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.

Nottingham Credit Union saved a member £753 a month!

One of the main aims of Nottingham Credit Union is to improve the financial wellbeing of the Nottinghamshire community. So when we hear lovely stories like this one, we want to share!

A couple came to Nottingham Credit Union after being referred by a High Street Bank in Mansfield, who were unable to help them with a loan. We consolidated their debts and saved them £753 a month in loan payments. The amount they were paying back a month was huge! The couple had run their debts up over a period of time. Due to unforeseen circumstances with family, they had nowhere else to turn and didn’t know what to do! They were overwhelmed with the service they got us. As a token of their appreciation, they sent us a lovely thank you card and these beautiful flowers. Thank you to our partners for referring them to us. We were delighted to help and make such a positive impact on their lives.

Getting out of debt

Getting out of debt isn’t always easy. Although we know debt can be overwhelming, it is much worse to bury your head in the sand. It is better to face it and seek help! If you or anyone you know needs help consolidating debts, please contact us!

Categories: LATEST NEWS.

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:


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.


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.


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.