What is an emergency fund?

An emergency fund is a savings account that you set aside to cover unexpected expenses. These expenses can be anything from a car repair to a job loss to a medical emergency. Having an emergency fund can help you avoid going into debt or having to sell your belongings to cover these expenses.

How much should I save in an emergency fund?

A general rule of thumb is to save 3-6 months of living expenses in your emergency fund. This means that if you lose your job, you will have enough money to cover your rent, food, and other essential expenses for 3-6 months. However, the amount you need to save may vary depending on your individual circumstances. For example, if you have a lot of debt or have a high risk of losing your job, you may need to save more than 6 months of living expenses.

Where should I keep my emergency fund?

Your emergency fund should be kept in a separate savings account that is easy to access but not so easy to access that you will be tempted to use the money for everyday expenses.

How do I build an emergency fund?

The best way to build an emergency fund is to start saving small amounts of money on a regular basis. You can set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account, or you can make a point of saving cash every day or week. Even small amounts of money can add up over time.

Here are some tips for building an emergency fund:

  • Create a budget and track your expenses so you can see where your money is going.
  • Cut back on unnecessary expenses.
  • Set realistic savings goals.
  • Get a side hustle or sell unused items to make extra money.

Benefits of having an emergency fund:

  • Peace of mind: Knowing that you have an emergency fund can give you peace of mind and reduce stress.
  • Avoid debt: An emergency fund can help you avoid going into debt to cover unexpected expenses.
  • Better financial decisions: Having an emergency fund can help you make better financial decisions, such as saving for a down payment on a house or retirement.

Here are some examples of how an emergency fund can be used:

  • To cover the cost of a car repair
  • To pay for a medical emergency
  • To cover your expenses if you lose your job
  • To make a deductible on your insurance

An emergency fund is an essential part of any financial plan. By saving for an emergency fund, you can protect yourself from the unexpected and improve your overall financial security.

‘Do One Thing’ for financial wellbeing: Talk Money Week 2023

This year, Hertsavers Credit Union is excited to participate in #TalkMoney Week, an initiative encouraging individuals, stakeholders, partners, organisations, and businesses across the UK to inspire financial wellbeing by doing one thing. We believe that it’s the small steps that count, and we want to make some noise about it.

Our goal is simple: get everyone talking about money together.

1. Review your budget

Start with the basics by reviewing your budget. This is a small but powerful step in understanding your financial health. Take a closer look at your income and expenses to identify areas where you can save more.

2. Save automatically

Setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to a savings or investment account can make a significant difference. It’s an easy way to ensure you’re consistently saving for a rainy day or future goals.

3. Address your pension

Checking the address on your pension might sound minor, but it’s crucial. Ensuring that your pension information is up to date can prevent issues down the road and secure your financial future.

4. Talk to your children about money

Start financial education early by discussing pocket money and financial responsibility with your children. Teaching them good money habits from a young age can set them up for a more secure future.

5. Use financial tools and calculators

Take advantage of the free tools and calculators available on the MoneyHelper website. Whether you’re planning for retirement, managing debt, or setting savings goals, these tools can provide valuable insights.

6. Review subscriptions

Take a few minutes to go through your monthly subscriptions and cancel any that you no longer use or need. This can free up extra funds.

7. Shop with a list

Before going grocery shopping, create a shopping list and stick to it. This simple step can help you avoid impulse purchases and save money.

8. Negotiate bills

Contact your service providers, such as internet or cable companies, and negotiate for better rates. You might be able to lower your monthly bills.

9. Set up an emergency fund

If you don’t already have one, establish an emergency fund with a small initial contribution. Even a modest fund can provide peace of mind during unexpected financial challenges.

10. Sell unused items

Declutter your home and sell items you no longer need online or at a garage sale. The extra cash can be a great boost to your finances.

11. Plan meals

Plan your meals for the week, reducing the need for takeout or dining out. Cooking at home is not only cost-effective but often healthier too.

Why it matters

Talking about money may seem intimidating, but it’s essential. When we share our financial experiences, we make better decisions, strengthen relationships, and reduce stress. These small actions collectively create a financially educated and resilient community.

