Top Money Tips from Nottingham Credit Union

We detail below a number of money tips that could help improve your financial well-being.

1.  Check your standing orders, direct debits and regular payments

Review your bank statements and check all your standing orders and direct debits.  Are they still needed?

Many people waste £100s a year paying for things they don’t need or use.  Can you cancel any regular payments or subscriptions that are no longer needed?  (Care – make sure you aren’t still in contract, if you are under a contract speak to the provider first to see if you can cancel – if you stop making payments you have to make contractually, you may be fined and it could impact your credit file).

Your Bank account provider will be able to provide you with details of your standing orders and direct debits and will be able to cancel them if necessary – it is advisable to instruct your bank to cancel the payments and inform the company as well.

2.  Gas and Electricity

When was the last time you checked if you’re getting the best deal?  How long have you been with your current provider?  You may find you can cut your bills by shopping around. Try ringing a few providers or use price comparison sites (bear in mind that these aren’t always accurate and don’t always cover the whole market) examples of price comparison sites are www.moneysupermarket.com; www.uswitch.com; www.gocompare.com and www.comparethemarket.com/energy

3.  Council Tax

Many people are in the wrong banding and may be paying more than they need to. If neighbours are living in a similar property to yours, check with them to see if they are in the same band – you may be paying too much and could be entitled to a refund.  Your local council should be able to help with any queries.

4.  Create a Budget

Work out a plan of how much you spend each month on essential items (rent/mortgage, council tax, food, gas, etc.) and then work out how much you have left over to either be saved or to go towards “discretionary” spending (clothing, cable/satellite, nights out etc.).

Set yourself a budget to make sure that your outgoings are less than your monthly income and then try to stick to those limits. If you can, delay spending until you have money available and only spend if you are sure you can cover essential bills during the month.

A tip – for just one month make a note of everything you spend, start by listing all direct debits and standing orders, and then keep a track of every penny spent.  You may be surprised at how much you spend on certain items, and understanding where your money goes may help you set a budget.

The Money Advice Service provide a free online budget planner: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/budget-planner

5.  Car and Home Insurance

Do you always stay with the same provider? When did you last shop around for cheaper car or home insurance?  Don’t automatically renew your policy without checking elsewhere first, some providers increase prices year on year for regular customers and a quick phone call or quote online could save you £100s.  It’s always a good idea to check your policy and make sure that it still covers all your needs.

Price comparison sites can provide quotes for car and home insurance but these do not always cover the whole market and it is not always clear if you are comparing like for like but it is a good place to check if your current policy is competitively priced.

Some examples are www.gocompare.comwww.moneysupermarket.comwww.comparethemarket.com

6.  Bank Account Fees – Packaged Bank Accounts

Many people have a Packaged Bank Account that incurs a monthly fee (anywhere between £24 and £180 a year) and comes with additional benefits, usually bundled insurance products.

If you are eligible and benefit from the add-ons, the packaged Bank account may be right for you – but if not, what are you paying for?

If you find that a packaged bank account is the best option for you, make sure that you are not paying for the same benefits elsewhere for example mobile phone insurance – separate policy, breakdown car insurance – your car insurance policy, travel insurance etc., and check the terms and conditions of each policy.

Many people have successfully claimed that they were mis-sold a Packaged Bank Account – did your bank clearly explain what was involved? Are you eligible for all the add-ons?  if you have been mis-sold the bank account, you could get a refund of the monthly charge.

For more information visit:  www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/reclaim-packaged-bank-accounts/

7.  Bank Fees for Overdrafts

Banks often “allow” you to go overdrawn and this can be helpful if you have miscalculated a few days before pay day – however you may find you pay a daily overdraft fee as well as interest.  Check your bank statements and add up how much you have paid in the last 3 months – the daily fee will not be huge but can soon add up.  Balancing your bank account more often and ensuring you do not go overdrawn may safe you £100s over a year.

Shop around and check each banks charging policy; it may be cheaper to switch your account to another bank depending on how you use it. Some banks will give you money for simply switching your account to them, switching is usually quick and easy with the bank doing all the work for you.

8.  Late Payment Fees or Penalties

Make sure you make payments on time – some firms will charge a penalty fee if you are a few days late making the repayment, which can quickly add up.  Late payments can also affect your credit score.

