Benefits of a Payroll Membership Scheme

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

What is Payroll Membership?

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

What are the benefits of a Payroll Membership Scheme?

As a payroll member you get lots of benefits:

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

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

How do I become a Payroll Member?

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

 

Categories: BLOG.

10 Ways You Are Wasting Money Without Knowing It

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

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

 

1. Designer Drinks

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

 

2. Buying Sale or Promotional Items

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

 

3. Credit Card Interest

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

 

4. Apps & Monthly Subscriptions

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

 

5. Mobile Phone Plan

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

 

6. Lunch

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

 

7. Expired Food

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

 

8. Unplug Your Electronics

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

 

9. Shop Smarter

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

 

10. Finally…

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

 

 

Categories: BLOG.

Back to School on a Budget

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

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

Plan!

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

Start Early

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

Budget

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

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

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

To Shop or not to Shop?

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

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

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

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

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

Share!

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

Involve your Kids

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

Don’t Panic

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: BLOG.

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

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

1. Garden Party

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

 

2. Picnic by the Water

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

 

3. Seaside Getaway Day

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

 

4. Great British Bake Off

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

 

5. Sports Day

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

 

6. Treasure Hunt

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

 

7. Mystery Trip

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

 

8. Walk in the Woods

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

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

 

Categories: BLOG.

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

Benefits of Saving

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

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

Did someone say Christmas?

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

Spending Tracker

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

Make the Commitment

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

Saving is Fun

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

How to Start Saving

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

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

Categories: BLOG.

Understanding Interest Rates

Understanding Interest Rates

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

 

What is an Interest Rate?

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

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

Here’s an example:

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

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

 

How do Interest Rates Work?

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

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

 

What is APR?

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

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

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

 

What if Componded Interest?

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

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

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

 

0.50%              1%                   2%

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

Categories: BLOG.

Cheap Nottingham Eats

We all love going out to eat. It’s not just about the food but being with friends and family and having a good time. Thing is, we can’t always afford it and so we might not go or limit how much we do go. Well, we want to change that! Going out is good for you, right?

So, if you’re on a budget, here’s our favourite cheap Nottingham eats that will have you dining out regularly in no time. Who says that eating out has to be expensive!

 

Junkyard

Ignore the name! This place is tucked away in Bridlesmith Walk and has unusually good food and great craft beer! From cheeseboards to Cuban sandwiches and pasta to short ribs! Try it out. Brunch prices start from £5 and meals from £7.50.

12 Bridlesmith Walk, Nottingham www.junkbars.com

Open Monday to Saturday 10 am to 1 am and Sunday 11 am to midnight.

 

Edin’s Kitchen

Homemade food at its best! This deli-café offers gorgeous pastries, salads, sandwiches and ‘grab-bag’ mains for around £7. Everything is about a £1 cheaper to take out and the set two course costs £8.95 (£7.50 until 5 pm). Takeaway sandwiches from £3.50 and meals from around £6.00. With wines and beers and great reviews this one is not to be missed!

15 Carlton Street, Nottingham www.edinsnottingham.co.uk

Open Monday to Thursday 7:30 am to 7 pm, Friday & Saturday 7:30 am to midnight and Sunday 8:30 am to 7 pm.

 

Kean’s Head

This one is opposite a church, what could be more peaceful and relaxing than that! Set in the lovely surroundings of the Lace Market, Kean’s Head Pub is a grand place to eat! The bar serves snacks, sandwiches, pies (Hartland’s pork ones at that!) and other pub favourites. Snacks and sandwiches start at £4.50 and mains from £7.

St. Mary’s Gate, Nottingham www.castlerockbrewery.co.uk

Open Monday to Thursday 11:30 am to 11 pm, Friday & Saturday 11:30 am to 12:30 am and Sunday midday – 10:30 pm

 

Yamas

If you fancy something a little different, Yamas is it! This friendly Greek restaurant is relaxed and informal and offers a variety of tapas and traditional meze. Portions are huge and reviews are awesome! Definitely worth a visit.

Lunch starts from £4.95 and tapas pricess start from £6.95 for three, between 12 noon and 4 pm Wednesday to Saturday.

