Benefits of Payroll Membership

BENEFITS OF PAYROLL MEMBERSHIP

Saving doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Indeed, many people live financially from month to month. This can become difficult at times, especially if you need money in an emergency. This could be anything from an appliance breaking down, home or car maintenance or needing to travel somewhere. Having regular savings isn’t just about paying for the things you want, but more linked to security and knowing that if you need something urgently, you have the money to pay for it.

Saving Basics

If you have ever read anything about wealth building or managing your finances better, you’ll know that the general rule of thumb is to save 10% of everything you earn. We know that this isn’t always going to be possible, but as a starting point, it’s a good guideline. Let’s keep it simple – if you earn £1,000 a month the savings plan would be to save £100 of that. If that isn’t feasible work from the 10% figure until you reach a number that is. Even saving 1%, just £10 a month, is better than saving none at all.

How does Payroll Membership Work?

If you are already a member you will know that the best way to think about payroll membership is in the same way that a pension payment is made; directly from wages or salary. A link is set up between us, the credit union and your payroll department. You, as the member of staff, sign up and open a credit union account and then specify a savings amount to be deducted each month or week. The amount is deducted from the net salary (after tax) and transferred directly to your credit union account. 

Why is it easier to Save this Way?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when saving is that they wait until they have been paid or bought everything else before deciding what to save. Returning to savings basics, you should always pay yourself first i.e. save. We are not suggesting you avoid important bills or payments, but by considering a regular savings amount that you can afford, and paying that first, you are more likely to succeed with your savings than if you consider it an afterthought.

Savings then becomes an important payment you make each week or month. The beauty of course is that you are paying yourself! We all deserve to have the security of savings and this is a tried and tested way of doing it. Just like any other banking organization, we are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to £85,000.

What about borrowing. Can I apply for a loan with payroll membership?

Yes! Part of managing your money better is being able to access affordable loans when you need to. If we dipped into our savings every time we needed something we would have nothing left. So you may wish to borrow from time to time too.

As a credit union we can often give a preferential loan rate to payroll members.  

In the same way that you make regular payments from your salary to save, you can apply for a loan and have the repayments deducted directly from your salary. For peace of mind and confidentiality, payroll departments do not have any information on what the payment you are making to the credit union is for (i.e. it could be for savings or loan repayments). You only have to specify the amount and frequency. The payment is simply sent to your loan account for repayment.

How can I join a Payroll Deduction Scheme?

As an employee of a partnered organisation, if you aren’t yet a member, you can become a member of Nottingham Credit Union at any time. If you are already a member and are not yet saving, why not set up a payment now. You can also apply for a loan at any time.

Please visit our dedicated Payroll Pro website to find out more www.payroll-pro.org.uk

HALF TERM HOLIDAYSbenefits of payroll membership

It does feel like we skipped the last half of summer and with such brisk weather, heading off to somewhere warm and sunny for October half term is tempting. Despite the fact that some holiday companies do hike up their prices during this time, there are lots of great deals to be had.

If you need a little extra to make it happen, we can help. As an example you could borrow £1000 for 12 months with a repayment of just £91 a month*. Remember this repayment can be made directly from your salary.

Visit our Payroll Pro website today and apply online

www.payroll-pro.org.uk/loans

 

 

* Terms & Conditions apply. Loans are subject to status. Over 18’s only. Example based on loan amount of £1000 at APR of 17.5%. repayable over 12 months with total interest of £89.74. Total amount repayable £1089.74. Nottingham Credit Union encourages responsible lending.

Categories: BLOG.

How to be a better spender

FOCUS:  HOW TO BE A BETTER SPENDER

 

The most familiar saying we use is, how to be a better saver, but we all spend and spending is good when you are savvy about it, so we want this month to focus on how to be a better spender.

 

Money

 

Money makes the world go around! It literally does. Although money definitely does not buy you happiness, it puts a roof over your head, food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a car to drive and holidays to enjoy. Money is a value exchange – you receive something, whether that be goods or services and you give money in exchange.

