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Holiday Money Index reveals currency sales surge that confirms Britons’ intention to travel abroad in 2022

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Britons are buying holiday currencies at far higher levels than before the Covid-19 pandemic first took hold in the UK in Spring 2020.

The first Post Office Travel Money Holiday Money Index of 2022 covering January-March 2022 reveals strong growth in a wide range of currencies compared with the first quarter of 2020 and indicates that significant numbers of Britons intend to holiday abroad for the first time in two years.

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In particular, the extraordinary growth shown by currencies for Croatia and the Caribbean islands suggests these are set to be the destinations of choice for British holidaymakers.

Sales for most currencies have been accelerating since the start of the year and 14 of the Post Office’s bestselling currencies – including the euro and US dollar – have surged past their healthy sales levels two years ago.

The most spectacular growth has been for the Croatian kuna. After recording the highest Post Office growth of 52 per cent in 2021, kuna purchases have risen 10-fold since January and are now up 137 per cent for the first quarter of 2022 compared with 2020.

Caribbean currencies have also seen high levels of growth – most notably the Barbados dollar and Jamaican dollar, whose sales have rocketed by over 100 per cent since 2020. Big rises have also been charted by the Mexican peso (up 91 per cent) and East Caribbean dollar (+89%), which suggests that holidaymakers will be heading to resorts including Cancun, St Lucia, Antigua and Grenada.

Nick Boden, Post Office Head of Travel Money said: “We are used to seeing a spring surge in sales of the Croatian kuna, but the rise in March was unprecedented, indicating that Croatia is set to have another highly successful year. We have also seen an extraordinary rise in sales of Caribbean and Central American currencies in 2022. It suggests that pent-up demand is resulting in many Britons planning holidays of a lifetime to some of the world’s most aspirational destinations.”

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Post Office Travel Money’s fastest growing currencies comparison of two-year sales also shows that holidaymakers are planning trips to Mauritius (rupee sales up 45 per cent) and Dubai (UAE dirham sales up 67 per cent), the latter now fourth in the Post Office bestselling currencies chart (fact sheet table 3). The euro remains the most popular currency for British holidaymakers with sales in March more than double those in January. US dollar sales rose 85 per cent in March compared with January.

Reporting on rate movements, the Exchange Rate Monitor reveals that sterling is stronger against more of Post Office Travel Money’s top 30 currencies in 2020 than 2021. Sterling has risen against 16 currencies compared with April 2021 but is up against 70 per cent of bestsellers since April 2020. The biggest two-year gain of over 115 per cent is against the Turkish Lira, giving Britons over £268 more cash on a £500 transaction. The monitor also shows sizeable sterling gains of over 20 per cent against the Mauritius rupee, Costa Rican colon and Japanese yen since 2020.

In addition to measuring exchange rate movements and foreign currency sales trends, the Post Office

Holiday Money Index also reports on the cost of meals and drinks in destinations whose currency sales have grown most over the past two years and found a wide disparity of costs.

Prices in Marmaris, Turkey are far lower than in any other destination because of the weak lira but, leaving this aside, the other 10 resorts surveyed vary dramatically in price. Prices have fallen by 13 per cent since 2020 in Orlando, Florida and the £55.62 cost of a three-course meal for two with a bottle of wine and a range of four drinks (coffee, beer, coca cola and wine) is less than half the price in Barbados (£133.70).

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Long-haul hotspots Mauritius (£60.35), Costa Rica (£61.68) and Jamaica (£64.32) also look great value compared with Barbados, while in Europe, Croatia (£64.02) is reasonably priced. Prices in all six of the cheapest destinations surveyed are lower than in 2020. Although this is mainly because of the stronger pound, the falls in Orlando, Mauritius, Costa Rica and Jamaica have also been boosted by a drop in local prices.

Nick Boden commented: “Holidaymakers who are still considering where to book should take resort costs into account because our Holiday Costs Barometer research found big variations in the cost of meals and drinks. Turkey is cheapest by far but, across the Atlantic, price falls in Orlando make it an attractive choice – especially for families – and summer sun bargain hunters are likely to find Costa Rica and Jamaica the best value at less than half the cost of Barbados. Travelling east, Mauritius also looks great value.”

Conversely, the higher prices found in Mexico (Cancun, £73.37), St Lucia (Rodney Bay, £89.71), Dubai (Jumeirah, £115.81) and Barbados (Bridgetown, £133.70) are the result of an increase in local resort prices. In the case of Mexico, a 13 per cent fall for sterling against the peso also contributed to the higher prices.

The Post Office is the UK’s leading foreign currency provider, offering around 60 currencies for pre-order at around 7,000 Post Office branches or online at www.postoffice.co.uk/travel for next day branch or home delivery.

