Shape up your finances this January

Shape up your finances this JanuaryJanuary is the month for tightening our belts in more ways than one. One in eight Britons could struggle to make ends meet after spending more than they could afford over the festive season, according to the Money Advice Trust,  the debt advice charity, which runs www.nationaldebtline.org. Research from credit checker, Experian, has also highlighted that suffering from a financial hangover in January is becoming widespread with 35% of those surveyed facing such an issue from overspending during Christmas.

So what’s the advice? Firstly, set a budget for the year. It sounds obvious but do work out how much money you have coming in and going out each month. Don’t forget to add in yearly costs such as car and household insurance and holidays and divide it by 12 to reach a monthly cost. Secondly, don’t ignore bills and statements as it could only make the situation worse. List all of your debts plus repayment dates for each. And finally, do seek advice early as the sooner you do the quicker and easier it will be to solve the situation. There’s lots of helpful advice to be found on www.moneyadvicetrust.org.

By spending just a few minutes of your time reviewing your finances you could save a few hundred pounds a month. Here’s how.

MortgageIf you have a mortgage it probably is the single largest expense for most families. Looking around for the best deal could save you a fortune. Don’t forget that if you’re in a fixed deal you can fix another three months before your previous rate expires. Try using a combination of different comparison sites to search for the best rate such as www.moneysavingexpert.com, www.money.co.uk or www.moneysupermarket.com.

 

Current-AccountSpring cleaning your current account is a priority as it’s such an important place for your cash. Check through all those direct debits and standing orders that you don’t use any more like magazine subscriptions or gym memberships and you could cut costs. Be honest about whether you use your overdraft to the hilt or barely touch it. And then get an account that suits you whether it’s lowering that overdraft rate or getting a better interest rate if you’re always in credit.

 

credit-cardsCredit cards are an essential element in your financial armoury. However, you must first decide what kind of credit card user you are? If you pay off your balance every month then get the best deal for spending, perhaps a card which is generous with ‘cash back’? If you don’t always pay off your balance then look for low or zero interest cards to cut the cost of borrowing. Don’t forget to factor in the transfer fee! Try looking at a comparison sites such as http://moneyfacts.co.uk or www.confused.com for the latest deals.

 

energy-and-phonesDo look around for the best deals on your energy bills, TV, phone and broadband. A few hours research could save you a lot each month. Switching to a new gas and electricity supplier can save you as much as £100 per year, with an additional savings if you pay by direct debit  There are loads of price comparison sites you can use to compare deals. Try www.gocompare.com or www.uswitch.com to get the deal that is right for you.

savingsIf you are putting money aside into a savings account make it pay for you. First decide on the access you will need. Usually, the greater the access you have the lower the interest rate. Watch out for high initial rates that disappear after a few months. And don’t forget to take advantage of your New Individual Savings Account (NISA) allowances, which increased to £15,000 from 1 July 2014 and allow you to save tax-free. It will rise to £15,240 from the next tax year which begins 6 April 2015.

 

Vote for My Nametags!

The European Business Awards - logo

We’ve made it through to the second round of the prestigious European Business Awards! We’re already been nominated as a National Champion but we’d love to get to the next level which means we could be voted European Public Champion but we need your help.

All you need to do is vote for us and it could make a difference. Voting is open until 24th February so please do watch our video and vote for your favourite nametag company by clicking here and popping in your email address. It’s that simple!

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The European Business Awards began in 2007 and has been shining a spotlight on the most innovative businesses in the region promoting success, innovation and ethics in the European business community. Hundreds of businesses from 33 countries in Europe are competing for the title of ‘National Public Champion’ as the public vote opens for the first time in this year’s European Business Awards.

 

we've-moved

 

Finally, we just wanted to let you know that the My Nametags offices have moved. We’re now located at 14 Enterprise Way, SW18 1FZ next to the river Thames. Watch our YouTube video to see how it went on the day!

 Click here to vote for us. We really appreciate it. :)

 The My Nametags team!

 

 

Love your pet? Win a mini version…

Arty Lobster Sculpture, recently set up by the founder of My Nametags, specialises in making a complete 3D copy of your pet based on your photos. The sculpture is handmade using our revolutionary 3D printing methods. Your personalised pet sculpture will be made by our artists to capture your pet including all the markings and the exact body shape.

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Tell me more!

Give us the name and breed of your pet and upload between 5-15 photos – the more the better. We do cats as well as dogs! Decide if you’d like full colour (£75) or bronze (£175) plus £3 shipping worldwide and in 3-4 weeks your 8cm (3.1 inch) pet sculpture will be delivered to you.

How do you capture my pet?

Our artists will work using all of the photos you send us. Ideally, we’d like the photos to show your pet’s colouring as well as shape. It’s particularly important to have a good photo of both the eyes and face. We recommend at least 5 photos, but 10-15 is better.

Ideally, take a number of photos of your pet from different angles while they are sitting or standing in the same position. We’ve plenty of advice on how to take the best photos on our website.

How big will it be?

A sitting sculpture is about 8 cm (3.1 inches) tall, while a walking sculpture is about 8 cm (3.1 inches) long. Obviously, this will depend on your pet.

What are they made of?

The full colour sculptures are in a material similar to sandstone. Choose between either a green or a brown base for full colour sculptures.

Our bronze sculptures have a steel core covered in bronze. The sculptures are a little more expensive but have the beautiful look and feel of a miniature bronze statue.

Testimonials – we have plenty!

Snowy the Westie

“Snowy is a beloved member of our family and now he has a very special place among the family memorabilia and in 3D! Great idea. Piera, London. Rated 5.0 out of 5.0″

To read more testimonials from our customers use this link www.artylobster.com/testimonials.html

 

 

Guarantee

We’re sure that you’ll love your Arty Lobster sculpture but if you’re not happy for whatever reason you can return it to us for a full refund.