Financial wellbeing is about more than just money; it’s about peace of mind, opportunities, and security for yourself and your loved ones. By participating in #TalkMoney Week and doing one thing to improve your financial situation, you’re taking a meaningful step towards a brighter financial future.

The benefits of the Hertsavers Salary Saving Scheme

Hertsavers is encouraging its members to join the Salary Saving Scheme, a mutually beneficial program for employers and employees alike.

If you work with East Herts DC; Broxbourne DC; B3 Living; Abbeyfield Care; Herts Urgent Care, you can join Hertsavers Salary Saving Scheme.

Below are the benefits of Hertsavers’ Salary Saving Scheme.

Benefits to employers

  • Improved employee morale and productivity. Employees who are financially stable are more likely to be happy and productive at work.
  • Reduced absenteeism. Employees who are struggling with financial problems are more likely to miss work due to stress or illness.
  • Increased employee loyalty. Employees who feel valued and supported by their employer are more likely to stay with the company.
  • Positive public relations. Participating in the Salary Saving Scheme shows that your company is committed to supporting its employees and the local community.

Benefits to employees

  • Easy and convenient way to save money. Employees can choose to have a fixed amount of money deducted from their paycheck each month and deposited into their Hertsavers savings account.
  • Competitive interest rates. Hertsavers offers competitive interest rates on savings accounts, so employees can grow their savings faster.
  • Access to affordable loans. Hertsavers members can also access affordable loans, which can be helpful for unexpected expenses or consolidating debt.
  • Financial security and peace of mind. Knowing that they have a savings cushion to fall back on can give employees peace of mind and help them focus on their work.

How to join the Hertsavers Salary Saving Scheme

If you are interested in joining the Hertsavers Salary Saving Scheme, simply contact your employer and ask them to set up payroll deduction for you. You can also visit the Hertsavers website or contact Hertsavers today via email on office@hertsavers.co.uk.

Hertsavers is committed to helping its members achieve their financial goals. The Salary Saving Scheme is a great way for employees to save money and build financial security.

Additional information

In addition to the benefits listed above, the Hertsavers Salary Saving Scheme can also help employees to:

  • Reach their financial goals faster, such as saving for a down payment on a house or retirement.
  • Reduce their reliance on credit cards and other high-interest debt.
  • Build a good credit history.
  • Teach their children about the importance of saving money.

Apply now.

The No-Spend Challenge: a fun and rewarding way to save money

What is the no-spend challenge?

The no-spend challenge is a financial challenge where you commit to not spending any money on non-essential items for a set period of time. This could be a week, a month, or even a year, depending on your goals and financial situation.

The goal of the no-spend challenge is to help you save money, reduce your debt, and become more mindful of your spending habits. It can also be a great way to declutter your life and focus on the things that are most important to you.

How to do the no-spend challenge

If you’re interested in trying the no-spend challenge, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  1. Set a goal. What do you want to achieve with your no-spend challenge? Do you want to save money for a down payment on a house? Pay off your credit card debt? Build your emergency fund? Once you know your goal, you’ll be more motivated to stick with the challenge.
  2. Choose a time frame. How long do you want to commit to the no-spend challenge? If you’re new to this, it’s best to start with a shorter time period, such as a week or two. As you become more comfortable, you can gradually increase the time frame.
  3. Make a list of exceptions. What expenses are essential and cannot be avoided? This may include things like rent, utilities, groceries, and transportation. You may also want to include expenses for things like childcare, medication, and debt payments.
  4. Plan ahead. Once you know what expenses you have, you can start planning ahead for your no-spend challenge. This means meal planning, creating a budget, and finding free or low-cost activities to do.
  5. Track your progress. It’s helpful to track your progress during the no-spend challenge. This will help you stay motivated and see how much money you’re saving. You can use a simple spreadsheet or a budgeting app to track your spending.

No-spend challenge ideas

Here are a few ideas for activities you can do during the no-spend challenge:

  • Cook at home. Eating out is one of the biggest expenses for many people. Save money by cooking at home instead.
  • Borrow books and movies from the library. Instead of buying new books and movies, borrow them from the library for free.
  • Go for walks or bike rides. This is a great way to get exercise and fresh air without spending any money.
  • Visit free museums and attractions. Many cities have free museums, parks, and other attractions. Do some research to find what’s available in your area.
  • Have game nights with friends and family. Instead of going out, invite your friends and family over for a game night. You can play board games, card games, or video games.
  • Volunteer your time. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community and meet new people. It’s also a great way to get out of the house and stay active without spending any money.

