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:, 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:, 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: 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

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

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.


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.


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. 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.



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



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


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

HALF TERM HOLIDAYSbenefits of payroll membership

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

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

Visit our Payroll Pro website today and apply online



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

Categories: BLOG.

How to be a better spender



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




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




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


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


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


Emotional Spending


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


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


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

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


Mindful Spending


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


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



Categories: BLOG.

Summer on a budget

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

Top Tip #1

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

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

Top Tip #2

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

Top Tip #3

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

Top Tip #4

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

Top Tip #5

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

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

Categories: BLOG.