5 Thurland Street, Nottingham ww.yamas.co.uk

Open Sunday to Tuesday 5pm to 10 pm and Wednesday to Saturday midday- 10 pm 

 

200 Degrees

In the oven! This place used to be called the Flying Horse Inn and now serves as a local coffee roaster! The good tasting coffee costs just £1.70. You can get sandwiches, croissants, quiches, soups and salads, all freshly made the same day. Plenty of hot food options too, so lots of choice. Light bites start from around £4 so perfect for a lunch out!

Flying Horse Walk, Nottingham www.200degs.com

Open from Monday to Friday 7:30 am to 8 pm, Saturday 8 am to 7 pm and Sunday 9:30 am to 6 pm.

 

Hand and Heart

Up the Derby Road Hill and you’ll find this great pub built into a cave! The food here is not only a bargain but delicious and reviewed as one of the best for miles. Can’t argue with that. From hot rolls filled with pulled pork and honey mustard to fish fingers (yes you read that right!). Snack and lite bites s are served all day from just £3.95 until 4 pm and a set lunch that includes main course costs just £7.95.

Their home made chips are definitely worth trying too!

65-67 Derby Road, Nottingham www.thehandandheart.co.uk

Open from 12:00 noon to 11 pm. Food is served until 9:30 pm and 9 pm on Sundays.

 

Annie’s Burger Shack

If you are a lover of all things burger then you will be at the right place. The owner, Annie (obviously!) is American and brings with her, Rhode Island inspired burgers that are 85% beef, 15% pork and seasoned with smoked paprika for a taste like no other. Toppings are quite out there but be open to trying new things and you will be pleasantly surprised (or your taste buds certainly will anyway).

There’s lots of choices for under £10 burgers and hotdog meals and prices start from around £8.90.

5 Broadway, Lace Market, Nottingham www.anniesburgershack.com

Open Sunday to Thursday 12:00 noon to 11:30 p and Friday to Saturday from 12:00 noon to 12:30 am.

 

Oscar & Rosie’s at Das Kino Bar 

Not the usual run of the mill restaurant with table tennis graffiti booths! Food here is definitely New York inspired and delivers big on stone baked pizzes topped with fantastic toppings. In the week until 4 pm you can get lunch in the form of a 9 inch pizze for just £5 – who would turn their noses up at that, especially when it tastes so good!! At the weekend its just £7. They have daily specials and a mac and cheese to die for. If you wanted to go at night for a big pizze (14 inch) with salad and a couple of drinks it would cost you just £20 and if you took that out it would be slightly less!

Lunch starts from £5.

22 Fletchergate, Nottingham www.oscarandrosies.com

Opening Monday to Saturday 12:00 noon to 10 pm and Sunday 12:00 noon to 8 pm.

 

Although we have done our research, Nottingham Credit Union cannot be responsible for individual experience eating at any of these establishments, nor does NCU have any affiliation with those mentioned. We are merely signposting our findings to you and trying to help you save money dining out on a budget! We hope it helps and would love to hear how you get on…after writing this our mouths are watering!

Enjoy.

Categories: BLOG.

Tips to keep cost and your stress levels down when travelling on a budget!

For most people there are just one or two weeks of the year when you travel away from home and go on holiday. Of course if you are more fortunate, you may go twice or even three times a year. If you get some of these tips down you might even get to go twice for the price you would normally pay to go once!

Keeping the cost of travelling down is usually high on the list and so when this creeps up it can be stressful. We’ve searched the web and beyond to find some really useful tips that will not only keep the cost of travelling down but work to lower your stress levels too meaning you can sit back, relax and enjoy your travels.

Airline Tickets

If you are going overseas it’s advisable to book early. Although many package holidays might get cheaper booking last minute, flights certainly don’t and it’s worth considering booking the trip yourself. Try www.booking.com for your place to stay and searching for flights separately. If you are going on a long trip think about going for connected flights rather than direct, it can bring the cost down by quite a bit! Don’t forget to book your transfers too. Overall this can be a much cheaper way of travelling than going for a complete package holiday!

Don’t be Obvious!

It’s great going to the usual hot spots but there might be places you haven’t thought of. Before booking do a bit of internet research to find out where is a great place to visit that won’t break the bank.

Hotels

Rather than booking two rooms you could opt for a suite and end up with more space. Some suites have two bedrooms too and it will work out cheaper. Pack as many people (reasonably so everyone has a comfortable night’s sleep) into one room. Don’t be afraid to ask your hotel if they have any deals on. If it’s quiet they may well give you a discount. Be smart when booking a hotel. Don’t spend all your holiday money on a flashy hotel with 24 hour room service if you know you can’t afford it. Be honest about what is important for your trip and book the hotel accordingly…better still try a B & B….

