Credit Score, Myths and Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

Do you know your credit score? This blog will help you understand your credit score myths and ways to improve your credit score. Even if you do understand there might be bits of useful advice in here that you can apply to help your situation further.

The main thing to know when it comes to your credit score is that even if it is quite low, there are lots of ways you can improve it.

 

What is My Credit Score?

Basically it’s a number that usually ranges somewhere from 300 (which is at the lower end of the scale up to around 850 (which is the higher end). Your credit score gives lenders an idea of what your financial situation looks like and the credit-worthiness of a person. So for example if you have a credit score of 300 that would make a lender less likely to lend you money than say if your credit score is say, 700.

 

What is the Credit Score Made Up Of? 

The score isn’t just what is taken into account, your borrowing history and other lending factors are also involved, but the credit score is a good indication as to the likelihood of getting a loan approved.

 

There are 5 main things your credit score is made up of and these are:

1. Payment History 35%

This is your previous borrowing. So if you have got into debt previously or not paid back loans, or made late payments, this will affect this area of the score.

2. Credit Available 30%

It’s funny to understand sometimes, but something that is taken into account when lending to you is actually the amount of credit you have available to you. So if you have a lot of borrowing already (i.e. if you owe money on existing loans or cards) this score would be lower and affect future borrowing.

3. Length of Credit History 15%

A lender wants to see what your borrowing history looks like, how long you have taken out loans for and how long it has taken you to pay back. Sometimes a person with no credit history finds it difficult to borrow because there is nothing to show the lender what their borrowing behaviour looks like.

4 & 5 New Credit and Credit Mix

Even if you apply for something and it doesn’t get accepted, it can still show on your credit file. Also, borrowing too much in a short space of time can affect your ability to borrow. It is advised just to borrow when you really need it, rather than taking out too many accounts. The credit mix element means the types of borrowing, so they want to see that you can handle different types of credit.

It’s useful to know that just because one lender says no, doesn’t mean another will. Different organisations have different criteria when it comes to lending and it also depends on the type of product you are choosing, the amount of credit and the repayment period.

 

Myths

It can be confusing wading through all the information; good and bad. Here are a few credit score myths – they are simply not true!

  • My credit score is affected if I live with someone who has bad debt – unless you have a joint product with them i.e. a joint loan, this does not affect your credit score.
  • There is a credit black list. Does not exist! Lenders base their criteria on a combination of things as we have outlined above.
  • Education level affects your credit score. Definitely not.
  • Paying for everything in cash builds a good credit history. Not the case at all. You need to have some financial history to show the lender that other lenders have provided you with credit in the past and that you have successfully made repayments to clear that.
  • You should have as many credit cards as possible to show you are good at paying back debts. Not at all. Be very careful with this because you could get yourself into debt taking on too much credit and it getting out of hand. There is a balance between taking on credit to show you can make repayments and things getting out of hand. It is worthwhile only ever having one credit card, unless you are able to repay them each month and clear them.
  • Credit scores don’t affect job prospects. They can do – employers are permitted to see a slightly shorter version of a person’s credit report and could consider that a person’s worthiness for a job is based on their credit history. This would probably depend on the type of job you were applying for but it can affect it.

If you aren’t sure seek independent advice.

 

Ways to Improve your Credit Score

 

Clear Bad Debts

If you have a bad credit history, work on cleaning it up. A credit reference agency is always willing to help when it comes to giving advice on your credit score. Experian and Equifax are the most commonly used by most lenders and you can usually get a 30 day free trial to access your credit file, get an idea of your credit score and what is affecting it and get some impartial advice.

If you do have bad debt, start making repayments on all the accounts. Lenders like to see that you are working to reduce your debt and over time this will improve your credit score. If you need debt advice, contact the Money Advice Service for some free and impartial advice. Be careful taking advice from companies who promise to consolidate your debts, unless you are sure that this is going to make your repayments much less and work for you over time. The government agencies are always the best ones to approach for debt advice.

Contact the company who you have the debt with. Some companies are willing to make arrangements with you to pay a lesser amount each month for a while or even offer you a chance to pay off a lump sum amount that is less than the debt to clear it. Try to open communication with them and be honest and up front but be realistic about what you can afford to pay. Always make sure that you cover your rent/mortgage, bills and living expenses first.