Always speak to someone if you are struggling they may be able to help you.

9.  PPI (Payment Protection Insurance)

The deadline for making a claim is August 2019 – Banks and other organisations mis-sold payment protection policies to thousands of people.  If you were mis-sold PPI at any time make sure you submit a claim as soon as possible otherwise, you may miss out on £1000s.

For more information: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/reclaiming-payment-protection-insurance

10.  Sales and offers

There are often sales/discounts in the shops or online usually claiming massive savings, which can be tempting and result in 1000’s of impulse buys every year.  All is not always as it seems.  Do your research is the item really a bargain or sold at a similar price elsewhere and do you really need it?

Remember a bargain is only a bargain if you were looking to buy the item before you saw it on offer.  If you are paying using a credit card or overdraft and cannot repay it straight away – is it still a bargain when you add on the interest or charges you will incur before you’ve paid it off in full?

11.  Cable/Satellite TV

How long have you had your current package, do you still need all the channels? Have you considered buying a box that provides free digital television?  It is great to have many channels but how often do you use them?

If you wish to keep your package as it is, have you telephoned them recently to see if there are any discounts available?  New customers usually receive better offers to tempt them to join but providers are often willing to match those offers for long standing customers.

12.  Christmas

It may be over, but it’s now less than 1 year until next Christmas!  Christmas can be expensive.  Consider opening a savings account now and put in as much as you are able during the year– it will be safe and you will be surprised how quickly it can add up and will help you keep within budget.  Nottingham Credit Union can help with a simple Xmas Savings Account.

13.  Credit Card Balance Transfers & Consolidation Loans

If you have a balance on your credit card that you are paying back slowly, consider transferring it onto a different credit card, some cards offer interest free transfers for a specified period of time.  Always check if there are any fees and if they amount to less than the interest you would pay on your old card.

If you do transfer the balance keep this card separate and do not make purchases on it as usually the interest free element of the balance will be cleared first and you could find yourself paying interest on purchases for a prolonged period of time.

Alternatively you may wish to consolidate one or more Credit Card debts onto a new loan account – you may be able to borrow at a lower interest rate and start to make real reduction to the amount you owe – Nottingham Credit Union will consider a loan application for Debt Consolidation.

14.  Mobile Phone

Although you may be paying one amount for your contract, it is usually made up of two elements, the cost of the phone and airtime.  Once your contract has finished consider changing to a SIM only contract or shop around for a new one. If you simply carry on paying the direct debit you will continue to pay for the phone long after it has been paid off.

Most providers will let you know when you are getting to the end of your contract but will not generally advise you that you could reduce the amount you are paying.

15.  Sign up for loyalty cards

Many supermarkets, shops etc. reward customers by allowing them to collect points on a loyalty cards every time they make a purchase.  These points can generally be converted into money-off vouchers, one off deals or discounts. Make sure however, that you are not tempted to spend more just to increase points.

16.  Pay bills monthly where possible

Providers, for example gas and electricity etc. often give reduced rates if bills are paid by direct debit.  Consider swapping to this payment method where possible to benefit from better rates and aid with budgeting

17.  Supermarket Own Brands

Buying supermarket basic and budget ranges can produce significant savings and avoiding big brands doesn’t always mean compromising on taste or quality.

18.  Check your Credit File

Companies use your credit score to determine if they want to lend money to you, open accounts, provide credit facilities etc. They also use your credit score to consider what interest rate to charge you.

Your credit score is based on a number of factors including previous repayment of borrowing, history of debt problems (IVA, CCJ, and Bankruptcy), account management and how up to date bills are etc.

It is always wise to keep an eye on your credit file and to try and improve it wherever possible.  Quick ways to improve your score include, check addresses on old accounts are correct, if you no longer have joint accounts with someone, ensure you financially de-link and cancel unused credit and store cards.  There are a number of companies that you can sign up to and who will provide you with your credit card score free of charge – you should not need to pay for this.  An added advantage is that you can check to make sure that borrowing or accounts have not been opened in your name fraudulently.