Tips for success

Here are a few tips to help you succeed with your no-spend challenge:

  • Tell your friends and family. Letting your friends and family know about your no-spend challenge will help you stay accountable. They can also offer support and encouragement.
  • Avoid temptation. If you know you’re likely to be tempted to spend money, avoid those situations. For example, if you love to shop, don’t go to the mall during your no-spend challenge.
  • Find creative ways to have fun. There are many ways to have fun without spending money. Get creative and find activities that you enjoy that don’t involve spending money.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you slip up and spend money during your no-spend challenge, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just pick yourself up and start again.

The no-spend challenge is a great way to save money, reduce your debt, and become more mindful of your spending habits. It can also be a great way to declutter your life and focus on the things that are most important to you. If you’re interested in trying the no-spend challenge, follow the tips above to get started.

What is interest?

Interest is a concept that affects our financial lives on a daily basis. Whether you’re borrowing money, saving for the future, or investing, interest plays a significant role. In this blog post, we’ll explore what interest is, how it works, and why it matters to you.

How does interest work?

Interest is typically expressed as a percentage and is calculated based on the principal amount, which is the original sum borrowed or invested. There are two main types of interest: simple interest and compound interest.

Simple interest is calculated only on the principal amount. For example, if you borrow £1,000 with a simple interest rate of 5% per year, you’ll pay back £1,050 at the end of the year (£1,000 principal + £50 interest).

Compound interest, on the other hand, takes into account both the principal and the accumulated interest. It’s calculated based on predetermined compounding periods (such as annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly). As interest is added to the principal, future interest is calculated on the new total, resulting in exponential growth over time.

Why does interest matter to you?

Understanding interest is crucial because it impacts your financial decisions. When you borrow money, the interest rate determines how much you’ll have to repay, so it’s essential to compare rates and find the best deal. On the flip side, if you’re saving or investing, the interest rate determines how quickly your money will grow over time. Higher interest rates can lead to greater returns, while lower rates may limit your earning potential.

In conclusion, interest is a fundamental aspect of our financial system. It affects both borrowers and lenders, savers and investors. By grasping the concept of interest, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about borrowing, saving, and investing, ultimately improving your financial well-being in the long run.

Nurturing wise choices: The power of saying ‘no’ to children

As a parent or guardian, you may have experienced a plea from your child/ward to buy something that you hadn’t budgeted for. Here are some tips to consider:

Be empathetic and understanding: Start by acknowledging your child’s desire and show empathy towards their feelings. Let them know that you understand their want and why it is important to them.

Explain the reasons: Provide a clear and age-appropriate explanation of why you are saying no. For example, you can mention budget constraints, the item not being suitable or necessary at the moment, or other priorities that need to be considered.

Offer alternatives: Instead of simply saying no, offer alternatives that are more feasible or aligned with your values. This could involve suggesting a similar, more affordable item, or proposing an alternative activity or experience that could bring joy or fulfil their want in a different way.

Encourage saving and goal-setting: Teach your child the value of saving money and setting goals. Help them understand that if they really want something, they can work towards it by saving their own money or by setting goals to achieve it over time.

Stick to your decision: Once you have explained your reasons and offered alternatives, it’s important to be firm and consistent with your decision. Children need to learn that every want cannot be fulfilled instantly and that it is okay to experience disappointment or frustration.

Remember, it is essential to communicate with your child in a patient and understanding manner, encouraging open dialogue and helping them develop a healthy understanding of needs, wants, and responsible decision-making.

What is financial resilience?

Financial resilience is a crucial aspect of maintaining both financial stability and mental well-being. It refers to the ability to effectively cope with financial setbacks, adapt to changing financial circumstances, and sustain psychological well-being during times of financial stress. Developing financial resilience involves building a strong foundation of knowledge and skills to manage finances, as well as cultivating a healthy mindset and coping mechanisms.