Over time making regular payments and reducing your debts will work to improve your credit score.

 

Avoid Opening more than One Credit Account at a Time

As mentioned in the list of what your credit score is made up of, opening too many credit accounts or applying for too many at once can affect your credit score. Only borrow when you need to.

 

Keep your Payments Up to Date

Lenders will update their systems usually every month and so the credit reference agency will update your credit file accordingly. If you keep your payments up to date your credit file and your credit score will reflect this. If you start falling behind with payments and missing payments this will start to affect your credit score.

 

Make Payments by Direct Debit

Making payments by direct debit can help improve your credit score, particularly on your credit accounts.

 

Electoral Register

Being able to show you legally exist helps! Sounds funny but get yourself on the electoral register if you aren’t already. This simply shows that you are registered living at a property within a local area. This contributes positively on your credit score.

 

Check your Credit File Regularly

Close any unused credit accounts if you see them on your credit file. You do this by contacting the organisation and asking for them to be closed. In doing this they are not updated with the credit reference agency and are removed from your credit file. The other reason to check your credit file is to ensure that there is no activity on there that you have not carried out yourself. If you do see something suspicious on your credit file, contact the credit reference agency immediately.

 

Start Saving

Showing that you can afford to put money aside and save can help. Not only do you need to borrow less because you will have savings to fall back on, but you are creating a better financial picture too for future borrowing.

 

Credit Score Myths and Ways to Improve your Credit Score – for more advice visit:

Noddle www.noddle.co.uk

Experian www.experian.co.uk

Equifax www.equifax.co.uk

Categories: BLOG.

Save Money By Making Things Yourself

 

There are lots of ways you can save money by making things yourself. Not only are you freeing up cash to spend on something else or put away and save for next Christmas or a holiday, but most of these things are actually better for you or give you some satisfaction from having made them yourself.

Try these and do a bit of research online to see if there are other things you might save money by making it yourself.

Food

Food is definitely one of those things that is actually better for you if you make it yourself. Homemade food will contain no ‘E’ numbers, MSG’s or food additives that are not at all good for you. Making food yourself is enjoyable and will save you money. What a great thing to teach your kids too!

Try these for starters:

  • Bread
  • Pesto
  • Dips
  • Granola
  • Flapjacks
  • Jam
  • Cakes
  • Puddings
  • Salad Dressing

Cleaning & Laundry Products

Did you know that you can make your own cleaning and laundry products? Now we are not suggesting at all that you go mix chemicals together – definitely NOT! What we are suggesting is that you use more natural ingredients to make them yourself. It is amazing how many things you can make yourself. Not only are these kinder to the environment because they don’t use chemicals but they will save you a lot of money too! We have done the hard work for you and Googled some ideas and links to them to try:

Fake Febreze

Natural Bleach Alternative

Homemade Liquid Dish Soap

Natural Fabric Softener

Homehade Beeswax Furniture Polish

Natural Disinfectant Spray

Non Toxic Glass Cleaner

Beauty Products

We all know how expensive beauty products can be, not to mention the fact that many are also tested on animals and contained harsh ingredients. What better way to save money than making your own beauty products. Kind all round! We’ve researched some great ideas and ways to make them for you too.

Lavender Bath Salts

Homemade Foundation

Homemade Blusher

Natural Eyeliner

Homemade Body Wash

Why not do your own research, there are literally stacks of websites and bloggers out there who offer free ideas, tips and recipes on how to save money by making it yourself.

Categories: BLOG.

Half Term On A Budget: 10 Fun Things to Do with Your Kids

If you’ve got kids you don’t need anyone to tell you that they are expensive…but worth it!

Half term is generally a mixture of joy and dread. It’s an excuse to take time out of work or spend more time doing things with the kids, but at the same time it can often be dampened by the fact that holidays and days out can get expensive. We can all relate to how frustrating it can be that holiday companies hike up their prices over half term. Unfortunately, we can’t change that, but we can you thinking about what you can do. Here’s our half term on a budget 10 fun things to do with your kids:

 

1. Great Deals!

At the beginning of October, The Mirror newspaper published deals on cheap half term family days out from 35% off concert tickets to see pop group, Fifth Harmony, to 2 for 1 park access to Disneyland Paris! Click here for the great deals.

