Are you ready for Christmas?

Christmas is less than a month away and many of us will be splurging on Christmas presents and preparing for Christmas get-togethers. It can get quite stressful especially if you are on a budget or working right up to Christmas Eve.

We have put some tips for you on how you can plan ahead to save all the stress that comes with getting ready for Christmas.

1. Get ahead in planning and preparing

To make sure that you don’t overspend at Christmas is to make sure that you plan properly.

Make a budget to work out how much you are willing to spend at Christmas and use lists and planners to keep track of what you are spending on. Your budget should be realistic and keep some money aside in case of emergencies.

Make lists of who you are buying presents for, a food and drinks list and everything that you are planning on doing during the Christmas break.

2. Small cuts, big savings

Once you have your budget and lists, you can shop around for deals so you can start saving.

Also, if you have a shortfall on your budget, see what you can cut out from your regular habits. For example, rather than buying lunch at work, make some at home and take it with you.

3. Save on presents

It can get quite stressful to splash out on presents. Here are some ideas on reducing the cost of Christmas presents:

  • Limit present buying

Apart from buying presents for those closest to you, re-think who you are getting a present for.

If you want to really cut costs on spending, maybe it’s worth having a discussion to put a hold on giving presents. You might be pleasantly surprised to see how many would be willing to let the gift-giving go.

  • Secret Santa with a limit of £5 or £10

If you have a big group of friends or colleagues, Secret Santa is a good way to cut down the Christmas present costs.

All of the names of the people involved are put into a hat, and each person draws out a name. You only buy for the name that you have picked, rather than having to buy for everyone.

Add in a low budget limit, say £5 or £10, and it’s a great way to keep the cost of Christmas down.

You can even use an online Secret Santa generator such as Elfster or Drawnames to make it even easier to set up a Secret Santa.

  • Make your own gifts

You can make some delicious sweet treats such as cookies, jams, curds or muffins.

If you don’t have time to make homemade treats, you can make your own gift vouchers where you can pledge to do something such as make a meal, do their laundry for them, babysit for your friends or mow their lawn.

  • Buy a combined gift

If you are buying a combined gift, you could do a hamper for the family such as a family movie night, basketful of homemade goodies or something useful that they could use as a family.

  • Get Christmas Crafty

Make your own cards and gifts. You can also get the children involved in making these.

4. Get cashback and boost your budget

There are cashback websites such as TopCashBack and Quidco that can help you add extra pounds back to your account (and Christmas budget) when you shop online through their websites.

Remember to always shop around for the best offers and check prices.

5. Save on food

Food does play an important part in any celebration and could be the biggest part of your Christmas budget.

To cut costs on Christmas food:

  • Limit food waste by only buying what you need or thinking of other recipes that you can have for leftovers.
  • Plan the menus for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

By meal planning, you can write out your shopping list and help you with food budgeting. This will also help you keep control of your Christmas spending.

  • Find deals on wine and bubble online

Some supermarkets start their deals in early November so keep your eyes peeled for pre-Christmas deals.

Check out wine sites to make sure that you are getting the best value for money.

  • Buy own-brand products

Quite often than not, the own-brand products are just as good (if not better) than the branded products. Therefore it’s worth trying out the cheaper alternatives and you may be pleasantly surprised.

However some products such as Christmas turkey, it’s worth spending a little extra to make sure that you have a high-quality product.

6. Advance bookings on travel

If you will be visiting your loved ones by train, it’s worth buying train tickets in advance. They are usually available around 12 weeks before the date of travel and the price is usually lowest soon after they are released.

7. Post early for Christmas

Be on the lookout for the last posting dates https://www.royalmail.com/christmas/last-posting-dates on the Royal Mail website.

By posting early, you may be able to use second class post rather than first-class stamps. This way you will be able to take advantage of slower, and cheaper parcel services.

8. Cut delivery costs

Rather than using the Post Office to send your heavy parcels, look for alternatives which may give you a better deal. For example, take a look at Hermes.

9. Prepare for next Christmas

  • Start saving early to spread the cost

You can open a Christmas Savings Account to help you start saving for next Christmas. You can withdraw your savings at the end of November of the next year. To open your Christmas Savings Account, simply email us.