B & B’s are everywhere!

It’s not just England that you’ll find a cosy warm B & B, they are all over the place and much cheaper than a conventional hotel. One of the latest sites online worth visiting is www.AirBnB.co.uk who offer you the ability to book homes from local hosts in 191 countries around the world and experience a place like you live there!

Avoid the Tourist Restaurants!

They will often be more expensive. If you opt for somewhere local (and you will be able to tell from all the locals inside and the menu written in the language of the country you are in) you will find it is cheaper and probably better food too. Can’t read the language? That’s ok, pick a daily special and you should be good to go!

Travel Off Peak

If you go somewhere off season you will find the prices much cheaper This minimises your spend and your stress because off season also tends to mean less people. Win, win!

Cook Yourself!

Ok, so you are on holiday and might not want to cook yourself but if you can, do. You’ll find it fun improvising with what limited cookware you have where you are staying and you can experiment with food. You can always eat out every other day or eat lunch out. Talking of which…

Eat More Lunch than Dinner

Lunch is always far less expensive than dinner so if you are on a budget, eat a bigger breakfast and lunch with a lighter dinner. It’s healthier too!

Car Rental

If you are renting a car make sure you look into all the options and know where you are picking the car up from and dropping it off. There might be huge price differences in the time/day you pick it up and drop it off so be sure to check. Your insurance or credit card might also cover the car rental insurance saving you a bit of money too. Go for the smallest car you can – obviously you can’t put the kids in the boot so be realistic. Make sure you figure out whether it is cheaper to take a car seat (if you need one). Airlines can charge for car seats so you might be better off just renting one. Finally, sometimes you can find coupons for car rental companies so be on the look out before you book!

Getting About

If you aren’t renting a car always go for the subway, rail service or metro, it will be cheaper and faster. Avoid taxis and welcome transport it is always really expensive.

Use a Guidebook

Yes it seems very touristy but guidebooks are said to be £20 tools for £3000 experiences. A guidebook will pay for itself, especially if you are travelling to a city!

Be Wise with your Cash!

These days there are lots of ways to use travel money. You can load it onto a Prepaid Visa card before you go or obviously exchange for cash. Be careful carrying cash and if you are considering traveller’s cheques, using the cash machine abroad gives you a far better exchange rate. Be sure to find out the best option for you to get the most out the money you do have to spend.

See a Doctor

We hope that you won’t get sick while on holiday but if you do, see a doctor sooner rather than later. While it might seem stressful it will be far less stressful if you don’t. If you are unsure where to go and you are not staying in a hotel who have staff who can help, find the closest tourist information centre and they will be able to point you in the right direction.

Insurance

Be prepared! Never travel without the correct travel insurance and make sure you have the documents on you and know where to call if you need to. Travel insurance is not expensive these days but be sure to check you are covered for all the activities you will be doing whilst away.

Have fun

The best things in life are free…..have fun and if you need a little help getting your holiday booked with a loan from us, you can apply online today.

 

Categories: BLOG.

How to get the best deals on home appliances

Although we can’t always guarantee that we will need a new home appliance when the sales are on, there are times of the month, and the year too, when you can save money when replacing home appliances.

We all know that when your fridge or washing machine breaks down you will have to replace it, but generally never impulse buy an appliance. Spend some time to get a good quality, well priced appliance and importantly, what you really want. Here are our top tips for getting the best deals on home appliances.

New Models!

Generally, manufacturers roll out new appliances in January, September and October so retailers are always keen to clear last seasons’ stock at these times. If you are looking to replace your fridge, the great news is that these are the exception to that rule and new models come out in spring….so now is the time to get a good deal.

According to the online statistics we researched, November is the best month to buy.

Last days of the month

During the last days of each month retailers are keen to meet their targets and so you are more likely to get a better deal at these times. Of course there is no haggling with a website, but perhaps you could email the store owner – if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Statistics show that the 4th, 5th and 23rd or 29th are best dates to buy in the month.

Best Day of the Week

Thursday is considered the best day of the week to get good deals on home appliances because you avoid the crowds at the weekend rush when most people are off work.