19.  Coupons

Although money off coupons are not as common as they used to be, there are often coupons in magazines and newspapers.  A number of large companies also offer customers coupons that can be printed off of the internet and can often provide quite large savings, particularly when used in conjunction with store offers.  Examples of companies who offer free coupons are:

Johnson and Johnson www.caringeveryday.co.uk  Proctor and Gamble www.supersavvyme.co.uk but there are many others.

20.  Tax

Take time out to understand your tax code and check that it is correct, if you are underpaying you could be faced with a hefty bill.  Also ensure you are not over paying and make sure you take advantage of the schemes that allow you to cut the amount of tax you pay:

  • Married Allowance –if you earn less than £11,850 you may be able to transfer your personal tax allowance to your partner, reducing their tax by £238 a year.  You can back date this to April 2015 as well.
  • Work Related Expenses Relief – if you work in a job that requires a uniform, tools, equipment or travel expenses that your employer doesn’t pay for, you can claim tax relief on the money  you have to spend.  You can also claim tax relief if you are responsible for cleaning a work uniform (such as a nurse’s tunic): https://www.gov.uk/topic/personal-tax/income-tax
21.  Consider Consolidating Your Debts

If you find that you have debts in multiple places for example a loan, credit cards, overdraft etc. it may be cheaper to transfer these onto a consolidation loan.  If you do decide consolidation is the best option, make sure that you cancel the overdraft and don’t use the credit card or you may find yourself back in the same position.  Nottingham Credit Union will consider assisting with a Debt Consolidation Loan

22.  Mis-sold Payday loans

MILLIONS of payday loan customers may be due refunds. Even if you’ve paid off your debts you may still be able to get a refund if you struggled to repay the money at the time.  Customers can still make complaints about firms which no longer operate, although it is less likely that they will receive a refund as they will have to apply directly to administration firms. Although, if their complaint is successful and they still owe debts this could mean you have to pay back less so it’s still worth complaining.

For more information: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/free-payday-loans-refunds/

23.  Mortgages

Are you paying too much for your mortgage – a recent Competition and Markets Authority report suggest that up to one million people could be paying more than they need for their mortgage.

It is believed that 10% of people who have been with their mortgage provider for some time could switch and make significant savings.

What are the terms of your existing mortgage, what interest rate is being charged and could you switch?  You need to ensure you understand all the costs associated with switching and in the first instance it is worth speaking with your existing provider.

24.  Broadband providers

Broadband customers on older tariffs sometimes pay higher prices for similar services – according to ismybillfair.com broadband customers are paying between 35 and 41% in “loyalty” fees.

25.  Complete a Financial Health Check

Whatever the situation with your finances, it’s good to know where you stand and that you are making the most of what you have. The health check, a new online money adviser from the Money Advice Service, is for everyone.  The Money Advice Service is an independent advice organisation, here to help everyone understand and manage their money better.  Taking just 10 minutes to answer some straightforward questions on the health check will give you a personalised action plan to help you sort out your money priorities now, and plan for the future whatever your goals may be.

www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/health-check

Nottingham Credit Union is community owned and operates “not for profit”.  It provides affordable loans and simple savings accounts.  Branches on Maid Marian Way, Nottingham and Clumber Street Mansfield.

For more information:  www.nottinghamcu.co.uk.

Categories: BLOG.

Volunteering Opportunities at Nottingham Credit Union

 

We are looking for volunteers to join us and help develop the Credit Union so we can help more people across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

Nottingham Credit Union is a community owned provider of simple savings and affordable loans. Many people are not able to obtain affordable credit from the high street banks and may resort to either high cost lenders, doorstep lenders, rent to buy retailers or illegal loans sharks.  The Credit Union provides alternative, simple affordable loans for people who may not have a perfect credit record.  Many Nottinghamshire people save with us as they know we will look to lend their money to people in their communities who may otherwise struggle to obtain affordable credit.

The Credit Union is owned by its members and any profits made are either reinvested or distributed to members by way of a dividend. It has been helping people in Nottinghamshire for over 25 years and has offices on Maid Marian Way, Nottingham and Clumber Street, Mansfield.  The Credit Union has expanded steadily and currently has 7,500 members.

The Credit Union is authorised by The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and regulated by the PRA and The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

We have a number of voluntary roles available:

 

Board Director

We are seeking a Director to join the board, who can bring his/her own experience and voice to help us make further progress in serving our current and future members as we move forward. The Board is entirely voluntary and made up of people from the private, public and voluntary sectors.