  • Take advantage of end-of-sale bargains

Stock up on decorations, Christmas trees, cards, gifts and wrapping paper in the January sales.

Don’t forget to put them in a ‘Christmas box’ so that you don’t buy more later on.

Hertsavers Social Impact Report

What is a Social Impact Report?

A social impact report is used as a communication tool to measure how we, as a credit union, is performing and use it to relate to the overall change brought about to people’s lives and the environment over the past two years.

Hertsavers Social Impact Report – the results

Our research team conducted a members’ survey and face-to-face interviews.  The results contributed to our social impact report.

Some of the findings were as follows:

  • 70% of members said that they improved their savings after joining Hertsavers Credit Union
  • 44% of the respondents to the online questionnaire have responded that their finances have been affected by the pandemic
  • 50% of the members who responded to the questionnaire have claimed that Hertsavers helped them to manage their finances during the pandemic
  • 71% of the benefit are amongst people with at least one child under 18
  • 20% of lone parents with dependent children are in arrears on one or more household bills compared to 7% of couples with dependent children

When it came to having an impact on members’ health and wellbeing, here’s how Hertsavers has had a positive impact on our members’ lives, reducing financial distress and increasing the overall wellbeing:

“Hertsavers gives me peace of mind in knowing I have a safety net in case of an emergency.”

“I was able to save for the first time, I am no more worried about high-interest rates on loans compared to loans taken out in the past from other lenders. It has reduced money worries overall.”

“I was, within a short period, more in control of my finances. At the time I was a single parent of three. This stopped me from getting into debt and encouraged me to save. Although I am financially secure now, it helped me through a difficult time.”

You can read the full report on our here.

How to stay positive at work to improve productivity

According to the author, Caleb Papineau (2017), he said that statistically happy people are 31% more productive and three times more creative than unhappy people. He also said that happiness can improve the profitability of a business by 147%. Source.

What is productivity?

The dictionary defines productivity as:

“The quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create, enhance, or bring forth goods and services: The productivity of the group’s effort surprised everyone.”

In summary, productivity is a way to measure efficiency and has become an important topic which people want to become better at. It’s what you want to do with less time and effort and get better results.

However, it’s an attitude as well that can help determine how productive you are. To be more productive, you need to make sure that you have a positive attitude. By having a positive attitude:

  • People will want to help you more. No one likes a miserable person and they tend to stay away from them. Instead, if you are smiling and keep your head high even in difficult times, people will want to come to your aid.
  • You will stop wasting time complaining because you are putting positive enegery to improve the situation by finding solutions to make it work better.
  • You will be able to work better as a team beause positive attitude is contagious and brings people together.
  • Solves problems instead of making problems – be postive in a difficult situation and you will see how things work out in a good way
  • You will be able to make good decisions as you will have a clearer mind with a positive attitude.

Here are some ways that you can stay positive at work to help maintain a positive attitude which in turn brings about good productivity:

1. Always keep learning

By learning on the job, you will be able to keep up-to-date with your skills and learn new things to help build your CV. If you don’t get a chance to physically take a class, you can ask your co-workers or managers for job shadowing experience or secondment, where possible.

2. Teach others what you know

From the previous point, you want to accompany others to learn something new. Why not teach others what you know? This will help you in the long run especially when you have a lot to be done where you can delegate your tasks to someone who knows how to do them. AS the saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you have fed him for a lifetime.”

3. Have a break

You can’t work a full eight hours without taking a break – you will burnout! You will lose focus and motivation. Take some time to go for a walk (good exercise plus boosts your mood), meditate, eat something or catch up with a colleague. You will have an instant boost to get back to work.

4. Leave work at work

If you didn’t complete a task, don’t bring it home. Make it a priority for the next morning unless it’s extremely urgent. When you get home, spend time with your family, friends, your hobbies and look after yourself.

5. Build positive relationships with your co-workers

By having a fun and comfortable environment, be friendly with your co-workers so that you feel more supported in your work duties and can also help you release stress.

6. Set goals and reward your accomplishments

By setting yourself realistic work goals, you will be motivated to do more work that is productive. When you do achieve them, you can reward yourself by having a treat (maybe buying that coffee and cake from the coffee shop) or enjoying a movie that you’ve been longing to watch. However small your accomplishment, be proud of yourself.

