Thursday, 21 November 2013

Sorted’s top ten tips for Christmas spending

According to new research, the average British adult will spend £488 on Christmas this year. While this is a slight decline from the £526 spent last year, it is still a significant amount of money to club together over the festive period.

On average, we will each spend £336 on presents and £152 on food, drink and entertainment, with women spending more on presents and men spending more on food and drink.

So how do we keep costs down this Christmas without turning into Ebenezer Scrooge?
  1. Set yourself a budget and stick to it. If you buy whatever you see without planning, you will end up spending far more. Work out exactly how much you are prepared to pay for each element: food, drink, presents, entertainment and transport. The Money Advice Service has set up a Christmas Money Planner that might help.
  2. Use discount vouchers, loyalty points and multi-buy deals to stock up the fridge and freezer this year. Even small savings add up, so make sure you check dates and make sure you’re getting the best possible value on the groceries you buy.
  3. Compare prices online. It is often possible to find a better deal by shopping around for the items you want. Remember to factor in delivery costs and to order well in advance so that all of your items arrive on time.
  4. Start making small cutbacks now. Forgo that daily coffee or weekly takeaway, perhaps. Every penny counts, as a certain supermarket would say.
  5. Get others involved. If you are in charge of hosting a big Christmas dinner, ask your guests to bring dessert, wine or even after dinner mints. It will make them feel more involved and help to cut costs for you.
  6. Avoid taking out store cards, high-interest credit cards and – most importantly – payday loans. These can seem enticing and may even help to spread the cost in the short term, but you will end up paying back far more than you borrowed and potentially end up in a cycle of debt. If you do have to borrow money to cover Christmas spending, try to use a credit card that offers 0% on purchases for a few months. Then write out a budget detailing how you will repay this debt in the New Year.
  7. Think about what you’re buying. One thoughtful and carefully planned gift is worth five run-of-the-mill presents. Listen out for hints from those around you and make a note of them. That way, the people you buy for get exactly what they want and you come off as the attentive husband/brother/father/colleague.
  8. Give to charity for free with Care2Save. Ok, this won’t necessarily save you money, but by using this site, you can donate to charity at no extra expense when you shop online. The company has signed up 130 UK brands, so that when you buy from these brands through the site the affiliate fee will be given to charity.
  9. Don’t forget to give to those in need. According to Shelter, 80,000 children in the UK will be homeless this Christmas. Many elderly people will be alone and without heating during the festive period. If you can afford to, a donation could be highly valued. If not, think of ways to help people in your community: volunteer at a soup kitchen, visit someone in hospital or drop off some groceries at a local food bank.
  10. Get yourself Sorted! We couldn’t possibly give you ten top spending tips without encouraging you to buy the gift that keeps on giving: a gift subscription to Sorted magazine. Perhaps you know someone who loves to read and has fantastic taste. If so, click here. Or maybe you want to give a one-off gift to all the men in your life: family members, friends, colleagues, fellow sportsmen, church members and so on. If so, click here to buy one of our bumper boxes of 40 copies for just £50! Money well spent!

Feel free to add your own money-saving tips in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Two free tickets to give away!

A special screening showing special footage from The Bible series – one of the most popular shows in the US this year – is to take place on Friday November 8 and Sorted has a pair of tickets to give away. Best of all, one of the stars of the show, Nonso Anozie, who plays Samson in the series, will attend the screening and share some of his own insights.

The screening will take place at Twentieth Century Fox’s London headquarters from 10am until 11.30am. We apologise for the short notice, but if you would like to attend, please email with your name and contact details before 3.30pm today. First come, first served!

If you’re not able to attend the screening event, fear not! Because we were able to secure an exclusive interview with Nonso and have included a snippet here. He described how he got into acting, his influences and some of the prestigious roles he has undertaken (our words not his – he’s far too humble to have said that!).

Becoming Samson
Like many little boys, Nonso Anozie grew up watching and re-enacting superhero films. Casting himself in the main role he would envisage himself saving the world, probably wearing pants over some brightly coloured tights as he did so.

Though now a little older and wiser, Nonso’s love for acting and superheroes has never abated. So when he was offered the role of Samson in hit television series The Bible, he didn’t need to think twice before taking on the challenge.

In the biblical account of the hairy hero’s life, Samson is given superhuman strength: he rips a lion apart with his bare hands, slays 1,000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass and – in the move that brought about his own death – ripped a pagan temple from its foundations. If the word “badass” had been in use back then, Samson might have been afforded a new nickname.

Nonso tells Sorted: “The story is very dynamic, very action-packed; something any guy would want to play. My youth was spent watching superhero movies and my dream was fulfilled playing this role; he’s kind of like a biblical superhero. It was a great opportunity.”

Fortunately for viewers, Nonso agreed to become the biblical strongman, and fortunately for him, the series was a huge hit in the US. Launched in March, the first episode was viewed by a whopping 13.1 million people; the largest cable television audience of the year up to that point. Including subsequent airings, the series was viewed by more than 100 million US viewers.

“That’s more than the Super Bowl!” says Nonso. “Samson was a great role to have and it also pushed my career on. It’s done amazingly great things for my career. To be able to spread the Word of God and actually act at the same time is something I’ve always believed in.”

Other major roles Nonso now has under his belt include Zamoran pirate Artus in Conan the Barbarian, Xaro Xhoan Daxos in HBO hit series Game of Thrones and Jackson Burke in The Grey, which starred Liam Neeson. “I’ve just finished Ender’s Game [with Harrison Ford and Viola Davis], which is released in November, The Bible is coming out in December, and I’m currently working on Cinderella with Disney,” Nonso divulges.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the live-action version of the popular fairy tale stars Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Richard Madden and Derek Jacobi, among others, with Nonso taking the part of Prince Charming’s loyal friend, the Captain. All we can say is, Madden had better pull off a pretty good performance as the lead man, because his best buddy is pretty charming himself, pants over tights or not.

Read the full interview with Nonso Anozie in Sorted January-February, out on December 18. You can click here to order our current issue, Sorted November-December today.

The Bible will air in the UK on Channel 5 this December. To find out more about the show, visit