If you are interested in becoming a Board Director please email the Chair, Liz Blackman at lizzieb26@hotmail.co.uk 

 

Member Services Assistant

Based either at Nottingham or Mansfield.  Working agreed days/times.  Providing face-to-face or telephony service to members.  Using our systems to update member records, completing membership opening, loan processing and handling cash.  The role may suit people who have had previous experience of dealing with the general public in retail or finance.

 

Credit Union Ambassador

Working with the General Manager, The Credit Union Ambassadors would help promote the Credit Union in our local communities.  They would maintain contact with a group of local partners for example local community groups, charities, churches, schools, debt advice organisations, local companies etc. and identify opportunities for promoting the Credit Union.  They would be comfortable talking to small groups of people about what The Credit Union does, answering queries and signing up new members.  These roles wouldn’t necessarily work fixed days, rather they would be available as and when an opportunity arises. As such they can be home based although there would be a need to visit the Nottingham office from time to time. This role may be ideal for someone who wants to volunteer but isn’t able to commit to working fixed days/dates. We are particularly interested in talking to people who could assist promoting the Credit Union in Newark, Mansfield and across Nottingham city.

 

Digital & Social Media Marketing / Website Design & Maintenance 

This role would help us develop our digital/social media presence. Ensuring content is relevant to our members/potential members and clearly articulates why we are different. Need to ensure any online promotional activity is legal, relevant and effective.  This role would suit someone who already works in a similar role and has some spare time they are willing to commit to support their community or may suit a Marketing Student who has some skills and is looking to develop their work experience to support further employment applications.

 

Marketing Assistant

Assisting in creating Marketing and Promotional material that is engaging and relevant. 

 

Arrears Assistant  

Based in our Nottingham Office and working agreed days/times the role would support the Arrears Manager, speaking with members who are struggling to repay their loans and trying to agree a repayment plan that takes into account their circumstances and is consistent with our policies and legislation.

 

General Maintenance

Based in our Nottingham Office this person would help us with basic maintenance, repairs and decoration.

 

Please note:-

  • All of these roles are voluntary roles.
  • Expenses for travel and lunch allowance (when working more than 5 hours) would be paid.
  • We would need a completed application and we would undertake referencing.
  • Hours can be discussed/agreed to suit you.

 

If you are interested, or would just like an initial discussion please email: JasonEaves@nottinghamcu.co.uk

Jason Eaves

General Manager

Tel: 0115 8283120

Categories: BLOG and LATEST NEWS.

How to Avoid a Christmas £££££ Hangover

Christmas can be a great time to relax and enjoy some downtime; but for some, Christmas can create a New Year Debt Hangover that lingers for far longer than the left-over Turkey.

 

1/ Make a list.  Yes, it sounds boring but planning ahead and setting yourself a budget can work.

2/ Amongst your family and friends, set a limit of how much you will spend on each other.

Most people prefer to receive a small gift and know it has not caused you financial hardship rather than lots of big gifts that soon end up in landfill!

3/ Think about “Secret Santa” – many people do this for work colleagues but why not for friends and family?

4/ Consider “second hand”, there may be bargains in your local charity shop or online. Children can soon grow out of toys/gifts so why spend top dollar!  How many sheds are full of bikes that are hardly ever ridden?

5/ Can you use your supermarket vouchers or reward points to reduce the cost of the big Xmas shop?

6/ Remember Xmas only last a few days. Don’t buy perishable food that you will not eat & throw away.

And finally:-

7/ Only spend if you have the cash to pay but if you need to borrow money this Christmas:-

Make sure you can repay within the next 12 months.  Christmas only comes once a year but it comes every year – so you don’t want to go into Xmas 2019 with debt round your neck from Xmas 2018.

 

Borrowing money on your credit card can seem easy – but if you are only making minimum repayments it can take you many years to repay.

Make sure you understand how much in total you will repay and make sure you can afford the repayments – there can be a big difference in how much you pay back.

 

For example: –Borrowing £500 from the Provident and repaying over 52 weeks would cost £936. A similar loan with the Nottingham Credit Union would save you £339!!