COMPETITION

To win a miniature sculpture or your pet in either full colour or bronze go to our Arty Lobster Facebook  and tell us why you should win. We will choose the winner on Friday 30th January and will contact you on Facebook.

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My Nametags wins Best SME at the Wandsworth Business Awards!

My Nametags wins Best SME at the Wandsworth Business Awards!

Last night at a swanky awards ceremony in Roehampton My Nametags was awarded 1st prize in the best SME (Small Medium Enterprise) category!!

We are delighted with the result as we were up against some strong competition from a number of other businesses in the area.

The Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, who ran the event, were looking for a SME which has achieved sustained business and financial growth, had a clear vision for future business development, with a focus on innovation. We are over the moon that we fulfilled their criteria and look forward to continuing to work closely with the local community in the future.

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Top 5 kids winter coats

They say there is no such thing as cold weather, just bad clothing! This winter we have put together a list of smart styles to keep your small people warm this winter – just don’t forget to label their brand new coat to stop it getting lost at play time.

 

Ski Jacket

A good choice for active children who love being outdoors in any weather, kids will love the snowboarder vibe of these coats. Though quite pricey, the hi-tech features make a ski jacket a sound investment, and something you can keep safe for years. We love the Blizzard Ski Jacket from Muddy Puddles (£59.99), it is windproof and waterproof for harsh weather but also has a removable hood, perfect for when the sun comes out!

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Down Insulated

These coats are super snug and you can be safe in the knowledge that your child will be as warm as possible! Definitely at the top end of the price bracket though, and  are a no-go for allergy sufferers (just like feather bedding). Usually these coats aren’t waterproof, but this down jacket from Patagonia at Snow and Rock, (£140 – £170)  is super light and waterproof – making it a staple item in your child’s winter wardrobe.

Down jacket

Fleece Jackets

Really versatile and great for layering, these coats can be used all year round. This Hooded Fleece top from Marks and Spencer’s (£14-16) would be perfect. Your kids will love being able to move about easily, and you’ll be happy that you can just chuck these in the weekly wash. You may find a little more warmth is needed in the middle of winter – but when there are plenty of decent budget options around, you could happily consider a fleece jacket in addition to another coat.

Plastic Mac

Light-weight and completely waterproof, they’re great for kids that hate being weighed down; keep one packed up small just in case you get caught in the rain. You can find them in loads of bright colours too – we really liked this alternative jacker from Baggers@Monsoon (£28). It comes in an exclusive flowery print – perfect for little princesses – and in a nifty bag, great for the sudden showers!

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Duffle Coat

The original Paddington Bear coat, your kids will look adorable in this toggled classic. Simple and stylish, these coats have stood the test of time and are particularly hard wearing for a natural fibre choice (though many now come in poly blends for easy washing). Boden do a lovely range of coats, we thought the Funky Duffle (£60), which comes in a variety of colours, was a great all-rounder.

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If you and your child have decided on the perfect coat together, have fun designing a personalised name tag for it at My Nametags. The coloured iron-ons and stickers are waterproof, washable and durable – with a 10 year guarantee. My Nametags have extensively tested a range of materials to find an exclusive mix, unique to their brand – making them a go-to when you want to keep your family organised.

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7 top tips for trick-or-treating at Halloween

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Take plenty of pictures of your children’s outfits. They’ll be treasured memories when they’re older.

 Plan your route – no-one wants to be wandering around in the dark with tired children!!

 See and be seen! Give all the children something bright or with flashing lights, and remember to bring a torch.

 Check the goodies. Check your child’s treats and throw away anything that is unwrapped or could be a choking hazard.

Stock up on sweets in case any trick-or-treaters come knocking at your door. Avoid those with nuts or anything else the might trigger allergies.

 Wear comfortable shoes or trainers. Ones that match your witches outfit might seem like a good idea – but you might regret it later!

 Choose make up over a mask. Masks can sometimes be uncomfortable or make it difficult for a child to see properly.

My Nametags does the Mongol Rally

My Nametags does the Mongol Rally

Back in July, four students; Guy, Matt, Jonti, and Ed, set off for the Mongol Rally – a 10,000 mile drive from London, across Europe, to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia – in ‘Coral’ their 16-year-old Nissan Micra.

“The trip was that of a lifetime, passing through some of the most un-touched parts of the world,” said Guy Khosla, one of the team, “…the driving conditions through Central Asia were certainly not particularly suitable for a Nissan Micra! Most of the driving was spent avoiding large potholes, rocks and mostly trying not to poke a large hole in the bottom of the car”.

“One of the most astounding things from the trip was how friendly and welcoming the locals were. We stayed the night with locals on at least 4 separate occasions, and were taken out to lunch and dinner by many more”.

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Yak to the Future at the Mongol Rally finishing line

My Nametags was approached by the team for sponsorship to help fund their mission and for the education charity EducAid Sierra Leone, and environmental charity Cool Earth.

with Lars

At the My Nametags office before setting off!

With their blog Yak to the Future the friends kept everyone updated on the various people they met, the meals they enjoyed, car troubles they encountered (including when it disappeared in Georgia!), and plenty of pictures of the scenery they passed. Makes for interesting reading!

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Of course, with My Nametags as one of their sponsors, the team had everything they owned labelled, and Guy was a big fan; “the labels were amazing, they survived 10000 miles, weather conditions from close to freezing point, to 45 degree+ heat, 2 deserts, and also being flooded, after our car got stuck in a river in western Mongolia!”