 

Spending

 

When you think of money simply as a value exchange, spending is a necessity. There are of course those items we need and those we want. We often grumble about paying bills but if you think about the value exchange again, we could perhaps feel grateful for that spending – paying your gas bill for example means you are warm in winter and you can cook for yourself and your family. Paying your rent or mortgage gives you a lovely place to live and paying your TV or phone bill keeps you connected and entertained.

 

One of the best ways to become better at spending is to feel more grateful for the things you DO pay for now out of necessity. Those things mentioned above.

 

In the same way feel grateful for the money you can save too – although it feels like this is not spending, truly you are spending it on yourself. Saving it for a rainy day, a holiday or just for an emergency should you need it.

 

Emotional Spending

 

Call if what you will, but some spending comes from a desire to make us feel better – for want of a better word, let’s call this emotional spending. We buy something we might not be able to afford but we do it anyway because we think it will make us feel better. If we can’t afford it we then feel bad because we needed the money for something else or we had to borrow it which means paying it back.

 

One of the best ways to become better at spending is to think about whether the item you are buying will make you happy. That includes whether you can really afford it.

 

Sometimes if you ask yourself that question and leave it for a day or two, you will often come to the conclusion that the money could be better spent.

We are surrounded by consumerism – constantly encouraged to buy more and convinced we need more things. Truly a happy life is more about the journey in between which is of course experiences, rather than things.

 

Mindful Spending

 

Mindful spending is really the opposite of emotional spending. We are not suggesting you give up things (although you could reduce them if you wanted to and see the difference) but we are suggesting before you buy more things, you consider whether you really do want them and whether they will in fact add to your happiness or take away from it.

 

Being savvy about your spending in this way over time helps you become a better spender. You are more mindful about what you do spend your money on. You might even realise that you don’t need to spend as much as you do on ‘things’ which then allows you to save more towards ‘experiences’.

 

 

Categories: BLOG.

Summer on a budget

When you only enjoy a few months of warmer weather, it makes you want to go out and do as much as you can when the sun is shining! That can get expensive and so here are our top tips for planning your summer on a budget:

Top Tip #1

Make sure you have a budget to start with! If you don’t have any kind of plan as to how much you can actually spend you will find yourself getting into debt or not actually doing anything. Give yourself a budget for each month and try to stick to it!

Top Tip # 2Shop around! These days you can get online deals for just about everything and that includes days out, all kinds of travel and hotel stays here and abroad.

Top Tip #2

Join forces with friends or family. Sometimes going in a group on holiday or a trip out can make the whole thing much cheaper.

Top Tip #3

Be creative. Having fun during summer isn’t just about going on holidays or day trips. It might just be a picnic in the park, walking in the woods or having a BBQ with friends. Talk to your family about what they want to and come up with ideas that will keep you all entertained.

Top Tip #4

Car boot! Not to attend as a visitor but to do one to give yourself spare cash. Most people have a shed and attic full of things they no longer want or use. Clear out your clutter and have a car boot. These take place all over during the warmer and drier summer months, so make the most of it. You can usually get yourself set up early and be done by lunchtime. You could end up with a couple of hundred pounds just for clearing out! Obviously avoid then spending this at the car boot yourself!!

Top Tip #5

Start to relax. Balance your life with doing and just being. You could tidy and spruce up your garden and simply enjoy being at home relaxing!

Most of all have fun! Please share your tips for summer on a budget with us by visiting our Facebook page.

Categories: BLOG.

How to give your garden a makeover on a budget

If you would love to spruce up your garden but are a bit short on cash we thought knowing how to give your garden a makeover on a budget might help. You don’t have to rush out and buy expensive furniture or imported trees to have a good looking garden that you can enjoy in the sunshine. Here’s our top tips to get you started:

Start with your Grass

According to House Beautiful, one of the easiest ways to transform your garden is to cut the grass into a shape. That may be round, rectangle or square. Mark out the shape with string and cut the excess grass using a spade. It will be a really well spent afternoon!

Plant some Perennials

Now your first thought is going to be what are perennials! They are actually just plants that last a couple of years. Hardy border plants. You know the kind you see in rows and rows of little pots. They only cost a couple of pounds each and you can often get great deals on them at garden centres or in the supermarket. You will probably only need about 5 or 6 for an average sized garden. Just plant in a border and they will last you a couple of years! Examples of well known perennials are geraniums and lavender. They look really pretty and will attract bees and butterflies!