Individuals with high financial resilience are better equipped to navigate unexpected expenses, job loss, economic downturns, or other financial challenges without experiencing overwhelming stress or negative psychological effects. They can analyse their financial situation objectively, make informed decisions, and implement strategies to mitigate the impact of setbacks. Financially resilient individuals also tend to have emergency savings, a diversified income, and a flexible budget that can accommodate fluctuations in income or expenses.

Moreover, maintaining psychological well-being during financial stress is crucial as it can impact overall mental health. Financial resilience includes developing a positive mindset, seeking support from loved ones or professionals, practicing self-care, and recognising that setbacks are temporary and can be overcome. By fostering financial resilience, individuals can cultivate a sense of control over their financial lives, reduce anxiety and stress, and improve their overall mental health and quality of life.

Hertsavers embraces equity to support women

International Women’s Day is celebrated on 08 March every year to honor the contributions of women and their achievements in various fields. It is also a day to advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment. In recent years, credit unions have emerged as strong supporters of women, both as employees and as members of the credit union.

Credit unions are financial cooperatives owned and controlled by their members. They offer a wide range of financial products and services, including loans, savings accounts, and insurance. Credit unions are not-for-profit organisations, meaning they reinvest their profits back into the organisation or return them to members in the form of lower interest rates or dividends.

In recent years, credit unions have become champions of diversity, equity, and inclusion. They have recognised the important role that women play in their organisations and have taken steps to ensure that women are supported and represented in leadership positions. This is the case at Hertsavers Credit Union where our chair is a woman.

One way that Hertsavers supports women is by offering financial education. We understand that women face unique financial challenges, including the gender pay gap and the fact that women are more likely to take time off from work to care for children or aging parents. By offering financial education through our blog articles and newsletters, we help women develop the skills and knowledge they need to take control of their finances and achieve their financial goals.

Hertsavers also support women by offering affordable loans and other financial products. We offer low-interest rate personal loans, and other financial products that can help women achieve their financial goals.

In addition to supporting women as members of Hertsavers credit union, we are committed to gender equity in our recruiting of Board members and promotion practices. We recognise the importance of having a diverse workforce and ensuring that women have equal opportunities for advancement.

Embracing equity means recognizing that everyone should have equal access to opportunities and resources, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, or other personal characteristics. Embracing equity means acknowledging and addressing the ways in which systemic discrimination and bias have created barriers for certain groups of people. 

This International Women’s Day, we want to reaffirm our commitment to supporting women and promoting gender equity. We do this by continuing to offer financial education and empowerment programs that support women.

In conclusion, Hertsavers Credit Union plays an important role in supporting women and promoting gender equity. Through our financial products and services, as well as our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are helping women achieve their financial goals and advance in their careers. On International Women’s Day and beyond, we can continue to champion women and advocate for gender equality.

Empower your financial future with a credit union

The theme for International Credit Union Day 2022 was “Empowering your financial future with a credit union”. This encouraged us to show you, our members, and anyone else who is thinking of joining us on how we thrive on financially empowering our members.

What does it mean to be financially empowered?

As Dave Ramsey, an author, said, “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”

By being financially empowered you will have control of your financial situation. You have the knowledge and resources to make your money choices and move towards your future goals. You will be able to overcome any obstacles that come your way and you will be able to enjoy life.

Some of the ways that you can empower your financial future with Hertsavers are as follows.

1. Build up your savings to cover any emergencies.

We have a wide range of savings accounts that can help you jumpstart your savings.

What’s more, you should aim to save money on a monthly basis. If you are on the Hertsavers Salary Saving Scheme, you can automatically save as your earn so you don’t have to worry about remembering to put money each month. Find out more.

2. Asking for help when you need it

Sometimes changes in our lives can lead to financial difficulties. At Hertsavers, we support our members with loan products designed to sustain and uplift you during difficult times. From offering top-ups on child benefit loans to Homeowner loans, we’re constantly reviewing and creating new products to suit our members’ financial situation.

3. Create a financial plan

Having a financial plan where the ultimate goal is to save money, create an emergency fund, and keeping track of where your money is going, will not only improve the way your feel about money but also give you control over your finances.

4. Set financial goals

When setting goals, think of them as long term or short term goals.