3,600 larger Post Office branches stock the leading currencies and around 7,000 offer euros over the counter without pre-order. These can also be ordered online for same day ‘click and collect’ at selected branches, next day collection at any branch or home delivery.

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Over 500 teenagers in Wales to get £1600 a month in basic income trial

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The Welsh Government has launched its basic income trial scheme that sees it giving more than 500 people leaving care in Wales £1600 each month for two years – with no strings attached.

Equating to £19,200 a year before tax, it’s believed the cash offered is the highest amount provided on a basic income pilot anywhere in the world.

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The £20m scheme is controversial, and previous universal basic income trials in Kenya, Finland and California failed.

Welsh Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt says this particular scheme is a direct investment in the lives and futures of some of Wales’ most vulnerable young people.

The minister added that those taking part in the pilot will also receive individual advice and support to help them manage their finances and develop their financial and budgeting skills.

Local authorities will play a key role in supporting them throughout the pilot. Voices from Care Cymru will also work with the young people to give them advice on wellbeing, education, employment and help them plan their future after the pilot.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “We want all our young people to have the best possible chance in life and fulfil their full potential. The state is the guardian of people leaving care and so has a real obligation to support them as they start their adult life.

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“Our focus will be on opening up their world to all its possibilities and create an independence from services as their lives develop.

“Many of those involved in this pilot don’t have the support lots of people – myself included – have been lucky enough to enjoy as we started out on our path to adulthood.

“Our radical initiative will not only improve the lives of those taking part in the pilot, but will reap rewards for the rest of Welsh society. If we succeed in what we are attempting today this will be just the first step in what could be a journey that benefits generations to come.”

The Welsh Conservatives however have criticised the scheme as “giving out free money” and say it won’t help tackle the problems some vulnerable young people face.

Joel James, the Welsh Conservative shadow minister for social partnership said: “Whilst I wholeheartedly support helping the poorest and most vulnerable in our country, the Labour Government is not even close to living in reality with this trial.

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“Countless trials from across the globe have found basic income does not have the expected outcomes as it fails to incentivise work and proves time after time to be a waste of public money.

“If rolled-out across the board with every adult in Wales receiving £1,600 a month it would cost nearly £50 billion a year, and at the same time reward the wealthiest in society rather than helping those who need it most.

“Our NHS is at breaking point and our economy is in a fragile state, but instead of tackling those issues head-on, Labour are more interested in Basic Income – which will cost the country an absolute fortune.”

Welsh Government Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said: “We’re in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis like no other and we therefore need new ways of supporting people who are most in need.

“Our Basic Income pilot is an incredibly exciting project giving financial stability to a generation of young people. Too many people leaving care face huge barriers to achieving their hopes and ambitions; such as problems with getting a safe and stable home, to securing a job and building a fulfilling career. This scheme will help people live a life free of such barriers and limitations.

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“We will carefully evaluate the lessons learnt from the pilot. Listening to everyone who takes part will be crucial in determining the success of this globally ambitious project. We will examine whether Basic Income is an efficient way to support society’s most vulnerable and not only benefit the individual, but wider society too.”

Tiff Evans of Voices from Care Cymru, speaking on behalf of young people who have experienced care, said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for care leavers in Wales. It is good to see that care leavers in Wales are being thought of and Welsh Government are providing this opportunity for them as young people to become responsible, control some parts of their lives and have a chance to thrive and be financially independent.

“We thank Welsh Government for investing in them and their future and we look forward to other changes and developments for care experienced young people in Wales in order for them to reach life aspirations.”

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Lifestyle

UK households waste almost £170 on average each year on unused subscriptions

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man and woman sitting on a couch in front of a television

A third (33%) of UK households have multiple individual memberships for the same streaming service, when they could be saving money by paying for one household membership instead, according to research from comparethemarket.com.

UK households spend £50 on average each month on paid-for subscriptions, the equivalent of £600 a year, with 32% spending as much as £50 to £300 a month.

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Depending on the providers’ terms and conditions, paying for one membership could also apply to joining up with family or friends outside your household for a subscription service, as almost two-fifths (39%) say they do not share subscriptions with close family or friends to save money.

Cutting down on infrequently used or forgotten subscriptions is another way households could make savings – the research found that nearly one in two households (49%) spend money on unused subscriptions, wasting on average £14 a month, the equivalent of almost £170 a year.

Of those who keep unused or infrequently used subscriptions, nearly half (48%) keep them just in case they ever use them again, close to a fifth (19%) say it’s too much hassle to cancel, and 15% feel they do not have the time to go through their finances and cancel unused ones.

Popularity boomed for online subscriptions over the past two years, with more than three-quarters (76%) of UK households having signed up for at least one subscription since the pandemic began. However, with the rising cost of living, many are now reviewing their expenditures and almost half of households (48%) say they are likely to cancel at least one subscription in the next few months.