7. Prioritise your tasks for better productivity

Multitasking can actually hinder productivity and you may end up doing a shoddy job. By listing out all the tasks that you have to do and prioritising what needs to be done, you will be able to do stay focused and motivated. This will give you better results and perhaps recognition from your colleagues.

8. Get a side project

If you want to learn something new; enhance on what you already know or want to focus on hobbies that you can’t do at work, having a side project can help you feel more positive, happy and productive (plus you’ll have something to do at the weekend). If you are really good at it, why not make some money for extra income?

9. Stop worrying about finances

By putting some money aside every month, you will be able to ease some of the financial stress that can cause negativity and affect your mental health. You can do this by setting up a payroll deduction with our scheme. It’s simple to set up and it’s automated so you don’t have to worry about physically saving the money as it’s already done for you. You can find out more about the Hertsavers Payroll Deduction Scheme here.

Hertsavers Social Impact Report – research

We are currently conducting a survey across all our members to understand how joining our Credit Union has impacted their lives and the overall satisfaction of our members.

What is a Social Impact Report?

A social impact report is used as a communication tool to measure how we, as a credit union, is performing and use it to relate to the overall change brought about to people’s lives and the environment over the past two years.

How will be undertaking the research?

We will be conducting a members’ survey over the next couple of months to get our members’ feedback, thoughts and stories. This will be sent out to all members who have opted in to receiving information via email. If you would like to receive a copy of the members’ survey and you aren’t on our mailing list, please contact office@hertsavers.co.uk with the subject line ‘Members Survey’. All the participants who complete the survey will be entered into a prize draw* where two lucky winners will receive £50 into their Hertsavers Savings Account. *Terms and Conditions apply.

We will also be holding virtual face-to-face interviews with some of our members as well as our payroll partners. If you would like to get involved, please register your interest here. All the participants will receive £20 into their Hertsavers Savings Account. Terms and Conditions apply. Further details will be released closer to the time.

As a thank-you, all the participants of the survey will be the first to receive the Social Impact Report.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR THE PRIZE DRAW

Please read the full terms and conditions below to enter the Hertsavers Credit Union Members Survey 2021 PrizeDraw.

Prize Draw Terms and Conditions

1. By entering the Prize Draw you are agreeing to these Prize Draw terms and conditions.
2. The Prize Draw is being run by Hertsavers Credit Union.

Eligibility to enter

3. The Prize Draw is open to Hertsavers Credit Union members only and entrants must be 18 years of age or older.
4. Employees and board members of Hertsavers Credit Union and its subsidiaries including Employees and board members of Credit Union Solutions (CUS), along with their families and members of their households, are not eligible to enter.
5. In entering the Prize Draw, you confirm that you are eligible to do so and eligible to claim any prize you may win.
6. A maximum of one entry per individual is permitted.
7. The Prize Draw is free to enter.

How to enter

8. Your name and contact details are required for us to notify the winners.
9. By entering the Prize Draw Hertsavers Credit Union cannot guarantee that your survey response will remain anonymous.
10. Prize Draw entries will be accepted up to Midday on 18 July 2021. Entries after that time and date will not be included in the draw.
11. To enter the Prize Draw simply complete and submit the Hertsavers Credit Union Members Survey 2021.
12. Hertsavers Credit Union will not accept responsibility if contact details provided are incomplete or inaccurate.
13. Hertsavers Credit Union holds the right to disqualify entries that demonstrate a lack of consideration to the main survey, including incomplete or incomprehensible answers.

The prize

14. The prize will be £50 in the member’s Hertsavers Savings Account.
15. Two winners will be drawn at random.
16. The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable and no cash alternatives will be offered.
17. Hertsavers Credit Union reserve the right to substitute prizes with another prize of equal or higher value if circumstances beyond our control make it necessary to do so.
18. The decision of Hertsavers Credit Union regarding any aspect of the Prize Draw is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into about it.

