Shoppers are stocking up early on Covid Christmas essentials


Shoppers are stocking up on festive groceries earlier than ever, with Asda yesterday reporting a surge in frozen turkeys and “lockdown-proof” items alongside a slowdown in quarterly sales.

The supermarket chain said that sales of Christmas trees had increased by 83 per cent, festive lights by 57 per cent, Christmas puddings by 71 per cent and mince pies by 44 per cent, compared with the third quarter of last year.

In a sign that families are preparing for smaller gatherings as social distancing restrictions may remain in place, sales of frozen turkey crowns, which serve three to four people rather than larger families, have increased by 230 per cent.

“After a rollercoaster year, it’s clear our customers are already planning for a very different Christmas,” Roger Burnley, 54, chief executive of Asda, said. “We have already seen a marked shift in buying patterns, with customers stocking up their freezers and cupboards with festive essentials earlier than ever before, which suggests they are getting used to expecting the unexpected but preparing to enjoy themselves as much as possible.”

Asda, with 631 stores employing 165,000 people, has a 14.4 per cent share of the UK grocery market. The chain was recently sold by Walmart in a £6.8 billion deal to the billionaire Issa brothers and TDR Capital, who together also own EG Group, a petrol forecourt business that is one of Britain’s biggest private companies.

Asda recorded a 2.7 per cent increase in third-quarter like-for-like sales for the period from July 1 to September 30, down on the 3.8 per cent rise in the previous quarter. It continues to have the slowest supermarket growth of the “Big Four” grocers, with recent figures from Kantar showing that its 5 per cent sales growth over the past 12 weeks was less than half that of Morrisons, its smaller rival, which has increased its sales by 11.4 per cent.

Under its new ownership Asda is focusing on its online and convenience business and has launched a trial of three stores on EG Group’s forecourts. It has reacted to a surge in demand for online deliveries by expanding its capacity from 450,000 slots in March to 765,000. It also has increased its delivery charge for Christmas slots to up to £7, having previously been free for minimum orders of £40. Tesco and Sainsbury’s have raised their delivery charges and Ocado has increased its minimum order spend to £90.





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Five essentials to know about your super and where to find them


A high-fee super fund can have a massively detrimental effect on your retirement savings. Credit:Dionne Gain

Go on. I’ll wait …

Okay, great. Well done, you. I’ll run you through the five things every Australian should know off the top of their head about their super. It’s all there in your statements.

1: Number of superannuation accounts you have

I have just one super account. That is all you need.

Lots of people have multiple accounts and that is bad, bad, bad. Multiple accounts mean paying duplicate fees and insurance premiums that erode your total retirement nest egg.

Australians waste more than $450 million a year paying fees on multiple accounts, according to government estimates.

Tuesday’s budget unveiled major changes which will mean, from next year, super accounts will be “stapled” to employees when they change jobs and new workers won’t just be defaulted into their new employers’ preferred fund. That will help.

Meantime, please hunt down any super accounts you have, either through the “lost super search” function in your MyGov account or by ringing the Australian Taxation Office’s dedicated number to find lost super – 132865. Find your super, roll it into one account. Please.

2: Your balance

Sounds simple enough, right? But many people simply don’t know how much they have in super. Crazy stuff.

My balance as at June 30 this year was $244,378. For context, I’ve been in the workforce for two decades now and am a high-income earner. You balance might be higher or lower. I don’t care. I just care that you know it.

3: Your investment strategy

Where is your money invested?

A “balanced” investment option fund will put your money into a mix of shares, fixed income and other investments, such as infrastructure.

A “growth” fund will be more heavily weighted towards share investments, returns on which fluctuate more from year to year but tend to deliver bigger returns over time.

A “high growth” fund will be even more heavily weighted into shares.

I’m in the “growth” option.

4: Your return for the past financial year after fees

Mine was negative 1.02 per cent. Ouch – global pandemic and all that. However, over the past three years, my super has earned 6.43 per cent, on average, and 7.95 per cent a year over the past decade.

How does that compare to other funds? Well, it’s hard to say. Which is why the government, again in Tuesday’s budget, announced it will create a dedicated website called YourSuper, which will, from next year, let you more easily compare your fund’s performance versus other funds.

Any fund found to be underperforming — on a yet to be announced metric — for two years in a row will be banned from taking on new members.

