverpool.

If you think you or anyone you know could benefit from a session with a Your Money Matters advice worker, or to receive a copy of the Christmas Budget Guide please call Help the Aged on 020 7239 7564 or visit www.helptheaged.org.uk.

LEAVE GRACEFULLY...

…You’re likely to meet at a future office

HOPE you’ll never see your nightmare ex-boss again? Chances are you will – 38% of office workers in the North West have ended up working with an ex-colleague at a new job according to new research revealed.  With that in mind, it’s a worry that the survey of over 1,200 office workers by Office Angels, the UK’s leading secretarial and office support recruitment consultancy, highlighted just how many workers have a burning bridgesattitude once they’ve resigned.

Notice Period No-No’s

37% of office workers in the North West admit to walking out before completing their notice period

26% of workers of employees have used their resignation to highlight what they dislike about the company

25% also spend time researching their new clients/role

8% even admit to starting work for their new company whilst still in their old role!

Time Watchers and Wasters

37% of North West workers on notice confess to scouting for venues and pondering over the guest list for their leaving night. Many also admit to engaging in a number of extra-curricularactivities during their working day such as taking long and drawn-out lunch breaks (24%), planning their next exotic holiday abroad (15%) and spending at least 2 hours a day catching up with old friends via email and social networking sites (12%).

Old Fashioned Values

However, the research goes on to show that notice periods don’t always result in a lack of motivation and altered allegiances; 42% of North Western workers maintain that they continued to work as hard as before they handed in their resignation - not even clocking off on time!

This will be even more satisfying news to those businesses with a mature workforce. A mere 2% of the over 55s admit to slacking off during their notice period, compared with 39% of 16 to 24 year olds who confess to wasting at least a full week through a loss in motivation.

Friends in High Places

Whilst it may be no surprise that 75% of employees in the North West have remained friends with ex colleagues, an ambitious 31% admit to maintaining contact with old work matespurely for their own gain - to help them with work related issues in the future.

Commenting on the findings, David Clubb, Managing Director of Office Angels states:- “Leaving in a blaze of glory may provide you with momentary satisfaction but it has the potential to damage your career in the long run.

Think about your actions and the impact they will have on others as well as your personal reputation, after handing in your letter of resignation.”

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