Winner announcement

19. Winners will be notified after 15 September 2021 via the contact details (email or phone) provided in their Members Survey response.
20. Hertsavers Credit Union will attempt to contact the winners by email up to two times.
21. If either winner does not respond to the emails notifying them of their win within 14 days of the second email, they will lose their right to the prize, and Hertsavers Credit Union reserves the right to choose and notify a new winner drawn at random.

Receipt of the prize

22. Please allow 30 days for delivery of the prize into the Savings Account.

Data protection and publicity

23. You consent to any personal information you provide in entering the Prize Draw being used by Hertsavers Credit Union to administer the Prize Draw, and only for those purposes as defined within our privacy notice.
24. All entrants may apply for details of the winning participants by contacting us at office@hertsavers.co.uk.
25. The winners agree to release their first name to any other Prize Draw participants if requested via Hertsavers Credit Union.
26. An announcement of the winners’ first names will be made via Hertsavers Credit Union members eNewsletter.
27. All personal information shall be used in accordance with Hertsavers Credit Union’s Privacy Notice.

Limitation of Liability

28. Hertsavers Credit Union does not accept any liability for any damage, loss, injury or disappointment suffered by any entrants as a result of either participating in the Prize Draw or being selected for a prize.

General
29. Hertsavers Credit Union reserves the right to cancel the Prize Draw or amend these terms and conditions at any time, without prior notice.
30. The Prize Draw and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR THE VIRTUAL FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEWS

1. The interviews are being conducted by Hertsavers Credit Union for the social impact report.
2. The reward will be £20 into the member’s Hertsavers Savings Account.
3. To get the £20, the interviewee needs to be available and participate in the full interview.
4. Interviewee needs to be a current member of Hertsavers Credit Union.
5. The interviews will be conducted over Zoom, Google Meet or Teams and will be recorded for the purpose of the research only.
6. Your name and membership number is required so that we can add the token into your Hertsavers savings account.
7. The token is non-exchangeable, non-transferable and no cash alternatives will be offered.
8. Please allow 14 days for delivery of the token into the Savings Account.
9. Employees and board members of Hertsavers Credit Union and its subsidiaries including Employees and board members of Credit Union Solutions (CUS), along with their families and members of their households, are not eligible to be interviewed.
10. Hertsavers Credit Union reserves the right to substitute rewards with another reward of equal or higher value if circumstances beyond our control make it necessary to do so.
11. Hertsavers Credit Union reserves the right to cancel the interview session and rewards or amend these terms and conditions at any time, without prior notice.
12. These terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
13. All personal information shall be used in accordance with Hertsavers Credit Union’s Privacy Notice.

 

 

 

Become a workplace champion today

Who is a Workplace Champion?

This is someone who is dedicated to improving at a certain area of within an organisation. They are highly motivated to share their enthusiasm and engage their
community.

We are looking for members, who are part of our Payroll Deduction Scheme with one of our partners, to refer our Payroll Deduction Scheme to their colleagues. By referring your colleagues, you will indirectly help them reduce their money worries and show them how to get into the habit of saving.

As a thank-you, you (the Champion) and your referee will both receive an additional £100 to their account when they take an introductory loan of up to £2000. Terms and conditions apply.

Interested members should contact graham@cus.coop providing their own contact details and their work location.

Together, we can take the money out of worry and create a more productive workplace for everyone.

Hertsavers Salary Saving Scheme – apply today

Have you been ever been stressed at work because you are worried about your finances? Does it affect your performance at work? You are not alone… From research done by ABCUL,

“1 in 4 employees lose sleep over money worries.

“59% of employees with money worries say they are not working at their best.”

“26% of working-age adults in the UK have no savings at all and a further 29% have less than £1,000 in savings.”

As Hertsavers, we help you take the worry out of money. By joining our Salary Saving Scheme, you will be able to save and borrow with us.

When you put aside a predetermined amount of money from your salary/wages each month without spending it, you will automatically save money even without thinking about it. This will help you stop worrying about remembering to put money aside for a rainy day as we would have done it on your behalf.

What’s more, you can take out an introductory loan as soon as you join the credit union. After this has been paid off, you can get preferential rates on loans.

On your savings, you will dividends that has been agreed by the Board of Directors at the Hertsavers Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Through our new web app, you will be able to get online access 24/7 so you can manage your member account on the go.