Pave the Way

Depending on your budget you might want to think about putting in a path. Surprisingly you could do this for around £40. You just need to mark the area you want your path to be. Then, scrape away the loose soil or cut out the grass and lay down a membrane. You can get these from any garden centre and this will stop the weeds coming through. Again you can buy the gravel from the garden centre. Another idea is to try eBay, Homebase, B & Q or a local builders yard. Next, spread the gravel over the membrane. You want to make sure the gravel is about 2.5 cm deep to get a good coverage. A big bag will cover about 20 square metres. The lighter gravel you pick the nicer the contrast will be with your grass or borders.

Add some Sparkle

You can get some really great garden lights that work on LED and are battery powered. This means no need for wiring or fiddly plugs! Simply string along the fence, trees or hedges for a really lovely twilight. Look online for better deals or try  one of the bigger supermarket chains which usually have some good deals on outdoor lights.

The Extras

If you’ve given yourself a budget and have spare, you can always buy some pots and plants to put along the patio. Choose pretty colours and different heights and types to give a real interesting outlook.

In terms of furniture you could always look in second hand stores or online auction sites like eBay. Larger supermarkets usually have summer deals running too where you can get a decent garden furniture set for much less. Facebook also have selling ads now as well as Gumtree, so do shop around.

Have fun in the sun!

Categories: BLOG.

The Importance of Teaching our Kids about Money

FOCUS: THE IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING OUR KIDS ABOUT MONEY

This month we shift our focus to our children and the importance of teaching them about money

Regardless of our own financial circumstances, if we are to bring up kids who are able to live a full and happy life, it’s important we give them the tools to manage and understand money.  The saying that money doesn’t buy happiness carries some truth, but considering our entire planet revolves around its exchange, what money does or does not buy us most definitely impacts on our happiness.

The Benefits of Teaching our Kids about Money

There are many benefits to teaching our kids about money, for us and them!

In making a commitment to do this, it makes us look at the way we ourselves behave around money. If we constantly spend without saving or pay little attention to what is coming in and out of our bank account, we aren’t going to be in a position to set a good example. That isn’t to say we can’t, it just means our children learn by watching us.

If we can get to grips with some basic information to pass over to our kids it enables us to look at the way we manage money ourselves and work to improve that, thus providing a better example for our kids to follow.

As with anything, our kids learn their behaviour by what goes on around them. As parents we impact heavily on this. School, friends, family and other environments they are open to will affect the way they learn about money too.

If we are consistently giving them positive messages about money, this will become their normal. To give you an example of this, most of us can probably relate to being told certain things about money when growing up. As a child you take things literally and so these things take root and become your beliefs around money. For example, imagine you are told every day that there is not enough money, money doesn’t grow on trees, money is the root of all evil and money is hard to come by. As children, the messages we are given around money will most often shape our beliefs and behaviours around money as we grow into adults.

This highlights the real benefits of relaying very positive messages to our kids about money!

Where to Start

The most obvious place to start is with ourselves. By being conscious of what we say to our kids about money will help them create healthy beliefs around money. Money is after all just paper – it is the meaning we apply to it that really makes it what it is (or is not) in our lives!

Start with the basics:

  • Give your kids an amount of money each week and explain that it is a good idea to save at least 10% of this (working out the percentages will also help with maths too). If your children are too young to understand percentages, explain it in a way that they can understand or show them with the money itself i.e. suppose you give them £5 each a week, have them work out the 10% to save or give them the money in change and show them what to save, taking out the 50p.
  • Talk to them about money in a positive way. Explain that money is used as a value exchange – kids obviously aren’t going to understand the word value in the way that we do, so talk to them on their level in a way they can understand. Perhaps around toys – for example, the value of a football or sweets etc.
  • Teach them about spending. Give them positive messages about paying bills on time, the reasons we work and have money so that we can pay for things.
  • Help them to understand spending within limits and why that’s important. Talk to them about debt and how that impacts on their quality of life.