 

2. 10 Things under £10

Rather than just giving you one suggestion for something to do for under a tenner, we have done some research and found 10 things for you to do with your kids at half term for under £10. Click here for details.

 

3. Head for the Kitchen!

Get them in the kitchen! Yes, we know it is going to be messy but if you can become one with that for a few hours, it will be fun. There’s lots you could do and why not plan the time out with them as well to make it more fun. You could try baking rice crispie chocolate cakes or having high tea with sandwiches and cakes. Spend an hour or so researching some ideas and get them involved. Roll up your sleeves and be prepared to get stuck in!

 

4. Volunteering

Volunteering. This is a great way to get your kids to think about others. There are lots of ideas but you could try a visit to a local residential home to spend some time talking to elderly residents or maybe popping in to your local children’s home and spending some time with kids there. Volunteering does come with some restrictions in terms of what is allowed and what isn’t for safety purposes but there will definitely be opportunities in your area – even if it is asking friends and family if you can help with dog walking or grocery shopping.

 

5. Write a Story

Write a story! Get their imaginations running wild. Although they may roll their eyes because they are actually off school this week it is a great way of doing something together. You could suggest they write a different ending for an existing fairytale or if there are a few of you write chain stories where one person writes a paragraph and the next person carries it on and so on. When the final person has written their story you read the whole thing through. It can be quite entertaining.

 

6. Go for Dessert

If your budget won’t stretch to dinner or lunch out you could just book in somewhere nice for dessert. Most restaurants have ice cream sundaes for less than £5 and you could book in and arrange balloons to make it extra special.

 

7. Make a Treasure Hunt

Always fun. Come up with a whole list of odd items for them to find. If they are older you could also add clues for them to find the next thing and you might enlist the help of an older child in creating it with you. The prize doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, maybe chocolate or even that they get to choose the activity for the following day!

 

 8. Visit the Seaside

Although we are now into October and it is definitely chilly, wrap up warm and head off to your closest beach. For some that might be a distance but if you can’t get there by car there are plenty of other inexpensive ways you can travel – try coach or train for starters or maybe join forces with another family who do have a car and you can go together. Walking along the beach, exploring shells and rock pools can soon pass the day away without having to step foot in an arcade!

 

9. Walking

Not all kids enjoy walking but there are lots of places in and around Nottingham where there are activities in the midst of forest walks. If you don’t fancy somewhere conventional, why not make it into a mystery walk and just head off and see where it takes you. You could take a picnic and provided you have some idea where you are, you could easily spend half a day wandering around and exploring in and around your local area. Be sure to make sure you keep to public paths to avoid getting into too much trouble with farmers!

 

10. Get Creative!

Finally, be creative. If you can’t head off on holiday or take a day out by the beach, just think outside the box a bit. Get the kids involved with ideas for things you could do. You’ll be surprised what a little brainstorming can do. Most of all try to do things you don’t usually do, relax, have fun and enjoy!

Categories: BLOG.

Financial Mistakes People Make at Different Ages

Although we can make mistakes around money at any age there are specific financial mistakes people make at different ages, generally through their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. We thought you might find it a useful read.

Money Mistakes in 20’S

Spending too Much on Unnecessary Extras

When we are young it can be easy to get carried out with the latest gadget or high end luxury products that we really can’t afford but must have. Whilst we are all for treating yourself, it’s important to sit down and decide whether you can really afford the high expense.

Not Having Emergency Savings

This carries on from the first point. If you are spending too much on high priced goods, there may not be enough left over for saving. Sometimes even if there is, people in their 20’s don’t often see the benefit of saving, much preferring to be in the moment with their money. Having an emergency pot of savings means that whatever comes your way, you have money put aside should you need it. Putting away just a small amount each week or month will help build up an emergency savings fund.

Moving Out Too Soon

If we had a pot of money for every time we have heard, ‘when I am 18…’ well we would be quite wealthy by now. When people hit late teens and early twenties they often decide it’s time to move out, even if they can’t really afford it. Living with parents isn’t cool and so people in their twenties often move out into accommodation with others or on their own that is way out of their affordability range. It can also be difficult to manage balancing bills and other household payments. Whilst living at home might not be the best solution, it certainly can be financially for a while. Even if you are paying money towards the household, you will have much more left over for yourself and to save than if you were to move out and be fully responsible for bills.