(source: www.providentpersonalcredit.com, 25/10/2018)

If you buy an iPad costing £368.31 from Brighthouse, you can pay £6.50 per week which sounds like a great deal. However you would be making payments for 104 weeks and would pay back £676 in total. (source: www.brighthouse.co.uk, 25/10/2018)

If you had a loan from your local Credit Union and paid back at £6.50 per week, you would repay the loan in 73 weeks and would save £206!!

 

If you are not already member of Nottingham Credit Union you can apply here: https://www.nottinghamcu.co.uk/ or visit the Branch on Maid Marian Way, Nottingham or Clumber Street, Mansfield.

A Credit Union is a community owned bank, run on a not for profit basis.

 

 

Categories: BLOG and LATEST NEWS.

Blog: Universal Credit

Question: – What is Universal Credit?

 Universal Credit is a new benefit that replaces most existing benefits and tax credits for people of working age – wrapping up all these kinds of payments into one benefit.

The benefits being replaced include:

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

The Universal Credit will be ‘means-tested’ which means that anyone who applies will have their income and savings assessed, and if they, or a partner, earn over a certain amount or have a certain amount of savings they will be unable to get the Universal Credit.

There will be a basic rate called the ‘standard allowance’ and extra amounts for people in different circumstances – for example, if they have children, a disability or need help with housing costs.

 

Question: – I already receive one of these benefits what will happen to me?

Between 2017 and 2021 all existing claimants are being moved to Universal Credit.

 

The program for switching existing claimants to Universal Credit is as follows;-

Date Council Job Centre
May 2018 Newark and Sherwood District Council Newark JCP
September 2018 Mansfield District Council Mansfield JCP
October 2018 Nottingham City Council Bulwell JCP

Nottingham Loxley House JCP

Nottingham Central JCP

Rushcliffe Borough Council Nottingham Central JCP
November 2018 Ashfield District Council Ashfield JCP
Broxtowe Borough Council Beeston JCP
Gedling Borough Council Arnold JCP

 

Question:- I am about to be moved to Universal Credit, what does it mean for me?

  • You will receive one single monthly payment, paid into your bank account.
  • If you get help with your rent, the rent money you get will be included in your monthly payment – and you must then put it aside to pay the landlord/council/housing association
  • If you live with your partner and you’re both eligible for Universal Credit, you’ll get one monthly payment between you.

 

Question: – What do I need to do?

1/  If you are due to be moved to Universal Credit you will receive a letter from the DWP – it is vital you make sure you understand the content of this letter and are clear on how much you will receive each month and when

2/ As you will receive one payment per month, you need to quickly understand what this mean for your monthly budget.  The overall amount you receive should not change but you do need to ensure you have enough money to meet your financial responsibilities as they fall due.  If you are going to be late paying your loan, gas bill or similar, it is important you speak to your lender/utility company etc. before the payment is due and do not leave them to chase you for repayment.  They will be more able to help if you speak to them before missing a payment.

Categories: BLOG and LATEST NEWS.

Blog: Getting financially fit in 2018

While most people have getting physically fit in mind each New Year, at Nottingham Credit Union we are focusing on how you can improve your credit file to get financially fit for 2018.

There are a number of simple ways to improve your credit rating, even if you have a poor credit score, and lots of little things you can do to make your credit score go up. Here’s our top tips to follow:

 

Check your credit file

Knowing what’s on your credit file is half the battle – so you have a realistic picture and can deal with what’s there. Mistakes can be removed and negative feedback can be put right.

Your credit rating will show all of your borrowings over the past six years and whether they are up to date. It shows you exactly what lenders can see when making decisions about whether to lend to you.

Make sure you close old credit cards which you’re not using as these will show as an amount of money you have access to and may also be off-putting for lenders, who may not want to lend you any more money.

Also be aware that there are three different credit reference agencies which might hold different information about you. These are Experian, Equifax and Call Credit.

At Nottingham Credit Union, we would always say that you don’t need to pay any money to access your credit file. Free tools like Money Saving Expert Credit Club and Noddle will help to you see the full picture.

 

Budget, budget, budget

It is so important to set up a budget with all of your income and expenditure so you can make sure you are keeping on track of your money and not missing any payments.

