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

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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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Gardening

Hospital’s flower power proves big success with patients

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A summer of sun and extra flower beds have blossomed into the perfect partnership for patients’ wellbeing at Singleton Hospital.

The recent prolonged sunny spells – the hottest recorded for Wales in 30 years – have provided ideal conditions for hundreds of begonias to bloom.

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This year, the health board has invested in additional raised beds around the hospital to increase the positive impact on the wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors.

Betty Foley has worked at Singleton as a volunteer for over 15 years.

Seeing a large number of patients, staff and visitors during each shift, she has heard a lot of positive patient feedback for the flower features.

She said: “I deal with a large number of patients and visitors coming into Singleton and a lot of them have passed comment on how lovely the flowers look around the hospital.

“A lot arrive through the main reception and they’re welcomed by a really colourful bed of flowers, which can give you a bit of a boost when you’re going into hospital for treatment.

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“I’ve been told countless times recently by patients that they sit in front of the hospital where the benches are and the flowers take their mind off things.

“Small things like that can really make a big difference to your day.”

Christian Berndsen, gardening maintenance, and his team put the bedding plants in at the end of May.

He said: “We’ve used a lot of different types of begonias as they have a variety of bright colours that really catch the eye.

“The flowers have benefited from a great summer of sun.

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Nick Davies, and Christian Berndsen in front of one of the flower beds (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

“I’ve had a lot of comments while we’re around the hospital, which is nice. The intention was to give anyone who uses the hospital a nice, bright collection of flowers to look at around the site.

“Seeing bright flowers such as the begonias can give you a bit of a lift, so it’s been lovely to hear that patients love them as it shows it’s having a positive effect.”

Singleton has also benefited from a wooden sculpture of an oak dragonfly, which features on the Crush Hall roundabout which is situated between the main entrance and the maternity and child health building.

That has been funded by Biophilic Wales and designed by local sculptor Simon Hedger, and adds to a creative corner in the hospital grounds.

Nick Davies, Estates Officer at Singleton Hospital, added: “The flowers and sculpture certainly improves the appearance of the hospital. As we have a lot of patients, visitors and staff coming to this hospital we firmly believe that first impressions are very important.

“If you’re waiting for an appointment or are visiting family or a friend, it’s nice for people to see and offers a little lift. In addition, it’s a natural habitat for small wildlife such as bees and butterflies.

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“Christian and the gardening team have done a great job brightening up areas around the hospital, and we’re really pleased it’s impacted patients in a positive way.”

Lead image: Volunteer Betty Foley, Nick Davies, Estates Officer at Singleton Hospital and Christian Berndsen from gardening maintenance at the Crush Hall roundabout display. (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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Gardening

Rescue your summer garden with our hosepipe ban survival guide

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Can you keep plants alive during a hosepipe ban? Well, yes in fact you can.

We’ve teamed up with Sproutl’s Creative Director, Hollie Newton to share her top tips for gardening in a drought.

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It’s hot, there’s no rain and now hosepipe bans are being introduced around the country.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for the garden as Hollie explains: “This year a scorched lawn is like a badge of honour and we should be wearing that with pride. We’re all doing our bit for the environment by not watering the lawn. The great thing about a lawn is that it will bounce back as soon as it starts raining again.”

Pick your battles

Gardening during drought is all about picking your battles. “Mature trees and shrubs will soldier on through a drought, but it is plants in pots that need a helping hand,” says Hollie.

“You might not be able to keep everything alive, so focus on your big and expensive plants and water these by hand with a watering can.”

Water plants by hand using a watering can

Save water

“Go 1950s style and save as much water from the kitchen as possible,” says Hollie. “You can use the water from boiled spuds – just let it cool down first. Likewise, the water from the washing up bowl is fair game too. As long as you’re just using normal dishwashing liquid, it will be fine to use on the garden. You can also use water from the bath tub, again, as long as you’re just using normal soap, it is fine to use on the garden.”

The only water you shouldn’t use on the garden is water that contains bleach, disinfectants or similar chemicals. You can use water from the kitchen or bathroom on all ornamental garden plants. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) advises not to use this water on edible crops.

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Reuse water from your kitchen in the garden

Re-think your garden

Longer term, Hollie suggests thinking about what sort of plants you grow. “Let’s face it, we’re going to be having more summers like this, with hot, dry weather, so us gardeners need to look for plants that don’t need much water. Plants from the Mediterranean are properly equipped to face this sort of weather, so things like palms, cacti, lavender, rosemary, santolina, ceanothus, cistus and artemisia – to name a few – are all good choices for gardens.”

There’s also a few tricks when it comes to establishing plants, as Hollie explains: “Instead of watering new plants little and often, give them a really good soaking less often. This encourages them to send their roots down deep to find water.”

And lastly Hollie adds: “Don’t cut down trees! It can be tempting to cut down trees when you move into a new place to give more space or sunlight, but trees are so good during a drought with providing much-needed shade – for us and our plants.”

green plant on brown soil
Rethink your garden – what sort of plants will grow in hot dryer weather?

More top tips for gardening in a drought

  • Group pots together and move them to shadier spots to reduce watering needs.
  • Install a water butt to collect rain water.
  • Focus on watering vegetables when in flower for a good harvest.
  • Keep on top of weeding, as weeds will compete with plants for water.
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Food & Drink

Swansea rated the best place in the UK for a Thai Takeaway

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person eating using chopsticks

A new study has revealed that Swansea is the best place to find a top quality Thai takeaway in the UK.

This is from HouseholdQuotes who analysed Just Eat data in 523 locations across the UK to discover the best places for 20 cuisine types.

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While coming top for Thai takeaways, Swansea ranked a solid 146 out of 523 UK towns and cities for its overall takeaway offering.

While other Swansea Bay towns didn’t rank quite so highly, if you’re after a different kind of cuisine Port Talbot placed 29th for Pizza.

Indian is Llanelli’s speciality takeaway of choice, with the town ranking 72 in the UK.

Bridgend take-out lovers head for fish and chips, with the town coming in at 225 out f the 523 UK towns and cities surveyed.

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