The government estimates Australians have $100 billion sitting in more than 3 million “dud” super accounts and wants to root them out. About time.

5: Your fees, expressed as a percentage of your balance

The front page of my statement says I paid $65 last year in administration and other direct fees and $88 in insurance premiums. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? But read on.

In the fine print of my statement, I found I was actually charged a total of $1967.47 in fees. The whopping difference was comprised of two opaquely named charges for “indirect costs of your investments” and “other fees of your investment”. Thanks for the transparency, guys.

All up, my total fees of $1967.47 represented about 0.84 per cent of my opening balance. That’s not too bad.

Alex Dunnin, of fund researcher Rainmaker, says everyone should be paying less than 1 per cent in fees on their super — and that fees are falling.

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The government’s new price comparison website should, hopefully, bring fees down even further, helping members to realise if they have their retirement savings invested in high-fee funds.

Australians fork out $30 billion a year in fees on super. As the Treasurer noted this week, that’s more than our combined household energy bills for the year.

Funds have gotten away with charging high fees for far too long because they know you are not watching. Don’t let them get away with it. Have a look at your statement today.

You can follow Jess’ money adventures on Instagram at @jess_irvine_pics

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4 Sun Protection Essentials for Your Next Beach Trip


4 Sun Protection Essentials for Your Next Beach Trip


4 Sun Protection Essentials for Your Next Beach Trip : There’s nothing quite like going to the beach to get away from the stresses of daily life. But you can’t stay under the sun all day without taking some necessary precautions. Otherwise, the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun could cause a lot of damage to your skin.

So before you head out, make sure to pack the following sun protection essentials first:

  1. Rashies

    Also known as rash guards, rashies are a type of swimwear made out of nylon, polyester, or spandex. When worn, they provide an extra layer of protection from UV rays. They also prevent irritation caused by harsh saltwater, jellyfish stings, and sandy shores.

    When buying a rash guard, look for one with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of at least 50. You should also pick one that’s skin-tight so that it doesn’t ride up while you’re out in the water. The good news is that rash guards come in various sizes. They range from small and petite to womens rashies with zip plus size that provide a perfect fit.

  2. Sunscreen

    Sunscreen is a kind of cream, spray, gel, or lotion that is applied directly to the skin. It acts as a barrier that absorbs or deflects the sun’s UV rays, preventing you from getting sunburned.

    When shopping for sunscreen, look for a broad-spectrum brand that’s SPF 30+. Check if it provides protection against ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays as well. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to avoid chemical sunscreen, as it may irritate your skin. Instead, you can opt for a physical mineral sunscreen.

    Fifteen minutes before sun exposure, apply sunscreen all over your exposed skin. Don’t forget to re-apply it after every two hours or after swimming or towelling yourself off.

    Sunscreen
    Sunscreen

  3. Lip Balm with SPF

    Did you know that you also need to protect your lips from the sun? In fact, they have such thin skin and so little melanin that they’re highly susceptible to UV damage. And because they’re always exposed to the sun, they can get sunburned, too.

    To make matters worse, your lips are prone to actinic keratosis. These are rough, scaly patches that develop from years of sun exposure. Said patches are also at risk of developing a lethal form of skin cancer called melanoma.

    Hence, it’s a good idea to bring a lip balm that’s at least SPF 15 or higher. It should also contain moisturising ingredients to keep your lips from drying out.

  4. Hair and Scalp Protection

    Even if your hair is technically a collection of dead cells, too much sun exposure can still do a number on it. For one, the sun’s rays can cause the hair cuticle to open, which removes melanin and moisture and makes your hair dry and frizzy. UV rays also break down the proteins in your hair, resulting in split ends and breakage.

    Worst of all, your scalp is also vulnerable to harmful UV rays. Without sun protection, your scalp could become sunburnt or develop skin cancer.

    To protect your hair and scalp from the sun, the best thing you can do is wear a hat to fully protect the top of your head. For a grease-free solution, you could opt for sunscreen stick or powder instead of a lotion or spray.

 

Keep these items in your luggage the next time you go on a trip to the beach. For better peace of mind, it’s best to buy these essentials from trusted brands. One such example is Cat & I, which offers gorgeous high-quality women’s rashies for sale. With ample sun protection, you can rest assured you’ve minimized UV damage to your hair, scalp, lips, and skin.

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Sun Protection Essentials for Your Next Beach Trip

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