Most importantly make money fun. Spending money should be fun but not so that you leave yourself with nothing. Help them to see that money is meant to be used for good and to benefit our lives and that ultimately paying yourself first by saving is the best thing you can learn to do for yourself!

Resources

Fortunately we have the power of Google and you’ll find some great articles, tips and advice about teaching your kids about money. You’ll also find you become better at managing your own money through doing it too!

ENJOY!

 

Categories: BLOG.

Going out on a budget

Going out on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

Tips to Going out on a Budget

Here’s a few tips to get the most of your night out.

  • Have pre drinks. You are going to be dressed up to go out, but just make the first part of your night, pre drinks at home or at a friends house. This will save you so much money and means you have more for your night out.
  • If you are going out in a group and can’t afford to buy rounds, don’t be afraid to say. Better to be honest!
  • Set yourself a budget for your night out and stick to it. Take cash rather than your card to avoid taking more money out that you haven’t budgeted for.
  • If you are dining out, why not include a voucher. Places like Prezzo are always sending offers for evenings out. Sign up to a few of your local restaurants and go out when you received the vouchers they often send.
  • Always alternate your drinks with water. Not only does this save you money but it will also save you the headache in the morning!
  • Share dessert – always a winner!
  • Share a taxi home if you are going out with friends. It is surprising how much money you save when you split the cost of a taxi fare.

Plan your Nights Out

Although sometimes it can be fun to do something spontaneous, planning in advance gives you time to save the money needed. Whether that’s going on a shopping trip with friends, dinner out or going to party the night away in a club. Schedule in regular nights out with friends. Going out in a group saves you money on a lot of things and is often more fun too.

Host a Party

Although you will often need to buy some essentials, have a BBQ or other party at home can be more fun than going out. Ask everyone to bring something and make a real event of it.

Be Creative

Nights out don’t always have to be about drinking and dinner, get creative and look around on what’s available. You might find concert tickets at the last minute or an offer on an activity day or night somewhere.

Set a Budget Aside

Fun and entertainment is just a part of life as work or exercise for example. See the value in having fun and going out with your family and friends. Set yourself a budget to do this. Over time you might find that you can cut back in some areas to give yourself more time out.

Categories: BLOG.

The Impact of Pay Day Lending on your Credit Score

FOCUS: PAY DAY LENDERS

This month we are focusing on the impact of pay day lending on your credit score and future borrowing. Pay day lenders are a tempting option for some with the lure of fast cash and an easy repayment option. However, the reality is very different.

Lynn’s Story

Here’s Lynn’s story:

“I turned to pay day lenders when my husband’s income changed. He works as an estate agent and when he moved to a new job he found that some month’s his commission didn’t reach the income that it had before. The first month it happened, we just managed to cover all our bills but then had nothing left for the rest of the month.

We have 4 children and so as well as food shopping and petrol to get us both to work, there were lunch monies to pay for, swimming lessons and all the things that come every month with having a busy family life. We simply couldn’t make ends meet and because we had a loan from our bank already and needed the money fast, we didn’t know where else to turn. I found the pay day lender online and literally completed my application and got the money in my bank that same day. It was so easy and I felt like it was a life saver. 

The Problem

The problem was that the next month because we had to take that chunk out of our income again it meant we were short. We borrowed again. This continued and I even had the pay day lender app on my phone which made things a whole lot easier.

Not only were we borrowing every month but a few times, when my husband’s income was down, we weren’t able to pay the full amount back. The interest was like having another loan. I just couldn’t believe how high it was.

Finally, I went to see our bank and ask if they could help and was shocked to find out that because we had used a pay day lender it had affected our credit score!”

Lynn’s story isn’t an isolated one. Many people turn to pay day lenders because they are in need of money fast and because it is just until the next pay day it seems that it won’t be a problem. As Lynn’s story reflects, using a pay day lender can affect your credit score.

High Risk

There is no hard and fast rule on whether using a pay day lender will or will not affect your credit score because financial organisations have different lending criteria. However, what we do know is that it can affect borrowing from banks, mortgage and other lenders.

Some organisations deem that using a pay day lender means you are a high risk borrower and so will not lend to you, whereas others may simply charge a much higher rate of interest. 