Interestingly the statistics gave us the time of 3 pm to buy, so if you were looking at the last Thursday of November at 3 pm you would be on to a winner!

Refurbished Products

Buying a refurbished product doesn’t always mean that it is used. Often times people simply change their minds and return it, so you are getting a new product, usually with a good discount from what it originally cost! Products are always checked for damage and defects before being resold. Apple, Currys, PC World, Argos, Littlewoods, John Lewis, Amazon, Marks & Spencer and eBay all sell refurbished products and either have clearance outlets or a refurbished website, so definitely worth some exploring before buying brand new at a higher price.

Top Brands 

We all know that buying top brands can mean you are getting top quality, but that isn’t always the case. Don’t be afraid to look at brands that aren’t as well known. You might end up with more for your money. Read the reviews from people who have bought these items before you and if it feels good to you then go for it!

Online Retailers

Many online retailers offer discounts for purchasing online, particularly when it comes to larger appliances such as cookers/ovens, washers, dryers, fridges and freezers.

As always the Money Saving Expert has the latest deals, so worth looking at that site too while you are tripping around the online shops!

Go Local

Going local keeps money within your community. In Nottingham we can recommend Home Source for You. Visit http://homesource4u.co.uk to get a great deal.

Finally…

We can be tempted with finance deals or buying home appliances where you can pay weekly. Although the weekly amounts might seem a great deal, be sure to check the interest rates attached to these. You may find that you end up paying so much more on top of what you are saving on the appliance. As a fair and responsible lender, we offer loans from £100 – £10,000 at very competitive rates. For example, you could borrow £500 over 52 weeks for just £11.50 a week*, so if you are considering borrowing to buy an appliance, see how we compare and apply online

* Loans subject to status. Over 18’s only. 42.6% representative APR. £500 – 52 weeks – £11.50 pw. £97.02 total interest. Nottingham Credit Union is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Registration No. 213439

Categories: BLOG.

Benefits of a Payroll Scheme

Saving isn’t something that comes naturally to all of us and many people live from month to month financially, which can be difficult when it comes to times when you really need money in an emergency. This can be anything from an appliance breaking down, home or car maintenance to 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.

If you’ve ever read anything about building wealth and managing your finances better you’ll know that the general rule of thumb is to save 10% of everything you earn. Now 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 £1000 a month, to save 10% would mean you would need to save £100 a month – does that seem reasonable? If it isn’t then work from this until you reach a figure that is. Even saving 1%, just £10 a month, is better than saving none at all.

Credit unions are all about serving people and improving the financial wellbeing of the local community. One of the ways they do that is by forging relationships with local organisations to set up payroll deduction schemes.

How do Payroll Schemes Work?

The best way to think of a payroll deduction scheme is in the same way that a pension payment is made; directly from wages or salary. A link is set up between the credit union and the payroll department of the organisation. Members of staff sign up and open a credit union account and then specify a savings amountto be deducted each month or week. The amount is deducted from the net salary (after tax) and transferred directly into their 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 paid or bought everything else before deciding what to save. Returning again to our point on building wealth and managing your finances better, you should always pay yourself first. Now we are not suggesting you avoid important bills or payments, but by considering a regular saving amount you can afford and paying that first, means you are more likely to succeed with your savings than if you consider it as an afterthought, once you’ve paid everything else. By doing it this way, the savings amount becomes an important payment you make each week or month, but the beauty of it is, 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 organisation, your credit union savings are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to £85,000.

Are there any other benefits of joining a Payroll Scheme?

Yes! Part of managing your money better is being able to borrow when you need it. If we dipped into our savings every time we needed something we would have nothing left and so you may wish to borrow from time to time too. Credit unions often give a preferential loan rate to their payroll scheme members. Once a credit union member, payroll scheme organisation members can apply for a loan and have the loan repayments made in the same way; deducted directly from their 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?

A lot of local councils and housing associations will already be members of a payroll scheme. If your organisation isn’t you can simply approach your HR department and ask them if they would set one up. Credit unions have teams who work on this specifically and the process is quite simple in terms of setting a up the scheme and putting everything into place. You can find out more about the Nottingham Credit Union Payroll Pro Scheme by clicking here and share with your employer by visiting and when you land on the page and have read the information you can watch the short video that gives you an overview too.

Categories: BLOG.