By taking the money worries away, you will be more productive and less stressed at work.

Apply now

How to boost your financial wellbeing for better mental health

At Hertsavers, we believe that you need to look after your mental health as much as your physical health. According to Mind, the mental health charity, poor mental health can make it more difficult to make earnings and manage money. At the same time, worrying about money can make your mental health worse.

From a survey conducted by Money and Mental Health, 86% of the participants who had experienced mental health problems said that their financial situation worsened their mental health problems.

Those who are suffering from financial stress may experience insomnia (lack of sleep), depression, anxiety, physical health issues such as high blood pressure, weight gain or loss, alcohol or drug abuse, relationship issues and even self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

Here are some of the ways that can help you boost your financial well-being:

1. Create a financial plan and stick to it.

Think about what you will be doing to help you cope with the situation that you are in. Do you have spending issues? Get into the habit of setting a budget. Are you stressed at work? Look for a new job or a side hustle. Paying too much for bills? Shop around for better deals.

Once you have identified the issue and possible solutions, set yourself some goals by making them SMART.

After setting your goals, monitor your progress by checking in. Reward yourself if you have hit a milestone. If you have gone off-track, rein yourself in.

Remember, the more detailed and realistic your plan is, the better the chance that you will follow through. You can even ask someone that you trust to hold you accountable to make sure that you stick to your plan.

2. Set up a monthly budget and review it regularly.

Setting up a budget will not only help you achieve your financial goals but also help you prevent spending unnecessarily.

By keeping track of your budget frequently, you will be able to look for ways to save money, prioritise what you are spending on and see what else you can do to reach your financial goal.

3. Declutter your finances.

After you have reviewed your budget, you can identify what you can spend less on to save money or see what you can remove from your budget if you don’t need it anymore. For example, if have a subscription that you haven’t used, you can stop it. If your mobile contract is about to end, you can start looking for better deals.

You can read our blog for more details on how you can declutter your finances.

4. Get into the habit of saving.

The habit of saving can be quite difficult to stick to however, if you have the right mindset, you will see the results of saving.

Create a goal of how much you are thinking of saving every week/month.

If it helps, you can open a savings account with us so that you have a pot where your money goes. You can find out more here.

Give yourself small rewards for every milestone that you hit. Though make sure your treat/reward costs less than what you have saved :-).

You can read our blog on ‘How to get into the habit of saving money’ here.

5. Get some money mantras that can help whenever you feel low.

Mantras are powerful that can help you boost your confidence and self-worth. They can also help in creating peace and prosperity.

For example:

“I am grateful for the money I have and eager for the abundance that is to come.”

“I forgive myself for my past poor money choices.”

6. Talk to someone about your financial situation.

As the saying goes,” A problem shared is a problem solved.” This is true when it comes to talking to someone about your financial situation. Money is often perceived as a taboo topic however when you do open up, it can help resolve the issues that you may have.

By talking to someone about your worries can help you make sense of what exactly it is that is causing you grief. In fact, sometimes your friend/loved one could even help you come up with a solution that you hadn’t even thought of.

If you need professional advice, there are lots of services that are available such as StepChange and Money Advisory Service.

7. Destress yourself

Financial difficulties don’t disappear overnight however for your mental wellbeing, you can find different ways to help you attain peace of mind.

  • Practice meditation and breathing techniques especially when you have five minutes to spare.
  • Get some exercise into your routine.
  • Get some sleep as feeling tired can make you feel agitated and even more worked up.
  • Practice gratitude – even though you may be struggling financially, think about things that you appreciate. This will help you boost your mood.
  • Eat healthily to help support your mood, and improve your energy.

‘SHARK’ – an interactive film plus free training sessions

The England Illegal Money Lending Team are proud to launch a new interactive film ‘SHARK’ showing the dangers of loan sharks on social media created by the Perception Theatre Company. It’s part of a drive to educate young people about the risks associated with borrowing from loan sharks on social media.

The film which has decision-making pauses where you can decide what route they’d choose has been funded from cash recovered from loan sharks under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).

You can watch the film here.

Stop Loan Sharks training sessions:

Session 1: Could you spot a loan shark?