Money Mistakes in 30’s

Buying a Bigger House or Car than you can Afford

Keeping up with the Jones’ is something that is more common in the 30s than any other age. Having survived the 20s it can often seem like the right thing to do, upgrading our house or car. This seems more common when we have had children and the house seems to be overflowing with ‘stuff’. Even those who haven’t had children find that in their 30s there is a burning desire to just go bigger. Chances are if you have had your existing home for a while you will have built up some equity in it. Rather than being hasty and moving to somewhere bigger, why not think of other ways you can create more space. It is surprising just how much clutter we acquire over the years. Still want to move? Set yourself a 3 or 5 year plan and work on saving some more money towards it. That way when you do move you will have some money behind you. Similarly, with cars it is easy to get something more luxurious and beyond what you could truly afford if you bought it outright. Lease and finance car options mean that there is always a better option available, but be sure you can afford the maintenance and that your mileage is covered. Sometimes buying a car yourself that is perhaps less of a luxury will be better in the long term. When you own the car yourself you also have the value in that if you do wish to change it. Leasing or financing often means you are paying for something you will never own and may end up having a bill at the end of it. Be sure to read all the fine print before you commit to anything.

Being in Debt

Once you get into having your own place, getting married and having children it can be easy to borrow money. Although having access to affordable credit is part of good money management, it doesn’t mean you have to run up debt beyond what you can afford to pay back. It is always better to keep borrowing to a minimum and pay things off before taking something else on. If you do find yourself in debt (at any age!) don’t bury your head in the sand, it will only make the situation worse. Seek help and advice because there is always a way to work it out.

Assuming You’ll Have Money in the Future

This will depend on the type of person you are and how you think about money generally. We can’t always assume we will have money in the future and so it is always worth having something set up for a rainy day and longer term for retirement. There are lots of options that you can look into and often employers provide a pension plan you can join.

Money Mistakes in 40’s

Not Having Enough Cash Flow

A lack of cash flow means that if the washing machine breaks down or the fridge breaks you might seek a loan from a high cost lender, just to get cash quick. Sometimes it doesn’t even need to be an emergency that means borrowing extra either. If you are living beyond your means or not having enough cash to cover day to day expenses, it might be time to assess your finances and give them a good MOT! Having enough cash flow means being able to save a pot of money for when you need it too. There are lots of budgeting tools online and ways you can cut back on spending.

Dipping into Savings

Sometimes we save for short term things like holidays or cars but it is always a good idea to have a pot of money saved for long term. This isn’t about paying for emergencies, but just saving money so you have something put by for later in life or when you are unable to work as much as perhaps you do now. Dipping into these savings can mean just a bit here and there with the promise of putting it back, but most often times we don’t. Try to avoid dipping into your savings and instead having a pot of money that you just use for short term things. If your longer term savings are in a higher interest account you are also losing money by taking it out!

Mid Life Crisis

Lots of people have them! It’s not always about having a sporty car (although sometimes it is). Forties do funny things to people when it comes to money. Whether that is booking an extravagant cruise, going crazy with buying a bigger home, redoing the house or a whole host of other expensive treats. Question your spending when you are in your forties. Although you are some way off to being at retirement age, it is worth being wise with your money. If you are spending extravagantly make sure you can afford it first and rather than making hasty decisions, give yourself time to think about them.

Financial Mistakes People Make at Different Ages

Truly we could apply many of these money mistakes to any age. If any seem relevant to you, take some time to figure out what you have coming in, going out and what you can save. Work out a savings plan, so not just short term saving but an emergency fund and long term saving too. If you get a pot of money built up you might also want to get advice on investing.

Whatever your financial situation just know there are always options for you both in saving and borrowing and lots of good advice out there to help you.

 

Categories: BLOG.

Benefits of a Payroll Membership Scheme

With over 1.5 million UK members, credit unions are a responsible alternative provider of savings and loans.

What is Payroll Membership?

Payroll Membership is a hassle free means of regular saving and borrowing, with payments deducted directly from your salary. The money is transferred directly to your Nottingham Credit Union savings account, or if you are borrowing, repaid to your loan account and because the money is taken directly from payroll, it is a much easier way to save and borrow.

What are the benefits of a Payroll Membership Scheme?