Setting up a budget account (or a jamjar account for your bills) is a great idea. We would recommend that you have a separate account for bills so that it doesn’t get mixed up with your day to day budget, where you have a set amount to put in. This will help to ensure that all bills are being paid on time, which in turn will help you to improve your credit rating. Importantly, it will help keep your loan and credit card repayments up to date, which will show on your credit file.

 

Keep away from payday lenders

Don’t be tempted to visit a payday lender if you’re in need of a quick fix solution. This particular quick fix can result in long term financial problems and leave you trapped in the debt cycle.

Going to a payday lender will damage how other lenders will view you. Some lenders will not lend to anyone who has borrowed from a payday lender and it will show on your credit history.

Chances are, having a payday loan on your credit record will reduce your credit score – even if you have paid on time. It’s not worth it and there are other solutions out there such as your local credit union.

 

Look at a small loan or a rebuild your credit history card

Some credit cards, used wisely, will help you to rebuild your credit rating, if you use them with care (and only if you use them with care as it can be too tempting to use for every day purchases once you have them).  If you do need a small loan or a credit card, make sure you pay the balance in full, on time. Making sure that you can afford the repayments (and showing that you are doing this) will show that you can manage your money effectively and will help to repaid your credit record.

 

Make sure any existing debts are paid on time

If you are being chased by debt collectors because of missed payments, this can be incredibly stressful. Talk to your lender, even if you have to negotiate reduced payments, as an arrangement looks better than a default on your credit file.

Defaults and CCJs will stay on your credit file for six years so talking to your lender can help to stop this before it happens.

 

Don’t apply for lots of credit at once

If you’ve been turned down for a loan because of a poor credit history, it can be tempting to keep applying until you find one that will accept you – which is unlikely as too many credit applications over a short period of time will damage your credit score.

 

Whether you’re facing financial difficulties, or if you just want to talk to us to find out how to manage your money better, get in touch with us at Nottingham Credit Union. We offer a range of affordable loans and savings products, where you will pay less than with high cost lenders.

Categories: BLOG.

Blog: Nottingham Credit Union’s Ella Ferris on avoiding a costly Christmas

Debt advice charity National Debtline has today released its new #peaceofmind campaign to highlight that one in seven people are worrying about money every day in the run-up to Christmas.

 

Christmas is a time for giving – but it can also be the time of year when people get into debt. Last year 37 per cent of people put Christmas costs on credit and the Money Advice Service said that 1 in 20 people (2.3million people nationally) were missing payment of household bills to fund festive spending. January 2017 also saw calls to National Debtline rise by 80 per cent.

 

Everyone feels under pressure to spend on Christmas, whether that’s on gifts, food or celebrations and it can be very easy to be overly optimistic about being able to pay it back later. This, combined with lower income levels due to rising prices and wages not keeping up, means that people are more stretched. Most people who rang national debt numbers such as Stepchange and Payplan are working people, highlighting that the economy is hard for most people at the moment.

 

At Nottingham Credit Union, we are encouraging people to spend wisely – and if you do need to borrow, consider a credit union, which offers affordable loans. We also offer Christmas savings accounts and over the last year 1135 of our members have saved £289,785 to be ready for Christmas 2017.

 

There’s lots of reasons to visit a credit union this Christmas, including:

  1. It makes it easier to spread the cost, ideally by saving in advance. Saving just £4 a week will give you £400 towards next Christmas (and because our interest loans are lower, you’ll still have more money in your pocket each week)
  1. If you still need to borrow, a credit union will offer you a loan that is realistic for you to repay, based on income and other commitments. Our low interest rates mean you are paying less to borrow. For example, on a £400 loan over six months, we charge £208 less than a well-known payday lender. That’s £208 you can put on heating, food, kids clothes or even a holiday

 

Our top tips for being festive, but frugal:

  • If you haven’t got savings, then try and keep the spend to a minimum so you’re not catching up financially over the next year. You don’t have to buy for everyone, so think carefully who you really need to buy for. Every year people give and receive thousands of gifts that are unused!
  • Homemade gifts can show you really care – and giving the gift of time can be precious.
  • Secret Santa is a great way for families and friends to keep traditions without buying for everyone. Set a budget of say £15 and everyone gets a gift.