Cancelling or spending money on unused subscriptions varies significantly by age; half of adults under the age of 34 (50%) are likely to cancel and are wasting the equivalent of £192 a year (£16 a month on average) on unused services. Whereas under a third (29%) of people aged over 55 are planning to cancel unused subscriptions and are wasting an average of £84 each year (£7 a month).

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At a time when household finances are being squeezed, the research also revealed that some companies are not making it easy for people to cancel memberships when needed. Free trials are a beneficial way to test a service and 65% of people have signed up for at least one in the past 12 months.

This figure is highest among young people, with 72% of those aged between 16-34 having signed up; this drops to only 28% for those aged over 55.

However, over a fifth (22%) found it difficult to cancel their subscription at the end of the free trial. When asked whether they were warned about the free trial ending and being automatically renewed, 46% said they were not.

Alex Hasty, director at comparethemarket.com comments: “You can get a subscription for just about anything now, with many people having signed up during lockdown seeking access to new forms of entertainment.

“However, at a time when household finances are being squeezed significantly, our research shows that people are now wasting hundreds of pounds a year on services they’re not using regularly or by having multiple accounts amongst family and friends unnecessarily.

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“Frequently reviewing your spending with the help of free tools or apps could help those impacted by the increase in household expenditures.

“This applies for other household bills too – an effective way of cutting costs and relieving some of the financial pressure is shopping around online for a better deal, such as for car and home insurance, or broadband.

“With comparethemarket.com, customers can also set up automated car and home insurance renewal quotes and be notified ahead of their renewal date to help them find great deals and save money.”

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Lifestyle

New study shows cost of getting married could exceed £42k in 10 years

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woman wearing white wedding gown holding hands with man while walking

Planning on getting hitched? Then start saving now! A new study has shown that the cost of getting married is likely to rise by 36% in the next 10 years.

We’ve got 10 money saving wedding tips that could help combat the eye watering costs.

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With many engaged couples having had to postpone their big day over the past couple of years, it won’t be good news to many that alongside rising living costs, weddings are getting more expensive too.

To find out what couples can expect to spend on their wedding in the next 10 years, Life insurance broker Reassured has used a forecast prediction model based on the average wedding cost of previous years.

The research reveals that in 10 years’ time couples can expect to spend an average of £42,924. For that price, you could buy that fancy new sports car you always dreamed of! This would be a 36% increase in 10 years, as currently, in 2022, the average price for a wedding is expected to be around £32,572.

Here’s how much weddings are going to cost in the next 10 years:

YearCost of a Wedding
2023£33,204
2024£34,713
2025£35,958
2026£37,153
2027£38,393
2028£39,539
2029£40,540
2030£41,079
2031£41,995
2032£42,924

Wedding money-saving tips

With weddings becoming more expensive every year, Reassured spoke to 10 newlyweds to reveal their biggest money-saving tips: 

  1. Instead of hiring a photographer for the full night, arrange disposable or polaroid cameras for your guests to use – some great snaps guaranteed!
  2. Send your invites online – this doesn’t just make your life easier but also saves a few pennies too. In this digital age, this is totally acceptable.
  3. Instead of giving wedding favours to each guest, consider donating to charity.
  4. Decorations don’t always have to be brand-new, check out local charity shops, eBay or Facebook marketplace. This does not only save you money but is also more sustainable.
  5. Scrap plans for an open bar or drink vouchers – beverages often rock up the highest bill!
  6. When buying your wedding dress shop around on different sites and don’t shy away from warehouse sales, the abundance of choice might just have the dress of your dreams. Also, when searching online, search for white dresses instead – the choice is yours!
  7. Make cuts on your guest list. If you’re thinking of inviting someone you haven’t been in touch with over the past year or so, don’t feel bad not inviting that person.
  8. Start planning your big day as early as possible, so you have more time to compare prices and some service providers may even offer a discount when booking early.
  9. Have a look at your wedding dates. During the summer months providers often increase their prices and due to demand weddings on weekends are likely to cost more than one during the week.
  10. To save up for the cost of your wedding you can consider setting up a joint account with your partner where each of you will add in a set amount after payday. This will help you get an overview of your budget as well as keep you from dipping into it to spend it on something else.

A spokesman from Reassured comments on the study: “Being prepared is now more important than ever. Prices are rising and with that saving up for special occasions is made even more difficult for people. However, people shouldn’t miss out on their big day, so being savvy with expenses can be a huge help.

“When getting married or having children it is always wise to plan ahead. Putting life insurance into place is a cost-effective way of ensuring the financial future of loved ones and as the UK’s largest broker, we are on hand to help make sure you get the protection you need quickly and efficiently.”

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(Lead image: Jeremy Wong / Pexels.com)

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