As a payroll member you get lots of benefits:

  • Annual return on your savings
  • Exclusive Payroll Pro offers and interest rates
  • Affordable loans with fixed interest rates
  • No transaction fees on saving or borrowing money
  • Comprehensive online branch and facilities
  • We often lend when other lenders won’t

Major UK employers such as British Airways, Royal Mail, the NHS, offer payroll membership to benefit the financial wellbeing of their employees and because Nottingham Credit Union is a financial co-operative, joining means you are reinvesting in your local community.

How do I become a Payroll Member?

Whether you are an employer or employee, setting up payroll membership is easy. Visit www.payroll-pro.org.uk and find out more.

 

Categories: BLOG.

10 Ways You Are Wasting Money Without Knowing It

One of the ways to help manage your money better is to start tracking your spending. If you do this over the period of a month you might be surprised at where your money is actually going! For some people it might seem obvious. For example, you may think you spend most of your money on groceries and food or petrol and travelling. It is a very useful and worthwhile exercise because it allows you to see what you spend your money on, where you can save and then work towards managing your money better.

There are many things we spend money on that we don’t perhaps even give much thought to. Here’s 10 ways you’re wasting money without knowing it:

 

1. Designer Drinks

Although it is lovely to grab a cup of tea or coffee while you are out, drinks from Costa or Starbucks are expensive and buying them regularly means the cost is soon mounting up. Limit these to just a treat or get yourself a coffee mug and make your own to take with you!

 

2. Buying Sale or Promotional Items

Sales always seem to tempt us into buying things we really don’t need. We see the SALE sign and we must go in to look. Did we really need that pair of shoes, or that jacket? Probably not and we wouldn’t have bought it had we not seen the SALE sign. Similarly, ever been in the supermarket and noticed the buy two get the third free promotion? Same thing. We end up buying far more than we need or items that we never intended to buy in the first place. General rule of thumb could be that if you need something, then go find a SALE or promotion, but don’t be tempted in by them!

 

3. Credit Card Interest

The best way to manage a credit card is to purchase items on it and then pay it off each month. If you are living month to month paying minimum amounts on your credit card then firstly, you are living beyond your means and secondly, you are paying a ridiculous amount of interest! We understand it can be hard. Credit cards give you things you cannot afford otherwise, but that’s the lure! It is easy to spend the money, but can be difficult to pay it back. With the interest it becomes a money trap and you are simply wasting your money. If you do have credit card debt, try a balance transfer which can give you 0% interest if you pay it off within usually 6 months. Otherwise you could try debt consolidation to save yourself money each month.

 

4. Apps & Monthly Subscriptions

Free apps are brilliant but have you ever downloaded that app you love only to realise after 7 days that you have to pay a subscription? It may only be £5.99 a month after the free trial but when you have several of them going a month it soon mounts up and before you know it, you’re wasting a sizeable amount of money every month on your app subscriptions. Advertisers are clever and have got much cleverer about ways to hook you into paying monthly. There are some subscriptions where you can pay yearly and save quite a bit in doing so, but many ask you for the monthly payment. This isn’t just limited to apps on your phone either. Popular movie sites like Amazon Prime or Netflix have small monthly subscription charges that again seem manageable. Add them to your others though and they have mounted up. If you do have a few of these, ask yourself if you really need them, or maybe you could alternate between them.

 

5. Mobile Phone Plan

Mobile phones are too expensive for most people to buy outright. Plans help you get the latest phone and give you minutes, data and text. All that, however, comes at a price. The more you want, the more you’ll pay. If you are locked into a contract, there is little you can do to get out of it, unless you are going to pay off the remaining contract fees. The next time you are due to renew however, spend some time going over your previous year usage. If you don’t use the amount of data, texts or calls you are paying for then opt for a cheaper plan and save yourself some money!

 

6. Lunch

It’s lovely going out to eat but if you do this often, you’ll find that you are spending much more than you realise. Rather than buying sandwiches or lunch out, take the time to get the food in and make them at home. Be creative and spend a bit of time researching what you could make yourself for lunch. You’ll probably enjoy it much more too! Here’s some ideas http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/healthy-lunch

 

7. Expired Food

You are literally throwing your money away if you end up emptying your fridge of gone off food at the end of the week or throwing out expired food. Don’t overbuy at the grocery store. By planning your meals you can ensure you have everything you need without wasting. Good to Know has some great ideas for planning meals. http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/meal-planner

 

8. Unplug Your Electronics

It might only seem like a small thing but it all adds up. Rather than keeping every electronic device in your house powered up, turn it off. Switch off the plugs too! You will be surprised at how much difference this makes to your annual energy bill. I didn’t realise either what a hum all that electricity makes, keeping the motors and fans whirring in those devices when switched on. When everything is switched off you will also enjoy the silence.