 

We wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 😊

If you would like to speak to Nottingham Credit Union about cheaper loans, contact us on 0115 828 3121 or info@nottinghamcu.co.uk

Categories: BLOG.

Blog: Nottingham Credit Union’s Ella Ferris on why the importance of responsible lending has been highlighted by BrightHouse’s £14.8million fine.

“Last month, rent-to-own retailer BrightHouse was told to pay £14.8m to 249,000 of its customers by financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). There were two reasons for this – the first was to compensate customers who had cancelled agreements after one down payment, but who hadn’t received a refund. The second was for not making a proper financial assessment of customers who had signed up to make sure that payments were affordable – therefore not acting as a responsible lender.

“A report by the Financial Inclusion Centre in March 2016 found that the cheapest washing machine at BrightHouse cost £471 – but with the three-year weekly repayments at 69.9% APR, it actually cost £1056 with product insurance in total. This is over £500 more – whereas the cheapest similar product on the high street was £250. Four times cheaper.

“High-cost lenders like BrightHouse (and payday lenders which have even higher interest rates) make it really easy for customers to access credit for household goods and they then may end up paying back twice as much or not being able to afford to repay at all. It is pure and simply charging people on a low level of income and who have limited choices in terms of credit (and who may be desperate) a higher price when they are less able to afford it. While £10 a week for a washing machine seems OK in the grand scheme of things, customers need to realise that they are paying for it over three years, as opposed to six months. Goods can also be overpriced to start with and all these things are setting customers up for a fall.

 

“When you’re living on a low income and spending more than you need to on household goods with high cost lenders, this affects how much you can put towards vital things like food, rent, heating and bills. There are affordable and ethical alternatives out there including credit unions which don’t sell washing machines, but can provide loans to people who need them. We work in partnership with local registered social landlords who help promote us to avoid tenants using high-cost or payday lender and get trapped into the cycle of debt.

“The key thing is to work out how much a product is going to cost you overall over the duration of the loan. Most loans specify APRs, but these baffle people and it is much more important to consider the total amount to pay back because this will help you to make a decision as to if you can afford it.

“At Nottingham Credit Union, we are an affordable, responsible lender and have a lot of customers who have come to us after having difficulties with high cost and payday lenders. It’s very easy to get into these situations – easy access to finance for products, very quick turnaround and with great customer service so people go back for more. It’s sometimes not quite so easy to get out of the debt created.

“We try to help educate people into looking at all the options and whether they can afford repayments. We try to look at where we can help reduce costs for our members by properly assessing paperwork and bank statements. £10 a week for a washing machine doesn’t sound like much, but when you add up the total cost it could cover an annual family holiday.”

If you would like to speak to Nottingham Credit Union about cheaper loans, contact us on 0115 828 3121 or info@nottinghamcu.co.uk

Categories: BLOG.

5 Top Money Saving Tips for Christmas

Although we are heading towards the end of October, now is definitely the time to start thinking about Christmas and planning ahead. We’ve got 5 top money saving tips for Christmas that we think might help as you start the gallop towards the festive season.

In the summer we talked about saving for Christmas. If you have, that’s great, you’ll have a pot to fall back on when you reach December and if you’ve not, don’t panic, there is still time!

Save Regularly

Whether you get money coming in each week or month, transfer it out of your current account into an another account. A Nottingham Credit Union share (savings) account works very well for this purpose and because you are a payroll member, you can have the deduction taken straight from your salary, taking away the hassle of having to transfer it yourself. We also know that having the savings separate to your usual bank account means you are less likely to dip into them.

Although we only have November and December remaining, set this up as regular savings going forward – that way you’ll have started a good savings pot for next year.

Budget

It’s an obvious one but when you are under pressure from your kids to buy the latest gadgets, budgets can often go out of the window. Most people know what they have coming in between now and Christmas. Don’t forget you will also need to factor in food and entertaining over the Christmas period. From statistics published last year a family will spend an average of £800 on Christmas.

You can come up with a budget by working out what you will spend on food, entertaining and presents and then looking at what income you have coming in. Be realistic. There is no point in budgeting to spend £500 and blowing that by spending £1,000. Additionally, planning the perfect Christmas might not be what you can afford either! Unfortunately bills don’t stop because Christmas is coming and so be sure to cover all your usual expenses before buying presents.  