Ask James

James Jones is Experian’s Head of Consumer Affairs. Experian is the most widely used credit check agency for lenders in the UK. ‘Ask James’ is a section of Experian where members of the public can ask James pretty much anything related to credit ratings.

Recently someone asked James whether payday loans damage your credit rating. You can read James’ answer here http://www.experian.co.uk/consumer/questions/askjames246.html

Reality

We encourage anyone considering a pay day loan to consider all options available to them. Take advice from your local Money Advice Service or local Citizens Advice Bureau if you are in debt. Contact your own bank to discuss your financial problems openly to see if they can help you.

The reality is that although pay day loans are a fast and easy way to access cash the impact of pay day lending can and very much does affect future borrowing and your credit score.

Categories: BLOG.

Deciding whether to holiday at home or abroad

So much to consider when booking a holiday but the first has to be on deciding whether to holiday at home or abroad. Weather obviously comes into it but not everyone is keen on hot sunshine and so staying home might be an option for that reason. Our weather is generally always unpredictable and so if you are wanting guaranteed cooler weather you might not always get it! At times July has been hotter than the Mediterranean!

Consider this!

Other obvious factors to consider are:

  • travel time
  • budget
  • accommodation and facilities
  • activities
  • length of stay

Ultimately it probably comes down to personal preference. Some people enjoy holidaying in England and there are beaches on the West Coast of Wales and down South around Cornwall that would rival most Spanish ones!

Food glorious food!

It isn’t always the case that a holiday at home is cheaper either. These days you can get deals on all inclusive holidays abroad and because you are guaranteed the weather, most of your expense is covered within this. It is surprising at just how much the costs add up for eating and drinking, especially if you have children who are in constant need of drinks, snacks and ice creams! If you are holidaying in England and have to self cater, look into whether you can get your weekly groceries delivered. If you are camping or staying on a caravan site this is not going to be an option, but if you have booked a cottage or place somewhere, you will most likely be able to get deliveries from the main supermarkets. Although you will want to eat out some of the time, getting your groceries delivered for the week means you won’t be paying out for all your food and drink at local stores which are much higher priced.

Are we there yet?

The time you have available is always a consideration because you aren’t going to be going to America or Australia in just a week. The time is takes to get to  your destination and how you get there are also to be taken into consideration, especially if you have children. How many times have you heard, ‘are we there yet’, before you have even reached the motorway!?

Bored!

The type of holiday will also most likely impact heavily on deciding whether to holiday at home or abroad. If you like action packed holidays you might prefer staying home, whereas if you enjoy lazing around in the sun, a beach holiday abroad will definitely be for you. If you’ve got children you will also want to ensure that their needs are met too in terms of things to do. There is nothing worse than bored kids while you are trying to relax in the sunshine!

Bon Voyage

Whatever you decide, make it happen. Work out the details before booking anything so that you know most of what you are looking for – it makes booking much easier and you are more likely to get what you want if you are clear about it!

 

Enjoy!

 

Categories: BLOG.

How to get the best deals on new furniture and appliances for the home

Shopping around is always a good idea if you are going to get the most out of your money. We’ve done some research for you and given our top 4 tips on how to get the best deals on new furniture and appliances for the home:

Top tip #1

Know what you want!

 

Such an important point. We might think we want a new sofa or fridge freezer but have we actually got in our minds of the type of furniture or appliance we want? Get specific. If you aren’t sure think about style, colour and size. Look at your existing space and think about colours. If you are redoing a room then take some inspiration from images online or home interior magazines. If you are choosing an appliance where will it go, what colour are the other appliances. What are your requirements. Skipping this step may mean you end up with a gorgeous looking piece of furniture that doesn’t fit or isn’t right for you. Take your time over this. Once you know what you want it will be much easier to find. If you are looking for a black fridge freezer that has 4 drawers, an ice dispenser and is of particular size you are much more likely to find it than if you blindly search for fridge freezer!