 

9. Shop Smarter

We are all too familiar with the price differences in supermarkets. Local stores or corner shops are even more expensive. Do some shopping around! Literally. Take the time to try a few different supermarkets to see which give you the best value for money. You can also look online at the comparisons available for these, but often the best way is just to shop yourself and see. Discounted stores like Aldi often have brand names too, so it isn’t just a case of having to go to larger supermarket chains for these either.

 

10. Finally…

…remember, this is about cutting back to save you money in the long run so that you have more money for the things you really want. Start considering your finances more seriously. What do you want in your life in the long term? How about the short term? Do you have savings? There are many things to consider when looking to improve your financial wellbeing. By starting out by cutting back where you can you will manage your money better and over time become a better saver.

 

 

Categories: BLOG.

Back to School on a Budget

There’s never a more expensive time of year for schooling than at the start of it. New uniforms, school shoes, pens, calculators, books, P.E. kit, football boots and so the list goes on. One child is enough but two or three and you require some serious planning and budgeting to afford it all.

Most kids will need new uniforms each school year. They’ll grow out of the previous years or most often it isn’t in any fit state to last another term anyway! Don’t panic! After some serious research, here’s our top tips to getting your kids back to school on a budget:

Plan!

Start off with a clear idea of how much you can afford to spend and what the cost is going to be. Don’t leave anything out. Make a list of everything (for each child if you have more than one!) and the cost.

Using either a notebook or your computer, write out a list that will look something like this:

 

Item Quantity Estimated Cost
School Shoes 2 £40
Trousers 4 £30
Skirts 2 £20
P.E. Shorts 2 £10
Calculator 2 £10
Totals £110

 

 

You can see that the list will go on somewhat, but this is the most important part. Over estimate the cost if you aren’t sure. It is better to end up with extra money than not having enough. If you need to look at costs beforehand, go online to give yourself an estimate to work with.

Start Early

It is going to be quite a stressful experience if you leave everything until the last few days. Planning to start early gives you enough time to shop around and get everything you need.

Budget

Ideally you will have put a little money aside to help towards back to school. If you haven’t, work out what you can reasonably afford and see what (if anything) is left over from your estimated cost. If there are any items that can wait a couple more weeks after school has started, put these costs aside and remove from your total, making a note to get them in a few weeks’ time.

It may be that you have to borrow a little over a short period of time to help. If you do, make a note to start putting money aside to plan for the next back to school.

It’s very important to stick to your budget. Now you know what everything is going to cost and what you have to pay for it, commit to sticking to that. You will find that some things cost less than others and you actually save money. If this is the case you can probably then afford to get the additional items you put aside that you originally thought you couldn’t get.

To Shop or not to Shop?

Be sure to check with friends and family who have children whether they have any school clothes or supplies they don’t want. You will be surprised how many people have nearly new or even new items they have purchased and don’t want or need that you can either buy at a fraction of the cost or be gifted!

If you have older children, they may well have clothes or school supplies they no longer need so be sure to think before throwing anything out at the end of the previous school year!

Once you have your final list, you can start shopping! Supermarkets are a great place to get school uniforms because they are most often much cheaper than in dedicated uniform shops. There will always be items, such as blazers or jumpers that you will need to get with the school logo on, but for trousers, skirts and t shirts etc supermarkets are always your best bet when shopping for back to school on a budget.

Stationery can often be found cheaper online, again in supermarkets or even in pound shops. Shop around and buy in bulk if you can to avoid having to buy again a few months later.

Kids are constantly growing, so rather than buying brand new football boots, look on eBay or even your local car boot first. You can often find second hand, nearly new, for much less than the cost you estimate for buying new ones. You might even find some bargains along the way on clothes and P.E. kits too.

Share!

If something is much cheaper in bulk, why not ask a friend if they are interested in buying with you to save you both money. School supplies or even uniforms can be cheaper if you are buying more items and what you save is ultimately coming off your budget., leaving you with money spare.