The purpose of loan shark training is to provide information and knowledge about the issue, how it relates to your work and how we can help those who have borrowed from illegal lenders. The length of the session is approximately one and a half hours.

It will include key things to look out for as a sign that a friend, client or colleague may be involved with a loan shark. The session will show the impact that illegal lenders have on victims and communities and how we can work together to stop people falling into the clutches of criminals.

01 June 1030 -1200

13 July – 1030 – 1200

Session 2: Changing Lives: A loan shark victim’s journey and the part you play.

A continuing learning opportunity for those who have already received Stop Loan Sharks training – this is an additional learning tool for those that already know the basic facts about loan sharks. Learn about the implications and facts around reporting or not reporting for your business and staff; Learn about victim safety, Data Protection issues and how to help victims open up about their situation.

08 June – 1030 -1200

20 July – 1030 – 1200

Session 3: Do you understand credit unions?

Everything you needed to know about credit unions: Learn about the credit union sector – what they are, how they operate, things they do and how we can work together to encourage financial inclusion.

22 June – 1030 – 1200

27 July – 1030 -1200

 

Hertsavers Credit Union celebrates World Earth Day

World Earth Day is celebrated every year on 22 April. It’s a day dedicated to educating communities about the importance of protecting the environment for future generations.

At Hertsavers, we pledge to do our bit for the Earth by making adaptations that are more environmentally friendly.

Going paperless
We recently switched from asking our members to send their paperwork by post to requesting them to complete an online form through our new web app.

Online banking
We encourage members to sign up for online banking. This has dramatically reduced the amount of paper thus protecting our trees and the environment in the long term.

Affordable loans
We encourage people to make their home more energy-efficient and use alternative means of transport to reduce the carbon footprint. It’s never been easier to make these switches than by borrowing one of our affordable loans at fair rates. Such loans include the homeowner loan and transport loan.

We hope to continue making changes that are good for the Earth so watch this space.

Happy Earth Day!

Money mantras from mums to parents

As a parent, sometimes it’s difficult to get your family’s financial head above the water especially with the constant demands from children and with the rising costs of living.

For your mental wellbeing, here are some money mantras to fall back on, and which you can share with your children to prevent them from becoming anxious about money.

1. See the smaller details – that’s what matters

The cliche of seeing the bigger picture is easy to say than do especially if you are struggling to make ends meet.

Instead, think of the small, quick wins that will help you such as the small payments that you can make and the small areas that you can cut back on in your budget.

Sometimes seeing the smaller picture is more helpful.

2. I will control what I can

This mantra helps you to focus on areas that you can proactively manage and prioritise the more important things that need to be done. This is useful especially when you are budgeting.

For example, you can control how much you pay for your energy bills by shopping around for a good deal. However, you can’t control how much tax you need to pay so you can put aside a contingency fund incase your bills are higher than expected.

3. Think of the future first

It’s easy to procrastinate and say that you will do something tomorrow. However sometimes this doesn’t work as you may end up spending more on something due to high interest rates, for example.

If you can make a payment today, do it. Don’t opt for the “buy now pay later” deals. Always read the small print.

Also, don’t borrow from one credit card to pay off another.

Think of your choices. If you are struggling financially, you can always contact us and we can help you come up with a solution.

4. Let’s put it on the list

If there is something that you have been thinking of getting and you can’t afford it at the time, add it to your wishlist. When the time is right, review your wishlist and see if you still need it. Perhaps it was going to be an impulse purchase or you managed to get an alternative.

This would also apply if your child asks you to get something for them especially if it’s a trendy item. Instead of saying “No, I can’t afford that right now!” You can say “Let’s put it on the list and we can look at it at a later date.” They may forget that they had requested this and you may save up for something that they really need.

5. Let’s look for an alternative

Here are a couple of examples:

If you are on a budget and would like to do something with your children, ask them to help you make a decision “Why don’t you help dad and I come up with some fun and free activities that we can do together this weekend.”

Also, if a recipe calls for an ingredient that is pricey, look for an alternative when you go shopping.

We hope that the above money mantras help you with managing your money. If you ever need to talk to us if you are struggling financially or just need help with planning your finances, please do get in touch.