Long-term financial goals

Think about what you want in the long run. Is it to be able to own your home? Provide the best education for your children? Retire earlier?

These are called long-term goals as they may take time to achieve.

Short-term financial goals

These are goals that are quick and easier to achieve over a short period of time. For example, saving up for a summer holiday; buying a car; renovating your home; saving up for your wedding.

Set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) goals so that they are easy to focus on.

5. Make a budget and review it

Budgeting is an effective way to track your spending which would eventually help you reach your financial goals.

By reviewing your budget constantly, you will be able to see what you are spending on. If there is any unnecessary spending such as subscriptions that you aren’t using or contracts which have ended, you can cancel these or look for better deals.

You can use budgeting tools to keep track of your expenses.

6. Become financially literate through self-learning. Some of the ways that you can do this is through videos, blogs , podcasts and books.

You can even become a volunteer board member where you can sharpen your financial skills, gain leadership skills and network with like-minded individuals.

7. Do a financial health check at least once a year to find out what your current state of affairs is and make adjustments. You can find out how you can do a financial health check here.

Why choose a credit union in the first place?

Equal Ownership – Credit unions are democratically controlled and member-owned and member-operated. Each member has equal ownership and one vote regardless of how much money he or she has in savings.

Not for Profit – Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that provide a safe, convenient place for members to save money and access loans and other financial services at reasonable rates.

Social Purpose: People Helping People – Credit unions exist to serve their members, not to make a profit. Every member counts, including those of modest means. This “people-first” philosophy impels credit unions and their employees to get involved in their community and support worthwhile causes.

Volunteer Leadership – Each credit union is governed by a volunteer board of directors elected by and from the credit union’s membership.

Financial Education for Members – Credit unions place particular importance on educational opportunities for their members and the public to help everyone become better-educated consumers of financial services.

Trust – Lately credit unions have received positive press for being trustworthy and resilient institutions during a tumultuous time. Credit union members worldwide can be proud of these accomplishments and rest assured that their money is safe at the credit union.


By empowering your financial future, you will be able to reduce your stress, have a better outlook towards life and achieve your long-term goals.

How to ease the financial stress from the back to school season

Image source: Canva

School costs have skyrocketed however here is how savvy parents can ease the pressure on their financial pockets:

Set a spending limit

If you want to avoid back-to-school stress, setting a spending limit and creating a list of back-to-school supplies is essential.

This will also help you with being frugal with how you spend such as taking advantage of schools’ second-hand options for uniforms, avoiding doubling up on school stationery, limiting bought lunches to special occasions and ensuring that all items are labelled to avoid paying to replace lost items.

Save by not spending a penny

You may already have some of the items on the shopping list at hand. Look around your home before you go shopping.

Don’t be shy – get second-hand items

While some parents may cringe at purchasing second-hand items, buying second-hand items such as textbooks and uniforms can save you pounds.

Quality over quantity

Remember that the cheapest option won’t always be the best. Therefore focus on the quality of the item to make sure it has longevity so that it can last the whole year (and beyond).

Financial literacy for children

Take the back-to-school season as an opportunity to teach your children about the costs associated with back-to-school. You can show them how to budget, and save to establish good money habits for the future and even how to look after their items so that they last longer. You can read our blog on ‘teaching children about money’ here.

Start saving ahead of the back-to-school season

If you want to encourage the habit of saving with your child, this is a good chance to do it. Open a Junior Savers Account and agree on how much your child should aim to save each month and for how long. When it’s the next back-to-school season, work together on how they will spend the money.

Get financial help with Hertsavers

If you are still struggling with back-to-school, why not apply for a child benefit loan?

Find ways to de-stress yourself

Did you know that if you manage your stress, it can help you with your finances? This is because you will be able to see more clearly where you will be able to manage your spending and saving in a better way. Therefore, instead of focusing on ‘how to save on back-to-school spending’, focus on de-stressing. For example:

  • Meditate for five minutes each morning and evening.
  • Reconnect with your family during some shared downtime
  • Make a note of what is stressing you and find ways of coping with stress
  • Take up a hobby that can help you ease your stress. This could be cooking, baking, reading, running, gardening etc.