Involve your Kids

This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about managing their money and budgeting. Get them to help you. Get them to go online and do some comparison shopping. Involving your kids will help them to understand the value of money and the difference between needs and wants.

Don’t Panic

Most of all don’t panic. Back to school doesn’t need to be stressful when you plan a little and budget!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: BLOG.

How to Have a Fabulous Summer on a Budget with your Kids

Whether you are jetting off somewhere warm or not, you can still enjoy summer in England (even if the sun doesn’t shine every day) and if you need to watch your pennies, here are 8 ways on how to have a fabulous summer on a budget with your kids:

1. Garden Party

Who says a garden party is just for the palace! Whether you choose to have your friends and kids over during a week day in the summer holidays or friends and family over for an evening or weekend, you can make it special. If you organise everyone to bring something with them, you’ve got your food and drink sorted. If you’ve got a barbecue great, but if not borrow one and the same for chairs too! Simply go to a pound shop and stock up on some decorations and you’ve got yourself a Garden Party!

 

2. Picnic by the Water

There’s nothing more relaxing than messing about on the river. Of course if you’ve got your kids in tow, you need to be alert, but there are plenty of places around Nottinghamshire where you can spend the day by water with things to do for the kids. Pack up a picnic and make a day of it!

 

3. Seaside Getaway Day

There are some fantastic coastal getaways you can get quite cheaply through National Express. Why not take the whole family or team up with a couple of other mums and their kids and go spend the day on the beach or around a coastal town. Even if the weather isn’t the best (and it may well be!) your kids will have a great time playing in the sand and splashing around in the sea.

 

4. Great British Bake Off

What kids don’t love cooking? You could set up your own British Bake Off – yes, it’s going to be messy but such great fun. As well as helping them on their way with some basic cooking skills, your kids will love it. Maybe give them a few receipes to choose from, set up different stations in the kitchen and you could always team up with people who have children or join family members in the fun. It will take up most of a day and if that doesn’t the cleaning up most certainly will.

 

5. Sports Day

Not all kids love sports day but back in the day sports day involved egg and spoon, three legged and other bizarre races that usually had everyone falling over and in fits of giggles. If your garden isn’t the right size then take it to a local park. Enlist your family and friends and create your own sports day. You’ll have a great time and exert some energy out of the kids so you can chill and relax later.

 

6. Treasure Hunt

I guess a little bit like the Easter Egg Hunt but without the chocolate eggs. Think of something really cool that your kids are going to love and that is about all you are going to need to spend your money on. It could be cinema tickets or a trip to the local laser quest, a new game maybe or back to the idea of Easter eggs and a whole basket of sweets and chocolates even! Depending on the ages of your kids set about writing clues and leading them to the treasure. You can always get your friends involved too for a great morning or afternoon out.

 

7. Mystery Trip

It doesn’t have to be anywhere extravagant but think of somewhere your kids love to go and make a whole build up of secrecy around going. You could even make up three different places to go and get your kids to choose one card or something to pick the place, but not telling them until you arrive! Kids are easily pleased and suspense always adds a huge element of fun.

 

8. Walk in the Woods

There is so much choice when it comes to countryside in and around Nottinghamshire. Pick somewhere to go that is surrounded by trees or countryside and take your kids along on a nature trail. It doesn’t have to be one you pay to enter, it could be you set it up yourself. You might even find yourself learning new things too! If you want to get clued up, just Google what you can expect to find in and around that area and set your kids the task of pointing things out. Maybe give them a prize for the one who points out everything on the list you make.

Whatever you choose to do, have a fabulous summer with your kids!

 

Categories: BLOG.

What’s Your Savings Plan? Start saving now with our Christmas Savings Club

Benefits of Saving

There are many benefits to saving regularly, some of these are:

  • You will have money put aside in case of an emergency
  • Saving regularly helps you manage your money better
  • When you save you become more aware of what you are spending your money on
  • Saving is a good habit and once you start you will find it easier to save a little more
  • Sets a good example to your kids, teaching them how to save

Did someone say Christmas?

Despite the weather at times, it is the middle of summer, so saving for Christmas might seem a little crazy to think about at the moment. However, most people can all relate to feeling a little panicked towards the end of November. This is when they realise there is just a month left until Christmas and maybe one or two paydays in between. There is always so much to buy; presents, food and not to mention the parties and never ending get-togethers. Worrying about money can take the fun and enjoyment out of Christmas. Planning early is actually a really good idea and with less than 6 months until December, now is the time to start.