Borrow Responsibly

Although the message this time of year is usually one of drinking responsibly, we encourage you to borrow responsibly. Although there is a temptation to put Christmas on a credit card and indeed statistics show that almost a third of shoppers last year did this, there is an inevitable price to pay in doing this.

It takes minutes to buy with a credit card but months and years to pay it back. Is the expensive priced gadget worth that to you? We all want to please our loved ones with the perfect presents, but debt takes away people’s happiness as well as their spare income.

Last year there was an increase of 60% on the number of people who called the National Debtline after Christmas with worries about overspending.

We aren’t trying to burst the festive bubble, but we don’t want you to become another debt statistic – borrow responsibly.

As you know, Nottingham Credit Union offer affordable loans for payroll members where the repayments are deducted directly from your salary. There is something to suit everyone’s budget and so if you do need to borrow, you can do so sensibly.

Share!

Christmas is all about family and friends so why not share the load! When you have friends or family over, rather than being responsible for all the food and entertainment, ask others to contribute. People are more than happy to bring dessert or go halves on the food and drink bill.

Giving isn’t always expensive

Be creative. Your kids may not thank you for home-made gifts but others will. Bake Christmas cakes and other goodies or if you are creative, put together gift baskets. You can also find plenty of festive gifts for £5-£10 that don’t cost the earth but that people would appreciate. Shop around and don’t be afraid to spend less. The gift is in the giving remember

 

 

Categories: BLOG.

How to pick up the best last minute holidays for half term

It’s always good to try and get away when the kids have a break from school. We’ve done some research and found some great tips on how to pick up the best last minute holidays for half term.

Here’s what we found:

Holiday in the UK

If your budget won’t stretch to a holiday overseas, you could always opt for a holiday at home. Lots of people dash abroad for half term holidays and so there are lots of deals to be had at home. It might be a bit chillier in the UK this time of year but it can be just as much fun and all that lovely fresh sea air. Haven Holidays for example collect all the late deals in one long list, making booking much easier. Here’s the link to the Haven late holiday deals for 2017.

 

Plan the Trip Yourself

Although travel sites often have some brilliant last minute deals, you can sometimes get a cheaper option by booking each element yourself. This means booking the flights, accommodation and transfers separately. It requires a little more planning but it can work out cheaper. It is best to cross check that you can get accommodation on the same dates as flights but there are so many budget airlines offering different flight times and dates that it is usually pretty easy to get what you want. Booking.com offer some great deals on accommodation and you can search for shuttle transfers in the location you are visiting to find the best deals.

 

Last Minute Travel Agents

Although there are lots of last minute sites out there, if you are able to wait until the very last minute, like just 1-3 days before, you can grab a bargain at your local travel agents. You see the signs in the window or the rows of cards telling you what the last minute holiday deals are. This can sometimes mean you won’t know which hotel you are going to until the day, but if you are laid back and easy going this might be the option for you. You can simply provide dates and go with what comes up. You can specify location and even the star rating of your accommodation too. Definitely worth considering and one of the best tips for how to pick up the best last minute holidays for half term.

 

Newspapers

The press are always publishing the latest information on how to grab a last minute holiday deal. Try these for starters as they have recently published articles on how to pick up the best last minute holidays for half term.

Birmingham Mail – Cheap Last Minute October Half Term Holidays 2017

Telegraph – The 25 Best Last Minute Family Holidays for October Half Term

Telegraph – The 40 Best Last Minute Family Holiday Destinations for October Half Term

Independent – The 10 Best Last Minute Travel Websites

Mirror – Best Hacks to Find Cheap Last Minute Holiday Deals from the UK and how to Save on Trips Abroad

 

Airlines

Many airlines offer complete holiday packages. The airfares are often much cheaper than if you buy elsewhere. Try British Airways, Virgin, Thomson or Easyjet.

 

Travel & Comparison Sites

Finally, there are always great deals to be had by looking online at places like Travel Republic, Travel Supermarket and On the Beach. Do some searching on how to pick up the best last minute holidays for half term.

Have fun!

 

Categories: BLOG.

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 HOLIDAYS

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.