Tip #2

Budget

Once you’ve decided on all the specifics of what you are looking for, set yourself a budget. This is SO important because it is very easy to get carried away with something you love and then later regret purchasing because you couldn’t really afford it. By budgeting – and by this we don’t mean buying something of lesser quality, we mean simply having a clear amount of money in your mind that you can spend on this particular piece of furniture or appliance. If you need more time to save or borrow then give yourself that. Better to wait a couple of months and get what you really want than to spend less and end up with something that isn’t quite right or of inferior quality. Yes, you’ve guessed it, when setting your budget, you then need to stick to it!

Tip #3

Window Shop

Window shopping isn’t something most of us enjoy, after all we love to buy! Window shopping is, however, really important when you are purchasing a larger item like furniture or an appliance. To get the best deals on new furniture or appliances for the home you are going to want to wander around different stores both on and offline. You know what you want and how much you have to spend so your task becomes far easier when armed with this information. Take your time to look at different options – online shopping can sometimes work out cheaper because the stores don’t always have the same overheads as physical high street stores do. However, larger stores sometimes discount heavily to make room for new stock too, so be sure to shop around and window shop until you drop to get the most out of your money. We loved this article recently by The Telegraph on !

Tip #4

Stick to your plan!

If you thought about what you want carefully and set your budget realistically you probably won’t need to change your plan. Stick to it! It can be very easy to get swayed by the price of something or the lure of a new colour or whatever it might be. Ensure you remind yourself of what you want, why you wanted it and how much you have to spend. Shopping is great fun but it can get out of hand if you don’t stick to your plan or you buy something impulsively. Following these simple steps should mean you end up not only with the best deals on new furniture and appliances for the home but actually get what you want too!

 

Categories: BLOG.

Ways to Spruce up your Home on a Budget

There are lots of ways to spruce up your home on a budget. You can get your home looking fabulous this spring without spending the earth to get it there!

Step 1

The obvious first step is to decide which rooms you would like to work on first. Have a clear plan because it will help you when it comes to spending. Here’s some tips for that:

  • Of all the rooms in your house which one do you feel needs a spruce up the most. Start with this one!
  • If there are a couple of rooms that perhaps don’t need too much doing you could choose to do these first.
  • Plan out in terms of your time and money which rooms you feel you could do now. You can always plan to do the others over the coming months.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew, make it an enjoyable process and not an overwhelming one.

Step 2

Once you’ve decided which room or rooms to start with, work out how much money you can spare to start with.

This step is really important because it is really easy to give yourself a vague idea but this is setting yourself up for failure. You will find that you will always spend more if you don’t be specific enough about how much you have to spend.

Be realistic and if it means delaying your start date for a month it is better to do that than start and blow your budget!

Step 3

Ask your friends to give you magazines, pop into the library or pick up inexpensive lifestyle magazines and start cutting out ideas that interest you. Just simply stick these onto a sheet of paper. Don’t worry if you don’t have a board or A3 sheet of paper, just work with what you have and you don’t even have to stick at all! The idea with this is to get inspiration for colours, furniture, themes and the whole look and feel of a room you would like to create.

When you have enough cuttings out you can start to think about the next step which is going and finding everything.

Step 4

Start by looking on eBay, Gumtree, classified ads, markets, car boots and other places where you are likely to pick up really great second hand or almost new items for a fraction of the cost. Use your ideas and cuttings out to remind you of what you are trying to achieve. When it comes to ways to spruce up your home on a budget, it is surprising how much stuff you can actually buy second hand from places like this. It is always worthwhile buying decent paint because if you skimp on that you will regret it. So saving on soft furnishings or furniture means you have more to spend on the paint or wallpaper for example.

Stick to your budget! If this means allocating an amount to each area; say a portion for furniture, portion for soft furnishings and accessories and a portion for materials then do that.

Step 5

Remember there is no right or wrong way to do this but you must stick to your budget. Have fun with it and treat it like a project. Use the fact that you have a budget and have to bargain hunt for items as part of the project. Who knows you could find your passion in it. Once you have done one room you will also find it so much easier to do the next! You’ll start to have a feel for the best places to buy second hand furniture from and where to get the best deals.!

Ways to Spruce up your Home on a Budget

Don’t forget to share with us too. We would love to hear how you get on with your own ways to spruce up your home on a budget!

 

Categories: BLOG.