Spending Tracker

Studies show that tracking your money while you save is a good way of figuring out where your money actually goes. You might think you spend it all on food or the kids, but chances are you can’t account for all of it. Download one of the free spending tracker apps from your iPhone or Android app store and start logging your spending. Once you get clear on what you are spending your money on, you’ll find you want to make a few changes and may be able to save a little bit more.

Make the Commitment

For now, though, just decide on an amount to put by each week and start this week! Don’t be tempted to put it off. There will always be next week, but this just lets another week slip by. Before you know it, the summer will have gone, we will be into autumn and you’ve not saved anything. Do it this week and make a commitment to yourself to save a little every week. After all, you are going to be thanking yourself for it in December when you can afford to buy Christmas presents and food without worry.

Saving is Fun

Why not make it something fun for the family and get your kids involved in saving too. Children always like to buy their family or friends a little present for Christmas. As well as getting them excited about being able to do this, it is also teaching them about managing their money and saving. As they grow up they will remember what you taught them about money and it will carry on into their adult lives and help them too.

How to Start Saving

People find that by transferring money to their Nottingham Credit Union account, or having the money paid in there, makes it easier to save. When your savings are separate from your bank account it removes that temptation to dip into the money. Even better, we offer a Christmas Savings Club that just ring fences that money for Christmas only. This means if you do have money in your regular NCU account, the Christmas money can remain separate. With our Junior Savers account, setting things up for your kids to save too couldn’t be easier.

Contact a member of our team today and get everything set up and start saving for Christmas today.

Categories: BLOG.

Understanding Interest Rates

Understanding Interest Rates

Interest rates can be difficult to understand, but when you are borrowing, it is really important to know what they mean and how they work. For example, you could be attracted to a loan because the repayment amount is low, but sometimes the interest rates are really high and it isn’t until you are signed into the contract that you realise how much extra this adds to your loan amount.

 

What is an Interest Rate?

An interest rate is simply the annual or yearly cost of borrowing money, this could be as a loan, credit card or finance agreement.

When you take out a loan you pay back the original amount you borrowed (this is called the capital) plus the interest.

Here’s an example:

You borrow £1000 and the percentage rate is 10%. This means the total you pay back is £1,100. If you borrow over a shorter period it might be less and if you borrow over a long period it would be more.

You can also earn interest on your savings and usually savings accounts offer a percentage interest rate on your savings. Something to note here is that what you earn will depend on what you had in your savings at the time the interest was worked out.

 

How do Interest Rates Work?

The Bank of England set the interest rate for the UK. This is called the base rate and at the moment that is set at 0.5%.

This rate affects the interest rates set by other banks, building societies, credit unions and other financial organisations. If the base rate goes up, those lending money may charge more for people to borrow.

 

What is APR?

When you take out a loan or other borrowing the lender will often advertise the APR, this stands for Annual Percentage Rate. This can get confusing because it is slightly different from the interest rate in that it is made up of the interest rate plus any fees that are included in your loan (this might be an arrangement fee for example).

When you are looking to borrow money the APR is useful because you can see how this compares to other lenders and acts as a guide to which is going to be best for you.

Something to look out for is high cost lenders. As we mentioned at the beginning of this post a repayment amount might look attractive but if the APR runs into the thousands (which some do!) you will be paying an extremely large amount of money back on top of the amount you originally borrowed. In some instances it can become really difficult to repay loans with such high amounts of interest.

 

What if Componded Interest?

You might have heard of this before. Basically it means that interest is worked out by adding interest to your loan or savings where interest has already been added.

Here’s an example to help understand how this works:

Let’s say you saved £1,000 in a savings account that gives you 2% interest. After a year you would have £1,020. The table shows how your savings grow at different rates of interest and how the compounding works:

 

0.50%              1%                   2%

Year 1              £1,005             £1,010             £1,020

Year 2              £1,010             £1,020             £1,041

Year 3              £1,015             £1,030             £1,062

 

The Money Saving Expert has some great guide to interest rates which you can read here

The Money Advice Service have a really simple video to explain how compound interest works which you can view here

 

 

 

Categories: BLOG.